I hate Halloween. I’ve had fun doing things with my Marines over the past two years, but at this point I think its time to turn in the old Panda suit and bowtie and end the holiday once and for all.
It’s not the holiday itself that makes me upset. I could care less if they want to get dressed up like crazy people and masquerade around. Its the aftermath.
Once the scary movies are watched. Once the drinks are imbibed. Once the Ouija boards come out…
Half these kids already believe that Okinawa is haunted by the ghosts of 1945. The rest of them believe it's outright demons reaching through a portal in space. What exactly do you tell a Marine who has had a pretty terrifying experience with demonology that he should do with his Ouija board at the end of the week?
I combed through the Table of Contents in all of my Pastoral Care Books, and I found absolutely nothing. Good stuff on “Use of Psalms” and “Caring for the Dying and the Families”. That’s all well and good, and I use some of this stuff regularly in my chaplaincy. But where does one find: “Help! I Believe that My Barracks is Possessed With An Evil Demon that I Summoned with a Ouija Board Who I Have Already Self-Exorcised from My Body But Is Definitely Still in the Room.”
I know what you're thinking: I checked the index. Nothing; no “Exorcisms: Performance Thereof” or “Usage of Catholic Holy Water in Jewish Ritual”. No “Demons”, “Devils” or even “Dyubbuks” (I double checked the dyubbuk thing).
While it is every young Rabbi’s responsibility to blame their seminary for sending them out to the field unprepared for “real life”, I accept that this might be beyond the pale of the regular rabbinate.
Many might scoff at this, but it's what the Marine actually believes. Not because he’s drunk or because he’s crazy, but because there is religious underpinning to it (which also told him to never touch a Ouija board). He agreed to work through the issues that led him to the board in the first place, but he still wanted me to exorcise the room and destroy the board.
So I got on to my research. I went to my religious leader, Rabbi Google. You’d be amazed at the sights he gave me. First off, as it turns out – destruction of a Ouija board is a big deal and if you do it wrong – things get worse (like crossing the streams, worse)(that's a Ghostbusters reference, in case you missed it. Leora did.).
Theoretically, you can burn it or do a ritual with holy water and bury it. He doesn’t trust the burning thing, and I can’t really do the other ritual. So I went to the subject matter expert in this: a priest (they’re so good with exorcisms!).
Referral: A Chaplain’s Best Friend. That was my only real course of action, and I felt pretty good about it.
I’m going to follow up with the corporal next week, but worse comes to worst, I’ve got EOD on standby with two bricks of C-4 ready to blast those demons and that Ouija board into Kingdom Come.