Many people go to church for the peaceful atmosphere it can provide. They like the interactions with God, other churchgoers, and many have a good relationship with their reverend, pastor, or priest. Sometimes, things can go very wrong even in a church setting though. That’s what Andrew Byrd claims happened when he walked into his church meeting in Tennessee in 2012.
Devil Went Down to Tennessee
Mr. Byrd claims that when he went to the meeting, he was jumped by the pastor when he received what he called a surprise exorcism. The pastor, Joel Arwood of the Family Chapel Church, punched Byrd in the face and supposedly proclaimed that he had just punched the devil and knocked the devil’s tooth out. It was not only the pastor that attacked Byrd though according to reports. Arwood’s wife and another man also joined in the assault that was supposedly an exorcism. In addition, the pastor went on to claim that Byrd was actually a contract killer who had already murdered three people in the area, and was under contract to kill two more.
And Then The Devil Sued The Pastor
Byrd then sued for $3.75 million in damages. He says that he was held down “like Jesus on the Cross”, punched, lost a crown in a tooth and had a muscle in his leg torn.
So The Pastor Then Sued The “Devil”…
Of course, that’s not the end of the story ”¦ not by a long shot. The pastor actually filed a counter-suit against Byrd. The pastor claims that it was Byrd who started the fight, and that he had pulled a knife on him and another man during the meeting. He says that Byrd assaulted him and that the group was merely acting in self-defense when they punched Byrd. They deny that they said that he had the devil in him and needed an exorcism to chase out the evil. They are now seeking damages.
The Judgment From Above
In January of 2014, the judge actually dismissed the assault charges against the pastor and his wife. The case’s outcome shocked Byrd, and he said that there will be other actions to try to find justice. He went on to say, “Just be careful. Just because someone is a preacher, you do not have to trust them. They’re humans. Some have good in them and some have bad.” Only heaven (and possibly the courts) knows what really happened in this case.
Other Exorcism Stories
While we don’t often hear too many stories like this, there have been other cases involving exorcism and the courtroom. One of the most famous that springs to mind is the case of Anneliese Michel, from Germany, who died during an exorcism performed by priests. The film The Exorcism of Emily Rose from 2005 is based loosely on this case. A case of criminal negligence was brought against the priests and pastor involved in the exorcism, as well as the girl’s parents. All of the people involved in this case were guilty according to the court. In addition to six months in prison, they also had three years of probation. Experts feel that most likely the poor girl was suffering from schizophrenia, as she exhibited many of the classic symptoms.