Thursday, January 19, 2012

My review of Hostage to the Devil by Malachi Martin

There are two books I have read in my brief life that truly frightened me. One is The Tailypo: A Ghost Story by Joanna C. Galdone, which I read in the third grade (scared the absolute crud out of eight-year-old Me, and even still makes me uneasy when I think about that evil little creature watching that man from the foot of his bed in the dark). The other is Hostage to the Devil: The Possession and Exorcism of Five Contemporary Americans by Malachi Martin.

Whether or not you are a skeptic in demonic matters, this book will probably still send chills up your spine. It's already given me one virtually sleepless night. Martin chronicles the cases of five individuals possessed by evil spirits, including their histories, the histories of their exorcists, and the circumstances as to how they became possessed. Each exorcism was tape recorded, so Martin's descriptions of the exorcisms should be relatively accurate. In my opinion, the two most disturbing cases in the book are The Virgin and the Girl-Fixer and Uncle Ponto and the Mushroom-Souper.

There is one passage from this book that has really stuck with me. In it, Martin and Father Mark (the exorcist in the "Uncle Ponto" case) are discussing the fate of exorcists:

It was a source of some amazement to [Mark's] close associates and superiors that he did not go the way of most exorcists. A few years' active ministry in exorcism, and the majority paled, as it were: they seemed to wither in a variety of ways; some by illness, others by premature aging; others still because they seemed to have lost the will to live.

"Most of us crawl away and die somewhere quietly," Mark said as we talked one evening. I knew he was right.

"Why not you, Mark?"

"Well, you see," Mark began jokingly, "I have this great pal upstairs, and when I start into one of those exorcism businesses, he comes along and holds my hand."

Overall, I found this to be better than a "good" read--it was a great read. You just might not want to read it after the sun has gone down.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Randomness: IKEA

For those of you who have never been to IKEA, you are missing out on the adventure of a lifetime. They sell trendy, dirt-cheap household items (in case you didn't know) and even have fake rooms set up so you can see what the products will all look like together in a home setting. They also sell Swedish meatballs and elk-shaped pasta, which is just awesome.

Since IKEA has locations all over the planet, the end users of the products speak a myriad of languages. Many companies would print their furniture assembly instructions in all of those languages, thus creating a thick workbook that flustered citizens would have to search through in order to find a language that they understood. Those companies would also have to hire translators, which is expensive.

IKEA has conquered this issue by using ambiguous pictures to show people how to put their furniture together. My husband and I bought some of IKEA's popular BILLY bookcases last March, and I was highly amused at the way the instructions were portrayed. I photographed two pages out of the instruction manual--the do's and don'ts of putting your bookshelf together--and added my own commentary on what the drawings might have meant.

 1. "Flathead Phillips Pencil Hammer!" is a customary greeting among strangely-shaped, androgynous humanoids.

2. Are you dismayed by a jumbled pile of boards lying at your feet? Find a funny man with a pencil in his ear; he might help you!

3. Did you manage to break your bookshelf before it was even set up all the way? IKEA understands. All you have to do is call their customer service hotline, and they will instantly ship you a replacement shelf via magic carpet.

4. Are you perplexed by a giant question mark hovering in a bubble in front of your face? Does it refuse to go away despite your pleas? You should call the nearest floating IKEA for immediate assistance. They'll know what to do.

Aaaaaand cut.