I finished watching the extended director's cut of Blatty's The Exorcist.
Rather than continue searching, I have started a group called Exorcism Survivors. I hope others who have suffered the rite of exorcism and/or deliverance at the hands of Christians...or, worse yet, have participated in the rite of exorcism as the exorcist...can come together and share experiences. I don't know what the approval process for a group on Atheist Nexus entails. I hope to find the group open and ready to accept members as quickly as possible.
As a survivor of two exorcisms of the old line Pentecostal Holiness sort...a type of exorcism that is, in some ways, more authentic than the Catholic Rite inasmuch as it harkens back to the true exorcism in primitive cultures and specifically in South American and African and Shamanic rituals in existence long before the birth of Christianity...even back to the historical Jesus, if you believe such a person ever existed.
As I said, I just finished watching The Exorcist. The first time I saw the movie was upon its release. I had, of course, read the Blatty's book first. I was living in Nashville, Tennessee and there were three movie theaters...this was long before the days of the multi-cine-plex theaters we have today...on one end of Church Street in downtown N-town was the Grindhouse theater. The double features ala Tarintino and Rodriquez fame. Movies like Russ Myers Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and the Hammer classic The Vampire Lovers take on Camille...a lesbian vampire story that is in sore need of a remake. The other end of Church Street was the Black Exploitation theater...Richord Pryor in The Mack and Ron Ely in the classic Superfly. Not to mention the first showing of Mel Brook's Blazing Saddles...after all, it was labelled as a movie about a Black Sheriff in the Old West....talk about a confused audience!
In the middle was The Tennessean. The Tennessean was one of the Grand Old Movie Palaces that you don't see any more. Showed all the A-list movies...Ben Hur and Richard Burton's spectacular performance in Le Carre's The Spy Who Came In From the Cold...if you want to know what the Sixties spy movies were all about forget Bond and get a DVD of that one.
In those days the Grand Ole Opry was still at the Ryman Auditorium downtown...is still remember seeing Johnny Cash, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan there on a taping of Cash's shortlived TV show. The Tennessean was around the corner from the Ryman and the line stretched all the way around the block for the premier of The Exorcist. I stood in a line for two hours to be one of the first to see that movie.
I know more about the book and movie than I did when I first saw it. Seeing it again tonight has taken me through a 12 pack of Yuengling Lager...I'm still working on the last few bottles. My wife, when I found I had to take a break and lay on the bed next to her for a while as she watched a Nova special on the Roku about why home sapiens lost their fur, doesn't understand me. Yeah, I said it, I used the old cliche. But she really doesn't. She has an undergraduate degree in psychology and is half way through her masters in counseling but she doesn't have a clue about that part of my life. Frankly, she honestly tells me she doesn't want to know. Believe me, I wouldn't want to know either if I'd been give a choice. Nobody knows except someone who's been through or participated in an exorcism.
So I'm starting a group...that's what you do on the Internet, isn't it? Start a group and try and 'network' with those who have a similar problem.
Because when I was eight years old I had...and have continued to have all my life since...a classic OBE/Night Terror. The Old Hag...the Evil One...Satan Himself...in my room like a sticky, vibrating for of Evil. Getting up to turn on the Light...anyone who doesn't believe Good and Evil come down to Darkness and Light hasn't truly met Evil in the flesh, much less in the spiritual presence.
I walked across the room and, when my hand tried to turn on the lightswitch next to my bedroom door, my hand went through the Wall like it was made of Smoke.
My father was a preacher. I couldn't talk to him about it. But I grew up knowing two things:
The Soul could exist apart from the Body.
And Satan was Real and Present in this World.
Seeing The Exorcist was seeing everything I had been experiencing all my life brought to the screen.
I became a Charismatic Christian shortly afterward. My goal was simple. I knew I was possessed and I was looking for an exorcism. I tried the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and the Deliverance Ministry of the Protestant Charismatic groups. I spoke in tongues, I received and gave healing through the laying on of hands...I did it all...because I was looking for an exorcist.
I found one in the late Seventies in a Pentecostal Holiness Deliverance Ministry operating out of the basement of the Exorcists house.
What it did to me, what it made me do to others...
All of that is a story for another time.
But this I know to be true:
We aren't in a battle between Faith and Reason.
The opposite of Reason isn't Faith.
The opposite of Reason is Irrationality.
The battle we are in is between Reason and Madness.
Free men fight back.