I finished watching the extended director's cut of Blatty's The Exorcist.  

Rather than continue searching, I have started a group called Exorcism Survivors.  I hope others who have suffered the rite of exorcism and/or deliverance at the hands of Christians...or, worse yet, have participated in the rite of exorcism as the exorcist...can come together and share experiences.  I don't know what the approval process for a group on Atheist Nexus entails.  I hope to find the group open and ready to accept members as quickly as possible.

As a survivor of two exorcisms of the old line Pentecostal Holiness sort...a type of exorcism that is, in some ways, more authentic than the Catholic Rite inasmuch as it harkens back to the true exorcism in primitive cultures and specifically in South American and African and Shamanic rituals in existence long before the birth of Christianity...even back to the historical Jesus, if you believe such a person ever existed.

As I said, I just finished watching The Exorcist.  The first time I saw the movie was upon its release.  I had, of course, read the Blatty's book first.  I was living in Nashville, Tennessee and there were three movie theaters...this was long before the days of the multi-cine-plex theaters we have today...on one end of Church Street in downtown N-town was the Grindhouse theater.  The double features ala Tarintino and Rodriquez fame.  Movies like Russ Myers Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and the Hammer classic The Vampire Lovers take on Camille...a lesbian vampire story that is in sore need of a remake.  The other end of Church Street was the Black Exploitation theater...Richord Pryor in The Mack and Ron Ely in the classic Superfly.  Not to mention the first showing of Mel Brook's Blazing Saddles...after all, it was labelled as a movie about a Black Sheriff in the Old West....talk about a confused audience!

In the middle was The Tennessean.  The Tennessean was one of the Grand Old Movie Palaces that you don't see any more.  Showed all the A-list movies...Ben Hur and Richard Burton's spectacular performance in Le Carre's The Spy Who Came In From the Cold...if you want to know what the Sixties spy movies were all about forget Bond and get a DVD of that one.

In those days the Grand Ole Opry was still at the Ryman Auditorium downtown...is still remember seeing Johnny Cash, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan there on a taping of Cash's shortlived TV show.  The Tennessean was around the corner from the Ryman and the line stretched all the way around the block for the premier of The Exorcist.  I stood in a line for two hours to be one of the first to see that movie.

I know more about the book and movie than I did when I first saw it.  Seeing it again tonight has taken me through a 12 pack of Yuengling Lager...I'm still working on the last few bottles.  My wife, when I found I had to take a break and lay on the bed next to her for a while as she watched a Nova special on the Roku about why home sapiens lost their fur, doesn't understand me.  Yeah, I said it, I used the old cliche.  But she really doesn't.  She has an undergraduate degree in psychology and is half way through her masters in counseling but she doesn't have a clue about that part of my life.  Frankly, she honestly tells me she doesn't want to know.  Believe me, I wouldn't want to know either if I'd been give a choice.  Nobody knows except someone who's been through or participated in an exorcism.

Nobody does.

So I'm starting a group...that's what you do on the Internet, isn't it?  Start a group and try and 'network' with those who have a similar problem.  


Because when I was eight years old I had...and have continued to have all my life since...a classic OBE/Night Terror.  The Old Hag...the Evil One...Satan Himself...in my room like a sticky, vibrating for of Evil.  Getting up to turn on the Light...anyone who doesn't believe Good and Evil come down to Darkness and Light hasn't truly met Evil in the flesh, much less in the spiritual presence.

I walked across the room and, when my hand tried to turn on the lightswitch next to my bedroom door, my hand went through the Wall like it was made of Smoke.

My father was a preacher.  I couldn't talk to him about it.  But I grew up knowing two things:

The Soul could exist apart from the Body.

And Satan was Real and Present in this World.

Seeing The Exorcist was seeing everything I had been experiencing all my life brought to the screen.

I became a Charismatic Christian shortly afterward.  My goal was simple.  I knew I was possessed and I was looking for an exorcism.  I tried the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and the Deliverance Ministry of the Protestant Charismatic groups.  I spoke in tongues, I received and gave healing through the laying on of hands...I did it all...because I was looking for an exorcist.

I found one in the late Seventies in a Pentecostal Holiness Deliverance Ministry operating out of the basement of the Exorcists house.

What it did to me, what it made me do to others...

All of that is a story for another time.

But this I know to be true:

We aren't in a battle between Faith and Reason.

The opposite of Reason isn't Faith.

The opposite of Reason is Irrationality.

The battle we are in is between Reason and Madness.

Free men fight back.

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Comment by Philip Jarrett on April 28, 2013 at 5:31am

What is it with the plucking out your teeth thing, anyway?  I get that a lot.

You sound like you've done some of the things I have.  My really bad moments came when I dreamed about my great-grandmothers house in Boone County, WV.  It was four rooms, two in the front, two in the back, and there was a kitchen and extra bedroom built on to the back as an afterthought.  I was sexually abused by my brother and older cousin in that back room and it was also the room where my great-grandmother Barker...an old Holler Witchy Woman....died.  I would be drawn to the room at the same time I was terrified of going there.  When I came out of Christianity I was still struck with the paralysis and nightmares.  One day...night...whatever...I said 'fuck it' and in my sleep I headed for the room.  Great-Grandma Barker came out of the room before I could get there.  She was all white and glowing and met me in the doorway.  She had a book for me.  The book was bound in human flesh and the first page was a picture of a Naked Woman growing out of a tree.  The writing was in the Runic Alphabet.

I created my own Runes following that night...long story there, let's just say I did it right...and I began to take control of my dreams.  I flew.  I don't know how else to describe it.  When I realized I was having a Night Terror, I just went with the sensation.  Instead of being terrified, I left my body behind and went outside and just lifted up and flew.  It was the damndest sensation because it seemed to me there was a muscle I was exercising when I flew...just like you'd use your legs to walk.  I turned to Wicca and Druidism, became a Rune Caster on the Psychic Fair circuit...quite adept, since I totally believed in what I was doing at the time.  I also learned how to take control of my experiences before I went to sleep...cast spells with various herbs burning in my room.  I became convinced I was able to help people make passage from this spiritual plane to the next in my dreams.  I would find myself at the site of airplane wrecks and the like where someone had died but didn't realize they were dead and help them find their way.  I don't know if you understand ley lines...they are more European, especially in the South of France...and that gets you into the Bloodline mythology and the Priory de Sion...all that stuff from Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The da Vinci Code.  Ley lines are like spiritual highways the dead travel on when going from This Side to the Other.  They would pass along these lines till they came to a place where two lines intersected...the form of the Cross...and from there they would be able to go Into the Light.

It's strange talking about it all now.  Partly because there are real groups out there...not real, rather people who think they are...they are European royalist groups attempting to re-establish the Merovingian Bloodline in France and the Stewarts in England...both claiming to be descendants of The Grail...the children of Jesus by Mary Magdalene.

Insane, it's all insane.  None of it is real, but that doesn't stop it from being real.  

I broke from it all.  I regained my rational mind.  I don't know if any of it was true or just the madness of men.  I don't talk about that part of my life much anymore.  Remote Viewing...that's another subject I steer clear of.  I wasn't a part of the Army project, anyway, though I've spoken with men who claimed they were.

It's crazy.  I want to be taken seriously.  But the more I talk about the things I've done, the places I've been...the more I can't even believe myself, much less expect others to believe me.

It isn't real, it's all madness.

I've done my own studies, my own research...more importantly, I've gone deep into myself...places other people don't even know they have...and I've poked out my head like a gopher from it's hole on the Other Side only to find I was back where I began.

It's all a matter of culture...of the interaction between cultures...religion is both an important part of it all and, at the same time, is the least important...the easiest to explain.  God doesn't exist, of course, but the machinations of men who would use the Myths are very, very real.

Comment by Nerdlass on April 28, 2013 at 3:51am

When xianity wouldn't help me, I turned to spiritualism, wicca, and paganism. This was prior to finding out about sleep paralysis. I thought I was giving myself magickal armor and tools through which to tackle such happenings. What I now understand what I was doing was coming up with coping mechanisms through ritual and meditation. I learned about lucid dreaming and I worked to become very good at it.

...But at some point down the road, I realized that all the halucinations and strange happenings did not change the world at the end of the day. The real demons of this world are the corporate machines which drive wars, poverty, and ecological disaster--not the ones inside our heads.

Every now and again, I will wake-up slightly, and feel that prickle at the back of my neck, the breath and the snarl that my mind weaves from my imagination. I still my fear and I acknowledge what is happening. If I can, I tell myself to drift back to sleep. That's easiest for me. Some are even more lucid and can move past the evil mood and presence and just have a very vivid ride (astral walk, as they say in pagan circles) of their imagination. Some can will themselves to wake up.

I guess what I would suggest is to try working on lucid dreaming, not just when paralysis occurs, but everyday (everynight) dreams as well. I get very superhero-ish in mine... as a result, nightmares turn into epic action adventure dreams. The only true nightmares I have anymore tend to be stress dreams, and usually involve me plucking out my teeth. (Yeah, not a pretty image, but even that doesn't scare me--just is upsetting--no one likes to lose their teeth.) Sometimes, I'm aware of the dream, so even then, while it's happening, I realize it's a dream and just to ride it out or fade it out.

Comment by Philip Jarrett on April 28, 2013 at 2:42am

I agree, knowledge of sleep paralysis has helped me greatly.

Just as The Night Battles:  Witchcraft & Agraian Cults in the 16th and 17th Centuries by Carol Ginzburg helped me greatly to understand the connection between such events and the history of religion.

What I'm saying is we all are two people.  The Day Person with all his/her understandings.

And the Night Person.  Who we are in the dark when there's no one but you and the Old Hag on your chest or the demon in your room.

Even that is just a part...a neglible part...of what drives people to believe in demons...to believe they are possessed...and to seek exorcism.

Belief in demons doesn't have anything to do with psychology or neuroscience.  That's the mistake people who would read back into Biblical accounts of possession and exorcism ideas of mental health and disease only discovered in the last century.

What did the demonic mean in Jesus's time...nevermind his existence or not...who knows and who cares?  What did the people of the 1st Century CE believe about these things?  What would it have meant to people reading Mark and the early gospels when they read that Jesus cast out demons?

What does it mean today, for that matter?

Does anybody else know?

Do you know what it means to be told that Demons of Lust are tangled up in a woman's long hair and that not only must they be exorcised but the hair must be cut short so they wouldn't return?

Do you...does anyone...understand what it means to be told that...yes, God has healed your vision and instead of being legally blind...20/200 rather than 20/20...and that Demons will be able to cloud your vision so you think you can't see in order to test your faith.  That the only way you can rid yourself of these demons is to 'claim your healing'...meaning to tell people that you can see perfectly even though the evidence of your own eyes tells you that you can't?

To be told that your 18 month old son is demon possessed because he won't say 'Jesus is Lord' and the only way you can rid him of these demons is to physically beat him?  Beat him to the point his bottom is black as charcoal and fissured with streaks of red showing the tender muscles beneath his skin?

To almost kill your own child in order to rid him of demons?

Yes, yes...there are explanations for the symptoms of demonic possession.  I don't give a good goddamn about those explanations.

What I care about, what I am trying to explain...the people I am trying to contact...are those people who have lived in this demonic world...where, upon coming home at night, you had to pray and brush the demons from your body just like you would pick burrs off your clothes after a walk in the woods?

I know they're out there.  I was one of them and I know how many others there are.  I know they are ashamed or afraid or just to fucked up to talk about what they had done to them and what they did to others.

Demons.  The real world of demons in which people now live, in this country and around the world, cannot...must not...be brushed aside with a glib scientific explanation...even if that explanation is absolutely, 100 percent correct...

It doesn't matter.

You understand?  It doesn't matter.  Not if you are living in such a world, not if you've survived such a world and come back to your rational mind.

There are people out there...hundreds of thousands...millions around the world...who are now living in this demonic world...who have made the first steps to get out...but who have no one to turn to, no one to talk to?

I know they're there because I am here.  

And I know they can't get help from any therapist or psychiatrist because I've tried to get help myself.  I told my psychiatrist...who prescribed the drugs that keep me stable enough to function in the real world...that I needed a therapist who was an atheist.  She got offended at me, like I was making some unrealistic request....that any good therapist could put their religious beliefs aside and treat me.

I can't get help...beyond the drug treatments that do little more than allow me to go to work and to sleep through the night without waking up screaming...real help.  Help from someone who knows the demonic world in which I lived for fifty or more years.

When you can't get help for youself, as crazy as it sounds, then all you can do is look for others that you can help.

I've started this group...at least, I hope I have...for Exorcism Survivors.  Perhaps it's foolishness.  Perhaps I'm the last person in the world to try to do this.

All I know is simple explanations...even when they are absolutely and undeniable correct...have never helped me.

Imagine your rational mind, the life you've built for yourself, the real world....is surrounded by this high wall.  And that at some point in you past you allowed that wall to be breached.  That all the dark things outside the wall, all the things the wall was built to protect you and your family and your loved ones from...know where that crack in the wall is.  Imagine you are the only one who knows what is beyond that wall, who knows where that crack is.  That you can't explain to anyone else why...but that you have to stand on this side of the wall...and fight back against what lies beyond...force it back...keep the darkness from coming through...


Comment by Nerdlass on April 28, 2013 at 1:00am


Brought to you by Laci Greene. Huh. ^^

Comment by Nerdlass on April 28, 2013 at 12:40am

Knowledge is power. Finding out about sleep paralysis, what it is, and how to deal with it, has done more for me than religion ever could.



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