News Pope Francis appears to have been captured on video performing an exorcism in St Peter’s Square

The diocese in Italy is training priests to meet increasing demand for exorcisms


In the same bedroom we kept two small clocks,

Show jumping: Whitaker fine tunes wizardry

British master returns to a well-loved arena for another World Cup Final, starting tonight.

Books: A fast track to the devil

Satan Wants Me

Comment: Spirit of the Age: A post-modern witch's brew

THERE WAS a time when we really did think it was all about broomsticks and black hats. Today, of course, we are all supposed to know better. But Phyllis W Curott, as well as being a witch, is an anti-discrimination lawyer from Manhattan and therefore not used to taking anything for granted. She has, consequently, prepared a list of obvious questions (and their answers) to be given to ignorant journalists before they interview her.

Letter: Talk of the devil

Sir: In stating that the devil serves as something to get us off the hook of taking full responsibility for our actions Paul Vallely betrays a misunderstanding of the biblical perspective both on Satan and on the human mind ("Who the devil are you?", 28 January). If we are inclined not to take responsibility for our actions there is a whole host of things to blame. Satan has no monopoly in the culprit market. We can blame upbringing, hormones, genes, stars, other people - the list is endless.

pounds 115,000 for study of voodoo in UK

THE DEPARTMENT of Health is funding a study into the role of voodoo priests and witch doctors in treating mentally ill black people in Britain.

Bewitching link to Children's Classics

HARRY POTTER is far from the first young hero of a favourite children's book to have enjoyed a more exotic education than the National Curriculum allows. The intrepid sorcerer's apprentice at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry - with his two mega-selling novels, thriving adult fan club and seven-figure Warners movie deal - has carried into the 1990s a long tradition in British children's writing of spellbinding yarns.

Poetic Licence: The Devil You Knew

The Devil is to lose his old image. A Vatican commission, which is reviewing its outdated exorcism procedures, will this week remould the Devil's cloven-footed image into a more mundane, bland definition, compatible with modern ideas of `psychological disturbance'.

Vatican rewrites rules for exorcists

THE VATICAN has updated its guidelines for exorcists, which have remained essentially unchanged for four centuries, urging those who are entrusted with driving out the Devil not to confuse possession with psychological disturbances.

Killer on the prowl

When Nigel Shelton came across the body of a mutilated cat, it was all in a bloody day's

Food and Drink: The End of the World is here

Michael Jackson Celebrate Hallowe'en in appropriate style with Hobgoblin, Lucifer, Bloody Hell Fire and other fiendishly good brews. Illustration by Frazer Hudson

The knack: How to be a witch

"A witch can be male or female (males are not called warlocks or wizards or anything else out of popular fiction), and they work on their own or within a group, sometimes called a coven. The first step is to find a teacher. The Pagan Foundation will help you, as will a group called Artemis. Watch out for those which try to charge for training, are unsympathetic to your natural caution, use inverted crucifixes, or talk about blood sacrifices and the devil - they are not witches, they are probably disillusioned Christians. The devil is an invention of the Christian church, and witches do not worship or even believe in him. Instead, you will subscribe to the three guiding principals of witchcraft and paganism: belief that the deity is both male and female, equally and in balance; respect for nature; and the Wiccan Rede (or rule), `An it harm none, do what thou will.'

Masked `ninjas' blamed for wave of killings in Java

LONG BEFORE his terrible death, and before anybody had even heard of the ninja killings, everyone in the town of Rogojampi knew that Salam was a sorcerer. Women in the neighbourhood had been becoming mysteriously sick, with swollen bellies that no doctor could diagnose or cure.

Podium: Facing demons in our own image

Steve Connor

Witches finally lay old Joan to rest

THE BODY of a Cornish witch who died in Bodmin Jail 185 years ago and which has been on public display for the past 40 years is soon to be laid to rest - possibly on Hallowe'en - in a secret ritual involving a group of present-day witches.
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
Two christmas trees ,Moonbeam (2L), Moonchester (2R) and Santa Claus outside the Etihad Stadium
footballAll the action from today's games
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas