There are some professions where the results of the work make it easy for even the layman to spot ineptitude.
For example, you decide a deck would be a wonderful addition to the house. The carpenter you hire shows up with a pencil behind his ear and one of those leather work aprons, complete with hammer and square hanging off the side, giving you the impression you’ve hired the right person for the job.
Or if you have luxuriously long locks of sexy red hair like I do, and it’s time for a little snip and tuck to keep that sexy alive, the best bet is to find a hair professional. So you go to the local shop, climb into the chair, and ask someone with scissors and a smock for a light trim to tighten things up.
In both situations everything looks as it should. The carpenter looks like a professional carpenter, and the hair professional looks like the standard hair professional, but looks can be deceiving.
There is a distinct possibility the deck will end up with crooked boards and stairs leading to nowhere, like something pulled from the canvas of an MC Escher classic.
It’s also very possible the person being trusted could really be the Delilah to your samson, leaving you looking more like Ziggy Stardust than Fabio.
Dumbasses are sometimes harder to spot than Waldo at a convention of red and white striped shirt enthusiasts.
The same thing is true of professional exorcists.
They might show up wearing the right robes, with the right books, and even the right jewelry, but unlike hair, when the possessed are destroyed by incompetency they don’t grow back. They just die.
In the book of Revelation in the Bible, we’ve read about the seven churches, the seven trumpets, and the seven seals, so here are the seven signs the exorcist you hired really sucks at his job.
The Heimlich Maneuver Is Not For Expelling Demons
If your exorcist straps your possessed loved one to a bed, climbs on top of them and begins pumping the stomach with the palms of their hands like they were trying kickstart a heart, it is time to intervene and hand out a holy pink slip.
Let’s go back to 1993, to a little town just outside of Antwerp, Victoria, Australia, where a Lutheran missionary returned home one day to find his wife dancing strangely in a nearby field.
Not believing the weird behavior could have anything to do with the woman’s schizophrenia diagnosis handed out just two years earlier, the man presumed she was possessed. After a few failed attempts to self-extract the demons by the man and his friends, they decided it was time to call a professional.
They found one at the local golf course and immediately hired him. After hours of shouting at the woman, the exorcist determined she had two evil spirits in her stomach, so he climbed aboard and began pumping them out. The more he pumped, the more the woman would groan, cry, and foam at the mouth. That is until she didn’t move any more. He had successfully exorcised the life right out of her.
The exorcist told the man she was fine and would be resurrected in a few days, you know, like a bad painter might say the color will set in and look right when it dries, and he bolted out the door.
Criminal charges were eventually brought against everyone involved.
Bible Thumping Works Better From the Pulpit
If your exorcists says step one is beating the evil out of allegedly possessed with a Bible, chances are you have a meth-crazed lunatic on your hands rather than an expert.
Imagine, if you will, it’s June 2012 and we’re in Contra Costa County California, where a man’s girlfriend is visiting the home he shares with another woman. After arguing with the housemate, the girlfriend visits her boyfriend’s bedroom where they get blazed out on the communal meth pipe.
After a brief smoke break the argument between the women continued. The longer the argument continued, the more agitated the girlfriend became. Unable to reason with the housemate, the girlfriend concluded the issue is deeper than just a disagreement. She decided the other woman was actually possessed and needed to undergo an exorcism.
She then beat the housemate with a Bible, and possibly a Virgin Mary statue, and then smothered her with a couch cushion and a blanket. The impromptu exorcist then escaped to a local church where she took off all her clothes and doused herself with holy water.
The girlfriend’s strong convictions led to her conviction on a murder charge.
Stingray Tails Are Dangerous To More Than Just Crocodile Hunters
Depending upon the local culture, animal bones might serve many functions. They make decent tools, decorations, jewelry, dinnerware, and dozens of other functional items, but generally you don’t want them to be heavily involved in the exorcism of your loved ones demons.
At the urging of her family, a 38-year-old mother of two hired a shaman to get rid of the evil spirits that plagued her. At first, everything was hunky dory. The exorcism was going well. That is until the shaman pulled out a dried stingray tail and began beating her about the genitals and head with it. The woman escaped the beating, and subsequently refused to pay for the services rendered. Unfortunately, the shaman never left a job unfinished, especially when evil spirits caused a woman to run off and not pay. The shaman hunted the woman down and finished the job. The woman is now possessed by the Earth, where her once living body roamed.
A year later in 1996 in Ontario, Canada, a man thought to be a bearwalker, a shapeshifter kind of like a werewolf just a bear instead, was beaten to death with a ceremonial walrus bone the size of Babe Ruth’s Louisville Slugger in an attempt to exorcise him of his affliction.
Don’t fall victim to an incompetent exorcist’s boner, and be mindful of what methods of exorcism are being used.
Pouring salt into an open wound is known for causing pain and irritation, and it turns out when you try treating demonic possession with salt, it has the same effects and then some. A person can survive possession by dozens of evil spirits, but the ingestion of a few dozen shakers worth of salt will kill the possessed. In that respect, salty exorcists are bad for health of the afflicted, and can send the blood pressure of the person who hired him through the roof.
In 2004 the death of a 20-year-old woman was attributed to hypernatremia, a form of dehydration brought on by high sodium levels in the body. The tests revealed the woman had the highest concentration of sodium ever recorded in a person’s blood (for you science people who understand such things, the test results were 255 mmol L−1).
How did it happen?
She was suffering severe postpartum depression and despite being prescribed antidepressants, her family urged her to undergo an exorcism. To exorcise the evil from her body she was urged to drink a salt water solution made with 1 kg of salt and a single liter of water. She reportedly ingested six full glasses of the solution in an effort to exorcise her depression-causing demons.
At least two other documented cases of ritualistic salt administration causing death have been recorded. In one of those cases a 36-year-old woman was believed to have been clinically brain dead just five hours after being forcibly stuffed with 1 kg of salt. She died shortly thereafter. An investigation revealed the salt may have been introduced to her body rectally or vaginally.
Save the Submission Holds for the Octagon
In the film The Exorcist, we see a young girl strapped to her bed while priests do their best to rid her of the demons possessing her body. They try several methods of achieving the exorcism, but it should be noted one thing they did not do is choke or beat the girl.
Unfortunately, beating the devils out of the possessed is apparently a popular method. Countless stories of people being seriously injured or killed because exorcists pummel them with fists, choke holds, and sometimes weapons.
The problem with this method is the body is merely a vessel, so it is susceptible to injury while an exorcist is treating it like a punching bag.
A man in Virginia was just sentenced to 20 years in prison in connection with his daughter’s death during an exorcism attempt using violent force.
My grandmother used to refer to drastic reactions like these as cases of throwing the baby out with the bath water. So if your exorcist shows up decked out in Affliction gear, or a judogi, and warms up by shadowboxing, it is definitely time to cautiously inform them their help is no longer needed.
What Worked for Jesus Might Not Work on the Possessed
The crucifix seems innocuous enough these days because the image of it is everywhere. We often forget it was initially a torture device.
Comedian Bill Hicks once said, “If Jesus comes back, do you think he really wants to see a cross? It would be like showing Ted Bundy an electric chair.”
In many exorcisms the cross is still used as a torture device. In some cases, crucifixes are jammed into the mouths and throats of the possessed causing injury or death. It makes me wonder if somewhere in the world there is a traveling exorcist who wears two crosses on a chain around his neck forming a set of holy nunchakus specifically for going ninja on demons.
Some exorcists have gone as far as using the cross just as the Romans did, and actually string up the possessed to cure them.
Sister Maricica Irina Cornici, a 23-year-old woman staying at a convent in northeastern Romania began hearing voices she believed was the Devil. She was initially treated for schizophrenia and the situation improved for a while. Then she relapsed. A monk decided it was time for divine intervention, so he recruited four nuns as assistants and began the exorcism proceedings.
The monk later told the police Cornici refused to drink his holy water and reacted violently when it was forced upon her. Rather than fight with her any more than necessary, the team of exorcists tied Conrici to a cross, tied a towel around her head and mouth to keep her from screaming, and left her alone in a room three days without food. Whether she was still possessed by evil spirits at the end of three days is unclear because she died of suffocation and dehydration before the exorcists could evaluate their work.
The lesson here is to be sure the exorcist handling your business knows how to use the tools of the trade properly. Just because you can drive a nail with a brick doesn’t mean it should be done that when a hammer is available.
When it Comes to Calvin and Hobbes, Lucifer Chooses Calvin
In the realm of Christianity, protestants haven’t exhibited the proclivity for exorcising devils that Catholics have throughout history. For some reason we never see Baptist ministers in popular culture commanding devils to be gone from whom they inhabit. That in itself is good knowledge to have when hunting for a quality exorcist. Your best bet is to go for the guys who dress the part, because some protestants have been known to give up and walk away when evil mocks them via a possessed person.
For this one we need to dig way back to the case of Nicola Aubrey, a young girl living in France in 1565, who was declared to be possessed by Beelzebub and 29 other evil spirits. Father de Motta, a pious priest of Vervins, initially succeeded at exorcising the evil from the girl, but not long thereafter she was repossessed by the same horde.
News of the story spread quickly throughout the region and drew curious information seekers and skeptics from miles away. Among those visitors was a small group of Calvinist preachers seeking to debunk the stories as a hoax.
They were granted an audience with the possessed girl, and when they entered the room she called each of them by name and mocked them for their disbelief in possession. When they began reading from Protestant prayer books, the devilish voice laughed and claimed it was impossible to ouster him from the girl with words he himself wrote. The devil went on to ridicule their entire belief system as being a fallacy.
“And I pray Lucifer,” cried the evil spirit, “that he may never leave you, but may always keep you firmly in his power, as he does now. Go about your business, now. You are all mine, and I am your master.”
The Calvinists then allegedly packed up their stuff and hit the trail defeated. They undoubtedly protested the incident all the way home.
Of course, my source for this was from the writings of a guy named Father Michael Muller, so it might be a biased account, but you can never be too careful because in the Christian world exorcisms appear to be a union gig.
It only takes a few bad exorcists to spoil the reputation of the whole god-fearing bunch.
So if you find yourself in need of an exorcist, be well informed, and keep a watchful eye on the work being done. If the methods of expelling the demons are more strange than the actions of the possessed, it might be time to find a replacement.