To promote the new film, Devil’s Due, the marketing team decided to introduce unsuspecting New York pedestrians to the star of the film via a remote-controlled stroller and the animatronic spawn of Satan.
Archive for the ‘Satan’ Category
Three girls have assembled into a team of exorcists led by the father of one of the girls. It’s Charlie’s Angels meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets the Exorcist.
Well…there’s that…click play.
Who ya gonna call when someone you know or love or even yourself is suffering from demonic possession?
Answer? Not the Ghostbusters.
No. You’re going to call the Catholic Church. Not because the Ghostbusters are a fictional group of ghost-catching celebrities who can’t get their act together for that long-awaited third film.
You’ll be calling because the church is offering the service in the real world and the big clincher in our recession-slammed economy…it’s free.
The Catholic Church’s largest diocese is located in Milan is now offering exorcisms over-the-phone.
Chief exorcist Monsignor Angelo Mascheroni has recently doubled the amount of people manning the phones because of the increasing level of possession.
“We get many requests for names, addresses and phone numbers; that’s why we’ve set up a switchboard in the curia from Monday to Friday from 2.30pm to 5pm. People in need can call and will be able to find a priest in the same area who doesn’t have to travel too far.”
Monsignor says that most of the calls that come in are simply parents of disobedient teens that are dealing with typical disobedient teen stuff and that the actual phenomena of demonic possession are rare. Other calls from parents claiming their child is possessed are, sadly, simply children with psychiatric or mental disorders.
We’re just wondering when the app will drop.
The University of Oxford’s Internet Institute has analyzed Google search patterns and discovered that there are places in the United States where there are more people searching for zombies and satan than for Santa Claus.
“a few pockets including just outside the San Francisco Bay and Seattle and the cities Houston, Dallas and Austin in Texas have a lot of zombie angst. Hmmm…it might be the only things these places are in agreement on. But one of the more interesting clusters runs from Tampa to Orlando Florida….home of Disney World. Sort of makes sense in a way. Also of interest is a thin band of zombies stretched out along the Eastern seaboard, west of most of the major metropolitan areas.”
Check out the Satan cluster around Tampa Bay; I am going to have to start watching my neighbors a little more closely. You can download the data here and find your own patterns.
Oh, Satan you crafty devil. Roughly a year ago, Ol’ Scratch apparently planned a “Halleujah Fest” as a clever marketing ploy because the whole demon thing didn’t test well with church-going demographics. Pastor Terry Anderson exposed the Enemy’s plot last year:
“I heard on the radio of a church advertising a Halleujah Fest. It’s going to be next Sunday, October 31st. Halloween. And, they’re having a Hallelujah Fest not to call it a Halloween celebration. … It’s a Hallelujah Fest where you come with masks, either a animated mask or make your own mask or come as Cinderella come as Dracula come as Jesus come as John the Baptist. It’s a Hallelujah Fest and I think it’s an insidious, clever move of the Devil to have something for Halloween and tack Hallelujah on it and make it seem like it’s not witchcraft. … I don’t think you oughta tack Jesus to Halloween to try to sanctify the devil’s holiday.”
Satan: The Don Draper of Cosmic Evil.
If you think American schools have problems, take a look at Botswana:
Schools in Botswana are infested with devil worshippers … Operating more like drug-dealers, they get instructions from up the rungs of the ladder of Satanism. And travelling to meet their leaders is not an issue as they can simply summon a slice of bread, a needle, a blanket or mealie meal bag and instruct it to take them to the depths of the ocean where they hold meetings with their leaders and receive instructions. The girls even have the power to resurrect dead bodies after they exhume them and then take them along to the meetings in the ocean. … The devil worshippers said they often find willing recruits among youngsters because they are fond of alcohol and always engaged in brawls after bingeing. At school, devil worshippers are encouraged and even participate in fights in which blood ends up being shed. Then, when nobody sees them, they lap up the blood of the protagonists.
An underwater conspiracy of portkey-wielding schoolgirls who are obsessed with the dark arts are terrorizing the impoverished African nation. Neither The Boy Who Lived nor You Know Who could be reached for comment.
According to statements released during a recent conference on the phenomenon of Satanism at Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome, there has been a surge in requests for exorcists which correlates with the rise of the Internet. The claim is that the web has increased access to information which has, in turn, increased the number of satanists. People love to Google the devil.
I will be the first to admit that my knowledge about demon possession and exorcism is sorely lacking and based on horrible sources. Most of my exorcism knowledge revolves around what I saw in Constantine and I am pretty sure all we need is a mirror and maybe an alcoholic priest. However, I am not sure how an increase in the number of satanists increases the number of demon possessions? Are the satanists putting demons into people? I always just kind of assumed they were independent contractors and possessed whoever they wanted. Maybe being a satanist increases your chances for possession.
How can you tell if your loved one is possessed by a demon and needs a professional exorcist?
“That could be indicated by radical and disturbing changes in the person’s behaviour and voice, or an ability to garble in foreign languages or nonsensical gibberish.”
OK, that might not work for all cases; how can you tell if your loved one is possessed by a demon and not just drunk?
“Father Gabriele Amorth said people who are possessed by Satan vomit shards of glass and pieces of iron, scream, dribble and slobber, utter blasphemies and have to be physically restrained.”
Vomiting shards of glass and iron. Got it, thanks.
The man told police that he set the room on fire because Satan was in there, according to the affidavit. He reportedly said he wanted to protect “the good people” by setting the fire.
Who’s got two thumbs and wants to get all up in some sacred Mayan pools once believed to be portals to the underworld where offerings were dropped down to appease the evil forces waiting below?
Steering clear of crocodiles and navigating around massive submerged trees, a team of divers began mapping some of the 25 freshwater pools of Cara Blanca, Belize, which were important to the ancient Maya. In three weeks this May, the divers found fossilized animal remains, bits of pottery and — in the largest pool explored — an enormous underwater cave.
Would it be totally against the rules to leave a burger while you’re down there, you know, just in case?
You know, we tend to lionize our cultural demon hunters: Van Helsing, Simon Belmont, Buffy Summers.
But you want to know when we don’t celebrate those who locate paranormal evil and vanquish it? When the acts of holy vengence look strangely like encouraging a populace to scar and murder their children because they cry too much.
Enter Helen Ukpabio, she is a Nigerian Pentacostal preacher who has made a reputation the world over for identifying children whose souls have been corrupted by Satan. She makes movies like the one you see above and her work is partly to blame for the trend in certain Nigerian villages to identify, beat, torture and sometimes murder children who are thought to be possessed by Satan.
And she’s here in America!
“Do you think Harry Potter is real?” Ms. Ukpabio asked me angrily, in the lobby of the Holiday Inn Express where she was staying. “It is only because I am African,” she said, that people who understand that J. K. Rowling writes fiction would take literally Ms. Ukpabio’s filmic depictions of possessed children, gathering by moonlight to devour human flesh.
Still, “Saving Africa’s Witch Children” makes clear that many rural Nigerians do take her film seriously. And in her sermons, Ms. Ukpabio is emphatic that children can be possessed, and that with her God-given “powers of discernment,” she can spot such a child. Belief in possession is especially common among Pentecostals in Nigeria, where it reinforces native traditions that spirits are real and intervene in human affairs.
Such a screwed up story…
HEADLINE: Wilmington blue laws help block Satan’s progress
Wilmington Morning Star: Friday May 18th, 1984
There’s a cemetery in Stull, Kansas where, o
nce a year, the devil sashays out a gate to hell and MCs a homecoming dance for the damned. There’s a drainage pipe in Clifton, New Jersey that leads to a secret network of underground corridors – corridors that wend down through earth into the accursed depths of the netherworld. There are seven evil fence gates in the forests of York, Pennsylvania that, when entered consecutively, usher the adventurous onto the plains of Hades. Why would someone want to find a doorway to the pit (aside from the outside chance of a gift shop)?
I wish I could’ve asked the 150 or so revelers who gathered in Stull’s cemetery on March 20, 1978. Or the group of TV news reporters that was ejected from the privately owned graveyard on October, 31, 2002. These rowdy gatherings of Satan-hungry looky-loos began in 1974, when The University Daily Kansan, Kansas University’s student paper, published a piece detailing the local graveyard’s nefarious reputation as one of two places (the other being somewhere in buttfrack, India) where the devil has been known to appear in-person, either on Halloween (lame) or the vernal equinox (acceptable).
According to legend, Stull, Kansas was once called Skull, Kansas (Wrong. It was called “Deer Creek Community”), and the Skull, Kansas cemetery was the site of a grisly event – a stable hand stabbed the mayor to death (Wrong. Stull has never been incorporated and, as such, has never had a mayor). Other Stull-centric legends include the birth of a deformed demon baby, now, appropriately, buried in the dread graveyard, a cornucopia of witch executions and a rumor that, in the early ‘90s, Pope John Paul II ordered a cross-country flight redirected so that the aircraft wouldn’t pass over the Kansas town’s blighted soil. (Wrong. He had the flight re-routed so he could flush the toilet over the actual evil that is Oskaloosa, Iowa.)
Stull locals regard the legends as, alternately, hokum, bunkum and snorkum (a regional idiom), while Stull tourists are convinced that the locals are just, like, saying that to cover up the truth, man. The Satanic stalemate is only furthered by the town’s zero tolerance policy for cemetery trespassers, a fact that’s been used again and again as evidence that, at least in the graveyard, folks aren’t in Kansas anymore… and the townsfolk know it.
Alternately, the answer to my question, why oh why seek a gate to hell? Humba humba hum (that’s my new single. I’m multi-tasking) could be sought out in Clifton, where the local rainwater drainage system is rumored to drugstore hold a maze of catacombs chock full o’ human remains, lit candles, medieval weaponry and even demonic sentinels. Bonus: somewhere in the labyrinth is
a bona fide passage to the Inferno. Over the years, the legend has proliferated thanks to coverage in Weird New Jersey magazine and whip-it-fogged teenagers, who cover the tunnels in messy pentagrams and spray-painted “Gate to Hell” signs, including helpful arrows pointing down into the darkness. Local kids use the lengths of tunnel as a ruler for courage measurement – a folklore-enhanced pissing contest designed to organize a social hierarchy based on pipe-distance-travelled. Likewise, York County, PA’s seven gates of hell dare scared kids to charge through the very real fence gate on Trot Run Road and freak out in the woods at night – the only time when the six subsequent gates become visible to man. Pass the seventh gate, and find yourself in Lucifer’s breakfast nook.
Suffice it to say, there’s something enticing about the idea of hell as a physical place, with skirtable borders, surveyable zip codes and, most importantly, a visible town center. As such, there are innumerable stories like the above – creepy tales traded by teens in the name of reshaping familiar geography into a mysterious (but navigable), deadly (but survivable) unknown. Other legends have taken this idea even deeper, mining mortal terror from the very core of the Earth.
Wednesday: Drilling to Hell
One movie. Five people, living or dead, at the screening. Who and why?
Today’s screening: “Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn”
This sequel (or remake – debate rages on) to his revelatory debut feature “The Evil Dead” finds Sam Raimi revisiting a rustic cabin where dark forces are accidentally unleashed after an archaeologist’s taped readings from the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis are played aloud, invoking evil spirits that protagonist Ash must fight off. The film continues the original’s cartoonish approach to violence, while upping the quantity of slapstick and one-liners.
• Buster Keaton (1895-1966), Actor
Though one may be straight faced and the other manic, Buster Keaton and Bruce Campbell share a workmanlike dedication to slapstick, flinging their bodies into the blind peril of exploding china and collapsing buildings. I’d love watching Keaton marvel at Campbell’s blood-smeared antics. Supposedly, there’s a lost scene from “The General” where Keaton gets curbed by his own severed foot.
• Garrett Brown (1943- ), Cinematographer
Brown, best known for inventing the Steadicam, may have already seen Evil Dead 2, which is infamous for featuring some of the most ridiculously over the top Steadicam shots ever. Still, I’d like to watch every tree-dodging, Campbell-flinging moment of footage with him. It’d be like taking flashlight-inventor David Missel to watch cops beat winos with Maglites.
• H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937), Author
Known for his dour, madness-tinged tales of the dread elder gods, horror writer H.P. Lovecraft created the now-standard macabre MacGuffin, the Necronomicon. I’d like to show him Evil Dead 2 in hopes of putting a smile on his sad, tired face. Plan B: introduce him to a real elder god… The Tickle Monster.
• Gertrude Bell (1868-1926), Archaeologist
Travelling everywhere from Jerusalem to Hungary, Bell investigated ancient ruins and hidden cities all across Europe and Asia. While I can foresee her response to my post-screening question, “So, has that ever happened to you?,” I can’t predict her asnswer
to my follow-up, “So, like, what would you do if it did?”
• Pat Graham (?), Film Critic
Now, I don’t need everyone to enjoy everything I like, but critic Pat Graham panned “Evil Dead 2”, “Predator” and “The Fly.” “Evil Dead 2” doesn’t really need more praise, but I still want this guy to re-experience it. And while he’s at the screening, the cops can raid his house to make sure he isn’t planning to rag on “Re-Animator” or murder Santa.
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rabble and row of the antebellum South, black dog sightings began to taper off. Though
Britain still has its fair share of them gnashing and panting their way through narrative fiction, most recently in children’s books by authors like J.K. Rowling and Neil Gaiman, the animals themselves, be they ghostly protectors or feral, storm-conjured assailants, seem to have faded in the wake of UFOs, lake monsters and yetis. But while these flesh and blood anomalies howl through people’s nightmares and rattle the windows of their dreams, the shadow of a black dog looms silently over the culture.
It was Winston Churchill who famously described his depression as “his black dog.” This analogy of oppressive emotional darkness to a ghostly, dynamic animal, restless and possessed of cold, raw strength, a sinewy beast that snarls, howls and collapses between states of dreadful kineticism and crushing inertness, has become an increasingly popular image for both sufferers and researchers of the disorder. An Internet search for “black dog depression” yields links to multiple books, organizations and blogs, some of which, most notably an American non-profit and an Australian institute, even employ the phrase “black dog” in their names or titles. Churchill’s eloquent repurposing of the legend reconstituted the beast as something more terrifying than an irritable ghost – the black inner lining of human desperation.
Meanwhile, various animal shelters and kennels are still trying to find ways to overcome what’s known as “black dog syndrome,” which is the term associated with the national dearth of black dog adoptions, leading, unfortunately, to a wealth of black dog euthanizations. Obviously, there are several non-supernatural factors that contribute to the problem, including potential adopters’ perception that black dogs are overly common and the very real issue that, due to their color, some darker animals do overheat more easily, but, when surveyed, dog owners have also expressed a real and enduring superstition linking black canines to misfortune and injury.
What began centuries ago as tales of foul, hungry beasts piloting giant forks of lightening down into churches has evolved into potent metaphor and residual superstition, creating something less striking, but far more solid, than the ethereal manifestations that once prowled the graveyards of England.
img src=”http://weirdthings.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/skitched-20090826-044936.jpg” alt=”skitched-20090826-044936.jpg” border=”1″ width=”212″ height=”361″ align=”right” hspace=”10″ vspace=”10″ />While many of North America’s early black dog tales come verbatim from those of Europe, centering around phantasmal hounds pacing Anglican graveyards, the story gained new cultural life in the wake of the civil war as white Southerners began reporting the appearance of strange, spectral canines, some of which were missing legs or heads, around various slave cemeteries.
It’s unclear as to when these reports began, but it seems fair to suggest that the sightings partially emerged out of burgeoning latent guilt at the concordant institutions of slavery and systemic racism in America. The guardian canines, then, represented a post-mortem sentry protecting the remains of disenfranchised people who had found freedom in death. It’s a nice explanation, but a bit too pat. The ragged, mutilated appearance of these spirits hints at an underlying ignorant fear that, just as whites have sleek, pure-bred animals watching their graves, the blacks must have ragged, mangy beasts guarding theirs.
Unlike European cemeteries, with their regimented lines of headstones and kempt vastness, slave cemeteries were usually small, out of the way and devoid of permanent grave markers. Many were started by white land owners who neither regarded the slaves as people nor wanted to lose valuable tracts of land to non-mercantile ritual. Even after slavery ended, and blacks were able to claim many of these burial grounds, the minimalist interment procedures continued. Rather than fetishize death, like Europeans did, through the construction of stone markers and statuary, many former slave families chose instead to craft markers from wood or local flora as a means of embracing the naturalness of death and the basic humanity, rather than socio-cultural personhood (which slaves weren’t granted anyway), of the deceased (many slave cemeteries also lack the formal grid structure of Western burial grounds, conserving space and allowing loved ones to be buried together in the same plot).
It’s reasonable to suggest that some dog sightings came out of this cultural difference, refracted through the lens of racism, which led some White visitors to interpret the floral grave markers not as memorials, but rather as hoodoo charms placed carefully by vengeful hands – dark folk magic, in the form of a ghoulish hound, protecting the sacred earth from disruption.
This variation on the black dog legend perfectly reflects the way in which folklore adapts to address perpetually changing cultural fears and concerns, legitimate or not.
Friday: Black dogs today
An eerie weather vane depicting a dog riding a bolt of lightning still stands atop the Suffolk church where, in 1577, an electrical storm propelled the specter of a black canine down into the holy sanctum. The apparition killed two praying supplicants and badly burned another before sublimating back into the amethyst sky and the roar of thunder.
From Hades’ babysitter Cerberus to the hound of the Baskervilles, dark canines have loyally heeled alongside European folklore and literature for centuries; the British Isles are uniquely overstocked with tales of sinister black dogs. Direct instruments of death, omens of misfortune and sentinels of the netherworld are among the most common vocations foist upon these ubiquitous ebon heck puppies (also called Hell Hounds or Grims), which are most often encountered during electrical storms or at places of transition – a dark silhouette at a crossroads, a black, starlit ghost in a cemetery or a pacing shadow, immune to moonlight, circling a hanging tree.
Dogs are natural scavengers with a heightened olfactory sense. Even in the wake of domestication, they are drawn to the blood and the meat of dead or dying animals, and pursue odors far too subtle for the human nose to detect. That this natural predilection toward, and ability to sense, the smell of the wounded and deceased – the very scent of death – could neither be trained nor bred out of them partially explains why they’ve historically been linked to supposed crossover spaces where the world of the living and the world of the dead bleed into each other like the soft-edged tendrils of colliding fog banks.
The idea of domestication itself, when
paired with the already fevered imaginings of pre-enlightenment, Satan-phobic Western society, could have easily catalyzed tales devil dogs. When a blindly obedient animal can be taught to hone, focus and direct its strength, cunning and ferocity, it becomes an extension of its owner’s will. As man has always charged the devil and his minions with using man’s own free will, intellect and cunning against him, it’s no surprise that creatures like Cerberus and black dogs were imagined. After all, what’s more malevolent than co-opting the loyalty of man’s best friend and siccing the beast upon him?
The Britons’ nightmare of a loveable-mutt-turned-Beelzebub’s-PA proved indelible enough to survive the tumbling trek across the mighty Atlantic…
Wednesday: Black dogs and the American South