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Lost City

An Exorcist in Notts

26 November 21 illustrations: Kasia Kozakiewicz

If there's something strange in your neighbourhood, who you gonna call? This guy...

I was watching the recent Fury/Wilder fight when the commentator mentioned that famous Mike Tyson quote: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” It struck me as relevant to what I do because, no matter how logical, anti-religious or non-spiritual you think you are, it all goes out the window when you or someone you love gets possessed. When that happens, all bets are off. 

People think of exorcists and they imagine an old priest donned in his black robes, clutching a rosary and shouting, “The power of Christ compels you!” like the famous film scene. Unless I’m mistaken, there are still exorcists from religious institutions that will help members of their congregation who are experiencing a possession, but I’m not part of all of that. I believe in a ‘god’ of some sorts, but life has taught me that there is good and bad in everything in the world, and that includes spirits. I don’t perform exorcisms in the name of Jesus Christ, and I don’t think that it’s the Christian idea of the Devil that’s inside people, I just think there are negative spirits that, once inside you, can cause you to do significant harm to you and those around you. And just like you would do with a tumour or a gangrenous limb, you’ve got to get rid of them. 

The most important thing to understand is that no two exorcisms are the same. I’m not like a repairman who just pops round, quotes for a job and then does it on his next free day. There’s a pretty lengthy process involved during which I get to understand the context of the problem, and we go from there. Most of this involves ruling out physical or mental illnesses, which people can self-misdiagnose as a possession. Traditionally, religious exorcisms can be quite violent – the idea is that you want to make the ‘demon’ as uncomfortable as possible in order for them to leave. I take a much softer approach, as I believe that the negative spirits can often be as confused or frightened as the people they’re possessing. I say people, sometimes it can be animals or objects too. It might sound stupid to you, but I’ve had books, cars and pets possessed by negative spirits before. Dogs are particularly susceptible, because their patterns of behaviour can change so drastically in the space of a day. 

Consent is also hugely important, which is why I tend to avoid young people or animals if I can. Even though my methods are non-invasive and non-violent, possessed people find themselves in an incredibly vulnerable place where less well-intentioned people could comfortably take advantage of them. That’s why I spend a lot of time with them, and build up a level of understanding and trust before we even begin to talk about the process of exorcising them. 

We’re arrogant in thinking that we can explain everything in this crazy world we live in. You know, if you’d told an Ancient Roman that we’d be whizzing through space on a rocket they’d probably have had you crucified

My previous job involved a lot of talking to the public in a sales capacity, and I feel like I’ve been able to transfer those skills into my approach. It’s often the case that, while burning sage, I hold the person's hands and talk to the spirit that’s possessing them. I negotiate with them and try to understand their needs, and why they’ve decided to possess a person. It’s like any medicine in that sense. The more we understand an illness the better we are at treating it. If you look at surgery, say, five hundred years ago, we’re talking no anaesthetic, no real understanding of what the surgeon was doing, and not much chance of survival. Exorcisms were the same, and were bloody violent and often resulted in the possessed person losing their life or, if they were lucky, only suffering serious physical injury. But we understand these things a lot more now, so we treat them differently with a more compassionate, rational approach. 

Social media has been a blessing and a curse. At first, it helped me a lot with meeting like-minded exorcists, as well as finding people who needed my help. But a few years ago it felt like everything changed, and people got far more negative. I was getting calls all the time, horrible emails, people spamming my pages with all sorts of nonsense. So I try to limit how much exposure I have to it now, for my own wellbeing as much as anything else. 

I guess people are more sceptical now, which might well be a good thing when it comes to the Government or organised religion, but I think maybe it’s gone too far. We’re arrogant in thinking that we can explain everything in this crazy world we live in. You know, if you’d told an Ancient Roman that we’d be whizzing through space on a rocket they’d probably have had you crucified. But there are plenty of religious organisations, and I’m talking about the big boys here, that still dedicate time and resources to training people for exorcisms. Also, the idea of people being possessed has existed in pretty much every society throughout time, so there must be something to it, don’t you think? Even if you pride yourself on being really sceptical, you must admit it’s too much of a coincidence to not have some merit. 

I definitely don’t make enough money from this for it to be a full-time job, but it’s definitely my passion. I like to think that I’m making a difference and helping people. You know, I might charge £100 or so per session, which is relatively cheap compared to some people I know working in Europe, but it’s never been about the money. If, when my time on Earth is done, I can look back and think I did some good, helped some people and assisted in freeing some negative spirits, that’ll be more than enough for me. 

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