The new boss of a restaurant that has sent five owners broke in three years wants an exorcist to check the property for evil spirits.
Auckland businessman Darius Karani is setting up an Asian fusion restaurant in Bishop Dunn Place, Botany. He has run successful firms in the food industry before but said the new outlet presented a challenge.
"Nobody's ever been able to be successful at business over there," Karani said. "They've always had a problem."
Karani said a local spirit medium had a possible solution. "He said there are evil spirits over here so he's going to do something and chase away all the spirits."
Karani said the medium wished to remain anonymous but was expected to perform the exorcism in the next fortnight.
The building is owned by three trustees. Two were away this weekend but a third laughed off talk about evil spirits and said it was the first time he'd heard of it.
West Hamilton Anglican Parish vicar and exorcist Michael Hewat said he performed three or four exorcisms a year. He said ridding a business of demons was unusual. "I don't think that's one of the Devil's main areas of activity, stopping business. In fact, he's more likely to encourage it," he joked.
Hewat believed markers of personal demonic possession included supernatural strength, and intense evil of the kind heard about in intensely gruesome crimes. He said he turned down some exorcism requests from people with drug problems or health issues who were blaming demons for their issues. "Often people's lives are a complete mess and the demonic manifestation's only one aspect of that."
Auckland philosopher Professor Ray Bradley said the idea of demons existing was nonsensical.
"I believe the world we live in is not a demon-haunted world."
Humanist Society of New Zealand president Mark Fletcher said exorcisms were a remnant of the Dark Ages.
"I think it's a pity that this sort of superstitious nonsense is still prevalent in our society and people still fall for it," he said.