America's top exorcist-for-hire comes to Miami

Is any city more firmly locked in the brimstone-y grasp of Satan than Miami?

Lustful tourists gape at topless sunbathers while the rest of us worship a false idol who's so prideful he gets Swarovski to sponsor his birthday cake. Our police chief and mayor, meanwhile, carry on a wrathful tit-for-tat, and South Beach leads the nation in sunny sloth.

So it should come as no surprise that demons — minions of Lucifer who invade the weak of heart and Ouija-board fan clubs — are strong indeed in the Magic City.

You might even be infected yourself.

Or so says Reverend Bob Larson, a bearded, crucifix-wielding Evangelical known as America's top exorcist-for-hire. For the low price of $495, scores of Miamians lined up at Hilton Miami Airport for Larson's one-on-one demon removal sessions on Friday.

"I've seen everything: levitation, supernatural languages, materializations, and de-materializations," Larson tells New Times.

Exorcisms are usually the realm of the Catholic Church, but Larson — a decades-long syndicated Christian radio host recognized in the '70s as a leading scholar on the dangers of rock and roll — says he learned his trade from top demonologists at the Vatican.

Since the mid-'90s, his Arizona-based church has focused exclusively on exorcisms. He has websites and DVDs (Do You Have a Demon?) and an online "Demon Test" that can tell you if you're possessed. Last year, Syfy Network featured him in a documentary called The Real Exorcist.

"The number of people walking the streets with demonic possessions is much higher than people realize," he says.

Of course, Larson has his critics. Don't the "possessed" really just need mental health treatment and substance abuse care?

"Mental illness is obviously involved, but the difference is easy to recognize," he says. The mentally ill, for instance, don't generally have the power to float off the ground or speak Babylonian.

If you missed your chance to cleanse your soul with Larson, don't despair: He's training a Cuban couple in his church to become Miami's first certified exorcists.

"If you've got a friend or relative who's spiritually tormented, and you think it might be supernatural, get in touch with us," Larson says.

Now that you mention it, this guy LeBron has been acting mighty odd on Twitter lately...

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink