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Umbr-hella: priest goes to hell, says the demons were singing Rihanna

Priest Gerald Johnson witnessed ‘indescribable’ torture after he temporarily died and was plunged into the inferno

There’s no shortage of ‘evidence’ for the afterlife, if you know where to look. Numerous near-death experience survivors have reported out-of-body episodes after being pronounced clinically dead, and others have narrated walking down a corridor of heavenly light. Funnily enough, though, you rarely hear anyone admit to being turned away at the gates of Heaven, or dropping straight into the fiery pits of Hell. 

Enter: Gerald Johnson, a Michigan man (and a priest, no less!) who says that he temporarily died in 2016 due to a heart attack, and found himself in the realm of Satan. Why would a priest end up there, you ask? Who knows – certainly not Gerald himself, who was surprised at the turn his afterlife was taking, especially when he realised that Rihanna was Hell’s headline act.

“My spirit left my physical body,” the priest says in a recent TikTok. “I thought I was going upward, because I thought that I had done so much good in this lifetime and helped so many people, and made so many decisions that were Godly decisions. But as opposed to me going up, I went down. I went literally into the centre of the Earth. That’s where Hell is.”

Once he got to Hell, Gerald apparently saw incidents of such pain and torture that, he says, “I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy”. This included scenes lifted straight out of a Hieronymous Bosch painting, such as a man walking on all fours like a dog while being burned from head to toe. Gerald recalls: “His eyes were bulging and worse than that: he was wearing chains on his neck... it was a demon holding the chain.”

One of the most bizarre punishments that Gerald was subjected to for his sins, though, was a rendition of Rihanna’s “Umbrella”. Unfortunately, it wasn’t performed by Ri herself, but by a demonic cover band. “It just blew me away,” says Gerald, adding that there was a whole section of eternal damnation dedicated to musical torture, with other hellish hits including Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy”.

In fact, Gerald seems to suggest that demons came up with Rihanna’s lyrics – alongside some other earthly songs – in the first place, and transmitted them to the singer when she gained “illegal access into the spirit realm” by... smoking weed. When Rihanna said: “You can stand under my umbrella, ella, ella, eh, eh, eh”? Yeah, that was the spawn of Satan talking.

In the end, Gerald says: “Every lyric to every song is to torment you [for] the fact that you didn’t worship God through music when you were on the Earth... you chose to worship Satan by repeating the lyrics that he inspired to come into the Earth.”

So what happened to Gerald next – how did he escape the Superbowl show at the centre of the Earth and live to tell the tale? Unsurprisingly, the details aren’t too clear. “I lifted up out of Hell, and I came back on the Earth,” says Gerald. There, God began to speak to him in the form of the “real Jesus”, saying that he sent him to Hell for not forgiving those that did him wrong.

So what can we take away from one Michigan priest’s journey to Hell and back? Well, if we don’t want to go there ourselves, we’d best get forgiving those that have wronged us. On the plus side, if we do end up in the fiery pit, we might be able to convince a demon to bash out a new Rihanna album and send it up to her on a cloud of smoke – and when it’s finally released, we’ll have a front row seat.