I hope you’re all well. October makes me one happy little creature, so I’m bloody fantastic. I have some exciting news to share, even though you probably know it already if you follow me on twitter. *Ahem – @raddestgirlever* I signed with a literary agent last week..ish! I’m now represented by Gina Panettieri, President of Talcott Notch! Gina is a total rocks star and I’m so excited to be working with her. I signed for my middle grade horror (obvs) and am excited for what comes next 🙂
Anyhoo! Enough about me. As you may have realized, it’s Demon Week!! For most, the majority of demonic knowledge comes from horror movies and Supernatural.
For me, my introduction into the realm of the demonic started at a much younger age. I group up going to church. Until I was thirteen, my family and I attended a Pentecostal Church in a really small town. If you don’t know much about different denominations of Christianity, our church was the one with flag waving and fire tunnels. People spoke in tongues and were slain (knocked out) by the Holy Spirit on the regular. Since I was about six, I remember hearing sermons about people being possessed by the demons – of Jesus himself casting demons into a heard (herd? flock? gaggle?) of pigs. I spent my entire life not only believing that demons existed, but that demonic possession was a very real thing.
Sitting on the shelf in front of me are a collection of vintage Bob Larson VHSs of him casting out spirits. Now I know Bobby L has a bad rap, but those videos scared the shit out of me when I was a kid. When I started working on my YA WIP – a story about teenage demonologists – I skipped the interweb research and went straight to the most reputable source I know…my Grandma (Nanny).
Now Nanny is one bad ass lady. When she was seventeen, pastors in her town would call her to cleanse homes of demonic spirits and influence. She’s helped countless people who are possessed and is still actively involved with the church. All you need to do is bring her a cup of tea (a snack won’t hurt either) and she will regale you with some seriously spooky stories.
Once, there was a family whose new home was riddled with this thick, terrible feeling. There was one room where they couldn’t even go into. The demonic energy was literally suffocating to be around. So my teenage Grandma swoops in and starts roaming the halls, praying over everything she sees. When she gets to the room, she feels led to the fireplace. She sifts through debris and ashes until she finds demonic relics burned and hidden in the ash. The former family that lived there had worshiped…well…she still doesn’t know who they were worshiping, but the activity and repression stopped once she removed the items.
Another time, she was at a house party. A girl came out of a room and stood at the top of the stairs. She folded herself into a ball and – I shit you not – BOUNCED DOWN THE STAIRS. Like a bouncy ball out of a gumball machine. Just imagine that for a moment. If that doesn’t give you the willies, I don’t know what will.
Now not all of my demon stories come from my Nan. A travelling pastor I hung out with told me the story of one of his demonic-cleansing experiences. He was spending time with a young girl who was having terrible nightmares and thought something was wrong. They spent hours deep in prayer before she started to act weird. By act weird, I mean she started crawling up the wall. Like, up the wall, before skittering sideways. Now I know what you’re thinking. “Jenna, this guy is full of crap.” But I don’t know…I saw truth in his eyes. I saw the color leak off his face as he told me about the shrieks he made as he continued to pray.
My own stories dull in comparison…I’ve seen shadows flitting across playgrounds in the middle of the day. I’ve seen things move on their own accord or fall off the shelf. I’ve seen and heard enough to make me believe that demons are real. I avoid Ouija boards and seances, out of both respect and fear…but I sure as hell catch every demonic movie that hits the theater.
Now, in honor Demon Week, won’t you share your tales of possession and demons with me?