Rising demand for exorcisms is fueling an industry of freelancers who claim they can dispel evil spirits – for a fee.
By Salvatore Valeri and Koldo Bika | 31 October 2017 | Excerpted from The BBC
Demand for exorcisms – the rite of expelling evil spirits – is on the
rise in some European countries, with France leading the pack,
according to the Economist. This demand has sparked a rash of
‘freelance exorcists’: people outside the clergy who will charge 900
euros ($1,060) or more to rid clients of evil and break spells.
There are no official statistics on exorcisms in France. But the
French Catholic priests as well as specialists from the Vatican that
BBC Capital spoke to all agreed that the number is on the rise.
Father Georges Berson is one of two exorcists for the Paris and
Ile-de-France region. He performs about 50 exorcisms a year but says
he and his colleague can deal with as many as 2,500 exorcism-related
One theory is that a lack of ‘official’ exorcists within the church has driven customers to look further afield.
Father Ange Rodriguez, a monk of the Dominican order, is the official
exorcist of the Lyon diocese.
The 81-year-old says that while there has been an increase in demand
for his services over the past decade, he’s also seen a correlated
rise in ‘freelance operators’ – those not affiliated to the church who
say they offer similar services but for a fee.
“There’s a lot of fraud. Many people pretend to be real exorcists and
ask for very large sums of money for their services. But the church
never charges for this service.”