Hey. I get it. Shit happens. You’re hosting a board game night, trying to let some air into a socially suffocating relationship, but you can’t get anyone into the idea of a game of Clue. So you venture into the closet.
“What about Ticket to Ride?”
Your partner rolls their eyes. “It’s like Monopolybut with trains.”
Your partner’s friend with the man bun chimes in. “I’d prefer not to spend my evening celebrating crony capitalist.” And that’s that.
Your fingers scan past Merchants of Venice, The Settlers of Catan, or Vegas Showdown.
“What about The Game of Life?”
Everyone groans. “Life sucks.”
Someone points over your shoulder. “What’s that up there?”
You scan the fire hazards on the top shelf. “Twister?”
“No next to that. Is that a Ouija board?”
Six Months Later
Sixth months later and you’re still scrubbing blood red droplets from the bathroom ceiling, draining the fly carcasses from the light fixtures, and scraping frost from the mirrors.
One night of candlelit laughs has led to six months of strange electrical issues. Six months of handprints on the other side of the TV screen. Six months of bookmarks straight up disappearing. Not to mention the cat toys you keep finding up in the cobwebs, the long strands of hair dangling from the ceiling fans, and the footprints in the dust of your coffee table.
You can’t remember how many times you’ve discovered family photos in the microwave, turned around to find the dining room chairs stacked floor to ceiling, or all the cabinets bursting open at once. Your upstairs neighbor keeps stomping on the floor. He claims someone has been stomping on the ceiling.
You refuse to call the situation what it is and your partner refuses to sleep over anymore.
One night you wake to the sound of your box spring creaking. You look around and see only darkness. No nightstand. No blinds. Nothing. Your eyes adjust until you can just make out a faint pulsing orb, like a lighthouse beam when you’re miles from shore. It isn’t long before you can make out its dimensions, before you recognize the round glass casing of the ceiling lamp. Your bedroom lights are on, but something is obstructing them, something big.
You look to your partner’s side of the bed. There’s something running from the foot of the mattress to the headboard. It bends at the pillow, almost like a kneecap. You look back toward the light only to find yourself staring into a pair of big black eyes. There’s a face like a gargoyle: forehead made of anger lines, horns like porcupine quills, and bat ears that stretch back forever. The face is slick black with oil, oozing down, pooling in your clavicle.
The cleft of the creature’s chin splits open like a pair mandibles. Several tongues writhe up its throat like tentacles. In an instant your neck, jawline, and forehead are greasy with drool. It sizzles and burns.
The creature’s eyes bubble and pop. Blood spews from the sockets like wine from a broken barrel.
Soon the entirety of the creature’s body is melting into your face. You can’t move. You have no choice but to choke on the endless volume of putrid fluid pouring into your eyes, nose, and throat.
So this is what it feels like to be water boarded within the comfort of your own home.
When the big black mass dissolves all the way down you find yourself squirming through the remnants of a Rorschach test.
Shocked you wander out into the hall, down the stairs, and out the front door. You crawl into the grass, cast off your clothes, and wash yourself off in the sprinkler.
So you decide not to renew your lease the only problem is you’re living check to check and you could really use your damage deposit back. Clean all you like, but the night you move out your uninvited houseguest is going to arrange things the way he likes them, coating the unit in his nasty black phlegm.
You’re going to need to take an active role in the eviction of your entity.
Your first instinct might be to call your local clergy. Go ahead. Hurry up and wait. Say, “Hello” to lots of red tape. The Vatican will not sic an exorcist on your pest until your apartment has been tested for electromagnetic leakage, carbon monoxide, and toxic mold. The church will also require you to submit to epilepsy screenings, drug testing, and psychotherapy.
Only after you’ve gone through the fun of getting a Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory on file, telling a stranger about your childhood, and having electrodes glued to your skull, will the church send a priest to do something about your haunting.
Let Me Just Say
Let me just say from personal experience that bonafide exorcists are not nearly as competent as they’re portrayed in movies. When I buzzed mine in I was expecting a Keanu Reeves-type with a sly knowing grin and a pocket full of magic pendants. What I got was a sleep deprived Steve Buscemi who was nursing a Red Bull the entire time.
Father Ryan ambled from room to room hanging crosses, like a fire marshal installing smoke detectors. He dosed my cactus with holy water, and asked me to join him in The Lord’s Prayer.
When he found out I hadn’t been to church since my grandmother’s funeral he laid on a weapons grade dose of Catholic guilt. We talked more about dwindling church attendance than the entity in the bedroom.
Father Ryan made a downward sloping gesture. “Attendance from your generation is on a steady decline.” Then he laid his hand flat. “Meanwhile Protestant attendance has been like that.”
I shook my head. “I don’t really have a dog in that fight.”
“But you were baptized Catholic, right?”
I shrugged. “I don’t like to self identify.
Father Ryan pointed a finger into my chest. “God wants you hot or cold. He spits out the lukewarm.”
I muttered. “God might, but Goldilocks thinks the lukewarm is just right.”
When we got to my bedroom Father Ryan didn’t bother to crack open his bible. He scanned the river of laundry running from my mattress to the closet.
“Do you really live like this?”
I didn’t know what to say. “It’s good feng shui.”
“So you believe in that but you can’t be bothered to honor the Sabbath?”
“I was hired under the presumption that I’d work weekends.”
Father Ryan scoffed at that. I’m not sure what rite he recited, but I could tell he was stuttering through it. After he laid down a little free-style Latin, he wiped his hands like that was all it took. “The room is now cleansed. The demon is gone.”
It turned out there was a language barrier between them.
Father Ryan sat on the corner of my mattress, drew a phone from his robes, and started playing Candy Crush.
“My 72 hour wait is up. I figure I can get a level in while you survey the room. I’m sure he’s buggered off.”
I made a show of looking around, feeling the air for cold spots, watching the shadows for movement, checking the outlets for blood spotting. When I turned back I saw something that stole the breath from my lungs.
There was a lump beneath my sheets, crouching at the headboard. It turned from me to the priest and lunged. By the time I shouted it was too late. Two pairs of long gray claws had wrapped themselves around the Father Ryan’s waist and tugged him under the covers. I watched the comforter wrap itself around him like a Boa constrictor squeezing the life out of a white tailed deer.
I tugged at the sheet, but I couldn’t get a grip. I put my weight on it, but it swatted me off.
When I ran into the kitchen the knife block fell over and the chef knife slid out onto the counter, as if the entity was making a suggestion. I could see myself trying to cut the priest free only to stab him straight through the heart. No, we weren’t doing that.
I threw the closet open. All the board games came crashing down on top of me, but beyond them was something I could use.
When I came back into my room I saw the contours of the Father Ryan’s mouth shrieking through the sheet. His hands were crushed against his chest and each of his fingers peeled back as the fabric tightened.
I impaled the sheet with an icepick, threaded a bungee cord through the hole, and latched it to an empty extension cord reel. I cranked with all my might until I had wound up a half of the blanket. The demon and I played tug of war until I was able to finally peel Father Ryan free.
When all was said and done I did my best to comfort the man. He’d wet the bed in the struggle. I ended up sending him out of my apartment in gym shorts and a Hooters t-shirt.
The church stopped returning my calls after that and I was left to find creative solutions to my problem.
Do It Yourself
Demons are psychic vampires. They feed off your fear until they’re strong enough to manifest in a corporeal form, at which time they can hurt you for real. Your demon has all the leverage until you center yourself, calm the F down, and give its ass something to fear.
Any demon that’s been conjured up from hell is tethered to the location where it’s been summoned. Its biggest advantage is that it can see, hear, and even smell everything in the environment. That’s also its biggest weakness. You need to mess with its senses by making your apartment a toxic environment.
Sure, you could pour a line of Kosher salt on the threshold. You could wave a burning bundle of sage in the doorways. You could light a dozen white candles on the windowsill. You could start wearing talisman until you’ve achieved Mr. T levels of bling. You could recite exorcism rites through a megaphone. Go ahead thump your chest and shout, “Unclean spirit you are no longer welcome.”
But odds are you aren’t dealing with some piddling little poltergeist, you’re dealing with a full-fledged demon who’s going take all those Bush league tactics as a challenge. So you need to up your game.
What’s That Sound?
The Rites of Exorcism aren’t really commands for the demon, but pleas for God to offer protection. The exorcist is begging God to save his servant. It seems this argument is less persuasive when the possessed is an apartment building.
My building was filled with the kind of hedonist debauchery that comes with college aged discovery, which meant I was shit of luck when it came to getting the big G’s blessing. That’s why I resorted to other means.
During the siege on Branch Davidian compound the FBI played a combination of Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots are Made for Walking and Halloween sound FX. At Guantanamo Bay interrogators used nu metal music to break suspected terrorists. Deplorable as they techniques are you’ll need every weapon at your disposal to handle your demon, including audio torture.
Why recite The Litany of Saints when you cue up Rick Astley’s “Never Going to Give You Up” andRick Roll your demon?Why recite The Lord’s Prayer when you can sexually harass your demon with “The Whisper Song” by The Yin Yang Twins. Install a speaker in every room so your demon as no choice but to suffer through the most horrifying DJ set you can imagine.
My exorcist playlist consisted of these affronts to eardrums:
“Barbie Girl” by Aqua
“How Bizarre” by OMC
“Butterfly” by Crazy Town
“Achy Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray Cyrus
“My Humps” by The Black Eyed-Peas
“How You Remind Me” by Nickleback
“Miracles” by The Insane Clown Posse
“One Week” by The Barenaked Ladies
“All Star” by Smash Mouth
“Soul Sister” by Train
Also anything by The Chainsmokers ought to do the trick, just get some earplug, and keep that shit on repeat while you’re out.
What’s That Smell?
Sure ceremonial sage stinks like skunkweed, but you know what smells worse? Patchouli oil.That shit stinks like a tie-dyed banana hammock dripping with crotch sweat, wrapped around a pair of crusty Birkenstocks sitting in a nest of white dreadlocks. It’s nasty.
Your demon is well-versed in crystallomancy, also known as mirror magic, which means it’s going to try to give you shit at the medicine cabinet. That’s why I recommend you clog the sink beneath the mirror with several bottles of Patchouli. This is aroma behavioral therapy for your demon.
Just remember to invest in some nose plugs too.
Take It Back to The Ouija Board
Internet alarmists will tell you that any engagement with your demon is an invitation. Not necessarily when you’re sending him a break up text on the platform that you met him on. Tell Captain Howdy it just isn’t working. Tell Pazuzu you want to see other people. Tell Asmodeus… well you get the idea.
This action is different than telling a spirit they’re not welcome in your home and hoping they’ll respect your decision. This ritual shows the demon you are no longer afraid of them and thus no longer a source of sustenance. How? Lay the Ouija board back out, push the planchette across the letters, and spell it out:
U UP? BECAUSE I WANT TO TAP DAT ASS LIKE A BONGO AT BURNING MAN.
(Or something along those lines.)
There’s facing your demons and then there’s straight up trolling them. Demons feed on fear and starve on amusement. Thomas Moore once said, “The devil… the proud spirit… cannot endure being mocked.”
So heckle the shit out of your demon.
Of course it will respond with threats. Let it take control of the planchette. Let it go off on a long rant on how it plans to unspool your intestines and cram them down your throat. Then feign fear and respond with:
U MAD BRO?
Repeat this process until the demon hurls the planchette across the room.
That’s when you pull out the second Ouija board made entirely of emojis. How threatening can a demon be when his expression is limited to a purple smiley with horns, a pouting face, and a tiny little flame. What better way to show your demon how little fucks you give than to respond over and over with the salsa dancing emoji?
If Nightmare on Elm Street,Jeepers Creepers, and Ithave taught me anything it’s that demons go hungry when you stop feeding them fear. Once your pulse stops raising the demon moves on. Use these tricks to deny your houseguest its psychic sustenance. Then and only then will it be safe to rev the rug shampooer up.