Thursday, November 8, 2012

Demons Hate This Film

Up until a year or two ago I used to find a lot of my weird news stories on the British news site Metro. More recently, though, the paranormal items have practically vanished from the weird news section and been replaced with animal stories and coverage of oddities like the world's largest ball of string. Imagine my surprise, then, to come across this gem - a film afflicted by demonic possession. Producer Bil Bungay is convinced that an "evil presence" affected screenings of his movie When the Lights Went Out, and organized a mass exorcism to combat it.

Two screenings of the chiller at London’s Soho Screening Rooms have been hit by blackouts, leading Mr Bungay to conclude the film was suffering ‘the effects of a demonic possession’.

He decided on a mass exorcism, with the help of 100 men and women of the cloth – who happen to be his friends.

The film is based on an alleged haunting that took place in a Yorkshire council house that was home to director Pat Holden’s aunt, Jean Pritchard in the early 1970s. Mr Bungay said: ‘It was one thing to put the first power failure down to a bit of bad luck.

‘But to move cinemas and have exactly the same thing happen 20 minutes into the movie when the evil presence is first felt, was beyond coincidence, and has caused much concern for the production.’

First question - what do I have to do to make a possessed film? I'm an amateur filmmaker myself, and believe me, if I could film something that would convey a paranormal presence to the audience I would be all over it. I'd award myself bonus points for poltergeist phenomena, like, say, an invisible force that flies through the theater partway through the movie overturning tubs of popcorn. That would totally be made of awesome.

I also know that the concept is not as farfetched as you might think. One of my OTO brothers has a metal band and decided to include a Goetic conjuration as part of one of his songs. When he was mixing the album, his sound board fried out at exactly that point. He sent it back under warranty for repair, and the technicians told him that they had never seen a board fail in that way. When he got the board back and tried to mix that section again, the sound started fuzzing out like it was going to fail again. This time, though, he stood there doing banishing rituals over the board and it got through the section. He's never had a problem with it since.

Of course, though, it's always important to check for mundane explanations before jumping to paranormal ones. A projectionist who is also quoted in the article noted that the power outages that hit the screenings corresponded with temperature drops that generally lead to increased power demand for heating. He noted that in the neighborhood this commonly produces outages at those times. So maybe there's nothing demonic to it at all, just a flaky power grid.

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Unknown said...

There is a page on called "The insane true stories behind 6 cursed movies". Some are probably just bad luck and miraculous coincidences, but in all probability there would have to be some stuff going on quite a few.

Scott Stenwick said...

You really never know. If you accept that curses can exist in the first place, there are so many different people at work on a film set that the odds one or more might practice magick is probably higher than you would initially guess. Furthermore, Hollywood has always been a place where interest in the occult is higher than that among the general American population.

The Cracked article you mention can be found here, for anyone who might be interested in checking it out.