Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Cursed books? "That stuff is real, and not something to be trifled with"

Over the summer, on a forum I participate in that focuses on book-collecting and homeschooling, an oddball question popped up out of nowhere. Suddenly, instead of focusing on Lois Lenski or The Book House for Children, things took a paranormal turn.

It started with this post:
"I hope this is okay to post. I recently bought some very old books at an auction. Afterward, I found out there may have been some bad mojo (?) in the house they came out of. Now I am hesitant to bring them into my house. I brought a couple of them in before I heard the stories, but since then, I have left the rest in my garage. Anyone dealt with this sort of thing before? I am not really superstitious but I do believe in forces beyond our understanding (not really ghosts, but I don't have much reason to believe in them). I guess I want reassurance that I won't be bringing bad stuff into my home with these books??"
Later, the original poster added this:
"The auction people just found some weird stuff in the basement, got weird feelings/vibes from the place and one worker spent the night in the house and wouldn't return. Wouldn't even accept payment for what he had already helped do. A grown man. ... There are no books pertaining to anything Satanic. They range from books about big oil, to Bibles to Delphinian Courses to Eugene Field. The books themselves are nothing really to note. I just got creeped out about something that I truly have no proof of other than what I heard."

The situation became more interesting as members of the forum responded with their own thoughts and personal stories. I'm posting a sampling of them here because (1) it's Halloween, and (2) It's an interesting sure-to-be-Lost Corner of the Internet and it's worth preserving as a snapshot of our American society and state of mind in 2018. A sampling of the replies...

  • "You can certainly pray over them. And remember that He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world."
  • "I'd suggest praying over them, but recognize that some holds are just not worth the fight if you can live without the items in question. As someone who was once involved with witchcraft and is now born again, I say that stuff is real, and not something to be trifled with. If it were me, I would ditch them."
  • "Demons exist. I would either find someone to pray, or ditch the books."
  • "If you're unsure pray and ask. You'll get confirmation one way or the other. For any that you strongly want to keep but are worried about you could try smudging. And/or prayer. And/or essential oils."
  • "If none are rare or valuable to you I'd drop them off at a thrift shop personally. I don't believe every story I hear, but I do believe there are demons and I wouldn't willingly bring anything in my home to attract them. Sure you can get rid of them, but it just isn't worth the energy if it can be avoided."
  • "Oh yes this is a fun thing which we have dealt with many times. It's definitely possible for inanimate objects to hold memories or impressions of the lives of those around them — that's part of what makes my grandmother's books so valuable to me. I can close my eyes and 'hear' her turning the pages. But it also means I can 'hear' the nastiness. Generally I ask for God to send helpers, often He sends warrior angels, to purify and cleanse the object. It's easier than cleansing it myself. And they like to help. That's their job. If I were, however, to cleanse it myself, I would start with either Redmond's ancient salt, Himalayan ancient salt, or in a pinch, Celtic sea salt. I'd put the books in question in a box with the salt (salt chucks are easiest for this) and put them in the garage or basement, somewhere with an easier connection to the earth, and set my intent for the evil/nastiness/junk to drain off into the earth and elements, and be sent to the best places — coral likes depression vibes, for example."
  • "If by any chance you are Catholic or Orthodox, talk to your priest about it, and he would probably be willing to pray over them and bless them with Holy Water."
  • "I don't really think there is anything 'in' the books as long as they aren't about witchcraft themselves. However — and this is the important part — these books will always have that association with witchcraft for you and therefore will cause you to think about it and I think that's where the danger for you will be. If it causes you to think those thoughts, then the devil has succeeded in influencing you through this and you should get rid of them so they aren't a problem. (If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out ... of course that's not literal, but I think that principle applies in this situation). We have no idea where most of our used books come from so the idea that a book is possessed itself, seems a little farfetched especially if you pray for protection and God's Spirit in your home. However, like I said, if it causes thoughts of fear, I would immediately remove them so it doesn't cause a stumbling block for you."
  • "I've had experience with this before. What I did was turned on hymns. On a CD player on repeat for probably a week. The evil feelings were gone after that. Of course we prayed too."
  • "There was a stack of books that I bought from an online seller, one who specialized in Occult books. I too was wary of any 'hitchhikers' for lack of a better word. So I brought them to my husband at church, who blessed them with holy water and an impromptu 'Blessing of Landmark Books' — that they would be used with joy and thanksgiving, that they would serve to foster curiosity and wonder for the world we have been given and the unique individuals who have shaped it, etc. I had no issues bringing them into our home and sharing them with others after that, but it mattered to me to have their intention clarified and a new beginning made for them."

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