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

TWO CLOCKS BY SIMON ARMITAGE - 1999

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 A Vatican commission, which is reviewing its outdated exorcism procedures, will this week remould the Devil's cloven-footed image into a more mundane, bland definition, compatible with modern ideas of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