How is an exorcism carried out

exorcismHell, Hell, hell

There are still people in Germany who believe in the devil and in demons. And who believe they can be obsessed with. The journalist Marcus Wegner has dealt intensively with these people and with the phenomenon of exorcism.

It actually sounds more like horror films and the Middle Ages: exorcism. It is, so to speak, everyday life in Germany. The journalist Marcus Wegner says that an exorcism takes place somewhere in Germany almost every day. People who believe they are possessed by the devil or demons turn to priests, pastors or spiritual healers from the esoteric scene. The phenomenon is particularly common in evangelical free churches.

"The real exorcism is far more brutal than what we see on screen."
Marcus Wegner, journalist and exorcism expert

The case of Anneliese Michel, who finally died of exhaustion and malnutrition as a result of a multitude of exorcisms in 1976, is probably the best-known case in Germany. It served as a template for several films. This case was decisive for the Catholic Church in imposing strict official requirements as to when an exorcism may be carried out: In advance, doctors and psychiatrists must clarify whether there is a mental disorder. And the expulsion of the devil must be approved by the responsible bishop. The majority of exorcisms in Germany, however, take place in secret and unofficially.

Drive away the demon or evil spirit through prayers

"Exorcism" comes from the Greek word "exorkizein" and means "to conjure up", that is to say repeatedly to persuade someone to do something specific. The goal of exorcism is always the same: the demon, evil spirit or devil should be expelled from the body of the person concerned - with prayers. Those who carry out these exorcisms see themselves as pastors and last hope for the supposedly possessed.

"Is there anything more humiliating than suggesting to a person that he no longer belongs to himself?"
Marcus Wegner, journalist and exorcism expert

To person:

Marcus Wegner is a journalist and specializes in the subject of exorcism. Among other things, he wrote the book "Exorcism Today". For a good two years he interviewed both possessed and exorcists. As an observer, he has participated in more than 100 expulsions of devils.

  • Of demons and their makers | Review of Marcus Wegner's book "Exorzismus heute. The devil speaks German" at Deutschlandradio Kultur.