Thursday, October 16, 2014

Creeped Out

When the movie The Exorcist came out, way back in 1973, I was an eight year old.  I did not see the movie in the theater, because my parents actually paid attention to the ratings on movies.  At least that is what they told me.  However, I can remember sitting in Mass on a Sunday during that year, and listening to the priest discuss the film in his homily.  Apparently, after seeing the film, every single person on the planet decided that they too must be possessed.  The priest described the hysteria; even religions that didn't believe in hell were calling about exorcisms.  Sitting in the pew next to my mom, my brother asleep and drooling on my shoulder, I sat wide-eyed, and absorbed every sentence as gospel.  This must be some movie, I thought, if people were just getting possessed by watching it.  I decided that I did not really want to see The Exorcist.

However, I became a teenager, which means that my decision-making skills took a hit.  The Exorcist was being shown on television one Friday evening when it was just my mom and I in the house.  It was on one of the networks, because 47,000 channels wasn't a thing yet.  If a movie was "edited for television", that mean the horrible bits were cut out of what was shown, so the producers could horrify us instead with bad commercials.

So my mother and I headed to our 1970s style family room(complete with brown shag carpeting on the walls! and mirror tiles!) in the basement of our house in Silver Spring, Maryland, popcorn in hand, and parked ourselves on the couch.  For the most part, the beginning of the movie was relatively benign--an actress moves into a home in Georgetown--which was just a few miles away from where we sat--and things start happening to her daughter, and yeah...well.  

Catholics take their demonic possession very seriously.   From the cradle, we live in fear of something happening to our immortal souls. We're raised on the perils of Ouija boards, and reminded constantly not to mess with the dark side of the universe.  The devil is THE Boss of Bosses in the game of life, and it's game over if he gets you.  And even if the rational side of your brain tells you that some of what you're hearing is complete hooey, there's always that tiny little voice in the darkest part of your brain that believes.  Even sitting in a ridiculously decorated room with all the lights on, I couldn't help looking over my shoulder every now and then, just to make sure nothing was there.  Weird noises from the darkness outside made me jump.  If I felt this terrified watching an "edited for television" version, I could only imagine what those poor people in the theater felt. 

When the movie ended, I felt as though my hair should be singed from being so close to a demon, even if it were an imaginary one on television.   I was very glad that I had worn my miraculous medal in preparation for the movie, but I slept with the lights on, anyway.  At least I would be able to see what was coming.  

The next evening, my mother and I sat in St. Michael's Catholic Church, waiting for evening Mass. The priest walked up the aisle to the altar and bowed while we all sang.  I stared hard at Father Sweeney as he stood up at the front, reading the prayers at the beginning of the service.  The hair on the back of my neck stood up.

"Mom!"  I whispered. "Mom! Doesn't Father Sweeney look just like Father Damian from The Exorcist?" 

My mom just nodded. 

I used Mamakat's World Famous Writer's Workshop Prompt:
2.) Write about something that creeped you out.  Go check out the other writers!


  1. I still don't think I have seen the whole movie...yikes!!!!

    1. When I read the book the movie was based on, I was even more creeped out!

  2. I can not watch horror and demon shows. They would totally creep me out! The worst part for me would be not being able to get the images and sounds out of my head. I would have nightmares for the rest of my life.

  3. Ha ha ha ha!!! You at least saw the movie. I watched it hiding behind my friend through my fingers. Then switched to Finding Nemo...
    Ah! Good times :)

  4. I remember hiding in the hallway and watching the movie while my parents did. I have never been so creeped out by a movie.
    My dad caught me and told me that it was true and that is why I have to be good and pray...eeeks....

  5. Great story! I remember when that came out too. I was about the same age as you. I wasn't allowed to see movies like that for the very same reason and I guess it's stuck with me because I don't watch occult movies even now. I remember the movie the Green Door came out around the same time (I think) and even the preview for that gave me nightmares. Remember the girl floating down the stairs? Creepy! *shudder*

  6. I'm a big scaredy cat so I avoid horror movies like the plague. And even if I have to sit through one, I do it with my eyes closed, haha.... Very brave of you to choose this post, I would've fainted before I ever finish a post about creepy stuff. Visiting from Mama Kat's.

  7. I to this day still have never seen the exorcist. I have heard how scary it was. I have no desire to see the movie. The title just creeps me out.

  8. Hahahaha! I am 35 years old and STILL refuse to watch that movie. CREEEEEEPY!!!!


I welcome comments, but reserve the right to correct your spelling because I am OCD about it!