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Stephen Wagner

The Exorcist Files: Why this is a really bad idea

By January 14, 2011

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The Discovery Channel recently announced a new TV show called The Exorcist Files, which it plans on premiering sometime in the Spring of 2011. According to press information for the show, it will "recreate stories of 'real life' haunting and demonic possession, based on cases investigated by the Catholic Church." This is a really bad idea. Why? Because as a result we're going to see the emergence of a lot of self-proclaimed exorcists and demonologists trying to copy what they see on TV. That could be disastrous. Read more....


January 14, 2011 at 10:04 pm
(1) Palisandre says:

I agree with all the reasons you have listed, and will only add one more reason why the proliferation of such programmes would be disastrous in my opinion: it would be mind-bogglingly BORING. :)

I don’t know, I just never found exorcism and/or “demon possession” interesting at all. Not even one little bit.

Besides, I don’t think messing with the unknown is a good idea. (For the very same reason I would never touch a OUIJA board.
I am not sure that I even believe it is real – in the sense of outside forces coming through – but if it is, we sure don’t know much about it or about what they could do.)

I do LOVE your show “predictions”, though. :)

January 14, 2011 at 10:52 pm
(2) Morris says:

Stephen, I have to agree with you totally. While there is very little, if any evidence, of people being harmed by ghosts demons are an entirely different story. If someone isn’t hurt badly, or worse, before this craziness runs its course I will be very much surprised.

January 15, 2011 at 2:51 am
(3) head in the clouds says:

while the article highlights reasons that are valid, exorcism and demonic possesion is a reality. like alot of issues that people didn’t want to talk about or wanted kept in the dark (child abuse comes to mind) unless they are brought to attention then they will be practised in the darkness of ignorance, copy cats or not. unless people are made aware of what is out there then not only will they be better informed about these issues but will expose what the dark forces are capable of. humans are either not interested in what scares them and wish they would either go away or not manifest at all. the evidence has been supressed by the catholic church and other informed organisations for centuries for fear they would cause panic among the masses (aliens are obviously another subject you wouldn’t be interested in for the same reason) unfortunately humans are not as smart as they like to think (or are more arrogant or removed from the true spiritual realm) and there will be copy cats but i personally think that it is better to expose than to supress so the masses are aware of what is going on in the world of reality not in their fantasies

January 15, 2011 at 1:08 pm
(4) Kay says:

I am a faithful,devout&practicing Catholic.
If the Vatican is truly involved it will most probably be good for us all to see as proof satan exists. We are in a spiritual war with evil… & it is too bad most people believe the lie that evil personified does not exist. It is good to have eyes opened to this reality. Change our ways! Come back to God!
Turn away from our idols & ask our loving and merciful God to forgive our prideful and disobedient souls & culture. This is our time of grace. Open to God and turn away from evil!
My spiritual advisor told me that it is good to turn the light on satan & learn about his tactics to defend ourselves. Ask Jesus to save us from evil…pray! Yes,we are in a spiritual battle and God is greater than satan. Choose your side wisely! Pray to God! Praise God!

January 15, 2011 at 4:03 am
(5) Wynand says:

I also agree with you that this show will have terrifying affects on people that don’t know what they are doing. Although i have experienced many unnatural happenings in my live and have come across many unexplained accourenses. I realy do believe that there are super natural hapenings around us. Some are just more likely to pick it up than others. But also, the mind can be a very dangerous weapon ton ones own hapenings. The more you think that something is going on, the more the mind can create unexplained hapenings. So at the end of the day i think that such shows sould not be displayd on the T.V.

January 15, 2011 at 11:36 am
(6) eddi says:

I believe there are unseen forces or ghost around us and believe that some things cannot be explained. Just be careful with the supernatural cause we don’t know what might might happen.

January 15, 2011 at 6:17 pm
(7) Kari says:

I don’t know about this show to me it seems like a very bad idea to exploit such a sensitive topic as exorcism.

January 15, 2011 at 9:39 pm
(8) unsettled says:

I gotta tell ya, Steve.. the comments being posted here give me a really creepy feeling that you’re right about all of this. I mean, you ALREADY have self professed experts here telling you the ‘facts’, and these shows haven’t even hit the airwaves yet. Creeps me out, man…

January 16, 2011 at 1:31 am
(9) jenny says:

I think you are over-reacting. Exorcism has been around as long as religion, so it’s not like some hip new thing no one has heard of before. Either you are the kind of nut who believes exorcism is a viable treatment, or you aren’t. A reality t.v. show won’t change that. And I really doubt the kind of religious fanatics who would force their kids to be exorcised watch Discovery.

I am curious about this show, but quite skeptical of exorcisms. I think it is in human nature to be intrigued by dark, scary things, and there is nothing inherently wrong in that.

And those kids on your Vampire thread? I wouldn’t worry about them. Of course they are ridiculous and silly, but that’s pretty much the norm for pre-teens. I doubt a single one of them actually believes they are a vampire. They just want to feel special. The only scary thing is their grammar and spelling.

January 16, 2011 at 6:45 pm
(10) Scott says:

agree with most of what you’re saying. There will be people preying and exploiting families and children. It’ll be poor and devout families that fall victim to this. Evnetually there might also be a tv reality show where they have people go in and cleanse the possessed. As far as the show ghost hunters is concerned, I have to tell you I think both those guys are putting on a bs show for entertainment only. I mean these guys are a couple of blue collar plumbers trying to scare people. Garbage. But if there’s money to be made off the gullible there will be people out there trying to take advantage of them.

January 17, 2011 at 4:34 pm
(11) JS says:

I agree very strongly Stephen. There is a reality to this particular area. I especially agree with your point about children. There are several issues which stand out in my mind, from my nearly 40 years dealing with this area from time to time.

(1) Physical danger: Possessed people are very, very strong and they can and will attack you. They are much stronger than normal. Why, I do not know. The evil spirit in them DOES NOT WANT TO BE EXORCISED so they will fight back. And if they see that a person carries no spiritual authority, there will be serious problems. People thinking that something looks neat on TV and decide to copy it are in for trouble.

(2) Psychological danger: Possessed people, to be honest, are creepy. Their eyes, primarily, and their voices. But the danger comes in because THEY KNOW THINGS ABOUT YOU. And they will say things designed to hurt you, to cause you all sorts of problems. You will notice in the Gospels that Jesus told them to “be muzzled” Well, a group of teens wanting to become part time exorcists will not know that and can walk away with issues

(3) The possessed person is, in most cases, a victim.So the “person” must be separated from the “evil spirit” and the person should be treated with respect and compassion. Well, copycat amateur exorcists are not going to think this way – and the victim will get hurt.

(4) The following is the biggest danger of all – and I have seen this occur at least once. In fact, they are releasing a movie about it. If you go into this field without protection, you may yourself become possessed

January 18, 2011 at 8:54 am
(12) Coal Camp says:

Just wanted to add to your comment.The biggest , No. 1 Lie that the devil has ” Is to make you believe that there is not a devil “

January 20, 2011 at 8:55 pm
(13) paranormal says:

Coal Camp, the correct phrase from “The Usual Suspects” is “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” But, of course, just because a phrase is clever doesn’t make it true.

January 17, 2011 at 7:17 pm
(14) holly says:

Speaking of possession I came across this video on youtube, pretty creepy. :(


January 17, 2011 at 7:35 pm
(15) paranormal says:

JS — I seems like you didn’t read my article at all, or you misunderstood it. In my estimation, the potential harm doesn’t come from the possessed people or some alleged entity possessing them, it will come from the unqualified people attempting to exorcise them.

January 17, 2011 at 11:04 pm
(16) Visara says:

Well, considering demonic possession has never once been proven to be a reality, I’d say it won’t do any harm at all to air this show.
People lose control, people have conditions, people have schizophrenia and other mental disorders and idiots call it possession. Get real.

January 24, 2011 at 10:08 am
(17) Anon says:

To Stephen (paranormal)
Unfortunately, the bulk of the comments here have proven your article to be true without the show even having been aired. That being said-one very important thing to point out is the people who have been killed/died to due to so-called “exorcisms”, whether by so-called (and I use this term very loosely) professional exorcists or people who, while having the best of intentions (and we all know about a certain road being paved with good intentions), have no idea what is really going on with the person they’re “helping”.

This show is a bad idea, not necessarily from a theological stand-point, but from what stupid ideas people will get in their heads as to what someone needs “help” with. The other thing is the already fanatical religious people (and I’m not singling out any particular religion-they’ve all got fanatics) out there who will take it upon themselves to rid the world of “demons”, by any means necessary.

Discovery has gone the way of all the other channels now-they used to have excellent programming. Now it’s all sensationalism.

January 24, 2011 at 12:24 pm
(18) Bonnie says:

Interesting article and I do agree with most everything said but would add the big reason I will not be watching this program. Simply because it says it is BASED on cases investigated by the Catholic Church.

Most movies and or TV shows I have seen that have been based on something usually ends up quite different than the orginal happening.

January 24, 2011 at 8:07 pm
(19) plum says:

You are so right! “Based on” can be as loose as someone once lived with this same first name. Sure, they have to be confidential with private information, but I’d be thinking every time that “based on” meant yes at one point in history there was an exorcism. How could we believe anything they show?

January 24, 2011 at 1:33 pm
(20) Brenda says:

Steve, I agree with your opinions.

As to your first point, though, I think Paranormal State is already there, as they spend most of the time claiming hauntings are of demonic origin and dwelling on it. I watched it once, and never again.

My personal opinion on demons and the Catholic church is that the focus of the big three monotheisms, especially Christians and Muslims, on demons has caused a proliferation and growth in power of these spirits. Belief is a powerful thing, and spirits can feed on our emotions. Think about the rite of exorcism, a clash of power, fed by belief and emotion on the part of the priest and the victim’s family; even if the victim isn’t possessed, this could bring on the very thing the exorcism is trying to remove.

Children with autism and the mentally ill have been forced through exorcisms, especially among fundamentalist Christian groups. I completely agree that this will get worse, as many of these groups will use the growth of belief to take advantage of people.

It will, I believe, be even more horrible than you imagined.

January 24, 2011 at 5:32 pm
(21) Ann says:

I agree with you, Mr. Wagner.

Ghost hunters are only checking things out, as it were. Demonologists are seeking to condemn and it’s dangerous for all of us, given how easily we sway with ideas and notions in the popular media.

January 24, 2011 at 8:05 pm
(22) plum says:

That’s it, Paranormal State! I was trying to think of that… they attribute lots of paranormal stuff to demons and bring in people to bless homes, sprinkle holy water, and so on. Yep, it’s already out there on tv.

Stephen, you almost made it sound like Ghost Hunters was the first ghost hunting group – no, they were just the first ones on prime time. Other groups are and have been out there before it became “cool”, and will still be after the ratings start to drop.

I agree that it’s a bad idea. Not only because it’ll inspire goofs who don’t know what they’re doing, and no doubt increase the number of con artists who will claim to do anything to scam the vulnerable, but especially as you said, this will lead to the proliferation of spin-offs on other networks. Do we need that?

February 3, 2011 at 11:13 am
(23) Danielle says:

i dont agree at all. im not Catholic and im just now getting back into studying the bible since childhood. I think that showing people that the devil is not just a metaphor will scare them back into their faith. the bible talks about “the evil one” being an actual fallen angel, rather than just evil acts in general. if you believe in heaven and god, then you MUST believe that he cast out Satan and his minions, who created hell for Satan to rule. The notion that you people are saying that youre christians but dont believe in the devil is hipocritical at best. Read the bible, Jesus himself cast out demons from people by exorcism. ive been totally into reading about this phenomena for a while because i was skeptic. after reading books, including the bible for the first time recently, i definately think that these things happen. God lets them happen. the devil couldnt do anything without god allowing it. He allows him to “test” people of their faith and “teach” others that “the evil one” does in fact excist, just as he does. Just like God allows Satan to “tempt” us into doing things that will put us on the track to hell rather than heaven. People have free will and you cant just get possessed out of nowhere. you have to open up a door with witch craft, ouija boards, etc. when the door is closed, he cant get in. when you attract the devils attention, he takes notice….so dont say “no! it absolutely does not excist!” when you do no research! ive been researching for a few months and there are alot of things about “divine” literature that people dont know. including hidden gospels and things they left out of the bible because it contradicts Catholic Religion. so……there!!

February 3, 2011 at 11:25 am
(24) paranormal says:

So, Danielle — You think it’s a good idea that a lot of unqualified, untrained people will be going around performing exorcisms?

October 13, 2011 at 4:58 pm
(25) Cinnamon says:

I always believe it is best to know your enemy. ANY spirit that does not come in the name of Jesus Christ IS A DEMON. The devil himself can transform himself into an angel of light so do not be mislead. It is real and evil so don’t dabble but know you defences.
Don’t be a fool demons are liars and if you believe there are demons you have to admit there is a One True God.
You better make sure who you are dealing with devil or Angel.
Only those that come in the name of Jesus can be trusted.
Don’t believe me try it out and ask them where they are from. I dare you to ask if they come in the name of Jesus Christ.
I pray you learn the truth whatever it may be … as long as it is the truth you seek.
God Bless You.

April 9, 2014 at 1:59 pm
(26) The devil is a lie says:

I could nott resist commenting. Exceptionally well written!

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