Dueling Theories of Exorcism

Last summer, I wrote about Bob Larson who runs a private school for exorcists as well as performing personal and Skype based exorcisms.

However, he has his critics, and not just from the skeptical crowd.

“They just can’t be done that way,” says Reverend Isaac Kramer, director of the International Catholic Association of Exorcists, an organization that trains and ordains new exorcists. “If a person is fully possessed, the demon inside of them will not let them sit in front of the computer screen to be exorcised. Chances are, they’re going to throw the computer screen across the room and destroy everything.”

Real exorcists decry Larson’s tactics.

Whether these faux exorcists could offer their services on other online platforms—FaceTime, Google Hangouts, maybe even Snapchat—remains to be seen. The veterans are not impressed. “An exorcism is a religious rite,” says Thomas Allen, author of Possessed, a book about a series of exorcisms that occurred in 1949, and an expert on the ritual. ”Neither Skype nor the Internet could possibly be used.”

Whatever technique you use in your exorcism, apparently a Coptic Christian can trump a Muslim in the power to cast out demons.

“If you are sick, you go to a sheikh,” explains Ahmed Ibrahim Sahim, a 51-year-old Muslim, outside the St. Sama’an. “And if you’re still sick after a reading from the Quran, you go to a Christian.”

It’s a technical business and particular to the specific demon you are dealing with. And hey, if it casts demons back into Hell and sells movies, does it really matter if occasionally someone dies?

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