“What a Wonderful Day For an Exorcism”

I was looking for a quote from a horror film or story. Something cute to go with a post I was writing and accidentally came across Sumerian demon Pazuzu’s quote from The Exorcist, “What a wonderful day for an exorcism.” 

Pazuzu (The Exorcist) - Wikipedia
Only a face a demon can love. Reagan possessed by Pazuzu The Exorcist Wikipedia

I paused for a moment…can we exorcise the demon possessing the White House in 2020? What about the demons in Congress? The Media? Qanon and the rest of the conspiracists? Can we exorcise the memories of the first three quarters of 2020? Will the last quarter be any better and what about 2021? Remember the first Mad Max movie? It took place in 2021.

The quote didn’t actually come from Pazuzu but from fourteen-year-old Linda Blair playing the possessed twelve-year-old Reagan MacNeil.  The demon had invaded Reagan and the little devil was having a conversation with Fathers Karras and Merrin who were attempting to exorcise him from the young girl. 

The quote was quite possibly the nicest thing Pazuzu voiced through Reagan in the movie.  If my Nannie had been around, she would have asked, “Do you eat with that mouth? And where did a fourteen year old learn language like that? You go break me off a switch. I’m gonna switch dem legs!”

Nannie, I taught middle school. I’ve heard worse and they all seemed to be possessed by Sumerian demons.

Pazuzu was holding on to his possession of Reagan as tenaciously as the coronavirus and most of his comments were meant to shock.…especially coming from the mouth of a supposed twelve-year-old.  And who could forget the throwing up of green slime with the force of a fire hose? Reminded me of some of our politicians TV advertisements.

Sphinx's Spooky Spectacular Horror Film Review - The Exorcist — GameZilla  Media
The aftermath. Nasty green pea soup The Exorcist Sphinx’s Spooky Spectacular Horror Film Review – The Exorcist — GameZilla Media

None of this has anything to do with the point I might be making…if I knew what that point might be.

I share on my Facebook page what I call “Don’s Fun Facts”.  Most are shared from either a humorous or historical standpoint, or both.  There is no rhyme or reason, just some thought that hits me.  Just something positive and informative.

I fell into “Don’s Fun Facts” like the quicksand I worried so much about as a child. In the Fifties and Sixties TV world, it seemed people died all the time by falling in to quicksand. Did you know there were two “I’m gonna die” quicksand scenes in the Sixties TV program Lost in Space? Really worried about that space quicksand but it seems quicksand was not the problem I thought it might be as a child.

Back to the point, “Don’s Fun Facts” is an attempt to lighten my little part of a world that has become as dark as the storm clouds settling over Sigourney Weaver’s high rise in Ghostbusters.  Her character, Dana, was possessed by a fake Mesopotamian demon, Zuul.  What is there about the Fertile Crescent that breeds demons?

I’m not sure what demon has possessed 2020…maybe all of them.

Again, back to the point. This is one of my two favorite times of the year, what I call Halloweenber. In its honor, I have begun to share Halloween Fun Facts intermixed with facts about the horror genre that helps drive it. 

I like the horror genre, books or movies, anytime of the year.  From reading Poe and Stroker to watching Jamie lee Curtis scream in Halloween and The Fog, I like a chill or two. If I can combine horror with a mystery story, I am in a reader’s heaven of sorts.  I just don’t want the tale to be too real.  I want space aliens, monsters, vampires, werewolves, zombies, or immortal killers wearing a William Shatner mask. I don’t want the real thing.

Halloween' 1978: The Times Finally Reviews a Horror Classic - The New York  Times
Jamie Lee Curtis and Nick Castle wearing his Captain Kirk mask. New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/17/movies/halloween-1978-review.html

I’m much more comfortable with make believe monsters than I am with monsters who might actually walk the earth.  An alien clown named Pennywise who goes about tempting children into rain sewers I’m okay with.  It’s not real…scary but not real.

Real serial killers dressing up like clowns, say John Wayne Gacy, I’m not okay with.  John Wayne Gacy murdering thirty-three victims is too real…just like 2020 is too real.

Killer Clown' John Wayne Gacy, who assaulted and killed 33 teenage boys in  US
The Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy https://www.indiatvnews.com/crime/news/killer-clown-john-wayne-gacy-who-assaulted-and-killed-teen-2872.html?page=1

If 2020 were a serial killer it would be dressed like “The Killer Clown” John Wayne Gacy. I guess 2020 is a serial killer of sorts carrying a ventilator while dressed in “clown” scrubs with red face paint resembling blood drying around its fang-filled mouth.

I didn’t know at the time but the beginning chapters of Stephen King’s The Stand were too real as a deadly influenza bioweapon is released. Now we have the very real coronavirus.  Obviously, Corvid-19 is not as deadly as Captain Trips but it makes me pause to wonder…influenza season is here. I read Michael Crichton’s along the same lines, The Andromeda Strain.  Saw the movie too. “Quit it!” I’m scaring myself…good horror is not real, good horror is not real, good horror is not real! If I close my eyes the monster will go away.

Pictured (l-r): Jovan Adepo as Larry Underwood and Heather Graham as Rita Blakemoor of the the CBS All Access series THE STAND. Photo Cr: Best Possible Screengrab/CBS ©2020 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Abandoned cars and two survivors of Captain Trips in a scene from the yet unreleased The Stand remake. https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/tv-news/the-stand-stephen-king-release-date-2020-1049649/

No, I’d rather watch Godzilla destroy a major world city on TV or Bela Lugosi bare his fangs and fade to black than watch a movie or read a book about a mega volcano in the heartland or an asteroid kerplunking into the middle of the Pacific like a  bowling ball dropped into a bowl of chocolate pudding.  Too real.

There is something about the idea of an exorcism that keeps coming back to me like chickens coming home to roost…killer chickens with fangs and razor sharp talons.  The orange rooster yells, “Go for the eyes! If they can’t see the truth….”

hens Archives - Karen Goat Keeper
An orange rooster from Quatro Knows Blog

Maybe we could get all the Catholic priests in the world to carry out a world-wide exorcism of the demons of 2020.  Teachers, we could do it virtually, right?  “Ala Kazam, begone! Especially you, you orange faced incubus!”

Vodun priests and priestesses can cast a spells on the little imp? Pins in dolls? No, according to a former baseball player I coached from Haiti, “It’s a bunch of movie hoodoo.”  If true Moise,  “Why were there chicken bones in your bat bag? Forget to clean up after your last trip to KFC? I think not” Besides, I’ve seen The Serpent and the Rainbow and The Skeleton Key.

The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988) - IMDb
“Don’t bury me, I’m not dead.” The Serpent and the Rainbow https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096071/

I think an exorcism should be the order of the day…just not this day.  We should wait a month unless you are doing mail in or absentee voting. We don’t need priests or priestesses of any religion to cast a vote.  We can attempt to cast out our demons at the ballot box. Show up and vote.  January 20 would be “a wonderful day for an exorcism.”

Vote by Mail Drop-off Ballot Box | Oviatt Library
Exercising your Constitutional Right to cast out demons. I mailed mine in yesterday!

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Don Miller’s author’s page is found at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM?fbclid=IwAR35xJvzdxZiEkwOZ9X-zSJaHJPWe_2zlp_F52tyGagyOUCajeDIa9TNwFo

Vodun, also spelled Voodoo, Voudou, Vodou , or French Vaudou, is a religion practiced in Haiti that transported with slaves to the Southern United States, especially Louisiana. The spelling voodoo, once very common, is now generally avoided by Haitian practitioners and scholars when referring to the Haitian religion. Wikipedia

Incidentally, the term Hoodoo used by my Haitian baseball player is a traditional African-American spirituality created by enslaved African-Americans in the New World. It is linked to Vodun, or Vodou, but is different. Hoodoo is very prevalent in Lowcountry South Carolina and coastal Georgia.

The “head spinning” image is from The Exorcist and taken from Pinterest.

Mojo, Blivits, and  the Space-Time Continuum

 

♬Oh, where or where has my Mojo gone, oh where, oh where can it be?♬

It’s early summer and the days are long, the sunlight abundant.  I am not suffering from SAD. I am not depressed.  If anything, I’m manic…something I never am.  Downright squirrely.

John Phillips just reminded me, “The Mississippi River runs like molasses in the summertime.”  I don’t live near the Mississippi but I’ve been outside and the humidity is sticking like molasses in the summertime and it is not July yet.

I shouldn’t be running around sweating like this looking for my metaphorical gris-gris bag while searching for my juju.  Another way of saying, I can’t get my poop together?    And if I were able, I probably couldn’t pick it up because my hands are sweating too much from the humidity.

What mojo I had has galloped over the horizon into the distant sunset I am still waiting to light up from the Saharan dust storm.  Clouds, clouds, clouds.

As you can tell, my thoughts are fragmented and muddled, dancing about like Looney Tunes’ Tazmanian Devil.

I can’t get anything done.  My life is a nasty “blivit”, ten pounds of poo in a five-pound bag.  I flit from project to project while adding others, staring off into space, tapping my toes, contemplating, ruminating, and completing nothing.  COMPLETING!  I’m not even starting.

I sit knowing I should be doing something but doing nothing.  Maybe I should make it my goal to do nothing.  One can’t foul themselves with a “blivit” if you don’t touch it.

Some of you may think I’m speaking metaphorically or allegorically about irregularity…I am but it is more than a couple of failed bathroom trips although all of my problems may center around constipation rather than the time-space continuum I am contemplating.  I just don’t know.

There are four storylines waiting to be finished, waiting for most of a year.  They aren’t finished because they suck largely.  A garden that needs extreme weeding and a yard that resembles an Amazon rain forest, a porch needing repainting, a home we’ve turned into a hoarder’s paradise…and today is my anniversary.  I have lost all control over my life, my yard, my mojo, and possibly my bodily functions, but I did not forget my anniversary…I think my bride did but she recovered nicely.

And the virus…and the protests complete with looting, rioting, teargas, and downright nasty social media arguments.  I’m not going to wish my life away because there is no guarantee 2021 will be any better.  I just going to wish for a little movement…and soon.

Well, it is raining…dripping would be a better descriptor.  I see the sun trying to punch its way through the overcast. “Ole Sol” seems to be winning but the dripping gives me an out.  Instead of heading to weed my tomatoes, I sit writing this…This…whatever THIS is.

I have a theory.  Want to hear it?  You’re going to.

Writing is a way for me to face what is disturbing me.  The problem is I don’t know which disturbance has caused my mojo to run screaming into the day?  I have a plethora of disturbances.

The way my thoughts bounce around something must have happened to the time-space continuum.  There must be a rift in time.

In my head, a calm Picard orders, “Make it so, Number One,” while Commander Scott, the Scottish engineer implores, “But Captain, The engines won’t take anymore.”  In the background, I hear Benjamin Sisko’s father saying, “The soufflé will either rise or it won’t, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.”

I know, I just combined Star Treks serieses, and unfortunately, in my condition, the Sisko quote makes perfect sense.  I told you, time and space are funky as is my colon…I mean my brain.

There must be some magic charm, some talisman, some spell that will make my mojo come back.

Maybe I’m looking in the wrong venue.  Time to appropriate someone else’s culture.  Surely there is a wise, old, New Orleans, Hoodoo priestess willing to cast good luck juju upon this humble soul.  What do you mean, Voodoo dolls aren’t used in Voodoo?

Despite the facts, I feel I must have a hat pin jammed deeply into my head…or parts south.

I can’t seem to concentrate on any one thing for any period of time if that period of time is longer than seconds.  I do a little research, a little writing, a little reading, pop up to watch a bit of a DVRed episode of The Kitchen, oh wow, grilled fish tacos, a little checking of social media, walk to the refrigerator, open and close the door without retrieving anything, head down to the garden, forget why I went down there, then out to the yard and find only ten minutes have passed despite my head telling me it has been hours.  IT IS a run-on sentence and it fits perfectly with the way my brain and colon are not working right now.

Okay, so Voodoo is out.  Maybe my mojo IS lost in the space-time continuum.  Captain Kirk, lost between dimensions in The Tholian Web, came back.  Data died in one movie only to return in another series.  Spock died in one movie and came back in another, he even lost and re-acquired his brain in the same episode, Spock’s Brain.  So maybe my mojo will return!  More than likely it will be my “chickens coming home to roost” first…or maybe I should just eat more fiber.

John Phillips sings Mississippi on YouTube.

According to Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia,

A gris-gris bag is a Voodoo amulet originating in Africa which is believed to protect the wearer from evil or bring luck. It consists of a small cloth bag, usually inscribed with verses from an African ancestor containing a ritual number of small objects, worn on the person.

JuJu is a spiritual belief system incorporating objects, such as amulets, and spells used in religious practice, as part of witchcraft in West Africa especially the people of Nigeria.

Hoodoo is a traditional African-American Spirituality created by enslaved African-Americans in the New World. It is specific to the distinct African-American lineage in North America. Hoodoo is the product of enslaved people and was a rebellion against absolute mental and spiritual domination by Europeans. Also known as Lowcountry Voodoo in the Gullah Lowcountry of South Carolina, Hoodoo is an amalgamation of spiritual practices, traditions, and beliefs that were held in secret away from White slaveholders. In some cases, Hoodoo was accompanied by Catholicism or Christianity.

Don Miller writes in different genres when not constipated and his author’s page may be found at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM?fbclid=IwAR1-nlM-kc0EFF7g5-W4Vtkeary-O49oUk3PF_i7Z615YELZdIoxgnvCezk

The image is from Quora.com

Southern Ju-Ju

“What sorcery is this?!”  William Shakespeare

“Juju or ju-ju (French: joujou) is a spiritual belief system incorporating objects, such as amulets, (or in this case a butter bean) and spells used in religious practice, as part of witchcraft in West Africa. The term has been applied to traditional African religions.”1

On my morning walk, I looked down at my hand.  My arthritis was (is) bothering me and to add insult to injury, I have poison ivy breaking out on the same hand.  My attention was drawn to the star-shaped scar glowing palely on my ring finger…it dawned on me it had been fifty years since I received it.  Memories flooded back about the witchcraft that created it.

I was preparing to head to football practice, the second of the two-a-days we suffered through back then.  In between, I spent my downtime loading hay in the August heat and humidity and had just finished my second shower of three for the day.  My mother’s friend Gracie Deason had dropped by to visit.  Oddly she didn’t look like a witch doctor.

I found them sitting in the den, newspapers spread across their laps filled with unshelled butter beans.  They were shelling them out while laughing at Gracie’s antics and jokes.  Seemed there were more jokes and laughter than shellin’.  Her voice was as Southern as sausage gravy spread on a buttermilk biscuit.  Gracie was larger than life.  She was loud, funny, boisterous and unconventional for the time, the late Sixties.

I don’t remember ever seeing her in a skirt or dress, although that may be the product of faulty memory.  She was much more prone to wearing blue jeans and oversized men’s work shirts.  She was ahead of her time I guess.  She was also very kind to my ailing mother who suffered from ALS and would submit to it a year and a half later.  Gracie suffered too, from Lupus, but it never seemed to slow her down or dampen her sense of humor.

When she clasped my hand, much to my embarrassment, her hand fell upon the wart located on the top of my ring finger.  I had used topical wart removers but this one just wouldn’t go away.

Loud enough to be heard down the road at Pettus’s store, she exclaimed, “Whatcha’ got there Donnie?  A wart?”

In a much quieter voice, I replied, “Yes ma’am.  I guess I’m going to have to have the doctor remove it.”

“You know I can talk it off.”

“Ma’am?”

“Yep, kneel down here and give me your hand.”

I admit to being just a bit unsettled over the prospect.  I also admit to thinking, “Ain’t no way in hell” but because of my respect for my elders, I did what she asked.

Taking my hand in hers she picked up a freshly shelled butter bean and began rubbing it over my wart.  She also began to speak in a tongue I could not understand or translate.  Maybe a combination of an even more slurred “In a godda la vida”, “Wrapped up like a douche, another rubber in the night,” with a bit of “Good Golly Miss Molly” thrown in for good measure.

When she finished she said in a voice oozing with confidence, “It will be gone before the sun rises tomorrow.”  With a flourish, she threw the butter bean back into the pot to be cooked later.  It has been fifty years for the ramifications of her flourish to dawn upon me.  Yuk.

I did my best to sound grateful but somewhere in the back of my head I thought, with a head shake and mental eye-roll, “Sure it will.”

I didn’t have to wait until sunrise.  The wart was gone just about the time the sun disappeared below the horizon that evening.  It left me just after I had thrown a body block as a running back made his cut…right…on…top…of…my…outstretched…hand.  Specifically, one of his cleats landed on top of my ring finger and the wart sitting on top of it.

It really didn’t hurt, just a sting…until I saw the blood pouring down my hand.  Then it smarted quite intensely.  My coach “with the heart of gold” slapped athletic tape around my ring finger to stanch the bleeding saying, “You’ll be fine.  Get back in there and hit somebody.”  A Mount Everest of compassion.

No Band-Aid, no gauze, just sticky athletic tape.  No hydrogen peroxide or disinfectant…just sticky athletic tape.  Could have been worse, he could have spit chewing tobacco on it or slathered it with Atomic Bomb or poured Tincture of Iodine over it.

Later, after practice I cut the tape and had Al Stevenson yank it off, causing me to use words I had not learned at home.  Displaying itself in the middle of the bloody tape was my wart in all its glory.  I did not float it in alcohol for prosperity’s sake…I couldn’t get it loose from the tape.

Gracie didn’t seem to be very excited when I called to thank her and tell her the great news.  It was more of a “What did I tell you” kind of reaction.  Still, I had a new respect for Southern ju-ju with a butter bean.  Wonder if someone can “talk” away my arthritis and poison ivy?  I’ll supply the butter bean.

1 Mockler-Ferryman, Augustus (1898). Imperial Africa: The Rise, Progress and Future of the British Possessions in Africa. Imperial Press, limited. p. 392.

Image attributed to Lindsay Turner in an article from Sputniknews.com

For more Southern JuJu go to Don Miller’s author’s page at https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B018IT38GM?redirectedFromKindleDbs=true

For hot, romantic adventure go to Don Miller writing as Lena Christenson at https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B07B6BDD19?redirectedFromKindleDbs=true