The Atlantic

These Preachers Perform Mass Exorcisms—And Live-Stream Them

In Ethiopia, some monks are using Facebook and YouTube to gain thousands of disciples, who see them as modern Messiahs.
Source: Charlie Rosser

TISSISAT, Ethiopia—“What do you expect from me?” a monk roared into a microphone onstage. Young men shuffled toward him, kneeling in rows. One scratched his arms frantically, his head rolling backwards and forwards to the sound of drumming. Women wrapped in white shawls wailed and gnashed their teeth. “What do you want?” the monk asked again, his voice rising over the screams and chants of the audience. “Heal me!” they replied, the beat of drums growing louder.

These pilgrims were participating in a mass exorcism in September at Wenkeshet, a remote monastery in northern Ethiopia, near the village of Tissisat and the tumbling waters of the Blue Nile Falls. They had come from across the country and as far away as Europe, the U.S., and the Middle East, seeking relief from a wide range of maladies—HIV, mental illness, professional failure, heartbreak. The monk presiding over them was

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