The question rang in my mind after watching several people being exorcised of demons by modern-day men of the cloth. If it were a dance I would have described it as well choreographed. There are many things that are puzzling in the sequences when the demons are supposedly chucked out.
The first puzzling thing is that all the demons speak in English as they respond to the men of cloth who also use the same language (I am talking about Africa here). Are we to understand that these demons are so recent that they speak modern English or is it that all demons we see are of English-speaking origins? They do not speak old English by the way, but English as it is currently spoken as if they want their international audience to understand them.
Those who have studied English know how it has evolved. For example, the English spoken and written during Chaucer’s time is very different from that spoken and written in Shakespeare’s time. And by the same token, Shakespeare and his contemporaries’ English is different from that spoken and written in our time.
Perhaps, the men of cloth are so powerful that they enable the demons to speak in modern day English.
However, what is more puzzling is that the demons speak in the original voice of the possessed with their full accents betraying the fact that they are not from the English. One supposed demon that had possessed a female congregant shouted in the high pitched feminine voice of the supposedly possessed: “I am a man, I don’t want her to stay with another man! She is mine!” So much for a male demon to speak like a woman. Maybe it is gender equality among the demons.
I have also noticed that these so called demons are very disciplined. They know their time in church. They do not manifest at any other time except when it is time for demons to be cast out. They are very patient as they only wait to manifest when they are given the cue that it is their time to perform as it were.
They also do not perform haphazardly as is expected of evil spirits; they wait in a sort of queue until their turn comes. They offer a modicum of violence for the international audiences as if they know they are going to be beamed live on television. They are also careful not to attack the cameramen nor to damage their cameras as if they reason that to do that would make people across the globe miss out on their performances.
These demons also know the use of a microphone. They wait for the man of cloth to ask them questions and before they respond, they wait for the acolytes to put the microphones close to their mouths or they automatically move their mouths towards the microphones. They do not want the television audiences to miss any word of their supposed confessions pertaining to their so-called evil deeds. All this happens under controlled hysteria, they are careful not to get out of hand. Perhaps it is the man of cloth’s power that keeps them under check.
And the demons love women. The bulk of the “possessed” people are women. This gives the impression that these English-speaking evil spirits target women more than men. Or is it that women are more vulnerable to demons than men? This gives me the impression of traditions dying hard; traditionally, witches were mostly women.
But whatever the case, these disciplined demons give the men of cloth the platform to showcase their supernatural powers as they supposedly cast out these evil spirits. And the cameras allow the men of cloth’s powers to be beamed worldwide. Because the demons now speak in the same language, it makes the work of the men of cloth easier as they can now travel to other countries to converse live with the demons with no fear of language barriers before they cast them out since they have universalised the use of English.
Maybe since demons are spirits, they can speak in any language they fancy for the benefit of the audience. Unlike the demons we were taught about in school and at home, the modern day ones are disciplined, intelligent and understanding making the work of those who cast them out easier. Who knows? Maybe they also watch their performances on television after being cast out.
Kamurai Mudzingwa writes in his personal capacity. Feedback email@example.com