Exorcisms May Not Work Over Skype

Illustration for article titled Exorcisms May Not Work Over Skype

Last week, evangelist Bob Larson appeared on Anderson Cooper 360 to discuss an exciting new business opportunity: exorcism via Skype. Larson claims that exorcism over streaming internet video can be just as effective as an in-person demon expulsion and even showed an example of what this could look like. The demon in the video appears pretty tame, though, like a mediocre actor auditioning for a dinner theater production of Paranormal Activity—all tickets $15, unlimited dinner rolls—which makes me wonder if this kind of exorcism works on only the lesser demons (Stitch) and not the type that inhabited Emily Rose or sister Mary Eunice. Still, it does sound like it could be a good job: helping people, earning money, not being projectile vomited on by a girl with no control over her head and a penchant for touching herself with a crucifix.


Wait just a second before you start dusting off that giant ornate crucifix, though, because full-time exorcists claim that real purifications can't happen over Skype. Why? Because demons aren't going to willingly let you sit down at your computer at an appointed time to be violently expelled. Demons do what they want when they want. Demons are grown. (I didn't mean to make demons sound like Beyoncé, but that seems to be happening here. A demon is a hellfire version of a hustler.)

Here's what Reverend Isaac Kramer, president of an organization that trains and ordains exorcists had to say:

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.


Demons: no regard for personal property.

The problem here, according to Vocativ, aren't the demons themselves (or the mental health issues that may be plaguing someone who believes they are possessed by demons), but the fact that now that the internet is involved, exorcism courses are popping up all over (how long before University of Phoenix picks up on this career opportunity?) offering to teach any novice how to drive out the infernal monsters plaguing their tumblr followers. And while the schools aren't offering courses on how to cast out via twitter—#cher— yet who knows what theses scam artists will do next? Can you imagine if these suddenly blew up on the TV? You'd be sitting at home watching Maury and instead of being urged to start an exciting career as a motorcycle technician or a medical assistant you'd be invited to consider an at-home exorcism course by celebrity spokesperson Linda Blair? Sadly, I'd probably be into it, because I once bought three Pillow Pets from the television. The Pillow Pets were disappointing, by the way, just as I imagine distance learning demonology courses will be.

Image via Shutterstock

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The Girl with The Purple Cane

Any other Jezzies been exorcized? I have. Obviously it went significantly differently than the one in the video, given that I am an atheist so there was no screaming or flailing or vocal fry.

Freshman year of college I met This Guy®. One day next semester, when I was complaining about being in pain (I have autoimmune arthritis), he told me that if I went to his dorm room later that night he thought he might be able to help. I went, expecting him to give me a massage or an ice-pack or some such. Get to his room, he invites me in— there are three people I don't know, waiting for me. They proceeded to tell me that they were all members of some campus religious group, and they believe the reason I'm in pain is that I'm possessed by a demon. This Guy® had a dream telling him as much. (Up till this point, I'd just assumed he was an atheist like me) They all want to lay hands on me to cast the demon out.

(I don't want to make it sound like I was assaulted here; at this point, I probably could have said no and just walked away, but, if only to satisfy some deep cultural curiosity, I stayed)

So, they started praying to Jesus, then one by one start putting their hands on my shoulders and head and saying stuff like, "In the name of Jesus, we cast the Demon of Arthritis out." My reaction, placid indifference, seemed to confuse them so they started saying it louder, adding things like, "turn away from Satan!" They kept asking how I felt, and I kept replying, "About the same." After about an hour, they decided maybe what was needed was for me to say that I repent and ask for god's forgiveness— I replied that it was getting late and I needed to head back to my dorm, thanked them for their concern, and managed to get out the door before anyone could try and convince me otherwise. I know in their minds that probably proved that I was possessed, because he blatantly avoided me after. Which was just fine, because that was a kind of crazy I hadn't expected from him— or anyone.

Anyone else have exorcism stories?