Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Demonic texting

It's an increasingly technological world out there, and it's to be expected that computers and all of their associated trappings are even infiltrating the world of wacko superstition.

About a year ago, we had a new iPhone app for hunting ghosts, called the "Spirit Story Box."  Early this year, there was even a report of a fundamentalist preacher who was doing exorcisms... via Skype.  So I suppose it's not surprising that if humans now can use technology to contact supernatural entities of various sorts, the supernatural entities can turn the tables and use our technology against us.

At least, that's the claim of a Roman Catholic priest from Jaroslaw, Poland, named Father Marian Rajchel.  According to a story in Metro, Rajchel is a trained exorcist, whatever that means.  Which brings up a question: how do you train an exorcist?  It's not like there's any way to practice your skills, sort of like working on the dummy dude when you're learning to perform CPR.  Do they show instructional videos, using simulations with actors?  Do they start the exorcist with something easier, like expelling the forces of evil from, say, a stuffed toy, and then they gradually work their way up to pets and finally to humans?  (If exorcists work on pets, I have a cat that one of those guys should really take a look at.  Being around this cat, whose name is Geronimo, is almost enough to make me believe in Satan Incarnate.  Sometimes Geronimo will sit there for no obvious reason, staring at me with his big yellow eyes, all the while wearing an expression that says, "I will disembowel you while you sleep, puny mortal.")

But I digress.

Father Rajchel was called a while back to perform an exorcism on a young girl, and the exorcism was successful (at least according to him).  The girl, understandably, is much better for having her soul freed from a Minion of the Lord of Evil.  But the Minion itself apparently was pissed at Rajchel for prying it away from its host, and has turned its attention not on its former victim, but on the unfortunate priest himself.

Apparently such a thing is not unprecedented.  According to an article about exorcism over at Ghost Village, being an exorcist is not without its risks:
[John] Zaffis [founder of the Paranormal and Demonology Research Society of New England] said, "You don't know what the outcome of the exorcism is going to be - it's very strong, it's very powerful. You don't know if that person's going to gain an enormous amount of strength, what is going to come through that individual, and being involved, you will also end up paying a price." 
Many times the demon will try to attack and attach itself to the priest or minister administering the exorcism. According to Father Martin's book, the exorcist may get physically hurt by an out-of-control victim, could literally lose his sanity, and even death is possible.
So there you are, then.  Rajchel, hopefully, knew what he was getting into.  But I haven't yet told you how the demon is getting even with Father Rajchel:

It's sending him evil text messages on his cellphone.

According to Rajchel, ever since the exorcism, the demon has been texting him regularly sending him messages like, "Shut up, preacher.  You cannot save yourself.  Idiot.  You pathetic old preacher."  On another occasion, he got the message, "She will not come out of this hell.  She’s mine.  Anyone who prays for her will die."

Which of course brings up the question of how a demon got a cellphone.  Did it just walk into the Verizon store and purchase one?  You'd think the clerk would have noticed, what with the horns and tail and all.  Probably, all things considered, more likely that the demon stole someone's cellphone, although it still does raise the question of how it's paying to keep the cell service going.

It also raises the much more pragmatic question of why Rajchel doesn't just see what number the texts are coming from, and report it to the police.  Odds are it's the girl that he exorcised, and she's not possessed with anything but being a kid and enjoying pranking a gullible old man.

Of course, that's not how the true believers see it, and once you believe in demons and the rest it's a short step to deciding that they can just magically manipulate your machinery.  So I doubt that all of my practical objections would call any of those beliefs into question.

But it does bring up a different issue, which is, if demons can infest cellphones, can they infest other sorts of equipment, too?  Because if so, I strongly suspect that my lawnmower is possessed.  It seems to realize just when my lawn needs to be mowed, and chooses that time to suffer some kind of mysterious breakdown that necessitates my calling Brian the Lawn Mower Repair Guy.  Given how often this happens, maybe Brian is in cahoots with the demon.  Something in the way of a business partnership.  Although you do have to wonder what the demon gets out of it, other than the pure joy of listening to me swear.


  1. How do you know your lawn mower isn't broken during the six weeks or whatever it is in between mowings, when you aren't trying to use it?

  2. I run into mechanistic demons all the time when I deal with leaky faucets, radios that don't come in, can openers that refuse to work, grocery bags that rip at the wrong time, vending machines that refuse to give us our purchase...and of course that Infernal Disneyland for demons, the computer.
    Doesn't really matter what the cause, we've all ended up shouting and banging on some P-O-S machine, knowing it doesn't do any good.

  3. "Which brings up a question: how do you train an exorcist?"

    There's an app for that.

    1. Among other things you need a LOT of newspaper...

  4. Is this serious? Or are you joking?

  5. Is this serious? Or are you joking?