Aussie exorcist fighting demons: ‘I’m going into battle’
ALL but one of exorcist Lizzy Rose's original neighbours have moved out of her street since she moved in 15 years ago.
But it's not because of the eerie chants and creepy sounds bellowing from her modest suburban home on the outskirts of Melbourne. Nor is it the constant stream of witches from her coven who come and go or the thick sage smoke that wafts from the windows and doors.
"I did a spell with a 2km radius to banish everybody that was negative and almost everybody moved out except an old man across the road who is gorgeous," Ms Rose says.
She's had dream neighbours ever since, according to her.
"None of them even flinch anymore," Ms Rose says, referring to the exorcisms she carries out two to three times a week.
From the street it looks like any other Australian home. But on closer inspection it's clear this is no ordinary place. A basket of ram skulls sits at the foot of the front door which is bound with sage and other trinkets believed by pagans to ward off evil.
Symbols painted with human blood are marked just above the door frame. On the inside is a lounge room that has been converted into a temple - referred to by the owner as the "Rose Temple". Pentagram prints cover the windows. Dreamcatchers hang from gaping holes - their edges painted black - in the ceiling. Piles of witchcraft books, crystals, herbs, incense, potions and other ingredients believed to stimulate magic cover the tables. There's no black cat but Ms Rose, 47, does have an old dog that sits undisturbed outside the window.
"Do you guys want a drink? There's water, sparkling or normal, tea, coffee, wine … blood?" she offers, followed by a high-spirited cackle.
Some might assume she's joking but she's not to be underestimated: stored inside her freezer are frozen human placentas, frogs and "parts of pigs that you don't eat" to use in various rituals.
"My sons get frustrated when they come to the kitchen and just want something to eat because they can't find anything edible," Ms Rose says.
Simmering on the stove tops are two large pots containing "love potions". She scoops out a tiny frog and explained she found it dead on her doorstep.
"It's a gift if it just comes to you like that," she says.
Ms Rose, who has five sons, isn't an exorcist by chance.
She says she was subjected to a "scary" Catholic exorcism when she was just four years old. But it wasn't until she met local witches without religious ties in South Australia's Mt Gambier as a teenager, she realised it was her calling.
Ms Rose says years of practice and independent study qualified her as an eclectic witch, a high priestess of witchcraft, ordained pagan minister, psychic and an exorcist. It's the latter that she now focuses on. And, according to her, business is booming.
"The demand (for exorcisms) is so extreme," Ms Rose says. "It's to the point it's nearly unmanageable now. I've got 50 to 60 messages from people all over the world saying 'this is what's happening to me'."
But that doesn't mean the world's population is becoming increasingly possessed, she says. Instead, Ms Rose claims the demand for her services is growing in correlation with her public profile.
She says she currently performs exorcisms on about two to three "moderately possessed" people a week - those who are demonically possessed are exorcised off site.
"I don't allow them into my home or near my family or pets," Ms Rose says. "They wouldn't make it through the front door anyway."
She typically charges $750 as a "one off rate" for a "full blown exorcism" and performs them on prisoners and psychiatric patients who request them. Ms Rose insists her work - and the need for it - is genuine.
"There's no tricks or anything hidden or any need to come back in one month or anything like that," she says.
Ms Rose describes her work as "psychic surgery" and says each exorcism takes between 90 minutes to two hours to perform.
"(It's like) when you go to doctor, he diagnoses, then he goes into surgery, you are cut open and have it removed and then you go into a recovery period," she says.
"That's exactly what it's like here but we're removing a spirit or spirits or a curse and attachments. And once that's removed you will go into recovery."
The client coming on this night has agreed to be interviewed and filmed on the condition of anonymity. Bianca*, 59, has driven more than two hours from country Victoria to the Temple of Rose for an exorcism.
She believes she's possessed by dark entities or demons and says she has considered suicide in the past. Bianca says her ex-partner's family put a curse on her and she wants it to be broken. The evil force has cost her several jobs and caused her three adult children to no longer speak to her.
She has met with Ms Rose previously for "high level psychic readings" which the exorcist says she always carries out to ensure her clients are mentally sound and fit for an exorcism. Ms Rose says Bianca has been declared mentally sane by doctors. Bianca presents as a sweet and superstitious lady who is clearly going through a difficult time. She appears anything but demonically possessed but says she has felt "voodoo and dark energy" for years.
"It has all depleted my energies," Bianca says. "People came to cast (the voodoo), I saw it after they left and other times. It has been quite an ordeal."
Ms Rose puts on relaxation music and plays it softly in the background as Bianca goes to the bathroom to change. She walks out dressed in all white.
Ms Rose sits her down and goes through a checklist.
"Have you eaten today?" she asks.
"No," Bianca says.
Ms Rose tells her she's a "good girl".
"A lot of people throw up in here," she adds.
The exorcisms can often be "extreme like you would see in the horror movies", she says.
"Some people bleed, some people get very angry, some people start laughing, you may go to sleep and start snoring.
"When full-on demonically possessed ... they'll speak a multitude of languages or not at all. "They'll change colour in front of you, markings will appear, their clothes will slash with nobody touching them, they'll be pinned up against walls. Although that is rare."
Ms Rose tells Bianca she "can't predict how you're going to behave".
"My job as your exorcist is to make sure I battle it outside of you and not in you," she says.
"I'm going in to battle (with) other dimensions, other forces, other energies. Great or small. Quiet or loud. I'm either going to come out the victor or the loser and that's it.
"We're not going to have an ongoing relationship and come back and keep battling."
Bianca laps up every word and says she hopes it's successful. Her trusting, dark brown eyes are full of hope as she tinkers with the prospect of getting her life back on track.
Ms Rose explains there will be three stages of the exorcism: the ritual; calling forth "who we're going to be working with"; and the extraction.
"There are a lot of people who die having exorcisms in history generally speaking or get very sick or physically brutalised," she says. "You can cause the heart to stop, there's breathing issues, lots of things medically and physically can happen.
"The third part of the ritual is crucial to stop that happening."
Ms Rose turns off the music and takes centre stage, like an actor about to perform a monologue.
Bianca walks three times around the pentagram painted on the ground, as instructed, before moving to the centre of it and lying down. A chain is placed around her neck because "in extreme situations, this ordinary chain, will be boiling hot, red, orange (and) ... indicate what's going on". The exorcist loosely binds the woman's wrists together.
"We'll say goodbye to (the journalist) and (videographer) and imagine that they're far, far away. And it's just you and I," Ms Rose says in a chant.
"We evoke thee, hail and welcome … and blessed be … by air, by fire, by water and by earth, this circle is cast outside of space, outside of time, hail and welcome and blessed be.
"As to your left, so is to your right. As all beneath you and behind you be all in front of you."
During the next hour, Ms Rose uses a multitude of items to wave, ring, smoke and pour over Bianca. She paces the circle with a bell and rings it once with every step while chanting "banishing all that no longer serves".
During another lap of the pentagram she uses a straw broomstick to "sweep away" dark entities.
It's followed with echoing chants: "Moowwwcoooooo. Vegeeborraaaaaa … vegeedoolaaaaa …. layohhhlaaaa …. ahmennnn".
Eventually Ms Rose appears with a blunt sword which she earlier promised not to hurt anyone with. She points the weapon to the sky, then turns it towards a mirror, with Ninja-style moves before running it softly from the client's forehead down to her feet. She claims this "opens the spirit" and "cuts the ties" to anything that might be possessing her. She also uses a pair of invisible scissors in a cutting motion from Bianca's head to toes. Finally, a "protection potion" made from "wine, oil, fluid, bone, ivy and holly" is poured over the client's entire body.
"I'm feeling a stiffness and an irritability that's starting to come over me," Ms Rose says.
"I ask that you show me now, what in this quarter, if anything, is effecting our lady, our woman?"
The exorcism soon comes to end. The room remains in tact. Bianca has remained unmoved throughout the process. The chain around her neck didn't change colour or temperature. Her head hasn't spun like the possessed girl in The Exorcist. There's no vomit or blood. She didn't speak another language. In fact, she didn't make a sound at all.
Ms Rose declares that Bianca wasn't possessed by demons after all.
"It became apparent at the end of the second stage and early into the third that the demonic behaviour that presented was mild in its effect due to it being brought about by a curse placed on this human, not by a demon conjured or directed towards this human," Ms Rose says.
"There is no further need or concern that this client's symptoms are demonic in nature."
She insists the failure of a demon to show itself in front of a camera crew was anything but sheer convenience.
"The cords have been cut ... we don't turn it off or on for the cameras ... it is what it is at that time," she says.
Bianca says she was expecting "something to come out of" her during the exorcism but that only time will tell if the process was of any benefit.
And with that she changes into a fresh set of clothes, walks out into the quiet street where only pleasant neighbours live, and drives home.
*Not her real name