French Exorcist Priest Raped Tortured Teachers
A French priest allegedly raped three women during an exorcismReuters

Catholic experts say the need for exorcisms is on the rise, due to curiosity and participation in Ouija boards and seances.

At the annual conference of the International Association of Exorcists during October, 300 of its members converged on Rome to examine the reported rise in Satanism and the occult.

The Roman Catholic organisation was founded in 1990 by six priests including the celebrated exorcists of Rome, Father Gabriele Amorth and Father Jeremy Davies. Its statutes were approved by the Roman Catholic Church on June 13, 2014.

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."

He added that "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."

Father Taraborelli is a trained exorcist for the Rome diocese performs up to 100 exorcisms some weeks. He believes that Hollywood films give exorcists a bad reputation. "You often see the exorcist portrayed looking as evil as the possessed," he told the Daily Beast.

At the exorcists' convention, Father Aldo Buonaiuto blamed the celebration of Halloween for a spike in demonic possessions in October.

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

According to the official Catholic Church book of rites, the priest performing the exorcism must first go to confession. Then the possessed person kneels before him as the priest sprinkles holy water on both himself and the afflicted. The priest then says prayers and a special incantation: "I cast you out, unclean spirit, along with every Satanic power of the enemy, every spectre from hell, and all your fell companions..."

The rite of exorcism is criticised by some mental health specialists as dangerous as they are not getting proper psychological care. However, Dr. Stephen Diamond argues the case for the casting out of demons,

"For some bedeviled individuals, the traditional ritual of exorcism or myth of 'demonic possession' serves to make more sense of their suffering than the scientific, secular, biochemical explanations and cognitive-behavioral theories proffered these days by mainstream psychiatry and psychology," he wrote in Psychology Today.