The Return of Exorcisms: Giving Christians the ‘Power & Authority of Jesus’ to Torture & Murder

Joan Vollmer

A church desperate to regain relevance is bringing exorcism back in vogue, and we should be afraid:

Speaking to Vatican Radio, Dr Valter Cascioli, a psychiatrist and spokesman for the International Association of Exorcists, warned of “an extraordinary increase in demonic activity… the number of people who are turning to these practices, which are damaging psychologically, spiritually and morally, is constantly growing.  The battle against evil and the devil increasingly is becoming an emergency…”

Pope Francis is known for his approval of exorcists, praising them for “helping those who suffer because of the work of the devil”.

Truly frightening – though not for the reasons he gives.  The bishop of Paterson, NJ, writes for the Catholic News Agency that:

Throughout the world, the decline in faith and the rise of interest in the occult have fomented a climate that favors the phenomenon of demonic possession… As a result, requests for exorcisms have dramatically risen within the last decade…

The reality of the devil belongs to the bedrock of Christian tradition… As Pope Francis teaches, the devil is real.  Evil is real.  And, every individual needs to confront the power of evil and move away from the spiritual dominion of the devil… Exorcism is a sacramental…. the ordinary means given to us to prevail in the battle against evil and thus, through Christ’s victory over Satan…

Repeat… this is not a medieval scroll.  That was a 21st-century New Jersey newspaper.  In a horrifying Dec. 3 piece, Keith Moor recounts the outrageous case of Australian Joan Vollmers’ torture and murder by Christian exorcists, who received a mere slap on the wrist: 

Joan Vollmers’ troubles stemmed from an unhappy childhood, depression and a stint in hospital for schizophrenia.  …[I]n January 1993… Mr Vollmer became convinced his wife was possessed by demons due to her strange behaviour – which he claimed included her using “terribly filthy language”, acting like a prostitute and looking and sounding like a pig and a dog…

Mr Vollmer met Ms Reichenbach and her husband John, and later Mr Klingner, through their shared religious fervour… initially through the Salvation Army and later through their joint interest in the more extreme and sect-like Charismatic movement.  Their attempts to rid Mrs Vollmer of her demons began a week before her January 30 death and involved lots of praying and forcibly keeping her inside the house… [W]hile Mrs Vollmer was tied to the chair he was forcibly holding her eyelids back by pulling the skin up to the bone “so she could see the presence of the Lord”. ..

… Ms Reichenbach and Mr Klingner reached what ended up being the fatal decision to forcibly remove the demons from Mrs Vollmer by literally squeezing and pushing them up from Mrs Vollmer’s womb and out through her mouth.   It was during this treatment that Mrs Vollmer had a heart attack and died. An autopsy later found pressure on Mrs Vollmer’s neck helped cause the heart attack as Mrs Vollmer’s thyroid cartilage had been fractured…

Mr Vollmer said Ms Reichenbach was pushing the spirits from his wife’s stomach up through her body towards her mouth… “It would have hurt my wife terribly, but it wasn’t my wife… She was an evil spirit that needed to be dealt with.”  Mr Vollmer told police it took about 20 minutes to push the demon up to his wife’s tongue… “finally the demon released and the moment the demon released her lights went out.  I felt the spirits released…”

Ms Reichenbach… said Mrs Vollmer needed to be slapped across the face, but she couldn’t remember how many times, and that… “I know where I stand in the power and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ and His power and authority is much greater than the evil one’s.  The Lord was giving, speaking to Matthew, saying that he would raise her up, which is very biblical, and we believed in God’s power…”

Mr Klingner said… none of them rang an ambulance or a doctor because the Lord kept promising them that he would return her…

Because it was the Lord’s business, apparently, Nuske and Vollmer walked free.  Reichenbach spent four months in jail, Klingner three months.  The church authority had this to say:


Father John Shanley told the court exorcism was legitimate if other formers of prayer had failed.


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