How does he manage? - Exorcist

The Reverend Tom Willis, retired parish priest, York Diocese

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

When did you become a manager?

In the 1950s, when there was an explosion in occultism after the government repealed the Witchcraft Act. York needed 12 priests to deal with the results of people dabbling with ouija boards and I was one of them. I've since done 2,000 exorcisms, and now get two calls a week from companies that have had objects flying around their office, or couples whose kids have seen apparitions.

What does management mean to you?

The main thing is to remember it's not about me. If I go barging in saying 'watch me deal with these spirits', it's chaos. You can't use this position to enhance your own image, even if there is a pretty girl you want to impress. I'm merely a channel for God's power, and a servant of Him and of people. I also have to think about reputation, and always take time to check it's not a hoax. I don't want to embarrass God, the church or myself.

What do you love/hate about your job?

It's like being a nurse or a car mechanic - I get satisfaction from knowing that I've cured a problem, whether by making someone fit again or bringing peace to a disturbed place. I can sometimes get caught up in fiddly things, when there are bigger jobs to be done elsewhere - as I imagine a doctor feels when dealing with spots. But there's always drama, from standing on the brow of a trawler, blessing the ship with waves crashing over me, to healing someone who is possessed and snarling like a rottweiler.

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