This morning as I was getting dressed, I heard that some sects of certain churches (I didn’t get name of the church or town, alas) were again performing so-called exorcisms on epileptics. You know the type - all Linda Blair and green puke and shouting (in the radio version) ‘Your mother sews socks that smell.’ You do the translating. But it seems that it’s all the rage now to “out the evil of epilepsy.” We have regressed a couple of hundred years; while we’re at it, why not just add that epileptics got it by masturbating (one prevailing theory) or that freezing cold baths prevent seizures, or for that matter, let’s lock us all up in some sanitarium along with Carroll’s “mouthing idiot” because, after all, we are spastic.
Look, I’m all for a cure, and if I believed this were some kind of cure, I’d go along with it, but shouting at someone because you believe you are facing down a demon (which means you can, by rights, be as nasty and aggressive as you like in the name of self-defense) is not likely to help. The problem is, and I’m epileptic so I ought to know, that I just can’t see the evidence that I’m evil. I mean, I have my bad moods and all and sure, I even (my gosh) scream and curse once in a while, and if you ask my son he’d tell you I can be scary. But does that mean I am possessed by some evil spirit? Quick, get me to a Catholic church and pray they’ll take me as one of the “authentic cases” and wave a wand of holy water over me and voila! I’ll be cured.
Boy, if only life were so simple. It’s an interesting construct though, and so the story on this morning’s news caught my attention for several reasons. For one, I was appalled and remain appalled that people can still be treated as animals (when even animals shouldn’t be treated this way), and more, because I have temporal lobe epilepsy, I am drawn to almost all things religious and through the years, have collected a vast array of religious antiques, from various votive trays and crucifixes to actual antique exorcism kits with room for the pyx and the holy water and eve a small horsehair whip–like object that the priest would use to fling holy water. All of these things, at one time, fascinated me, and walking into our home was like waking into a really creepy church.