There is a very real chance that I am not currently possessed by a demon. That said, maybe I am. Demonic possessions are a lot like high blood pressure or AIDS—you don't know your status until you get tested. These types of tests are always nerve-racking, but uncertainty is even worse, so I decided to take Bob Larson's Demon Test®. If you're not familiar with Bob Larson, he's an anthropomorphic carrot with a cassock who has been a religious talking head on television and radio for the last four decades. During the 80s Bob began performing exorcisms over the telephone on his radio show, Talk Back. He became well known for his demon-ridding talent, and I'd be willing to bet he's exiled more evil spirits than anyone in modern history. (When he was on Anderson Cooper's show about a month ago he claimed to perform 500 to 1,000 exorcisms each year.)
Bob's not one to hoard his gifts, so he's thrown together 21 questions designed to gauge an individual's risk level for demonic possession. And the best part is it will only cost you $9.95. I took Bob's test a few days ago and answered all 21 questions as truthfully as possible. After evaluating my responses, Bob's website told me I am at "moderate risk for demonic oppression/possession." Goddamn.
The questions ranged from broad to uncomfortably pointed, asking things like do you have outbursts of anger and “have you ever been sexually violated (raped, incested [sic], molested)?” There are three possible responses to each question: "never," "currently," and "past," which are apparently the three universal answers everyone would have for questions like "have you ever asked Satan to take your life in exchange for something?"
One of the questions I found particularly strange was "Do you know of ancestors who committed murder, suicide, or sexual perversion?" I had to answer "currently," because, again, "yes" wasn't an option, and this nerd is a distant relative of mine.
When you finish the test and see your score, it's easy to feel the icy hands of your potential demon caressing the back of your neck, saying something in a scratchy voice like, "you see, you're not crazy, Bob knows I'm real too!" (Just gave myself the heeby jeebies right there.) But not to worry! The good reverend is waiting for you on the next screen with explanations specifically tailored to yours and everyone else's answers. Four-ish-sentence-long explanations are spat out for any question you answered "currently" or "past" to, and end with something like "here are helpful resources regarding emotional or physical abuse from your parents" or "here are helpful resources regarding ancestral immorality," followed by a picture of Bob's head on a DVD and a handy "Click here to order" button.
If the DVDs don't cast out your demons, you can visit Bob at his "Freedom Center" in Arizona, or you can ship him to your house, where he will put his hand on your face and ask your demon if it has any "legal right" (seriously) to possess your soul.
As I imagine most people who recently discovered they were at "moderate risk for demonic oppression/possession" would, I had a long list of questions I wanted to ask Bob and his people about my results.
Conveniently Unfortunately, when I called the Freedom Center I was told the reverend had undergone knee surgery the day before, and wouldn't be able to "talk to people" for the foreseeable future. Because of the knee surgery. Mind you, I was calling as a concerned customer who had just been told he might be possessed by the forces of Satan, not as a "journalist," or whatever the people who write for this site are calling themselves these days. When I asked if there was anyone else there who could talk with me about my score I was told by a kindly old voice, "I'm sorry, there are no spiritual advisors, for lack of a better word, at the ministry besides Pastor Bob." She was also unable to tell me the price of a private consultation with Bob in Arizona, or the cost of bringing Bob to my house. In short, their whole operation is crippled until Bob's knee gets better.
When I got off the phone I went back to Bob's site and noticed an entry titled "Jezebel Attacks!" written in a font designed to make the text look like it was scrawled in blood. Turns out that bitch Jezebel is responsible for Bob's bum knee, and he needs his followers to "send the best gift [they've] ever sent" in the amount of "$5,000, $1,000, $500, even $200 or $100, or whatever [they] can." The Bible tells us in no uncertain terms that Jezebel hates money, so I assume Bob is planning on exorcising her by throwing wads of cash from lonely old ladies at her while myself and the other pogues taking the Demon Test® are forced to keep the spirits at bay with lighter wallets and tap water we bless ourselves.