• Free my soul

    Mexico & Colombia

    Pastor Luís B. performs the exorcism ritual on Veronica M. at the Church of the Divine Saviour on outskirts of Mexico City, Mexico.

    An exorcist may often use his strong charisma, together with religous formulas, symbols, icons or amulets, he commands the evil spirit to depart a victim's mind and body.

  • A Colombian mother holds her baby boy, having a tumor in his chest, during the religious healing ritual performed at a house church in Bogotá, Colombia.

  • A Mexican woman screams intensively during the exorcism rite practised at the Church of the Divine Saviour in of Mexico City, Mexico.

    All over Latin America, there are many Christian pastors and preachers (known as ‘exorcistas’) performing exorcism and prayers of liberation.

  • A face of a Colombian woman is seen behind the crucifix during the religious healing ceremony performed at a house church in Bogotá, Colombia.

  • Colombian believers pray during the religious healing ritual performed by pastors of Misioneros Marianos church in Kennedy, Bogotá, Colombia.

  • A Mexican woman prays during the exorcism ritual practised at the Church of the Divine Saviour in of Mexico City, Mexico.

    Exorcism is an ancient religious technique of evicting spirits, generally called demons or evil, from a person which is believed to be possessed.

  • A Colombian girl screams of pain and fear while being allegedly possessed by demons during the exorcism ritual performed at a house church in Bogotá, Colombia.

    A possessed person is never considered the evil itself, nor she is responsible for its - sometimes very violent and furious - behaviour.

  • A Colombian boy, held by his fellow believers, screams of pain while being allegedly possessed by demons during the exorcism ritual performed at a house church in Bogotá, Colombia.

    The whole process of exorcism takes several rituals and in some cases it may take long months to expulse a deeply entrenched demon.

  • A Colombian female pastor reads bible before performing the religious healing ceremony at a house church in Bogotá, Colombia.

  • A Mexican girl prays during the exorcism ritual practised at the Church of the Divine Saviour in of Mexico City, Mexico.

    In the Catholic Christianity, exorcism is performed by invoking Jesus Christ, God or different saints to intervene in favour of a possessed person.

  • A Colombian couple, hugged by missionaries, cry during the religious healing ritual performed at a house church in Bogotá, Colombia.

  • Pastor Hugo Alvarez performs the exorcism ritual on Carmen L. at the Church of the Divine Saviour on outskirts of Mexico City, Mexico.

    Pastor Hugo Alvarez is one of Mexico's foremost exorcists. According to his words, he has been performing exorcism rituals for more than 31 years.

  • A Colombian girl is seen held tightly by missionaries during the exorcism ritual performed at a house church in Bogotá, Colombia.

  • A Mexican woman fights with demons during the exorcism ritual performed at the Church of the Divine Saviour on outskirts of Mexico City, Mexico.

    Some of the exorcists claim to be graced with special powers or skills that allow them to communicate and possibly fight the spiritual entities.

  • Colombian women, having joined hands, pray during the religious healing ceremony performed at a house church in Bogotá, Colombia.

  • A wooden cross, pointing out a local church, is seen placed above the large outskirts in the south of Bogota, Colombia.

  • Copyright © 2017 Jan Sochor

Free my soul Exorcism in Latin America

Mexico & Colombia

2011 - 2016

Exorcism is an ancient religious technique of evicting spirits, generally called demons or evil, from a person or a place which is believed to be possessed. Such a practice is a part of the belief system of many cultures and can be find throughout the world and ages, starting with animistic religions of the indigenous tribes in Amazonia and Africa, following by Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and ending with Christianity in the modern era.

Although the formal catholic rite of exorcism is rarely seen and must be only conducted by a priest named by a local bishop, there are many Christian pastors and preachers all over Latin America (known as ‘exorcistas’) performing exorcism and prayers of liberation on believers, joined in nameless groups in unmarked home churches or gathered under minor Christian denominations, dispersed in urban outskirts.

Using especially their strong charisma, together with non-contactive methods (reading religous formulas from bible, displaying Christian symbols and icons) or rough body-pressure-points techniques (forced burping), they command the evil spirit to depart a victim’s mind and body, usually invoking Jesus Christ or God to intervene in favour of a possessed person. Some of them claim to be graced with special skills that allow them to communicate and possibly fight the spiritual entities. According to their words, it usually takes several rituals to expulse a deeply entrenched demon.

Modern medicine tends to see the nature of the victim’s affliction as a psychological or medical illness and therefore frequently marginalizes the symptoms as illusions or hallucinations. However, unlike the modern psychiatry, ‘exorcistas’ never doubt of what people say and feel is real and thus, those who failed during their desperate search for help in hospitals, family or elsewhere, usually end up with an exorcist, hoping to find deliverance.

Photography by Jan Sochor
Sound recorded by Jan Sochor