Tony Robinson's Gods and Monsters

Evil Spirits

Series 1 - Episode 2 Evil Spirits



If you can’t face watching any more reality TV, you might like to dabble in the supernatural instead. Tony Robinson explores how spirits, demons and fairies terrified our medieval ancestors who believed such malevolent, otherworldly creatures could do you harm. Any strange behaviour – and that could be what we now recognise as epilepsy or mental health problems – meant you’d been possessed by evil and this was treated particularly aggressively in the 16th century.

There’s the germ of a really interesting documentary hidden away in here but the laughable dramatic reconstructions of diabolical spells and exorcisms take the edge off it.


The presenter turns his attention to evil spirits, finding out why people in the past thought inappropriate behaviour or mental illness was evidence of possession by a devil. He learns how to perform an exorcism, tries to summon demons using medieval black magic, and hears the story of a 19th-century woman who was killed by her husband because he believed she had been replaced by a fairy.