Evangelical Pastor Bob Larson performs physical exorcisms on people who believe they’re possessed by the devil. But because this is the 21st century, he also performs them over Skype.
Larson has built a business by exorcising demons via video chat, using hand gestures–like crossing people’s foreheads by waving his pointer finger in front of the camera or thrusting a cross at the laptop–and virtual eye contact. To date he claims to have performed over 20,000 exorcisms in total, most in person but many online. The Skype exorcism shown in the above video comes off rather hokey and stilted, but Larson claims it’s not for show.
“It’s real,” Larson told a reporter for Anderson Cooper 360. “There would be no need to theatrically stage this for any reason why would anybody do that I have no idea.”
The testimonials on Larson’s website are no less dramatic than the above clip:
During the seminar, a Jamaican woman named Charmaine, manifested an usual demon named Twister. The spirit said that he was the “twisting” part of Leviathan, a demon that Charmaine had been partially delivered of by another ministry. Over and over the demon said of his host, “No peace, no peace,” describing his determination to destroy Charmaine’s life. In the final climactic battle to cast out Twister, a defiant African spirit, the woman’s two daughters, ages 22 and 16, enthusiastically joined Bob in telling the demon to leave. When it was over, mother and daughters hugged one another and wept for joy.
Of course, as Vocativ points out, Skype exorcisms are not exactly accepted by most groups that perform traditional exorcisms:
“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.”
Larson does seem to be a busy man: in addition to performing exorcisms both online and off, he’s teaching his daughter Brynne and her two friends how to become teenaged demon killers. When do you think can we expect their reality show?