Well, I have once again put finger to keyboard and produced another article. I have to say that I have never had as much fun with a subject as with this one. You can really see the goofyness of religion under the demon microscope. As always, if you PM me your email address, I will send out a formatted copy of the entire book. By the way, thanks to everyone who submitted stories.
The Demon of Saskatchewan
Last week, I came across an unusual tidbit of JW folklore that I had all but forgotten. After a brief discussion of provincial politics with my mother, she made the comment (regarding our provincial Premier) that every time a government is elected, Satan appoints a demon to oversee and direct it.
Now, I'm not sure if this is unique to Jehovah’s Witnesses, but the idea is based on the following scripture:
"But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia." - Daniel 10:13Here’s how they figure this out: Michael is a good angel. This scripture calls him a “chief prince”. The prince of Persia, would therefore also be a spirit creature, and due to his actions and his opposition to Michael, would be a bad spirit – a demon. So, it appears that the kingdom of Persia has a demon overlord. And, why would Persia be any different from all other countries? After all, all the nations are “lying in the hand of the wicked one” – 1 John 5:19
Thus is born the idea that every government has a demon in charge of it.
As a young Jehovah’s Witness, I had assumed that this demon mastery only applied to national governments, but my mother, who is much more knowledgeable in this area than I am, assured me that it also applies to provincial governments.
But why stop there? There are some city leaders, like the mayor of New York, who wield considerably more political clout than many small national or state leaders. So, I figure that mayors are also entitled to their own demon. But, where does it all stop? Does my son’s student counsel get a demon? And, what about the school board, the condo association, and the dog catcher?
The biggest question of all is: where the hell am I going with this?
My point is that if you are serious about your belief in spirits, then by extension, you will find yourself in a world filled with absurdity. You see, if God and the angels are real, then so are Satan and the demons. If angels can watch over us and trigger miracles, then demons can stalk and terrorize us. After all, if there is no such thing as Satan, then there’s no such thing as God.
Over the years, I have encountered numerous stories – some of them hearsay only, and some of them officially endorsed in the pages of the Watchtower – that can elicit emotions in the hearer ranging from hilarity to shock that anyone could be that gullible.
Here, for your mocking enjoyment, is my collection of Jehovah’s Witness demon folklore. Many of the tales are common to other brands of fundamentalism as well.
Are Haunted Houses Hoaxes?I begin with my own initiation into the spooky world of demon stories. Like all children, I had heard ghost stories and seen spooky stories on television, and I wondered if they were real.
So, I enquired of the authority figures in my life – my parents, sisters, and above all, the greatest authority in the world, the Watchtower. Much to my horror, I found out that these authorities indeed endorsed the reality of demons, and reinforced the idea that I should rightly be scared shitless.
I went to our collection of back issues of the Watchtower, looked up the subject in the index, and quickly located an article in a 1966 issue of the Awake magazine, entitled, “Are Haunted Houses Hoaxes?”
The naïve article told several ghost stories, ending with the conclusion that, although some ghost stories turn out to be hoaxes, demons are real and can manifest themselves in numerous scary and dangerous ways. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Donate money.
So, I entered adulthood fully armed with the confidence that ghosts were real. Apparently, a lot of other people did, too, because some pretty goofy folk tales circulated. My favorite deals with the Smurfs.
SmurfsBefore I start, I realize that this story is going to stretch my credibility to the breaking point, but I swear to God I’m telling the truth. Of course, being an atheist, it might be more compelling if I swear to Dawkins. As you will see, truth really is stranger than fiction.
It all began with a rumour regarding the origin of the word “Smurf”. Someone decided that the English word “Smurf” sounded a lot like a German word that has something to do with demons, or gremlins, or something. Therefore, by using Smurfs as children’s toys and entertainment, Satan was infiltrating the world with demonic influence, through his pawns, the entertainment media. Oh, the cartoons seem so innocent, but when you look under the surface, it is all a cesspool of demonic activity.
This theory, coupled with the Smurf’s positive depiction of magic (i.e. witchcraft), led to some pretty credulous stories about Smurfs making rounds through the fundamentalist circuit.
For example, not realizing their demonic origin, a mother allowed her child to bring a Smurf doll to a meeting at the Kingdom Hall. Part way through the meeting, the demon in the Smurf became extremely agitated by the righteousness of what he was hearing. The Smurf got up and ran from the hall. Some reports had the Smurf exclaiming, “I’ve had enough of this shit” on the way down the aisle – truth from the mouth of plush toys. I’ve had the same urge myself. Perhaps, I’m demonized.
Most of the Smurf legends follow along these general lines, but here is my favorite:
Like humans, all demons have different personalities. Whereas some demons are content with playing practical jokes, others are more evil, in a variety of ways. One Smurf doll was possessed by a particularly nasty demon who happened to be a rapist. One day, he cornered a Jehovah's Witness sister in a dark alley and started to rape her. Remembering her Watchtower training, she screamed as loud as she could and fought back. The Smurf was so surprised that he stopped his attack and asked her why she reacted like this, when other women would just give in. The sister then gave him a thorough witness. The Smurf was so impressed that he began to study and today is serving as an elder in a congregation in Minnesota.
Well, OK, I’m kidding about the last one. But, It’s not really all that far off.
And, the Smurfs were not the only character victimized by religion. Harry Potter gets it regularly. As one preacher explained it, Harry Potter is far worse than Lord of the Rings, because LOTR is just fantasy, whereas Potter’s witchcraft is “real”. It’s not unusual for Christian children to have to leave the classroom when Harry Potter is being read. I can personally vouch for that.
The Hypnotist ShowA Jehovah’s Witness couple decided that they would miss one of their meetings at the Kingdom Hall to see a hypnotist show that had come to town. Now, I should mention that Witnesses believe that hypnotism works only because of demons. They’re not totally sure about the logistics of how the hypnotist conjures up a spirit, but they’re pretty sure that if you get hypnotized, you will have willingly opened up your mind to possession, and you will never be the same.
Anyway, after the show started, the hypnotist noticed that nothing seemed to be working for him. So, he turned to the audience and asked "Are there any Jehovah's Witnesses in the audience?", since it is common knowledge among the occult community that no self respecting demon will show his face if there is a faithful JW on duty.
The couple was too embarrassed to step forward. So the hypnotist tried his act again. Still it wouldn't work. He knew something was amiss. So, he made another appeal to the audience. This time the couple came forward. The hypnotist asked them to leave. As soon as they left, the demons were back on the job, and the act started to work again.
BewitchedThen there is the story of the person who stayed home from the meeting and decided to watch "Bewitched". I’ll bet you didn’t know that watching “Bewitched” could lead to demon possession, but anything that deals with witchcraft deals in the dark arts and should be avoided. After a while, this man’s conscience started bothering him, so he turned the TV off. But, it was too late. When he did this, a hand came out of the TV, and turned it back on again.
Ouija BoardsIn some ways, Ouija boards are like hypnotists and politicians. Every one comes with a demon. Jehovah’s Witnesses have a variety of spooky stories surrounding Ouija boards.
In one instance, a group of semi-wayward young people were playing with a Ouija board, when the board started to get vicious. It told them that they would be killed by a car the next day, and it even gave them the license number. The kids got scared, and destroyed the board. And, lucky for them that they did that, because the next day, they noticed a strange car driving through town with the very license number quoted by the board. The board scared them straight.
Then there is the story of the Witnesses who were using a Ouija board, but these Witnesses were savvy. Don’t forget, that voluntarily using or even being in the presence of one was considered to be sinful, so these people were already walking on thin ice. They realized that the power of the board came from demons, so they went right after them. They asked the demons if they were busy trying to break the faith of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The demons replied, “We don’t need to. We already have your children.” This, of course, was cited as proof positive that all Witnesses need to be diligent to guide their children in the ways of God.
Now, as I mentioned earlier, every Ouija board comes with a demon. That makes me wonder. Does Mattel install a demon at some point in the manufacturing process? Or, is the board sort of like a demon magnet that attracts them? And, what if no demon is available? I mean, there must be tens of millions of these things out there. What with possessing politicians, hypnotists, and Smurf dolls, they must be in huge demand. If you get a board with the demon missing, can you take it back – get it re-possessed, so to speak?
I’m sorry for the pun. But, you just had to know it was coming.
Angelic AssistanceA Jehovah’s Witness woman was selling Watchtowers from door to door when she called on a large, scary looking man. After she left the door, she was approached by two police officers who said that the man had just killed his wife and the Avon lady. They were just coming to arrest him. When they picked him up, they asked him why he didn't kill the JW woman. He said that he wouldn't touch her because of the two big guys with her. She was alone.
This story goes beyond everyday hearsay and enters the realm of established hearsay. I actually heard this story told in a speech given by the President of the Watchtower Society. So, gullibility ran right to the top of the organization.
The lesson to this story is that angels protect faithful Jehovah’s Witnesses and trudge from door to door with them. The corollary is that angels also accompany Mormons from door to door; however, they stand behind the Mormons, holding up two fingers behind their head and sticking their tongues out. You can’t see them, but the subliminal value is off the charts.
Demonic DeterrenceBut, for every Boy Scout angel that is helping little old ladies across the spiritual road, there is a demon, skulking around, looking to make trouble. There is no surer way to attract their attention than to start on the road to becoming a Jehovah’s Witness. That really pisses off the demons.
For example, there is the story about the girl who was preparing to get baptized. The night before her baptism, she hung her new assembly dress in the wardrobe and went to sleep. This was the demons’ last chance to stop her before she was irrevocably lost. When she woke up in the morning, her room smelled of dog poop and her new dress was ripped to shreds. It’s probably just as well that the dress was destroyed. Nothing takes out demon shit.
Another story deals with a man who began to study with Jehovah’s Witnesses. When he came home from one of his first meetings at the Kingdom Hall, he found his daughter playing with a Ouija board. The board had spelled out the words “Kill Eric”. The man’s name was Eric.
Then there are the handyman demons. These are the ones who pull out wires from Witness’s cars, so that they can’t get to their conventions - as if a malfunction in a 1992 Tempo is such an unusual event that it requires a supernatural explanation. I know of one woman who would mark her tires when she went to bed, because she claimed that demons were rotating them during the night. I wonder, if I parked my car in her garage, could I get an oil change and lube? Some demons infect Witness children with viruses just before a meeting.
Getting PossessedSo, how does one get possessed? Well, there are several ways. If a Christian leaves his mind unprotected, such as by being hypnotized, taking drugs, or clearing the mind by deep meditation, then the demons find “a house swept clean” (Matthew 12:44), and they just move in.
Another way is through demonized items. Apparently, demons like to inhabit physical objects, but they need a human conduit to get into them. So, if a person who practices spiritism, such as a medium, owns an object, it could have demons crouching inside. Stories abound of persons who bought a seemingly innocuous item at a garage sale, or received a gift from a relative, and found themselves harassed by demons until they got rid of the item. The worst items of all are the ones that are used by African tribes in their rituals. Apparently the witch doctor variety of demon is particularly virulent.
Demons have also been known to prey on slacking Witnesses. If you are missing meetings or not selling Watchtowers regularly, your spiritual shield will not deflect the demons effectively.
One of the best places to contract demonism is in church. You see, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that only they have the true religion. Therefore, by extension, all other religions are false. Satan transforms himself into appearing like an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14), so even though other religions appear to be good, they are actually all being run by Satan. Going to a church could very well get you demonized.
The final way is through direct invitation. If a person attends a séance, plays with a Ouija board, rents The Exorcist, or has their fortune told, well that’s like telling the demons to just come on down.
Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, BeetlejuiceSo, now that you know how to get possessed, the next question is “how do you get unpossessed?”
Well, if you have acquired a demonized object, you must get rid of it, which is easier said than done. The best way is to burn the item. Usually, the demons will scream when the object is burned. Quite often it resists burning, even when covered with lighter fluid.
But, for your everyday usage, there is a quick way to ward off household demons, if they come knocking. Based on the belief that the demons are deathly afraid of God and will flee when presented with true holy power, all you have to do is say his name – Jehovah. If you’re not in a position to say it out loud (such as a demon attack at the library or in a business meeting), you can get away with just thinking it forcefully. Apparently, if you say God’s name, he perks up his ears, and the demons scatter. It’s guaranteed to be 100% effective. The only downside is that it tends to make JW exorcisms singularly uneventful. If you are attacked by demons during sex, feel free to shout, “Oh God”.
But, while I’m on the subject of magic words, I really must comment on another related superstition. Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to have no superstitions. They believe that people who do things for luck (like knocking on wood, throwing salt over your shoulder, etc.) are actually calling on the false Goddess of luck. So, they scrupulously avoid saying the word “luck”. They will say “fortunate”, but never “lucky”. It seems to me that scrupulously avoiding the word “luck” is every bit as superstitious as having a lucky charm – it’s just in reverse.
The Best Way to Rid Yourself of DeminzThere are so many ghost stories among fundamentalists that I could go on forever. But, there are also goofball ideas that do not deal with spirits. For example, for a while in the 80s, they were obsessed with the idea that rock stars were trying to control people by placing backwards messages in their songs. And, then there’s Jerry Falwell’s accusation that Tinky Winky is gay. He’s a friggin’ puppet, Jerry. How can he be gay?
The whole demon filled world, and all of its superstitions, come into existence because someone invented God, and then populated the spirit realm with good and bad spirits. This leads a person into all sorts of kooky methods for eradicating them. It also leads them down many other hair-brained trails. If you start with an incorrect assumption, you can only end up with incorrect conclusions. And, the conclusions become more and more incorrect, the longer you extrapolate on them.
I have found that there is only one truly effective way to perform an exorcism – just stop believing in spirits.
It’s just so damn refreshing to be an atheist.