Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," your portal to polytheism! I'm your host, Anne Johnson. That's my real name. Not very inventive, but oh well.
This week, with Samhain on the horizon, we're talking witches. Look here for the scoop on humankind's Second Oldest Profession!
Today I'm joined by my old ancestor, Satan. He's not wearing his formal attire today because he's trying to buy my soul and wants to look (and smell) cute. Hey there, Satan! Ooops, I mean, "Mr. Applegate."
Applegate: First of all, don't call me "my old ancestor." You're not Mark Twain. You're so very much more attractive than Mark Twain.
Anne: Flattery from you is faint praise indeed.
Applegate: About your soul. Imagine for a moment that daughter of yours, rendered forever sweet and compliant, instead of the vain, selfish, nasty, temper-throwing creature she is .....
Anne: Sorry, no deal. She is who she is ...
Applegate: And you're going gray.
Anne: Cheap shot. My soul belongs to the Ancient Ones, and you can't do a thing about it.
Applegate: I'll try again the first time your kid's arrested.
Anne: CAN WE GET ON TOPIC, ALREADY? You are here to talk about Malleus Maleficorum, "The Hammer of Witches," a little treatise published in 1489 that led to wholesale slaughter of men, women, and children as witches. But mostly women.
Applegate: I've never read it. But its author is with me these days, and he's totally unrepentant, no matter what badness I throw on him. Some of my customers are like that. I imagine Charles Manson will be one of them too.
Anne: It says in "Hammer of Witches" that women have sexual congress with demons. Men too. And the most suspect are the ones who keep pets like cats.
Applegate: I hate cats.
Anne: Cats hate you too. Mine are hiding under the oil tank. Back to topic, please. In your experience as the Director of Hell, have you ever ordered demons to do it with mortal women? Or men?
Applegate: Nope. As God is my witness.
Anne: Where did that whole concept come from?
Applegate: There's some interesting research being done on that, as a matter of fact. It has to do with the Renaissance, with scientists questioning everything and requiring empirical data to prove the existence of phenomena. The priests figured if they could prove there were demons, that would de facto prove that God existed too. So they just tortured people until the poor souls "confessed" to doing it with demons.
Anne: So there's no truth to demonic sexual congress at all.
Applegate: Not a shred. There's been only one case in my current praise and worship conglomerate where a celestial being has done it with a mortal. That is well documented, and there's been no other instance. Nary a one.
Anne: So thousands and thousands of people were tortured and killed, and untold thousands more lived in fear of being named as witches.
Applegate: Hey, it's your species, not mine. But it is an egregious case of genocide. Not as bad as the Holocaust, or Stalin at his worst, but there weren't as many people in Europe in 1500 as there were in the 1940s.
Anne: Were any of the people tortured really witches of any sort?
Applegate: Oh yes, they caught a few practicing ancient pagan religions. Those folks have gone off to their heaven, happily released from the travails of this world. But most of the victims were just herbal healers, or old women who nobody wanted around anymore. Pretty girls caught the heat too. Priests will be priests, if you know what I mean.
Anne: And you say the twisted, psychotic beast who set this all in motion with his demented "Hammer of Witches" is not penitent at all?
Applegate: I just told him the other day (while offering a swift kick) that he burned at the stake the ancestor of a scientist who would have found the antidote to bird flu. Bastard didn't even flinch. As I say, some of them just will not bend.
Anne: Thank you, Mr. Applegate, for helping to shed some light on the truth about humans and demons.
Applegate: My demons are on a short leash. They know if they mess around with humans that way, I'll send them to live on earth -- as gay African Americans in Idaho.
Anne: You have a vibrant imagination.
Applegate: Thank you. And you have a winning smile. Beautiful eyes. Sweet dimples...
Anne: MY SOUL IS NOT FOR SALE!
Applegate: I'll never stop trying.
Will someone muzzle this varmint and send him back to his subdivision?
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS