Magazine article Metro Magazine

John Safran versus the Exorcist

Magazine article Metro Magazine

John Safran versus the Exorcist

Article excerpt

It seems odd that William Peter Blatty wrote The Exorcist as an act of faith; certainly on first impression dialogue like 'Your mother sucks cocks in hell' doesn't seem the most reverent of devotions. However Blatty points out that proof of demons also implies proof of angels, and perversely the depiction of an exorcism can be an aid to religious faith. I can see his point, but was sceptical that I'd ever see an exorcism that would genuinely give me pause for thought. I definitely didn't expect to see it on John Safran Vs God.

That final episode has been boiling around my head since I've seen it, and it seems I'm far from alone. It's interesting that this episode should be the most controversial, as there were plenty of similar ceremonies on the show that could be glibly shrugged off. Obviously it's easier to assimilate religious frenzy and demonic possession if Haiti is the backdrop, but it's Safran's own reaction that made his exorcism so indelible. John participated in several uncomfortable ceremonies, but none seemed to consume him as this one did. Ironically, it was when he declared himself to be possessed by Papa Gede that my flesh began to crawl. If John had simply said 'Satan', I would find it easier to dismiss. Satan is a hoary old word in this context, and its familiarity breeds a certain amount of sceptical contempt. However naming a voodoo spirit encountered in an earlier episode casts things in a new light. The cliched behaviour instead becomes uncanny.

Of course if ever there was a man who would perform a hoax like this, it's John Safran. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.