A woman died of internal injuries after her husband and other members of a fundamental Christian sect held a four-day rite to rid her body of demons, police said Wednesday.
The fatal exorcism of Joan Vollmer, 49, ended in her home in the small town of Antwerp, about 180 miles northwest of Melbourne, on Saturday night, although detectives said her death was not reported until Monday.The woman's husband, Ralph Vollmer, and three other sect members who took part in the ritual are being questioned, police said.
No charges have been filed.
Vollmer told Australian Associated Press that his wife had been possessed by "two strong male evil spirits."
"When they finally released the hold on her, she was hissing and frothing and they came out with a groan," he said.
He said her injuries could have been caused by demons. Later he told a television station that he and other sect members had held his wife down during much of the ordeal.
Vollmer said his wife had been involved with the occult since the age of 3. He said she had acted abnormally in recent weeks and had developed multiple personalities, including that of a prostitute and of a sheep shearer.
"There were manifestations of different people and animals," Vollmer was quoted as telling the Australian Associated Press.
Her funeral is to be held Friday.
"God has made a solemn promise that she will rise on the day of the funeral and he wants us to witness it," Vollmer said.