I remember the chill.
Terrifying, just to hear another man's description.
A few years ago I interviewed the detective that broke the Mary Jo Pesho murder case in 1996.
Deranged 17 year old Mark DiMarco tortured, raped, and then murdered this mother of three small children after abducting her at gunpoint at Parma Town Mall.
The teenaged monster described the atrocity with a certain glee, like the insane villain in a comic book film.
The hard boiled detective knew the mean streets of the violent inner city.
Despite this, he feared DiMarco because in him, he sensed evil.
Coldness surrounded DiMarco.
A demonic presence.
Until the theological theory became a terrifying reality in the interrogation room.
When you fear for your children, you fear the predators.
The Mark DiMarco's.
The Detective looked Satan in the face and was afraid.
How about Morrie Rosenbaum of South Euclid?
At age 16, he faced Dr. Mengele at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp.
Relieved to be sent to a factory as contract slave labor (the alternative was the gas chamber), he realized the sadistic Nazi doctor was something other than human.
It was an encounter with the devil himself.
This is not a description.
It's an identification.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says Satan exists. The New Testament doesn't hide behind political correctness, either.
So why the criticism of Rick Santorum's reference to Satan in a speech to Ave Maria University, a Catholic stronghold?
I guess that in today's modern age of tweets, internet searches, and satellite broadcasts, some hate to admit that there's a God in heaven, saints we petition, and angels that guide us.
But when the shovels cover the place of our burial with cold dirt, the Facebook images we obsess over will be long gone.
Our spiritual life will be all that we have.
A few years ago, Saturday Night Live's Dana Carvey used to spoof the evangelical aversion to the satanic in his role as the "church lady".
It's not really that funny.
Because it is real.
So let's not knock Santorum's religious belief in Satan.
The former Pennsylvania senator has a better grip on reality than the secular cultural icons who whistle past the graveyard, privately hoping their denial of the devil and the deity won't bite them on the keister when the credits start rolling in their life's movie.
Some of these proud disbelievers have a change of heart on their death beds, recognizing at the last minute that they better grab the spiritual life preserver a priest or minister throws them just before all grows dark.
Santorum's not the fool.
Satan is real and I'm not ashamed to say I believe that.
Guard your children and grandchildren.
Protect your heart from sin.
There's evil about.
Deny it at your peril.
And cut the Santorum's of the world a break.
He may not be such a fool after all.
Just ask Morrie Rosenbaum.
And the family of Mary Jo Pesho.