Australia 'hotbed of Satanic possession' says busy exorcist
"WE'RE too afraid to offend people. Well sorry, I'd rather see someone free from possession, then be offended - we are living in an age where we need to face down the devil."
And, according to Gold Coast exorcist Reverend John Gill, the battle between good and evil is reaching fever pitch. So much so, he wants to start training others to perform the rite.
Rev Gill told the Bulletin he had performed hundreds of exorcisms, with a 100 per cent success rate in the almost two decades since his first and said he has never been busier.
"Is it still going on? Absolutely and it's at its height now," said Rev Gill, who was with the Uniting Church for 13 years before branching out on his own.
"I live on the Gold Coast, it is (busy for exorcisms), but I find Newcastle and North Queensland the busiest.
"I have never been so requested in my life, since I first discovered the devil was real. Australia is a hotbed of Satanic possession.
"There is a plethora of needs. People are calling out to me because they are going to stupid witch doctors and people that cause possession to get rid of possession and it's absolutely crazy what's happening to our country."
He said he was so busy he wanted to start training ministers to perform the rites.
"I can't do it all myself. The Roman Catholic Church is the only one stepping it up to properly train exorcists and this needs to change."
Rev Gill holds strong beliefs, which many believe belong in medieval times or are limited to horror films, but he isn't worried about the sceptics - he used to be one.
"I was a sceptic at first because I was a high scholar in the church. I'm a biblical scholar, a theologian.
"There are a huge amount of sceptics out there, but there are an amazing amount of people who if I walk on to a plane in a cassock, and they ask what I do and I ask, 'do you really want to know', and it will end up in a whole plane-long conversation about it.
"I get accused of that (being mental) regularly and it's mostly by those who are having troubles with the devil or they are so secular that they themselves would be open to that."
Rev Gill has opened up to the Bulletin ahead of his seminar on exorcism next Monday, saying it was necessary to check if the people coming to him for an exorcism had a mental illness first, before performing the ritual.
"I need to discern whether it's mental illness or is this a case of true bona fide possession.
"I ask these people to go see a psychiatrist, or a psychologist or a neuropsychologist. We go high up first, just to make sure I'm checking my own beliefs and they have their beliefs checked out.
"There are cases where I have to balance the story between a psychological illness and sadly telling them an exorcism won't remove that illness. And I am really sorry and that breaks my heart."
He said if the checks come back clear, he will perform the exorcism.
"I don't appeal to the saints, I appeal to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
"The devil doesn't want to be discovered. So the first thing they do will go into pretence and they will pretend they're not there. So the next job is to goad them out and the rite guides you through that.
"And when you're trying to do an exorcism the demons try to stumble your words so you can't get them out, that's why the written rite is so important, so you can complete it and get through the stages to make sure the person is fully healed before you leave the place."
Asked if he's ever screamed "the power of christ compels you", Rev Gill said it was not like the movies portray.
"You don't get all the crazy stuff you see in the movies … you hear about the head spinning and the pea soup vomit, but it's not like the movies.
"The problem with that movie (The Exorcist) is the catholic priest stands between the possessed and God as the one who takes upon themselves the evil force.
"I don't do that, I don't have that power. I'm there to cast it in the name of Jesus who has that power and I have a 100 per cent success rate, not because of me, but because of Jesus.
"And I'm in demand because of that."
You can hear Rev Gill talk about his experiences with exorcism on Monday, January 28, from 10.30am at the Carrara Community Centre.