I admit that my Bible reading is shaky at best. The way I read the Bible is like I would read any anthology of stories; I pick and choose the most interesting ones and I only read them when I have the time and/or interest. I chalk it up to being agnostic. I do want to understand what my Christian friends believe, but since I’m not a believer myself I don’t have the motivation to read it every day. Maybe that is one explanation for my questions (provided in the next two paragraph) about demons in the Bible.
From listening to preachers, politicians, and the more extreme Christians, demons and evil are a big part of the religion. I have been told many times on Facebook that since I’m not a Christian and I have progressive values, I will be facing eternal damnation. I wish they would give me more specifics, like who will be torturing me once I’m experiencing life after death, but oddly they never do. All I know is that disbelief or questioning religious values equals a very miserable afterlife. If this was just coming from random people I would brush it off, but I hear it more generally from religious politicians (for example, Mike Huckabee) as well. It got me thinking, there must be a huge connection between demons and the Bible (which is their source of information). All I could find when reading the Bible (granted, years ago) was the story where a/multiple demons were trying to sway Jesus (?) to Team Evil and he said “No, go screw yourself” and the other story where the demons were trapped in stampeding pigs (?) and drowned in a lake. I feel like I may have even gotten some details of those stories wrong. Here I genuinely need to apologize to all Bible readers because I may be embarrassing you by mixing up things that are so familiar to you.
A BlogJob friend informed me that the reason there aren’t many demon stories in the Christian Bible is that it’s meant to be about God, Jesus, and Team Good. Okay, I can accept that explanation. I’m confused though, because if the Bible is about the rewards of being a Christian, then how come some followers of the religion preach fire and brimstone? I guess I expected more of those stories in the source material. Another question: Demonologists like to study Solomon’s 72 demons, all of which are biblical because Solomon was biblical. How do demonologists collect their information if the Bible is lacking it?
If someone has information on questions that I feel are contradictions, I would appreciate hearing it.
Today I watched an episode of Paranormal Witness called “Suzy Doll” about a demonically possessed doll named Suzy. It was not the strongest Paranormal Witness episode I’ve seen, but it surprised me that there’s a history of possessed dolls. I’ll go into more detail on this later because it’s interesting. Now, when I think of possessed dolls, I automatically think of them as objects made specifically for a demon-summoning ritual. Suzy was a handmade doll intended as a gift for a six-year-old girl. She didn’t even come to the girl possessed; according to the eisode, it was a few days after the little girl received Suzy that the entity showed up, seemingly unprovoked. The supernatural events started with kitchen stuff spilled all over the floor and chairs sitting on tables in gravity-defining, impossible ways, moved to physical attacks on the family members (one sister losing hair in a way that could only humanly happen if she yanked it out herself and the father being pushed to the floor and scratched by an invisible force leaving him with deep red gashes down one arm), and finally resulted in the demon partially possessing the six year old girl. After a priest performed an exorcism the family no longer experienced demonic activity and the mother trashed Suzy just in case, which was a positive end to the episode and that segment of the family’s life. I expected Suzy to return to the family like Annabelle (the famous doll shown in The Conjuring and Annabelle movies) but that didn’t happen. I knew then that I needed to know more about possessed dolls.
As I said in the above paragraph, there is a history of creepy/possessed dolls.
Maybe you’ve heard of Robert, probably the most famous possessed doll. If not, Robert is this doll that used to live in The Artist House in Key West Florida and now lives at the Martello Museum in Key West Florida. I say lives because in his long history of existing (or whatever it is he does; nobody can say for sure what it is) people have reported that he moves from place to place, has made mocking gestures towards visitors, eats candies, and has destroyed entire bedrooms. He is kept in a glass case in the museum so he doesn’t cause too much harm, but it is reported that being in the same room as him is taking a huge risk. You can find out more at this link on Weird US: Florida.
Thanks to The Conjuring and Annabelle, we are now familiar with Annabelle, a Raggedy Ann-style cloth doll. Yes, she is depicted very differently in the movies. No, I don’t know why. Maybe it’s so that the demon inside Annabelle (the cloth doll) doesn’t decide to possess a lookalike doll. Anyway, Annabelle is this cloth doll that is possessed by a demon claiming to be a little girl that needs a friend. She was a present for Donna, a graduate nursing student who thought she was a nifty decoration piece for her bedroom. When “Annabelle” told Donna that she was a seven-year-old girl who had died on the property some time ago, Donna felt sorry for the spirit and invited it to live in the doll. That was when the spirit turned evil. Using the doll as its way of causing trauma, it attacked Donna and her family and friends. Donna reached out to Ed and Lorraine Warren (world famous psychic mediums) to have them take the doll from her and they did. Annabelle currently lives in the Occult Museum behind a glass case to prevent her from moving around, but the demon is powerful enough to make nasty things happen to people who mock it. There is no solid conclusion to the story of Annabelle, other than the warning that evil is powerful and we need to respect that. You can see the full scoop here at the Warrens’ website; it’s long and a little hard to read, but it’s so worth the time and effort.
Seeing that these possessed dolls have common features, it got me wondering how exactly they become possessed and why some dolls remain powerful while others are contained. In the story of Robert, the doll was cursed by a young woman who worked as a servant to the cruel original owners of The Artist House. Annabelle seemed to be a random possession where the demonic entity already existed and needed someone to invite it into a tangible object. Suzy Doll was not possessed when she was created; the family reports that during a very weird experience one night where a flash of light accompanied by smoke filled the streets they felt something change in the house. The “something” was the demon entering Suzy Doll. Unlike Annabelle, Suzy Doll’s demon didn’t ask for permission to be let in. I get the sense that only objects where the entity is invited in have power even when they are physically locked up. With Suzy Doll, all the family had to do to get rid of the demon was to get rid of the doll. When Suzy Doll was thrown in the garbage and discovered by a new little girl, the demon let go of the first family it chose. One thing for sure, I would like to keep my dolls demon-free.
How many of us remember back to the holidays when we’re little kids being told by our parents “Be good or Santa will give you a lump of coal” and we do it because what could be more terrifying than a lump of coal? Let me introduce you to a legendary creature that makes getting coal seem like getting off easy.
I am talking about Krampus, of course. This entity has been a cautionary tale forever and has gained a cult following for quite some time as well, but in recent years it has also exploded in popularity for the mainstream. Maybe it’s because of the new horror comedy movie, appropriately titled Krampus, or maybe it’s that people are cynical about the holidays and have latched onto a twisted tale to escape all the sugar and spice of the season. Whatever the reason, Krampus is hot.
So what exactly is this Krampus entity, you’re asking yourself. Excellent question! It’s a half man, half goat, and 100% “What in the world?” demon that according to the stories comes to the house of bad children, smacks them with a whip, and takes them to its underworld home. Actually, it’s a bit more complicated than that. I turned to National Geographic (of all places) to see how they explained it. There’s some pretty interesting articles, one from 2013 and one from 2015 that came out a week before the movie Krampus was released, that give more of the scoop on what Krampus is (which, by the way, is terrifying) or represents.
The article from 2013 written by Tanya Basu is called “Who Is Krampus? Explaining the Horrific Christmas Devil” and gives more of a folklore perspective of this entity. The myth started in Germanic countries (for example, modern-day Germany and Austria) back when Christmas celebrations where held early in December (so according to this source, December 6th was Christmas and December 5th was Krampus Night<-Surprisingly Basu’s words in addition to my words). On December 5th the “good” kids would receive candy and other goodies while the “bad” kids would receive a whip. No word on whether Krampus showed up after the kids got their whip. This folklore worked well as a cuationary tale, but maybe a little too well. It was so terrifying that the Catholic Church banned celebrations of Krampus (which, to be fair, involved drunk people running through the streets kidnapping children because…hero worship?) and in the World War Two Era Krampus was written off as an invention of Social Democrats. In case you’re wondering, Krampus is no longer banned by the Catholic Church because it’s becoming a commercialized figure rather than this bogeyman (although don’t get me wrong, it is no less terrifying). The irony of Krampus becoming commercialized is revealed when the final paragraph of the essay says that that now the story of Krampus has become equivalent with the growing human frustration over the consumerist culture surrounding Christmas, it may one day become equally as popular as the story of Santa.
The article from 2015 by Becky Little is called “How Krampus, the Christmas ‘Devil’, Became Cool” and gives more of the pop culture perspective of the entity. It was written a week before the Krampus movie came out, which shows that clearly Krampus has been catching the public’s eye even before the movie. With a focus on the US, this article makes the case that the myth of Krampus may have started in Europe but has international appeal. In the US, an art director and graphic designer named Monte Beauchamp claims he is part of the reason Krampus is so popular. It started with him publishing images of Krampus from the 19th and 20th centuries in his magazine and mass producing Krampus Christmas cards to being contacted by various TV show producers for use of the Krampus cards on their shows. While Beauchamp seems unimpressed by artists that portray Krampus as a love interest (!) or intentionally to children to make a buck, this article shows how proud he is that “his” baby is becoming other people’s baby as well.
Although Krampus has been changed over the years to be less terrifying than its origins portray it, let’s not forget that it’s much worse than a lump of coal.
On this blog I’m open and up-front about being agnostic and having many questions about the logic of religion. While it’s public and most certainly not a safe space, I find it so easy to state this outright. Give or take, if you’ve read the post before this about feeling like admitting I don’t believe in God is admitting something, but the point remains that I have definitely stated this. It’s so different saying these three simple words to others. Allow me to illustrate.
It was Tuesday earlier this week when I was headed to my university’s food court for some noodles and I was stopped by a group of guys in the free speech zone. They wanted me to sign a poster and I was skeptical because I know how important it is to know what you’re signing before you do it. I learned the poster was an image of the Mormon bible and they wanted me to sign it with a message about what “our savior” has done for me. I looked at the ground while trying to think of an appropriate response and when nothing came to me I said “I would be a bad person for that” and then I headed off for lunch.
I think the awkwardness is a little amusing now that it’s no longer happening, but it was such a weird experience. How do you say “I don’t believe” without sounding disrespectful? To be fair, “I don’t believe” probably sounds better than “I would be a bad person for that”, but I feel like it would be dismissive. At the same time, I don’t want to get into a situation where I might have to talk about religion. It feels like a more personal subject and not one that I would feel comfortable talking to strangers about. That seems hypocritical then because I don’t mind blogging about topics of religious significance and laying it all out in a blog post. I wish someone had written a guide for agnostics on good communication behaviors because I think I need it!
I admit that I’m not sold on religion. Many of my BlogJob friends are highly religious and it’s weird admitting this because it really does feel like an admittance. While I find religious stories interesting as literature and mythology, I have too many questions about the events to just believe them. I have never enjoyed going to “adult” church and I think I only liked the kids Sunday School because we did activities. I never understood the preacher’s lectures and what to take from them. All I remember is that at the end of the ceremony they would pass around a collection plate and say “Give! Give!” while the choir sang a final song. All of it seemed weird to me. It didn’t help that my mom was trying to find an appropriate religion so we went from church to church and nothing worked. She’s spiritual and believes in a god (The Universe) but she’s not religious in the traditional sense. In addition, my dad is not religious and has never been like “You will go to church or else!” He believes in things that he can see, or at least see evidence of. He insists that I am civil/respectful of religious views of others, but he also doesn’t push me into belief. I basically got to decide whether I chose a religion or not. All of these things have assisted in making me not religious, but it was one moment in particular that made me question religious values.
Religions have one thing in common; they are meant to guide people’s morality. What happens when your values are human but not religious? I was maybe six, or somewhere between six and ten, and my mom invited my dad and I to a forest area in southern West Virginia for a bible retreat. I’m not sure exactly what we did during the retreat, but I remember that if we missed dinner then we didn’t eat. On the final day of the retreat, some of the more adventurous people competed on a military-style obstacle course and the rest of us watched them. I was bored to death and my attention turned to a caterpillar skinking along on the grass nearby. I have no idea what I was thinking, but for whatever reason I stomped down on the caterpillar. I know, I know, that’s kind of pointlessly cruel. To my mom, who happened to look at me about that same time, it was the most evil thing a person could do. She grabbed me by the hand and pulled me away from the gathered spectators to ask “How would you feel if someone stepped on you?” I never stepped on caterpillars or any other good creature intentionally ever again, so it definitely had an impact on me. I have probably told this story at least once before, but it has had such an impact on me that I need to refer back to it. The memorable thing about it is that even though we were at a Christian retreat and it would’ve made so much sense for my mom to lecture me about “Thou shalt not kill” she chose the more human approach. Maybe it was because that was her reaction in the moment and had no further symbolism, but since I often use this principle before hurting someone or something even today it was a good choice she made.
What this means to me is that it’s an illustration of how I didn’t develop my values from religious teachings even though they’re still good values. Sometimes on the social networking websites when people disagree with my politics (not limited to religion either) they tell me that I need God or Jesus because I’m evil and immoral. I am highly flawed, but it’s not related to religion. This leads me to the ultimate reason why I’m not sold on religion. If religion is a way to make people moral, I’m happy for them. For me, there are other ways that guide me in behaviors. Combining the other ways that people can learn appropriate behavior with the other aspects of religion that don’t work for me, I have to choose a different path.
After yesterday’s post about the Rainbow Bridge (essentially a beautiful paradise-like “waiting room” for animal souls waiting to be reunited with their human’s soul so both animal and human can cross into the afterlife together) there was a major kerfuffle on Jackson Galaxy’s (“The Cat Daddy”) Facebook page. So, Jackson Galaxy linked to an article on the website The Animal Rescue Site about the Rainbow Bridge and how pet owners handled the death of their pet(s). It was very sweet, completely innocent. Some posters ruined the mood by saying that anyone who believes in the Rainbow Bridge is immature and trying to push religious beliefs on everyone. It was bad.
The worst offender was a woman named “Victoria”. In the end she deleted her post and the entire comment thread because she couldn’t handle opposing viewpoints. It’s unfortunate because first I have nothing physical I can link to in order to show everyone the progression (or more appropriately, regression) of the conversation and second there were some very excellent responses to “Victoria” that no longer exist. You’ll have to trust me when I recount the key points of “Victoria’s” original comment and responses to other users.
Victoria: I lost a pet and I don’t believe in the Rainbow Bridge. Anyone who believes it is juvenile.
Andrea: I have my own beliefs about the afterlife. I believe in heaven and the Rainbow Bridge.
Other commenters: I believe in the Rainbow Bridge.
Victoria: Why is nobody reading my post? I don’t believe in the Rainbow Bridge. Anyone who talks to me about it is pushing their religion on me and it’s insulting.
Nicole: I’m an atheist. Although I don’t believe in the Rainbow Bridge, I remind myself that I need to be open to others’ beliefs.
Other commenters: Why are you so rude Victoria?
Andrea: It’s not cool for others to be rude to you, Victoria. I think we just want you to express your beliefs in a way that doesn’t judge others for their beliefs.
Victoria: You’re still not reading my post! I don’t care what you believe. Just don’t tell me about it.
Me: It’s okay if you don’t believe in the Rainbow Bridge; neither do I. Why though are you telling people they can’t talk about their beliefs? What if they don’t know you and/or your requirements for an acceptable conversation? Is that forgivable?
I couldn’t tell you what specifically happened after that because in two hours or so later when I checked for new comments, “Victoria’s” thread was gone.
As I said in my post about the Rainbow Bridge yesterday, I don’t believe in the Rainbow Bridge because I have too many questions for it to be comforting to me. However, I do believe that we all have methods for finding solace and eventual understanding about our pets’ deaths in our own ways. Some of us believe in an afterlife and some of us think death is the end. If our beliefs soothe us during our time of sadness, there’s no reason for someone to shame us. I will never understand how afterlife shaming is acceptable.
Have you heard of the Rainbow Bridge? It’s a semi-religious poem about the place that the animals we love wait for us in the afterlife. There’s many interpretations of what the Rainbow Bridge looks like, but there’s always the same theme of an ethereal world only populated by animals. Cat lovers imagine it as a cat-only place while dog lovers imagine it as a dog-only place, but there’s also the rare vision of it as an all-animal place. The Rainbow Bridge looks like paradise, but as the story goes, it’s more or less purgatory for our animals to wait until our souls reunite with them and then both of us move on to the ultimate afterlife.
I’ve never believed the story of the Rainbow Bridge. I have too many questions about the paradise aspects of it. For example, if the Rainbow Bidge leads to a lesser version of heaven, why would an animal or human soul choose to take their chance with the real deal? I’m also not a believer in heaven, but I vaguely remember a biblical story about it being guarded by a terrifying gatekeeper and your soul can only pass if it meets a checklist of merits. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to risk being turned away and/or disposed of. If I were a soul with thinking capabilities, I would stay at the Rainbow Bridge with my pets. That brings up a question about the rules of the Rainbow Bridge. A major one is, would a human soul be turned away from the Rainbow Bridge for being not an animal? Where would it go then? If the story of the Rainbow Bridge is that human souls and animal souls are reunited, then how would the gatekeeper of the Rainbow Bridge justify separating the two? I do believe in an afterlife, but I have too many questions about the Rainbow Bridge to take comfort in it.
Although I can’t get behind the story of the Rainbow Bridge, I refuse to condemn others for believing in it and taking comfort from it. When my first tortie (cat), my two rabbits, my seven gerbils, and my first torbie (cat) died within three years of each other, the thing that comforted me was knowing that they no longer hurt. At least four of these animals had tragic deaths but knowing that they passed quickly made the situation a little less traumatic for me. Other people may need a story of a happy afterlife “waiting room” to help them in their time of loss. God forbid anyone shames them for believing in a “fairytale” or losing touch with reality! Whatever comforts a person is fine by me.
If you have had an animal die, do you believe in the Rainbow Bridge? If you don’t believe, do you still find value in the story?
Last evening I started watching the pre-apocalyptic drama These Final Hours and let’s just say that it may not be a true supernatural movie but it was downright terrifying and bleak. In the very beginning of the movie, there is a montage of the main character doing various drugs, having sex with a woman who cared for him but then he didn’t (at that point) reciprocate), and driving in his car around the neighborhood while around him people prayed, looted cars, fought each other, or died on the streets. The voiceovers are of a news reporter telling people that the US, the African coast, and Europe have already been obliterated and people on cell phones telling their loved ones that they love them and want them to stay safe. The movie only gets worse from there. I skipped to the end and let’s just say that this movie’s title is accurate.
This post isn’t meant to be a movie review, at least not in a traditional movie review format. I wanted to share why These Final Hours disturbed me when other pre-apocalyptic movies have not. The point of These Final Hours is that the main character had twelve hours before the apocalyptic event hit Australia and would affect him and in those twelve hours he could either continue being self-serving or take actions to redeem himself. Ultimately he does redeem himself but it doesn’t matter because everyone dies. I don’t remember being more disturbed by any other pre-apocalyptic movie because this movie challenges viewers to think seriously about what the end of the world means and who they should be before checking out. There are some great explosions in this movie (it wouldn’t be a pre-apocalyptic movie without some fireworks) as well, but it’s rough viewing and appropriately thought-provoking.
I’m considering the idea that in twelve hours, the main character turns himself around through performing good deeds for strangers and realizing who is most important to him (in addition to himself). This is the one part of the movie I don’t buy. I know, I know, that basically means I didn’t buy the entire movie, but hear me out. Okay, so I’m questioning the time frame and the legitimacy of the changes. People probably do try to better themselves when death is coming, but it can’t possibly be in less than a day. This is the whole point of people confessing their deepest regrets on their death bed, because they realize they should’ve done things better or differently but there’s no time for them to undo their mistakes. Being twelve hours to the apocalypse is no excuse for having a character make a 180 degree change. These Final Hours successfully bummed me out given that the main character learned his lesson and should probably be considered a (very flawed) hero and he went explode-y anyway, but I’m just not sold on its morality.
I’m curious to know what your thoughts are. Do you believe an impending apocalypse can change people? Furthermore, do you believe those changes are sincere?
I was inspired by a post from BlogJob user @lolitahey about occult and satanic references and symbols in hip-hop and rock music. I don’t believe that hip-hop artists are into the occult in any degree while I do believe that rock artists are conscious of how they use the occult, but something she wrote made perfect sense and got me thinking about it some more. It was that there is inherit danger in summoning demons/powerful entities to get ahead in life so if you do it, you need to know the risks.
My question is, what about the people who don’t believe in the occult and carelessly summon a harmful entity? So my dad doesn’t believe in either angels or demons because he’s a man of science. There are problems with his rhetoric, all boiling down to knowing as a cold hard “fact” that if the scientific method can’t explain something, it doesn’t exist. He’s been proven wrong before, such as when he didn’t believe animals have feelings themselves and can recognize feelings in humans but many examples of our two cats keeping us company when we’re at low points and trying to make us feel better have repeatedly challenged that. The point is that the scientific method and standard science experiment methods aren’t equipped to explain everything. Where supernatural entities are concerned, he’s firmly in the camp that they’re fictional, historical relics (when he’s being kind and not calling them nonexistent).
I challenged my dad on his beliefs by telling him that if I die before him and my mom, I want both of them to conduct a sceane including a ouija board. It’s my death wish so I expect him to follow through on it. He laughed it off, saying that he’ll just talk to me because if I was hanging around I would hear him. The thing is, I want him to communicate with me. I told him that when I answer him on the ouija board, it would change his mind about death being the end.
I have hesitations, however. I will find a way to prove him wrong about supernatural entities but I want it to be safe. Ouija boards mean taking a risk of communicating with anything present in th room, which could as easily be a demon as a spirit like me. I tell him that if he doesn’t believe in demons then they can’t hurt him, but that’s not true. I’ve never met a demon or any other entity to my knowledge, but I must have had supernatural-like experiences in being heard and taught a lesson by…something. The scariest one is that I wished to be tiny in my freshman year of college and I got a very nasty case of food poisoning that left me with a major case of emetophobia (fear of vomiting) and extreme physical aversion to food in general. All of those fears resulted in me dropping from about 150 pounds to 125 pounds. It was not coincidental, that I promise you. What if he communicates with or is heard by an entity that could do even worse physical damage to him?
I believe in the conventional wisdom that you guard yourself when dealing with the supernatural and that you don’t summon what you can’t banish. You may not believe in demons or whatever, but you should take activities such as seances and ouija board sessions seriously. You may not believe in them, but maybe they believe in you.
Today I was watching A Haunting, season seven episode 4 “Ashes to Evil” on YouTube (in case you’re curious to see what it’s about and make your own call on it). I really liked the woman of the family because she said she had always believed in the paranormal and felt like sometimes there are things in the world we can’t explain using science. Admittedly she didn’t say it quite like that, but if you watched the episode you would definitely get that from what she said. Before her husband believed there was something paranormal in the house, she had already accepted it. I like it when the people have an open mind and aren’t oblivious to what’s going on.
Of course, me being me and me being highly critical even of things I like, I took issue with the way the episode was shot. Usually A Haunting is good about revealing the evil entity in a scene near the end. You don’t always get the ultimate reveal of seeing the entity’s face and body, but you usually have a name or type of entity for it (for example, it might be a named demon or the paranormal investigators or religious people will tell you what type of demon it is). This episode had a lot of backstory on the tragedies that occurred in the house before the family moved in, but there was very little about the entity. The paranormal investigators said it was demonic and it was mocking the holy trinity by scratching three claw marks in the woman’s back, but they didn’t say anything about it having a name or what type of demon it was. Yes, I have problems with this.
First of all, I love media about demons. I prefer when the media focuses on demons I’m familiar with (from book learning obviously; I’ve never summoned anything and I have no plans to in the future) but hey, I’ll take anything I can get. Fictional novels are my favorite type of “demon media” since, well, you know I’m a horror buff, but I have read some mind-blowing non-fiction about people’s encounters with demons and throughout my life I’ve enjoyed watching Paranormal State, A Haunting, and Paranormal Witness on TV, DVD, or YouTube. I love it when the media I’m engaging with spills all sorts of details, whether real or imaginary. This episode of A Haunting let me down in the entity detail department. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the set-up of the show didn’t make it seem like we’d get a big entity reveal at the end.
Second, I found it questionable that the entity was truly demonic since no clear details were given about it. I accept that demons do things in threes given that every paranormal TV show I’ve watched has referenced that and I accept that any sort of entity is more likely to be active when the location is filled with negative energy. I firmly believe that this family had bad things happen to them because of the entity. I liked them (which is surprisingly rare, but all four of them seemed like good, if not a little naïve at first, people) and I’m so relieved they got out of the house and had no further activity. I’m not convinced that the entity was demonic mainly because in other paranormal reality TV shows the investigators or religious people go in-depth on what the family is dealing with if it is a demon. I might buy that it’s an unholy ghost or a shadow person, but not that it’s a demon.
A Haunting, you can do better!