Woman ‘possessed’ by evil spirits screamed and lashed out before exorcism

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A woman "possessed” by evil spirits screamed and lashed out at worshippers before monks carried out a nine-hour exorcism.

The 26-year-old hit out at anyone who approached – including her mother – and ran amok in a church, leaping on furniture. In scenes reminiscent of the terrifying 1973 flick The Exorcist, she also assaulted the monks and yelled abuse in different languages, including Latin.

Police and medics were told to wait outside the church as the holy men battled to perform a prayer ritual – assisted by a priest on a video call.

Father Carlo Rossato said of the exorcism: “This was a truly genuine case of possession.

“She screamed and swore – the presence of evil was evident.

“The young woman had already been seen by an exorcist in Verona but on Sunday her parents brought her here, probably to have another go at curing an evil she had suffered for some time.”

The woman eventually fell into a deep sleep at the Church of St Mary of Mount Berico in Vincenza, north-east Italy.

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The Catholic Church insists potential mental disorders are eliminated before exorcism is considered.

In 2018, Pope Francis defrocked nine Ukraine monks amid claims they performed rogue exorcisms and were guided by the orders of a “prophetess”.

But the pontiff, 84, backs the practice.

In 2014 he supported the work of exorcists in the Catholic church by officially recognising a group of demon-fighting priests under canonical law.

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The Catholic leader has also advised priests who hear troubled confessions from parishioners not to hesitate to call on an exorcist.

But in October beliefs in witchcraft and possessions were linked to reports of rape, assault, false imprisonment and threats to kill in the UK in the last three years.

In one incident, police were called after a parent said their child was “pushed down stairs by a ghost or spirit” and a priest had been asked to do an exorcism.

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