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Camera angle of Sonoma County Jail meeting sparks online debate

  • A Santa Rosa evangelical group says this photo shows church members casting out a demon from a man at the Sonoma County Jail. This photo is at a higher resolution than the picture that first sparked Facebook comments. (Jose Guadarrama)

Sometimes the devil is in the details. Sometimes it’s not.

That appears to be the case in a photograph taken by a Santa Rosa preacher who claims he captured the image of demon being exorcised from a person standing outside the Sonoma County jail.

Pastor Jose Guadarrama of Victory Outreach Church claims his grainy cellphone camera shot taken about three weeks ago is proof of the existence of evil at the Hall of Justice.

But it’s clear upon closer inspection that the “face” Guadarrama points to is really someone’s head with sunglasses perched on top.

Still, a low-resolution version of the picture spooked some people and was circulated on social media websites.

“That is creepy,” said Rachel Scaduto, a security officer at the nearby courthouse who viewed on a cellphone the picture that is making the rounds on Facebook. “It gives me the chills.”

The picture shows four men huddled in prayer outside the jail.

Between their heads floats a face-like image the pastor says is evil taking flight in reaction to God’s word. He said it’s nothing short of a miracle.

“I don’t know how other people will see it,” said the head of the Pentecostal Christian church on Sebastopol Road. “But at the same time, there is no other explanation.”

Some said it was doctored by computer software. But an enlarged version of the picture, included with this article, made clear it was a person’s head with glasses perched on top and that nothing mystical or otherworldly was taking place.

But Guadarrama insists the photo is an unaltered depiction of dark forces. He took it himself during one of his group’s three-day-a-week visit to the Hall of Justice, where members pray for criminal defendants.

“There was no one there with a hat and I don’t recall anyone with sunglasses,” he said.

The picture shows three church members and a courthouse visitor embracing in a prayer circle in front of the jail.

Guadarrama said he didn’t notice anything otherwordly at the time. It wasn’t until he posted pictures on Facebook that someone pointed it out.

“I went back and I looked at the picture and got scared,” he said. “There are evil spirits in that place.”

Guadarrama said it’s a sign that what his people are doing is working. It also confirms his suspicion that evil spirits lurk in the courts and the jail.

“It is a miracle,” he said. “To catch it in a picture, that’s unique. To see it that clear.”

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