VICE News: VICE News Capsule: Edward Snowden Asks Vladimir Putin About Russia's Spy Program

The VICE News Capsule is a weekly news roundup that looks beyond the headlines. On this week’s episode, Edward Snowden asks Vladimir Putin about Russia’s spy program, journalists in Thailand face charges for reporting on human trafficking, Peruvian police forcibly remove squatters in the Amazon, and the FBI releases a video urging overseas students not to become spies for China.

The Florida Church Whose Worshipers Are All Tourists

The Florida Church Whose Worshipers Are All Tourists

April 20, 201412:39 PM ET

A map image shows the exterior of the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe, a church that serves tourists visiting Walt Disney World in Florida. i i

A map image shows the exterior of the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe, a church that serves tourists visiting Walt Disney World in Florida.

Google Maps

Easter Sunday is a busy time for many Christian churches. And for one Florida church, “busy” only begins to describe it. The Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe has no permanent members, but it will host tens of thousands of worshipers today.

That’s because the church is across the street from Walt Disney World. The main basilica was built in the early 1990s, to give visitors to the resort complex a place to worship. As its website clarifies, Mary, Queen of the Universe Shrine is not a parish church.

The shrine is holding eight Easter Masses today; the first began at 7:30 this morning, and the last will begin at 6 tonight. To handle the large crowds, the basilica is using an overflow tent that can hold 1,000 people.

From Orlando, Amy Kiley of member station WMFE reports:

“The Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe hosts about 35,000 Catholics on Easter Sunday – and none are church members.

“Tourists started the ministry at Disney World before funding the basilica. Director of Operations Gina Schwiegerath says the shrine needs a tent for overflow crowds.

“‘People from all over the world, all over the nation, gather together in one place, and for that hour, you’re not people from all over the world,’ Schwiegerath says. ‘We’re a Catholic community sharing in the Body of Christ, which is amazing.’

“The church and tent have about 3,700 seats. Still, nearly 1,800 people stand during the busiest Easter Masses.”

The shrine’s complex has grown over the years; the property includes a gift shop, in addition to a museum and gardens.

In Orlando, Fla., the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe hosts about 35,000 Catholics on Easter Sunday. i i

In Orlando, Fla., the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe hosts about 35,000 Catholics on Easter Sunday.

Amy Kiley /WMFE

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit

Demonologist Jim Dooley Spends Lent Performing Exorcisms

GIFs by the author

A few years ago, I came across a book called Beware the Night by Ralph Sarchie, an NYPD veteran and demonologist who spent the greater part of the 90s helping people burdened by spiritual oppression work their way back into the grace of God. Although I never considered myself to be religious and have a particular fondness for the kind of movies that could make a grown man shit himself, I was so scared of the “true-life” accounts I read that I needed to seek out answers to the burning questions Sarchie’s book presented: Is my soul at risk? Do I even have a soul?

Then I found Jim Dooley, a former NYPD captain who works with Sarchie. I reached out to him and asked if I could tag along on one of his house calls to see how a real exorcism went down, but my request was immediately denied because he worried I might be some kind of satanic probe. But following a long phone interview where he grilled me about my past—if I had ever had an abortion (since the Devil loves those), played with a Ouija board, or worshiped Satan—he finally agreed to meet with me.

The interview that follows is from May 2011. For various reasons, we were unable to run the interview at the time, but now that it’s Easter, one of the busiest times of the year for demonologists, I decided to follow up with Dooley and ask if I could post the transcript. Although it had been years since we had any kind of correspondence, he kindly agreed and reminded me that the Devil is an evergreen topic. To this day, he still has a client that is being raped by the unknown nightly—I clearly didn’t need to ask Dooley any additional questions. The world is as fucked up as it was when we last spoke in 2011. 

VICE: How long were you a cop?
Jim Dooley: A little over 23 years. I retired as a captain.

How did you get into demonology? Are there other cops who investigate the paranormal in their spare time?
No, there aren’t unfortunately—well, other than Ralph Sarchie. I really didn’t want to do it at first, but then a lot my colleagues started confiding in me that things were happening. One of them, who I consider to be very trustworthy, claimed that he was levitated to the ceiling on numerous occasions, and no one believed him. I advised him to get some holy water, salts, and to say some prayers so he could get himself in spiritual order. He did, and it stopped. It was nice that I was able to give him what I thought was simplistic advice and to see it actually work. So now I go on websites like Real Ghost Stories to offer help to others. I’m a fairly traditional Catholic, however, I know my limitations as a maligner—I don’t do exorcisms of people, only places. If a spirit has attached itself to a person I have to call one of the priests in my society. They’d need to get permission from a bishop, and unfortunately the Church doesn’t want to get involved with stuff like that these days.

The Church is trying to distance itself from exorcisms?
A lot of times the problem is psychological, not spiritual, and because of that I think the Church is afraid of embarrassment. They know the media will mock them.

How can you differentiate psychological problems from spiritual problems?
It can be difficult. Angelic disturbances can often piggyback as real psychological pathology, and on the other hand, a person who is mentally ill can have a spiritual accomplice—the two aren’t mutually exclusive. The manifestations in each individual case may differ, but the root evil is always the same.

Are the people who reach out to you for help generally religious?
I get calls from everyone, but the reported attacks are clearly on Catholics. The Devil hates the Catholic Church, and the name he fears most is Mary. Even a glance from her causes more fear than a person saying the name of St. Michael.

What are these people doing to become so vulnerable to spiritual attacks?
Most of the time it’s because of children dabbling in the occult—tarot cards, Ouija boards, Santeria, palmistry, astrology, séances. Anytime you’re trying to retain knowledge or power from a source other than the Bible or the holy sacraments, it comes with a major price tag. I recently helped a woman who claimed she was talking to her guardian angel and it told her she didn’t have to go to confession. This immediately set off a red flag—while I felt it could be some type of seraphim, I was confident it wasn’t one of the good guys. About a month later my theory was proven when she said it appeared to her in the form of an angel with hooves for feet.

How did they start talking?
Sometimes it just happens—they like to play head games, and very often they’ll appear to you in mysterious ways like in a mirror. All of the deception is to depress you. The ultimate goal of a demon is to lead someone to suicide. If you kill yourself intentionally, you’ve committed a mortal sin, and all they want is your damnation. They want you to be condemned to hell.

On ghost shows they always use a lot of equipment to pick up on energies. What is that all about, and do you carry any of that stuff?
I just bring my sacramentals—a cross and blessed salt. You can use tools but the ghost chasers on TV aren’t spiritual—all they can do is prove to you that you’re not crazy by showing you something is real. I actually haven’t seen a lot of things, and thank God. I prefer it that way.

Are there specific prayers you recite during your visits?
I recite Pope Leo XIII’s prayer of exorcism, which is very effective and can be used by all Catholics in times when devilish mischief is suspected. I also hang medals like the miraculous medal of Saint Catherine Labouré on the walls of the house or bury them around the property. The family may not know they’re there, but if it’s a true haunting their visitors will sense them from a mile away. This is good for a demonic harassment, but if it goes untreated it can develop into oppression.

How often do you refer people to the Church for possession?
I have a few times, but 70 percent of the cases can be healed by ordinary means of salvation, attending mass, communion, and going to confession. A person has to be diligent and avoid what objectively might be a sinful lifestyle—alcohol or drug abuse, homosexuality, or promiscuity weakens your spiritual armor.

Tell me about some of the cases you’re working on now.
I’m currently helping a man in Long Island who is being beaten and burned nearly 20 hours of every day by some invisible force. We don’t know how it all began—it might have started when he found some questionable items in his basement that were left behind by the previous tenant, or it’s possible that his ex-girlfriend is into the occult now and sending negative energy his way. He’s a really nice guy, but this has been going on for a year and he’s blamed me for taking so long to figure it out. I have to keep telling him this will be cured in God’s time. It’s not up to me, and in my opinion he hasn’t really done much to help himself out of this situation anyway.

It’s easy to be angry when you’re trying to fight something you can’t see.
Yeah, what do you do if you’re a woman and you’re being penetrated vaginally or anally by an unknown force? You think you’re going out of your mind! I have one client who is a former satanic high priestess.

Do a lot of Satanists reach out to you?
Many of them actually kill themselves before they get to that point. A very powerful high-ranking lieutenant of Satan is violating the woman I’m helping now, about two to three times a week. She’s tried to kill herself twice, but I don’t think she is possessed—this is more of a transient possession. There was an instance where we were exchanging emails recently and she said she was starting to feel a lot of anger welling up inside of her body. A minute later I received another message saying, “You can’t help her. She belongs to us. You and your prayers are a joke. You wait and see.” There was also a time during one of our meetings where this entity actually materialized; I pulled the so-called snake out of her head and dragged it across the floor as she screamed out, “Saint Michael, help me!” She claimed it worked and she saw the demon vanish.

But things are still happening, right? What’s keeping it around?
She’s finally able to pray the rosary and say the name Jesus, so that’s a step in the right direction, but she needs to go to confession. The Devil is a legalist, and considering her past and the fact that she invited him in, he’s going to exercise his right to stay.

Is it actually possible for someone, via Ouija board or psychic medium, to converse with a spirit that doesn’t necessarily have malicious intentions?
No. The Bible strictly forbids necromancy, which is attempting to contact the dead. Sometimes our lord does permit holy souls to weakly manifest themselves, but it’s usually immediately after death, if a loved one is in deep mourning over their passing. But it’s always something small like the flickering of a light bulb, because human souls aren’t powerful enough.

How can you tell the difference between harmless, leftover spiritual energy and these demonic forces?
If it involves some kind of sexual impurity, heavy drug use, or is leading into oblivion, it’s not good—even seeing something as harmless as a floating orb is a bad sign. The Devil uses the same tricks over and over again to deceive us. It’s just our own stupidity and arrogance that causes us to misinterpret them.

Have any of the negative spirits you’ve dealt with ever attached themselves to you at work?
No comment.

Why don’t you want to talk about it?
Because by acknowledging this I’m putting myself at greater risk.

Just trust me.

When I contacted you, you asked me a lot of questions to see if I was some kind of satanic probe. What do you think people want from you?
I think they want to know how I know what I know. Who trained me, how I got into this field, how many of us are involved, how my team operates. I don’t give that away.

How could that benefit anyone?
It depends on what they’re looking to do. Maybe a phony call one day trying to make fun of us or sacrifice us during one of their ceremonies. That would require a lot of planning, but it’s still possible.

You said you are getting a lot of calls right now. What kind of situations are you seeing?
Dark shadows, intrusive thoughts, thoughts of suicide, depression, scratches at night, poundings, whisperings, and some are worse, like people being physically assaulted. The girl we’ve been speaking about often wakes up with scratches on her body and recently awoke with a razor blade in her hand; she has no idea how it got there.

Do you ever bring people with you on house visits as spiritual backup?
Anyone you bring becomes a target. That’s why I go to confession to make sure my soul is in a good place—if possible, even the very same day.

So even though you’re spiritually fit you’re a target now just because of your profession? 
Yes, and now so are you.

What? Why? Just by asking you about it?
Yes. You’re on the Devil’s radar now. You know things about him he doesn’t want you to know.

So these dark forces can now manipulate my thoughts and read my mind?
There is disagreement among priests and theologians about whether they can read minds. I’m not 100 percent sure, but they understand us better than we think—they’ve been studying us since Adam and Eve.

That all sounds really scary.
It’s a lot to think about, right? 

Follow Annette Lamothe-Ramos on Twitter

'Hurricane' Carter Dies; Boxer Was Wrongfuly Convicted Of Murder

‘Hurricane’ Carter Dies; Boxer Was Wrongfuly Convicted Of Murder

April 20, 201411:31 AM ET

i i

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the former boxer who spent years wrongfully incarcerated for murder, has died at age 76. his life inspired a Bob Dylan protest song and the film Hurricane, starring Denzel Washington.

Paul Kane/Getty Images

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the former boxing champion whose conviction for a triple murder was overturned after he served nearly 20 years in prison, has died of prostate cancer. Carter, whose story inspired a Bob Dylan song and a Denzel Washington film, was 76.

Carter was a contender for the middleweight boxing crown in the 1960s, but his life and career were derailed when he and another man were convicted of three murders that took place at a bar in Paterson, N.J., in 1966.

Carter maintained his innocence and his advocates kept working for his release after his 1967 murder conviction.

After several reversals, Carter eventually regained his freedom in 1985.

A federal court “found that police and prosecutors had violated Carter’s rights to a fair trial,” as NPR’s Nina Totenberg reported back in 1999, “not to mention the trial judge, who allowed the prosecution to put on a case that the federal courts later found to be tainted by an appeal to racial prejudice.”

A native of New Jersey, Carter died in Toronto, where he moved after being freed.

He was active in the movement to free wrongfully convicted prisoners, reports Jon Kalish for our Newscast unit.

“There are far more people who are wrongly convicted than people would like to think about,” Carter said of his activism. “And this is my work because people came to help me when I was in dire need of help.”

At the end of his life, Carter was comforted by John Artis, who had been convicted along with him back in the 1960s. As the New York Daily News reported last month, Artis moved in with Carter after learning his friend was being devastated by his fight with cancer.

“He didn’t ask me (to come here),” Artis told the newspaper. “When I heard he was dying, it was a no-brainer. I didn’t give it a second thought. All he knew was I knocked on the door and said, ‘All right. I’m here.’ That pleased him. It brought a chuckle from him.”

Rubin Carter of Paterson, N.J. watches Florentino Fernandez of Cuba fall through the ropes during their 1962 fight, after Fernandez was knocked out in the first round at New Yorsk's Madison square Garden. Carter has died at age 76. i i

Rubin Carter of Paterson, N.J. watches Florentino Fernandez of Cuba fall through the ropes during their 1962 fight, after Fernandez was knocked out in the first round at New Yorsk’s Madison square Garden. Carter has died at age 76.

Marty Lederhandler/AP

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit

Innovative School Proposes Lush Vegetation on its Roof

The United Design Group (UDG) China recently began construction on an innovative community kindergarten in Wuxi, a city in the southern Jiangsu province. Called Xieli Garden, it’s a spiraling three-storey structure whose sloping green roof wraps around a centralized courtyard. It aims to create the ideal learning environment for children by providing them with lush vegetation and a direct connection to outdoor space.

Xieli Garden resides at the corner of a busy intersection that’s surrounded by high-rise apartments, so protection for the kindergartners is key. Architects placed the proposed outdoor playground and a flag-rose field at the center of the oval-shaped courtyard with the curved ramp shielding the children from the traffic and city noise. This ramp also reinforces safety by allowing quick access from the sidewalk to the third floor.

Each level of the building has floor-to-ceiling window glazing which bathes its rooms in natural light. In addition, nine rectangular skylights are placed along the green roof and add to the airy feel of the building. This impressive school is slated for completion in 2015.

United Design Group (UDG) China website
via [Inhabitat and ArchDaily]

Fun and Imaginative Photos of a Toy Plane Soaring in the Sky

Macau-based web designer and developer Varun Thota (@vnthota) has an Instagram feed full of photos depicting dynamic metropolitan life, but his series My Toy Plane (#mytoyplane) takes his creative vision to new heights. The imaginative photos show a hand guiding a toy airplane overhead in various locations. If it weren’t for the hand, the images would be quite convincing as shots of a real plane soaring in the sky, flying over tall buildings, or preparing to land on a runway.

What makes Thota’s photos even more fun to look at are the glimpses of urban life in Macau, Hong Kong, and other bustling cities in Asia. His toy plane weaves in between tall skyscrapers, over lively streets, and above vibrant downtown bays, taking the viewer on a mini-voyage of their own. Looking at the creative shots, you can almost imagine yourself sitting in the plane itself, gazing down at the beautiful sights below.

Drawing inspiration from the hashtag #putaplaneonit, Thota decided to start this series after his father found a toy plane inside a chocolate Kinder egg. Through the photos, he not only gets to explore his interest in aviation, but also to build relationships with the people around him. He says, “The thing I enjoy most about the series is how fun it is to include other people in it. It’s always fun to show people the plane, tell them the story and then ask them for a helping hand in taking the shot.”

Varun Thota Website
Varun Thota on Instagram
via [Instagram Blog]

The Lives of Bikers Documented in Powerfully Gritty Photos

French photographer Yan Morvan covered the lives of bikers and gang members across more than 40 years in a collection of powerfully gritty black and white photographs. The artist often risked his life by exposing himself to extreme situations and environments, and he dedicated much of his career to following the Hell’s Angels, Skinheads, and even Guy Georges, a serial killer who ended up kidnapping Morvan and torturing him for three weeks.

Morvan’s photographs capture intense, raw emotions that create a certain uneasiness in viewers. He documents the power, anger, and everyday living that occur in rough communities of outlaws. Black leather jackets and tough attitude are the norm and the individuals consistently maintain an aura of authority, where nobody ever really “smiles for the camera.”

According to the project, “[Morvan] didn’t just take a few short trips and snap a few pictures here and there. No, he went week after week, month after month, year after year, and he came back with stories. Not all of them are easy to hear.” To learn more about Morvan’s fascinating adventures through life, you can read this extensive interview on Vice.

Yan Morvan’s website
via [Juxtapoz]