Newspaper says 100,000 in city are possessed by the devil

A serious Croatian paper claims around 100,000 people in Zagreb are possessed by the devil.

Vecernji, which usually concentrates on politics, says the Catholic church is desperately looking for exorcists.

Quoting an unnamed clairvoyant and a satanic magazine, it warns that 3,000 Satanists will meet later this month and ask the devil to appear.

The paper is advising readers who think they're possessed to see a priest and "make a thorough confession and regret their sins" before they consult a doctor.

It lists symptoms of possession as nausea and tiredness.

Some Zagreb residents are taking the story seriously - others see it as a joke.

One man recently ran into a city centre bar screaming: "I'm possessed!" and ran into the arms of a woman. Everyone in the bar fell about laughing.

But 54-year-old 'Stjepan' warned against ignoring Satan "because the illusion that he doesn't exist is one of his biggest tricks."

Psychologist Mirjana Krizmanic said the articles reflect the need to escape harsh reality - unemployment is over 20%. "It is just a step further from the horoscopes that our newspapers are full of," she said.

The church in predominantly Catholic Croatia hasn't officially reacted to the articles.