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The Vatican has allegedly set up a new exorcism training course following a sharp increase in reports of demonic possession.

Benigno Palilla, a Sicilian priest and trained exorcist, told Vatican Radio that there are 500,000 alleged cases of possession in Italy recorded yearly – and that demand for holy men has tripled.

Palilla blames the increase of demonic activity on the growing number of people seeking the services of tarot readers and fortune tellers. These practises “open the door to the devil and to possession”.

However, he also said that many reported cases of possession are related to spiritual or psychological problems, rather than the devil.

People seeking out the services of astrologers has reportedly increased over the years, and consumer organisation Codacons found that one quarter of Italians in the country regularly visited them and card readers or fortune tellers.

The Hood Witch, and various Instagram accounts dedicated to eclectic spiritual practises, have given modern witchcraft a new lease for life.

Exorcism is recognised in Canon law after the Vatican gave its support to the International Association of Exorcists in 2014.

The group has approximately 400 members, 240 of which are in Italy.

H/T The Local

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