A Satanist organization held its much-talked-about public event at the Civic Center Music Hall on Thursday as a crowd of Christians from various faith communities prayed outside the building.
About 45 people attended the Church of the IV Crown Princes' "satanic exorcism."
Oklahoma City police Lt. Stuart May said he estimated that 75 to 80 people gathered outside the building.
The crowd outside came from diverse faith communities, including Roman Catholic, Baptist and full gospel. Several Christians said they came from other states such as Kansas, Texas and Arkansas to pray for the souls of those attending the Satanists' event and for Oklahoma City as a whole. One man played the bagpipes. Some held signs: "Honk if you love Jesus!" and "St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle."
James Hale, one of the leaders of the Church of the IV Crown Princes, said the group sold about 70 tickets to the event. The tickets were sold for $15 apiece. Hale said he was pleased with the turnout, but he thought other ticket-holders didn't show up because of the crowd outside the building.
"I think some got deterred by the protesters," he said.
Civic Center officials allowed ticket holders to enter the building's north entrance about 7 p.m. Thursday. Police kept anyone without a ticket to the event on the east side of the building.
A heavy-metal band performed for about 45 minutes in the Civic Center's CitySpace area where the event was held. When the band finished, Hale and a handful of other people went to the center of the stage area and surrounded a large table. Hale told the audience that they would witness a ritual "blasphemy" taken from the Roman Catholic rite of exorcism.
He told the crowd that their parents probably gave them information about religion when they were younger, "but it's good to get rid of that old garbage that they pumped into you."
Hale told the audience that they were about to be part of a participatory ritual and warned Christians who may have been attending for educational purposes that they would need to be careful during a certain segment invoking Satan because it was unforgivable to do so according to Christian beliefs.
The lights were lowered, and a spotlight shone on the table.
The scent of incense filled the room and a soundtrack featuring cymbals and heavy-metal music played softly as people in the audience looked on intently.
A woman laid on the table, and Hale and six other Church of the IV Crown Princes members, some garbed in black robes, gathered around her and invoked the name of Satan and demons to exorcise Christianity and religion out of her.