A priest has performed an exorcism from a helicopter to banish evil from an Italian seaside town said to be beset with social and moral decay.
Worshippers organised the airborne battle against evil after several churches were robbed and defiled in Castellammare di Stabia, near Naples.
The aerial benediction was carried out to bless and cleanse the town and the surrounding area. Locals say a series of incidents, including the desecration of graves, crosses placed upside down, thefts from churches and Madonnas thrown off cliffs, suggest the presence of devil worshippers.
“If Satan exists, he has taken control of Castellammare di Stabia. There was nothing left but to try the exorcist,” said a statement from the prayer group that called in the unnamed priest.
It is not yet clear whether the exorcism, which took place on 9 July, has had the desired effect.
But locals are hoping and praying that the benediction will help turn around the economic fortunes of the town’s 65,000 inhabitants, who have been hit by surging unemployment and closing businesses.
However, some observers noted that the problems with pollution and criminality in an area once known for its famous thermal springs are more likely to stem from organised crime than the occult.
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