Paramount Pictures .
So, there’s this new film out today called ‘The Devil Inside.’ It’s about a woman who seeks to connect with her demon possessed mother who is confined to a Vatican (yes, that Vatican) insane asylum. The poster features a possessed nun and in the trailer we see a multitude of creepy things such as bodies breaking and bending in unnatural ways, multiple voices coming from one person and telekinetic violence. Super creepy, but is demon possession real? The fine folks at Paramount (who made the film) reached out to the world’s leading exorcist and demon possession expert, Reverend Bob Larson, to see what he thought, and then they gave us the opportunity to interview him so we could find out more about demon possession - if it’s real, how it works, how you can protect yourself from it - and the legitimacy of the depiction of demon possession and exorcism in the film. And, WOW, did we get a scary lesson in this terrifying part of the supernatural realm. Read on…we’ve included a video of a real-life exorcism Rev. Bob performed.
(Note: Myspace remains neutral on the subject and isn’t ascribing to what Rev. Larson says, we’re just reporting it!) .
. Chapin: So I haven’t seen “The Devil Inside” yet, but I know that you have. I want to let our readers get a little bit of background on who you are. For people who aren’t familiar with you, what’s your background and what are your qualifications when it comes to exorcism? Reverend Bob Larson: Well, my background is a little different I have had quite an interesting journey to get to where I am, but I started out life as a rock and roll musician then planned to be a doctor, then went into motivational speaking, then talk radio, along that journey I went into the ministry as a result of a spiritual conversion and all the time over a space of about the last 30 years of doing these multiple things, constantly encountering cases of possession. And then I wrote a number of books about the subject, I’ve written 30 books, several of them best sellers on the subject, and have become known as the foremost exorcist and expert on demon possession because of the sheer volume of cases which I’ve dealt with. . What was the first case of possession that you dealt with?
The first case of possession that I dealt with was a 15-year-old girl who was involved in incubus, which is sexual relationships with demons, which was a pretty dramatic introduction to the phenomena. . That sounds terrifying.
Well it…believe me, for your first exorcism that is pretty terrifying.
Paramount Pictures . And how did you learn how to do exorcisms?
Well, you know, we have since established a training center and now have more than a 100 trained exorcism teams worldwide involving thousands of people, but rolling back the clock to when I started, there was no such thing, even the Vatican School of Exorcism did not exist - that’s a recent phenomenon - so it was practical experience, you just jumped in with both feet and did what you found out to do, now I studied the Rituale Romanum, which is the published ritual of Roman Catholic Church, which is very, very helpful, and whatever sources I could find, but frankly there wasn’t much information available. . So it was kind of trial and error?
It was trial and error for the most part, which I definitely do not recommend to anyone because there have been some very harrowing moments. . Sounds like it. Does possession happen often and what happens to people when they get possessed?
Well, first of all, this is one of the differences that I do have with the Roman Catholic Church, though I have great respect for their tradition and what they do, and am basically in agreement with it, they define it as rare, I define it as not all rare, in fact quite common, and doing an exorcism is not quite as mystical as most people think, it’s quite accurately depicted in this movie, perhaps a little more melodramatically because it is Hollywood and it is a movie, but the factual aspects are pretty close, which is one of the things that drew me to take this role on of speaking on behalf of the legitimacy of exorcism in this movie. . In the film you see people speaking backwards, speaking with multiple voices simultaneously or in different languages, bodies doing unnatural things, have you seen that in your experience?
Yup, I’ve seen all of it, uh, I can’t say that it happens on a common level, those sort of things may happen out of one out of every 15, 20, 25 cases. All cases have some level of the supernatural in them, no question about that, it doesn’t often all come together in one case, but I can see in a film for dramatic effect as if you were telling a story or a book that’s the way that you do it, but I’ve seen it all, yes, and you know the speaking in other languages, is very common, I run into that quite often, sometimes not even other of languages, other accents, I remember one time I was dealing with a guy and this was a demon related back to an ancient pirate curse in Spain and he was speaking Spanish to me, and there were a lot of Spanish speaking people in the room where I did this who understood what was being said interpreted for me. The man himself did not speak Spanish; I mean there were people who knew him, who confirmed he did not speak Spanish. .
. Wow…so when you’re seeing these things does anything ever scare you?
Well, no, now have I had some difficult challenging moments, yes. True fear, no, and that’s not a modest statement, it’s just a statement of fact that I’ve done it so much I have great confidence in God to protect me, I always enter it to prayerfully asking for that protection and understand that Christ is more powerful than Satan and as long as I hold to that confidence and maintain an offensive posture than as the exorcist with God’s help, I am in control, the devil isn’t. What you have in the movie of course is two young seminarians who are just getting involved in this and doing it on…to speak, as well meaning as they are, may not understand all of the dangers, such as the movie predicts, depict demonic transfers. . So does that happen? Can demons transfer from one person to another?
It can happen, if you don’t prevent it from happening, one of the ways you prevent it is that by going into the exorcism you tell the demons where they’re going to go, so it isn’t a matter of choice for them and you make sure that anyone who is directly involved is not a potential victim, you know one of the things that plays out in this movie is the taunting of the demon toward one of the seminarians for something he knows in the past of this priest of that we never really learn that there must have been something what he did that the demon was claiming as an open door to his life, and if there is that kind of open door, which an exorcism we’ve refer to as in legal right, it doesn’t make any difference who you are. the demon can get in. And there’s been some controversy over this portrayal in the advertising of a sort of possessed looking nun, well the world that I come from, it doesn’t matter who you are, you may be a nun, you may be a priest, you may be a pastor…you may be a religious figure, but there’s a certain amount of truth in the marketing guideline of the movie that no one is safe, well you’re not safe if you have an open door in your life. . Well, what constitutes an open door and how can people make sure there are no doors open?
Well that’s a very important question, in that there are many potential open doors, but what generally defined as an open door, is some unresolved issue, something that is eating away inside the person and they never gotten help for it or made their peace with God. For example, a common case people run into is somebody who’s been, let’s say, violently abused as a child and never really talked about it, never got proper therapy for it, never processed it and allows that hatred, revenge and anger to build up inside them. . And so basically it kind of creates this big hole of them for a demon to come in?
That’s right, exactly. And you know when I’m working with like this they may seem like very nice individuals on the outside, but you get down to where they really think and live, and I’ve had people say to me, they’ve plotted to kill someone. I’ve had people say to me, ‘I’ve walked in my parents room one night with a gun or with a knife and I was ready to kill them,’ and they never really resolved this kind of thing down inside and they allow it to fester like an open wound and the demons see that gets his interest. . The way you say that reminds me of those terrible cases you hear about on the news every once in a while where a teenager has killed one of their parents, or killed everybody in their family and it makes no sense because they’re just a kid, how could they do something like that? It seems impossible.
You have it exactly correct and that is what we see as cases of possession all the time and it’s very heartbreaking as an exorcist to know that if I or one of the people I’ve trained could’ve gotten to them before hand, we probably could’ve done something about that, but in most cases, these are people who have no opportunity to experience this evil if you will down inside them. . So what do you think people can do to protect against demons or possession?
Well, of course the first and most important thing is spiritual faith in God because it is God who ultimately protects us from the devil, secondly he makes sure that if there are deeply painful unresolved issues that they’re dealt with and just like a disease you don’t allow it to physically remain in your body, but get surgery if you need, get the kind of counseling that is necessary, so that open door isn’t allowed to exist. . That makes sense. How do you answer skeptics when they say, ‘oh this isn’t real, this is a bunch of bologna, this is just for show’?
First of all we’ve got a YouTube exorcism channel, it’s got dozens of actual exorcisms performed in our seminars around the country they can go watch it and observe it and see what happens for themselves. Secondly we often have the media come to our exorcism seminars and I encourage them to talk with these individuals and do the backstory. Find out what this person is really like and if what they’re observing in the exorcism is consistent with this person’s life, if you come, you watch it, you see it, you’ll experience it, you know that it’s real, I’ve even had cases of journalists who have asked to participate in the exorcism with me, and I allow them that moment of looking right into the eyes of the possessed person, and for most of them that dissolves all doubts. .
. So that you say that the film is a really accurate depiction of demonic possession and exorcism…do you think people should go see “The Devil Inside” and why?
Well, I don’t want to be in the position to say ‘go see this movie’ and let anybody go to it end up traumatized by the level of terror in the movie alright, so from the spiritual standpoint I have to caution that, however, within this particular genre, if people are interested in this kind of film, they will see here what they’ve not seen in some of the other movies and that is a reasonably accurate portrayal of the kind of case study of what exorcism is all about, plus it brings into conflict these areas of science, the supernatural and psychological and that is a huge step forward in understanding this, so for that reason, I think it’s a good movie to see. Whether somebody can handle the plot twist and some of the jump-out-of-the-chair scenes that’s another matter, they’ll have to decide that for themselves. . So the movie is really scary?
Yes, I think it is really scary. . And you probably see a lot of these movies.
Well unfortunately, I do.I can’t say really I enjoy the genre, but just to see what popular culture is saying and how people perceive what I do, I think it’s important to understand it…there are interesting plot twists here, the movie doesn’t end the way I would’ve ended it, on the other hand, it’s not an entirely unusual possibility than it would’ve have ended that way giving how the plot develops itself. . Gotcha. So if we go, we should brace for ourselves, but we’ll also learn something.
Brace yourselves get ready for anything and say a prayer before you walk in the theatre. . “The Devil Inside” is in theaters now. To find out more about Rev. Bob Larson visit him here.