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The Exorcist Files: How a Hit Podcast About Demons Is Leading People to Christ

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God is using an unusual topic to spread the Gospel in a podcast that has become a huge success: exorcism and spiritual warfare. 

With more than seven and a half million downloads, The Exorcist Files has topped Spotify charts for more than 40 weeks.  The creators of the show recently launched a Kickstarter to fund Season 2 with a goal of raising $40,000. They hit that number within four hours of the Kickstarter being live, and have since raised more than four times their goal. Loyal listeners include an array of Catholics, Protestants, and horror fans.  

The creator, Ryan Bethea, told CBN News he first got into this when he was hoping to do a podcast on miracles, but God instead led him down a very different path that included understanding evil, the demonic realm, and modern-day spiritual warfare. 

"Half-jokingly, I actually didn't want to do this," Bethea explained. "I had no intention of doing a docuseries on spiritual warfare, the demonic, any of this."

Bethea says during a 2018 trip to the Vatican, he was connected to one of the leading authorities on spiritual warfare.


A post shared by Ryan Bethea (@thebethea)

"I got introduced to father Carlos Martins, the exorcist on our show, and I said, 'Hey, tell me a story,' and you know, when you meet an exorcist, you got to say, 'Hey, tell me a story,' and he did," recalled Bethea. "And I went, 'oh man, we all need to hear these stories' - and that is how the show was born."
Father Martins is often called to help with some of the world's more serious and difficult cases of demonic possession.

"When you see a chair levitate for the 83rd time, it gets old, but confronting the mind of the devil, the source of every perversion, every sin, every wickedness, every bad thing, that's scary," Martins explains in a trailer for the show. 

The show depicts dramatic recreations from Father Martins' experience battling the devil to free people from demonic possession. Some of the cases show the potentially dangerous side effects of unknowing victims casually dabbling in things like Ouija boards and psychics, while other episodes give accounts of modern-day witchcraft and generational curses. 
Bethea refers to it as redemptive horror because it uses these real-life stories to educate people about Christ, and God is using it to teach the program's diverse audience more about him. 

"There are thousands of reviews on Apple specifically, and you can see people saying, 'Hey, I grew up Catholic, and I wandered away but wow, this has awakened me to the reality of evil. I can't afford not to have God in my life,'" explains Bethea. "And then others were like, 'I appreciate this, too. I'm still not sold on God, but if this is at all possible that there's demons, I want to be with God.'"

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Instead of spreading fear, the podcast intends to bring the realities of spiritual warfare and victory in Christ to light. 
"It opens your mind to say, 'What if?'" says Bethea. "If these things are an actual reality, then that's actually great news because it means that if that's real, and God is so much more real, and that means that we have absolute authority." 

"If we are facing demonic forces, and that's a thing, and we are right with Christ and we've dealt with whatever, you know, has opened the doorway, then nothing to fear, no spirit of fear, but of power, sound mind and love and you can take care of it," he continued. 
Bethea, a Protestant, tells CBN News even though the show is told from a Catholic perspective, it's designed to appeal to all Christians.
"Obviously, there's a huge division, that's historically established, and there's a lot of theological divergence but especially when it comes to the topic of spiritual warfare, there is tremendous overlap," he explained. "There is a shared Savior, there is a common adversary, a great evil that plagues humanity, and there is one way to deal with it – which is that Savior."  
As Bethea works on season two, he tells CBN News the number one question asked about the show is if listening to it will open a door to the demonic, which Father Martins assures the audience is not the case. 

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About The Author


Abigail Robertson serves as the White House Correspondent for CBN News, where she has worked since 2015. As a reporter, Abigail covers stories from a Christian perspective on American politics and the news of the day. Before her role at the White House, Abigail covered Capitol Hill, where she interviewed notable lawmakers such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. During her time on the Hill, Abigail loved highlighting how God is moving in the House and Senate by covering different ministries on Capitol Hill and sharing lawmakers’ testimonies and