As an alternate to going on the field trip, I had to interview someone who performs exorcisms or helps out during exorcisms. I interviewed a pastor at St. Peter’s Church in Trinidad and Tobago. This is a Baptist church and the Pastor has been a member of this church for more than 20 years. I interviewed Pastor Sharon Dorsett and I interviewed her via a phone conversation.
Primarily, I tried not to use the term exorcism because it is not the popular term for describing the expulsion of evil spirits or “jumbies,” which is the popular term in Trinidad. Through interviewing the Pastor, I gained useful insight into the Baptist religion and the different positions or gifts that people possess. Traditionally, people acquire these gifts after “moaning” or going to the “lower grounds of sorrow.” This is when members go underground for 7 days of fasting. Their eyes and heads are covered and they only eat water and minimal food if they get sick. During this time, people travel to different places and see different “Godly” things and acquire different languages from their time spent abroad. After moaning, people get their different gifts of becoming a Healer, Warrior, Watchman, Teacher, etc.
The Pastor then revealed a time when she performed an exorcism on someone. The man, Andrew, had been afflicted with “obeah” or evil spirit that was placed on him by someone who didn’t like them. Obeah is similar to voodoo. It was believed that the man’s mother-in-law had cursed him because he was abusive to her. The man progressed from walking to crawling and gradually stopped wearing clothes all together. Around 4 am each morning, he would beat drums with his mouth and would speak in different voices and languages. One of his voices was that of a dog and the other was that of a child.
The Pastor told me that through the “exorcism,” it was revealed that the man had legions of demons upon him. She told me that when praying for and expelling spirits, olive oil is a major tool used. In addition, Florida water, lighting a candle, and most importantly prayer are important in expelling evil spirits. When asked if there is an official text similar to Catholicism, she told me no. She did emphasize that through prayer, the Holy Spirit guides her on what to do next to successfully expel the evil spirit whether it be bathing the person in the sea or anointing them. Finally, she told me that after the exorcism, Andrew was fine, but later reverted to his previous state. She said that he died shortly after of alleged poisoning from people whose trees he used to climb and steal fruit from.
Speaking with the Pastor Dorsett, she gave me much insight into the Baptist religion and practices that are part of the tradition in Trinidad. She also gave me useful information and scriptures to read for different ailments or purposes. She also shared that her gift is that of a Healer and having the power to expel evil spirits. She says that she simply follows the Will of the Lord and remains close to Him through prayer.