PURGING DEMONS - Exorcisms and Ancient Possession Rites
A Live, Illustrated Zoom Talk with Historians Andrew Chesnut and Kate Kingsbury
Thursday 22nd April 2021 at 7:00 pm

Despite a general shift toward secularism, statistics of the last few decades reveal a persistent growing demand for exorcisms. Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church with more than 1.2 billion adherents, often endorses the practice, urging priests to have no sympathy for the devil and to use exorcists if they hear confessions or see behaviour indicating satanic activity. Indeed in 2018, the BBC reported that 250 priests from 50 countries travelled to Rome for exorcist training. This burgeoning market has proved most popular in Latin America and Africa where in Evangelical churches the faithful are regularly purged of satanic spirits.

In this talk, historians Andrew Chesnut and Kate Kingsbury will expolore how possession rites have long pervaded the African and Latin American landscape looking at both the history and current practice of invoking spirits for the purpose of healing and vanquishing evil spirits deemed responsible for misfortunes and maladies. Chesnut and Kingsbury will examine the idea of forces of evil, and even good, who manifest as spirits and must be exorcised or appealed to for their higher power, showing that this ancient phenomenon has marked religion since the dawn of time.

Tickets £4.80 including a 20% donation to the Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery. Please click here to purchase.

Dr Andrew Chesnut
Andrew Chesnut, Ph.D., holds the Bishop Walter F. Sullivan Chair in Catholic Studies and is Professor of Religious Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is currently conducting research on material expression of Catholic death culture, such as memento mori and holy relics. A specialist in Latin American religion, he is the author of "Competitive Spirits: Latin America's New Religious Economy" (Oxford University Press, 2003), " and Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton Saint" (Oxford University Press 2012) and many other titles.

Dr Kate Kingsbury
Dr. Kate Kingsbury obtained her doctorate in anthropology at the University of Oxford, where she also did her MPhil. Dr. Kingsbury is author of the forthcoming book 'Daughters of Death: Female Followers of Santa Muerte' (Oxford University Press) which is based on her fieldwork in a village in rural Mexico where she spent her days with an Indigenous female Santa Muerte shaman and her family and followers. She has penned numerous articles on Santa Muerte, aka the bony saint, and the women who worship her.

PLEASE NOTE - This talk will take place virtually via Zoom. Ticket sales will end at 5:00 pm BST on the day of the lecture. A link to the conference will be sent to the email used at checkout at 3:00 pm BST on the day of the event. Please email suzette@acuriousinvitation.com in the event your link fails to arrive.