Creepy attempted murder by pre-teens prompts a serious question

I was alerted by Badger Catholic to this truly horrific story

In reading this, I am prompted to ask you who are parents:

Are you paying close attention to what your children are reading and viewing and doing?

Charges detail Waukesha pre-teens’ attempt to kill classmate

The 12-year-old girls had been plotting the murder for months, police say.

Morgan E. Geyser was allowed to have two friends over each year for her birthday. This year, she’d celebrate on May 30. That is the day she and Anissa E. Weier would try to kill their friend during a sleepover.

On Monday, the two Waukesha girls were charged in Waukesha County Circuit Court as adults with attempted first-degree intentional homicide, each facing up to 65 years in prison. Their victim, another 12-year-old from Waukesha, was stabbed 19 times by either Geyser or Weier or both, according to a criminal complaint. All three attend Horning Middle School in Waukesha.

Geyser and Weier are being held on $500,000 bail each. The pre-teens attempted murder, they told police, to pay homage to a fictional character who they believed was real after reading about him on a website devoted to horror stories. [?!?]

On Saturday, a bicyclist found the victim, lying on the sidewalk and covered in blood, with injuries to her arms, legs and torso. She had managed to crawl out of the woods, where the suspects had left her. She was rushed to a hospital, where she was in stable condition Monday evening, but fighting for her life.

A Waukesha County sheriff’s deputy found Geyser and Weier hours later, walking near I-94 in Waukesha. A knife with a five-inch blade was in Weier’s backpack.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel normally does not name juveniles involved in crimes, but is naming the suspects because they are in adult court and because of the severity of the charges. A criminal complaint filed Monday detailed the allegations.

Both suspects explained the stabbing to police referencing their dedication to Slender Man, the character they discovered on a website called Creepypasta Wiki, which is devoted to horror stories.

Weier told police that Slender Man is the “leader” of Creepypasta, and in the hierarchy of that world, one must kill to show dedication. Weier said that Geyser told her they should become “proxies” of Slender Man — a paranormal figure known for his ability to create tendrils from his fingers and back — and kill their friend to prove themselves worthy of him. Weier said she was surprised by Geyser’s suggestion, but also excited to prove skeptics wrong and show that Slender Man really did exist.

The suspects believed that “Slender,” as Weier called him, lived in a mansion in the Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin. The plan was to kill the victim and walk to Slender’s mansion.




Are you paying close attention to what your children are reading and viewing and doing?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Priam1184 says:

    When individuals, families, and the society as a whole reject God seek only to follow their own designs then anything is possible.

  2. Uxixu says:

    Definitely hints at the demonic. The prayer before using the Internet could perhaps have helped in micro but in macro, we need the order of exorcists back as well as the restoration of the old Baptism rite complete with exorcism (especially for RCIA), if not regular exorcisms of the bishops over their diocese. Ultimately we need to stop treating this hostile secularist society as if it was still Christendom. As the Ancient Fathers treated the pagan Empire with a cautious evangelism, so should we and keep up our guard against the wicked outside of Holy Mother Church.

  3. Elizabeth D says:

    “Creepypasta” admin is in denial about the site’s role in the attempted murder: “This is an isolated incident, and does not represent or attribute the Creepypasta community as a whole. This wiki does not endorse or advocate for the killing, worship, and otherwise replication of rituals of fictional works. There is a line of between fiction and reality, and it is up to you to realize where the line is. We are a literature site, not a crazy satanic cult.” Meanwhile on a wikipage that describes “Slenderman” user comments reveal that it was clearly way more than 2 girls who were confused about the line between real and fiction and some even express that they have had had nightmares or serious fears for their lives. The users debate extensively whether Slenderman is real.

    A boy said last month, and this is one of the comments that suggests there is an occult dabbling aspect to some of this: “I made a bet with one of my buddie: if i draw the operator symbol all over my room, slenderman would not come to get me. If he doesnt get me, i get twenty bucks. If he does get me…….well, you know what happens. I know its a foolish thing to do, but i figured it wouild be fun. I figured even if he does come, he probably wont kill me. Ive never denied his exsistance or done anything offensive towards him. Who knows? He may very well be real. Well, he has a month……if he doesnt show, i get twenty bucks. Wish me luck….. ”

    It is obvious many commenters are children: “I keep looking out my window I keep thinking slender is out there I was on a school trip in the woods and I thought I saw a tall guy I might be wrong I was 6 years old back then”

    A girl whose account says she is in England said in March “When I first read the story of Slenderman I had a HUGE feeling of deja vu….I’ve only just remembered that me and my friend once saw something that looked like him when we were about 10 years old, whilst walking home from the park at night…we ran the rest of the way back to my house and my friend refused to walk home by herself because of what we saw. I don’t blame her, and I still don’t know if it was slenderman or not but it looked a lot like him, from what I can remember. But either way, I truly believe that Slender is real.” There are numerous other testimonies that “he is real.”

    A person said in February: “the slender man sounds a lot like Satan. I’ve heard of the slender man before but never a physical description, featureless face well dressed in a black suit and hat, only thing missing is the cane. I’ve seen him, I think, he followed me and a friend on a walk we took one night. whenever I looked back he appeared to be walking forward but never got any closer, when we returned to my friends house “the slender man” was leaning against my friends car. my friend and I studied a crap ton of demonology and did ghost hunts and stuff and you learn that acknowledging his existence would only give him power over us. we stood in the yard and talked for about 5 minutes out of defiance less than 3 feet from him then retired inside to begin a night of drinking. his featureless head turned to watch us walk inside and I have not seen hide nor hair after that night.”

    Yes, huge wakeup call for parents… be wary of fan fiction involvement also, I’m very serious, the problem there tends to be sexuality.

  4. Too often people look for someone to blame in these situations. I think it is healthy to recognize there is true evil in this world, and especially us as Catholics are called to a spiritual warfare to limit the actions of the Evil One by prayer and fasting, however slender he may be. Here is a link to the full article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

  5. Supertradmum says:

    Just to add to this type of connection, I was aware of creepiness in 1983, in South Bend, with kids playing Dungeons and Dragons in the back of a bookstore I would frequent. I came to realize the demonic influence even more when the computer games became more evident in my world of students and friends. I thought I was alone in my crusade against D and D until Fr. Chad Ripperger and our local exorcist also noted, clearly, the demonic hooks in the game.

    The same goes for Baldur’s Gate and WoW. I have tried to warn parents and some young people, as well as older ones, but people are not open to hearing about demonic influences.

    Just listen to the fssps on D and D for a start. Creepiness is everywhere and there is no such thing as “neutral” in the world of the spiritual.

  6. OrthodoxChick says:

    I consider myself to be an unapologetic helicopter mom. None of my kids have ever slept over at a friend’s house and we’ve never hosted friends for a sleepover. I attend and remain in attendance for all play dates, parties, and get-togethers with friends at their houses.

    On the tech side…no computers are allowed in the kids’ rooms. They are located in common rooms so that I can see which sites they’re visiting. They do have their own tablets, and one of my kids has an ipod with facechat, but I snoop through their devices when they’re at school. I do that to make sure they’re obeying the rules, as they try their hand at not being tempted to download inappropriate apps.

    My two oldest kids share a room and they do have a T.V. in their room, but it is not hooked up to a cable box. They only get the basic channels, mainly so they can watch sports/ESPN on the weekends. Every other T.V. in the house is in an area where mom and dad can monitor what they’re watching. And as far as video games, we have Wii and X-box, and those are also in common areas. They are not allowed to own/borrow/play any video game with violence, or anything at all inappropriate. Their video game collection amounts to various sports (Nascar, Madden, etc.), Super Mario Bros., and Minecraft.

    None of my kids drive yet and none of them are dating. But all have been advised that when they do either, they’ll be driving and dating with a chaperone. The driving chaperone will only drop off when both mom and dad are convinced that they are responsible, careful drivers. The dating chaperone? That stays in place until the wedding night. My answer to any balking over this rule is, “Suck it up cupcake, ’cause that’s just how it’s going to be. Go out with a parent-approved (or parental) chaperone, or don’t go out at all.”

    My basic rule of thumb is not to trust any of my kids for as far as I can throw them – until they prove that they are old enough, mature enough, and confident enough not to cave into peer pressure. At that point, they’ll be allowed to venture out and to make decisions on their own. Until then, I’m not letting them out of my site.

    I’ve heard through the grapevine that some of the parents at my kids’ school think I’m too much of a hard-*ss. Luckily, I don’t give a flying fig about what anyone else thinks about my parenting. My rules may be overbearing, but if (God Forbid) any of my kids ever befriends a child like the two in this article, maybe they won’t be as likely to target the kid whose mom is always hanging around. My kids might not always like my rules, but at least they’re still around to gripe about them.

    My prayers for this poor little girl who was betrayed by her “friends”.

  7. Biedrik says:

    That they got it from reading about Slender Man is a rather overly simplistic answer. Children to not simply read horror stories, and then turn evil. Whatever is wrong with these girls, it runs much deeper than just some stuff they read on the internet.

  8. OrthodoxChick says:


    Apparently, it has gone viral to the point that it’s taking on the mystique of a “real” legend, with many young people not realizing that it’s only fiction. I was just reading a wiki on it, and while I don’t know a whole lot about it yet, it does bear that tried and true hallmark of something demonic – it mimics the Catholic and sacred.

    These girls reportedly stabbed their friend in an attempt to become a “proxy” of the Slender Man. The wiki says that another term for “proxy” is – acolyte.


  9. Supertradmum says:

    Bierdrik, kids are no longer all baptized and therefore not in the state of grace. They have no protection.

    Also, they immerse themselves in occult games and sites.

    Remember, these sites, like the games I noted, are infested or hooks. Note what I said about no neutral territory in the spiritual world.

  10. Toronto AU Catholic says:

    Supertradmum – I was one of those kids playing D & D in 1983 (!), although not in South Bend.
    A lot of that fantasy world was inspired by the Catholic writer J.R.R. Tolkien. However, I would absolutely agree you need to know your kid’s motives for being attracted to such games, observe what images are used, and know who their friends are and was attracts them to such games.

    This creation of Slender Man images does smack of too much fascination with the supernatural and the occult. And that should be a huge red flag for any parent. Also, attraction to images that disfigure the human body – that violate our God-given dignity, since we have been made in Him image – should also be red flags. These things can quickly desensitize the mind to the darker things of life.

    None of my four kids are old enough to have friends who are into Goth imagery, Vampires, Zombies, etc, but if they ever trend that way, I would want to explore their motives – to explain what the imagery means to them. Kids get that, yes, you can very much judge a book by its cover and that it is not just meaningless.

    My four kids play on devices a fair bit, the oldest two on virtual reality games such as Minecraft and Clash of Clans, although not obsessively (we limit the play to Fridays and weekends). My wife and I do keep close tabs on what websites they visit, and they play in open areas.

    Keeping them from seeing the wrong images can be very difficult. To take a mild example, we were watching the amusing Dan Akroyd film “Coneheads” and in one scene his character chews and blows bubbles with a…condom. (Thankfully even my two 11-year-olds spontaneously laughed and wondered aloud why he was chewing a “balloon” – there was a moment where ignorance was truly bliss.) There is really no substitute for close monitoring of what they watch, and talking about issues or images they’ve been exposed to from friends or at school that disturb them.

  11. Daddio says:

    I’m currently reading Malachi Martin’s “Hostage to the Devil”, and while it was written in the 70’s about events mainly occurring in the 50’s, it sure seems contemporary and applicable. The sources include New Age, paranormal, sexual deviancy. All things that are pretty mainstream today. It worries me how vulnerable today’s kids are, especially the unchurched. It seems as if the evangelical protestants are much more cautious and aware of demonic influences, even if they lack the powerful tools that we have in the Church.

    Fr. Z, do you know this author? Evidently he is a former Catholic priest. It’s not a Catholic publisher either, but he writes from a very Catholic perspective.

  12. NancyJ says:

    To answer your question Fr. Z: yes, these two parents are aware of what our boys are reading, viewing , and doing. To put it simply – we homeschool. Lots of reading (the classics), little t.v (what is watched is viewed as a family), lots of parental involvement in outside activities (mom and dad invest much volunteer time in their activities). No electronics in their bedrooms. Computer is in a common area of the house and dad checks on the search history a few times a week. Computer games are limited. Most of all we talk. We talk about dangers to look for, choices that we have to make daily, how as Catholics we must live differently. Frequent confession. We talk to them about their eternal souls. Much prayer for their purity and vocations. All through the grace of God.

  13. off2 says:

    I, too, would like Fr Z’s opinion of Malachi Martin. If I remember correctly, he claimed to be partially released from his order, but still under obedience somewhere. He was a fascinating interview on the old Art Bell show. I’ve read a couple of his books with mild interest.

  14. marytoo says:

    Toronto AU Catholic: “The Coneheads” – who would’ve thought! I live in fear of that kind of thing. I’ve taken to, before viewing anything, going over the parents advisory on the imdb site for older movies (which has the condom scene listed in the warnings, btw) or for newer movies, the latter being very detailed in whatever you’re concerned about, be it violence, language, sexuality, etc. Also I’m coaching teens now so they can make good decisions when they are older. We moved away from lots of TV years ago thankfully so they’re not dependent on it. We have one set for the whole house and use it once or twice a week now.

  15. acbprop says:

    I have six kids 9 to 22. To me it’s all about parent/child relationship. My wife and I keep an eye on what they watch/read/play but I will leave the “helicopter” parenting to those who have chosen to have one or two or three kids. TVs and computers in common areas, limited cable access, filters on smart phones–got all that. Despite our best efforts, my kids will make mistakes and see stuff they shouldn’t (just like I did) but they know that it’s wrong and they’ll feel guilt and shame based upon the expectations we set and the relationships we’ve developed (just like I did with my parents). That’s how they learn what’s right and wrong. The really evil stuff? No amount of helicoptering can keep that away. Regular prayer, especially family Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet, family Mass–that’s the only real way to keep evil out of our homes.

  16. Jerry says:

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? How many parent not only knew their children were reading/watching Harry Potter, but encouraged the obsession?

  17. Uxixu says:

    I definitely wouldn’t blame D&D. That led me closer to Mother Church. From the Tolkien-esque fantasy in the standard set, I was led to Tolkien and CS Lewis and thence to historical sourcebooks, one on Rome and then one on the Crusades. From there, I read Runciman and Riley-Smith and learned the deeper history. From there, I read on Byzantium and learned more of our Eastern brethren and the ancient controversies of the Greek and Latin fathers before I started on Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas. and the canons of the various Councils.

  18. Polycarpio says:

    It is startling how pervasive this occult stuff is. I resent that a mainstream, vanilla kids TV show such as “The Wiggles” contains a surprising number of occult references. I let my 2 year-old watch a little of this because it contains happy songs, she can learn colors and names of animals and so forth, but the other day, she startled me when she told me she was scared because there was a “ghost” in the room. My wife and I and my in-laws would never mention ghosts to her and we’re principally the people in charge of her. I’d noticed that “The Wiggles” has a couple of ghost references, and I cannot fathom for the life of me why it’s necessary that a kids’ show include these references.

  19. Marlon says:

    If you have not yet heard Peter Kreeft’s talk on the imagination, I strongly suggest you listen to it now after reading about this horrible event. Every teacher and every parent should hear this talk and take it to heart:

  20. benedetta says:

    The news reports say that the parents demonstrated awareness of this stuff and even seemed to be dabbling in the demonic/occult themselves.

    If in a free country parents can be into this stuff and support their children’s celebration and living out of it, then, those of us who would like to raise our children in the Faith, in orthodoxy, in the fullness of what Christians have everywhere believed and taught, then, we should certainly be at least minimally free to do this. And, families who raise their children according to religious faith ought to be commended and looked to as leaders for the culture at this time of crisis for young people, drinking so deeply of the dregs of what has been produced and shoved on them, in the absence of decent moral values.

  21. benedetta says:

    If the culture is indeed so phenomenally great, as some assert, accusing people who doubt it, with the snide “culture warrior” moniker, then, why can’t we just entrust our raising of our young people to it, without much more?

  22. priests wife says:

    My oldest are almost 15 and 14- no cell phones, no media in their room and a computer they use in a common area with parental controls (no tv)…keeping watch!

    about slenderman- I never had nightmares as a kid (I am 42) except for a reoccurring nightmare about a thin, tall shadow man….this internet ‘meme’ is real- and very very bad

  23. The Cobbler says:

    While the weirdest thing here to me is “kids trying to kill kids over some spooky crap they read”, the second weirdest is “slenderman has an occult religion now”. I mean, I don’t see what’s interesting about horror of either the generic or the occult sort, so all I know about slenderman I heard secondhand from other people who’ve trolled more of the internet than I ever plan to, but last I heard he was a generic bogeyman type figure (well-dressed, tall, skinny, faceless, haunts woods, nothing more to say) about whom somebody made a computer game where, I’m told, you’re in his woods and he gets you eventually (which, again from what I’m told, simply results in the camera going all static — it’s the suddenness that’s startling, I’d imagine). Granted even generic bogeymen are probably related to actual demons to some extent on some level or another (though there’s also the simple fact that humans mostly all fear the same sorts of things instinctively), but I just don’t get the internet’s ability to take a simplistic horror story and make a kid-killing movement out of it. I mean you don’t see kids killing each other to prove anything to or about, say, the giant evil turtle Bowser who’s the villain of the Super Mario Brothers videogames, despite Bowser sporting a pair of devilish horns on his head; but apparently Bowser isn’t all that interesting to the internet, for reasons I can hardly begin to guess at.

    And with my initial nerd reaction of “Wait, what did I miss about this subculture?” out of the way, now for the obligatory parenting rant…

    What kind of parents get their kids to twelve years and not only haven’t got it through to them that believing creepy things you read from anonymous sources isn’t a good idea, but haven’t even got it through to them that friends don’t kill friends? Try the kids as adults? Try the adults, for Pete’s sake. I mean, yeah, try the kids too, but if you think this is serious (and it is), how bad must it be that they were raised with such appalling lack of common sense? Heck, is this even lack of common sense or is it negative common sense? (I’ll leave that one to the quantum physicists or whoever.) Heck, forget how the kids were raised — obviously the parents are stupid, so, whose idea was it to let stupid people have computers? It’s not like we need some sort of political correctness test to determine who the dumb people are, we just need a society where having a job so you can afford these things requires common sense and basic logic. (Think Aristotle’s distinction between “democracy” as in everyone votes and “democracy” as in landholders vote — managing land back then was something more like being the CEO of a small business today, I’d guesstimate; not that I’d want computers taken away from perfectly capable people merely because they’re not CEOs, but he must’ve been closer to the right idea…) …Okay, I don’t even know how to end this rant; I’m young and think I know what’s wrong with the world, including, for what it’s worth, that young people’s ideas of what’s wrong with the world probably shouldn’t be taken as seriously as they are, so please don’t take me too seriously.

  24. Polycarpio says:

    Good rant, Cobbler.

  25. Jerry says:

    re: Polycarpio – “I cannot fathom for the life of me why it’s necessary that a kids’ show include these references.”

    Because the evil one wants our children. Just look at what they are teaching 5 and 6 year olds in many public school systems.

    re: Uxixu – “I definitely wouldn’t blame D&D. That led me closer to Mother Church.”

    Unfortunately, your experience does not appear to be the common one. The exorcists, who have a much broader range of experience, warn sternly about D&D — it is only prudent to heed those warnings.

  26. Suzanne Carl says:

    I’m glad other people mentioned Father Malachi Martin. Hostage to the Devil is a great work, outlining the ideological in-roads of the demonic. How does the demonic make in-roads?

    Through bad theology and other teaching that encourage “free thinking” rather than formed consciences. Think of the crazy words of those who advocate the teachings of Taillihard de Jardin (SP?) and conscious evolution.

    The demonic is also glamorous. We reject the glamor of evil in our baptismal promises. But glamor is pervasive: Women must paint their toes in the summer to wear sandals, men go shirtless to show muscles and avoid tan lines, and there are very few of us who forgo lotion for fear of unsightly dry skin. (I am a victim of this kind of vanity, and am not casting stones.)

    Finally, we daily, as Americans can fall into the demonic. We wish ill on others, or reject them with our thoughts and/or words.

    Our children learn from us. We need to be knowledgeable about the work of personified evil. We need to teach and protect our children from it.

  27. Flavius Hesychius says:

    Here’s the rub: this sort of thing (that is, weird occult ‘stuff’—since there’s no other word to call it) is going to become even more widespread as materialism comes ever closer to being the de facto philosophy of Western culture (if it already isn’t). Many who seek this sort of ‘thing’ do so out of the sense of simultaneous awe and fear they get from reading about eldritch creatures from who-knows-where. The Catholic faith can provide the exact same emotions—Adoration, anyone?—and would gain more than a handful of converts who are finally able to quench their (possibly dangerous) thirst for the supernatural… if only ‘they’ (you know who I mean) would drop this ridiculous idea of ‘being nice’ to everyone and resume real evangelisation.

  28. Uxixu says:

    Possiblym, Jerry. D&D was always rather trite to me since it couldn’t use any of the Tolkien terminology out of legal concerns. The real deal was available but my wont was more towards the science fiction games and both console and computer gaming have largely driven that hobby to near extinction anyway from my pov.

    I think you would find more correlation, if not causation with the general secularization of society in general, particularly in the schools along with the preponderance of divorce and particularly rampant sexuality in the junior high and primary/high school school aged.

  29. Subvet says:

    As far as “The Devil Made ‘Em Do It!” I’d reply: BALONEY!! A few years back there was a kid who killed another by imitating moves from a popular wrestling show. Do we Catholics now fear the evil Satanic minions of televised sports? C’mon, this tragedy is due to raising the kids on “Auto” with a minimum of supervision. It’s part and parcel of our culture, we’re all guilty of it. If you don’t believe that, ask yourself if you look forward to the kids being out of school in a few weeks so you’ll have more time with them? Or do you pray for a short summer filled with activities such as VBS (when did Catholics start imitating Protestants in THAT area anyway?), summer camps spent away from home and other “wholesome” activities that minimize any contact with the “responsible” adults in their family who heave a deep sigh while saying they desperately need a break from parenting? Sorry ladies and gents; parenting is a 24/7 job and blaming board games, videos and television shows when the kids act out is only shirking blame. When we accept and perpetuate those lame-oh excuses we become part of the problem. Children look for guidance, if it isn’t provided by the parents they’ll find it elsewhere. Things such as Dungeons & Dragons, Harry Potter. etc. only influence the kids as far as the parents allow by their absence/neglect. Micromanagement normally gets a very deservedly bad rap, but in the area of child rearing it’s absolutely necessary at times. Now excuse me, my younguns are busy watching “The Animated Rosary For Kids” and I want to use it as a “teaching moment” God’s will be done, may He have mercy upon us all.

  30. aviva meriam says:

    The quote of St. John Paul from the USCCB video resonates: ” once all reference to god has been removed, the meaning of everything else becomes profoundly distorted”. Once anyone is no longer accountable to a Higher Authority (God: not a political authority one can bend or negotiate with), it becomes very easy to engage in “mental yoga” in order to justify or rationalize almost anything.

    As a parent I am profoundly disturbed not only by the cavalier attitude of the parents, but the inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality. That is sick. When our children were young, if they were distressed by the conflict in a fictional story or movie, we stopped, turned the lights on, talked it through and didn’t return to the fiction unless and until they were able to cope. Furthermore, I thought (please someone, correct me if I’m wrong) but the ability to feel empathy must be established within a personality by age six or else it will not occur. When our children were young, we strove not only to teach them skills but also empathy… to understand and think about how others feel. I thought that was part of our jobs as parents. Parenting is hard and much like investing, the sooner one starts teaching emotional and moral skills, the more effective the instruction will be.
    Moreover, we discuss moral and ethical problems (as well as the news) with our children daily. They’re teenagers and they don’t always want to discuss issues with us but that’s irrelevant. Oftentimes we feel like we are under siege from the popular culture due to the misinformation provided from their peers (and sometimes teachers) at school, but since that is their reality, we prefer to actively discuss it, and foster their willingness to ask questions of us then allow them to drift without our input. We think it is our responsibility to discuss these issues now, when they are still in our home, in order to prepare them for when they LEAVE home.
    Its TRULY hard to discuss things like Abortion, Euthanasia, Islamic rulings on Women, Children, Warfare with them so regularly but since they get so much information from their peers, we must engage with them daily.
    The victim, and these perpetrators will remain in my prayers.
    I also will pray that other parents will learn from this, and take a more proactive role in their children’s moral and emotional formation.

  31. The Cobbler says:

    On further reflection, I want to add a couple things to clarify my rant.

    1) Of course, part of parental responsibility in raising kids is teaching them not to play with fire — diabolical or otherwise. It’s not as though if you teach your kids to be good then they can do whatever they want — part of being good is not getting involved in bad things. This is true even if you think most horror stories and fantasy tales and games are harmless pretend (or are harmless as long as they remain pretend) — somewhere there’s a line between telling outlandish campfire stories purely for entertainment (even granting that I don’t understand the appeal of spooky stories myself) and actually getting, well, into the dark things from bad horror stories, and parenting doesn’t make that line go away and make everything ok to get wrapped up in. What responsible parenting does do is teach kids to keep a safe distance from that line: they shouldn’t be getting into diabolical or immoral stuff whether they tell tales by flashlight at night and make up (or even roleplay) really crappy Tolkien fanfiction or not.

    2) On the other hand, and granting all the ritual stuff does sound a lot more diabolical than freaky old “creepy guy stalks and catches you in the woods”, how relevant is it to this case one way or the other whether slenderman is actually demonic? If a creepy guy follows kids around downtown in the dark, and you don’t think of demons, what do you think? Child stalker. If a creepy guy wants collaboration in virgin sacrifice or something and you don’t think of demons, what do you think? Serial killer? (I don’t suppose serial killers tend to cultivate apprentices? I wouldn’t know — profoundly disturbed psychology, much like horror stories, has never struck me as worth learning deeply whether for or against it.) Yeah, the devil is real, and yeah, if you actually go looking for him the worst thing that could happen is that you’d find him (to be exact, the worst thing that could happen is that you’d find him and not know it). But even materialist and atheist parents should be teaching their kids enough common sense not to play with even human fire, so there is really, completely, no excuse here.

  32. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I hate to be really cynical here… but as a former 12 year old, that’s the time when you read a lot of mysteries and a lot of survival nature stories. There’s also a long history of girls teaming up to do nasty stuff to other girls, often ones who are the third wheel in a three girl friendship, and very often girls who think other girls are their friends but have actually presented some kind of “threat” to the others around them. (For example, if several girls have a crush on a guy, but then the guy decides he likes the lowest status girl in the group.)

    So my prediction: two of the “friends” start to hate the third friend for some reason. They think about very nasty things to do, and hit on stabbing her. Very likely, this was taken from a famous case just a few years ago of two high school girls stabbing a third “friend” and leaving her in the woods. Since the high schoolers in the famous case had a hard time concealing their involvement, the two girls decide it would be better to hide out in the woods and pretend that all three have disappeared mysteriously. If they are caught, they make a smoke and mirrors plan to sound crazy, so they don’t have to go to prison.

    Another famous case of girls teaming up for murder is of course the New Zealand girls who murdered their parents.

  33. Flavius Hesychius says:

    Cobbler, (I read your most recent comment as a response to my own—I’m probably wrong, and it’s probably addressed to everyone else, but I’m responding anyway… you know, the shoe fitting and all…)

    I agree completely with you; however, to some parents the definition between acceptable and unacceptable is blurred or even nonexistent. To some parents, slasher films are as acceptable as Bambi. I’m certainly not taking any blame off of these girls. In a perfect world (in which I would be emperor) these girls would have received something much worse—and possibly their parents, too.

    Was there a deficiency in parenting? I have no idea. I was given free-range by my parents due to their nearly continuous absence until I was 18, so I couldn’t tell you if these girls’ parents did something wrong. I’ll use common sense and assume so—but even then with some reservation, as the world, regrettably, tends not to operate according to common sense.

  34. Penny says:

    Today’s mainstream culture seems to set kids up to fail. They are bombarded at school and at home with all sorts of inappropriate messages. Some parents are not really “present” as they try to juggle too many things at once. Too often, the children are the ones that get short changed and are left to their own devices. The problem is children do not have the mental or spiritual strength to navigate the culture on their own. Over time, if not properly supervised, guided, and instructed, people can become desensitized to the suffering of others as the lines between fantasy and reality become blurred and they step step further away from God and are drawn into the instant gratification of the secular world. Generally, though, a single movie or story doesn’t lead to murder or other crimes without some foundation for the act having been established over time. That could be frequent, unsupervised activities or, sadly, mental illness in some cases.

    I’ve seen many children over the years in my 5th grade CCD classes. It is always clear which ones are being fully nurtured, supported, and supervised at home, and which ones aren’t. The difference in their level of understanding, thought processes, and decision-making is pronounced. During a class discussing secrets, one boy told me an unsafe secret was knowing someone had come to school with a knife or gun. His point was that it was a secret you couldn’t tell anyone because if you did, the kid with the knife or gun would go to jail and his life would be ruined. There was no thought for the safety of others. They all need our prayers.

    As for Malachi Martin’s book, I read through about 50 pages and had to put it down. It’s hard to describe and it sounds nuts but just holding the book gave me such a bad feeling – foul, dirty, depressed – and the feeling lingered for hours, sometimes into the next day. It was almost as if just reading it was opening a door that should remain closed. Other books on similar topics never bothered me so I can not explain it. I couldn’t even bring myself to give it away to anyone and I didn’t want to throw it in the trash in case someone would pick it up. Burning was the only solution and I’ve never believed in book burning. This particular copy was an exception.

  35. Flavius Hesychius says:

    After reading another article about this, I have come to the conclusion at least one of the girls is likely mentally ill. Here. The girls is quoted as saying ‘It was weird that I didn’t feel remorse’. As such, parenting is going to have little effect; however, her parents clearly did not spend time around her, or they (or teachers, other adults etc) should have noticed something wasn’t quite right.

  36. The Cobbler says:

    Well, Flavius, I don’t think I had your comments in mind specifically (nor am I necessarily specifically disagreeing with anything said here, so much as trying to add my thoughts on it), but I will say those are very good points. Re. free-range parenting, my wife always says, “There’s a difference between free-range and feral,” meaning that one can give kids freedom to learn self-mastery and space to learn to figure stuff out on their own without abandoning them to do it without any guidance, protection or support at all. I’m not sure how relevant that is in this case, but there it is for what it’s worth. (And then, feral animals get taken in and domesticated by shelters all the time. Ones that are domesticated animals as the species goes, anyway. So if animal analogies are complicated, how much more so people?) The possibility of mental illness certainly throws a monkey wrench into my basic “how on earth do people let this happen” impression. I suspect I’ve run afoul of one of my own pet peeves where people hear of a killing on the news and assume that if we set up the system of society right then it couldn’t have happened, as though we could know everything there is to know about everyone else or as though nobody ever sinned of their own free will. Truthfully, I don’t have enough information about this case to know quite where the blame lies — and that’s probably for the best. As I said earlier, don’t take me too seriously.

    Tell you what — here’s the most sensible idea I’ve had… I’ll say some prayers for these kids and their families before I go to bed tonight. That’s got to be more helpful than anything I could say about it, after all.

  37. Supertradmum says:

    Jerry, thanks for bringing up Harry Potter. Fr. Chad Ripperger states this in one of his talks-paraphrased-J. K Rowling went to witch school. Five demons said in an exorcism that they inspired her to write the books. All the spells are real and up to 60% of the characters are names of demons according to some exorcists.

    I know of one family that had demon infestation from Harry Potter books, games, etc. Took a Mass in the house to get rid of it all and prayers. Do not kid yourselves about the demonic being put into things on purpose.

  38. robtbrown says:

    Supertradmum says:

    Five demons said in an exorcism that they inspired her to write the books.

    Why would anyone believe what they say?

  39. majuscule says:

    I fear the parents were not a good example for the one girl at any rate. This article from the Daily Mail has some disturbing (to me) images from the father’s Instagram account. Both the mother and father were into dark things.

  40. Toronto AU Catholic says:

    marytoo – yes, what a pain – thinking you can watch a “family” oriented movie and then BAM, you get some nasty image. Adam Sandler has made a couple of really good, heart-felt movies, and then some…not so much. It’s maddening.

    Supertradmum and others on Harry Potter – deceptive, with no moral rooting like The Lord of the Rings. I finished reading the Tolkien books to my oldest boys a couple of years ago, and they really got the idea of humble sacrifice for others in what Frodo Baggins did. “The least shall be the greatest” (That is almost literally what they said, perhaps unknowingly quoting our Lord). But what little I’ve seen of Harry Potter is spiritually empty.

    Our distant relatives know first-hand of satanic hatred towards someone who turned away from the Church and was killed. The Holy Scriptures themselves warn of what powers demons have – that is one area not worth exploring.

    An acquaintance of ours who converted to Catholicism had a very bad series of demonic attacks afterward, and he confirms his visualization of the Accuser as being unable to bend his knees in humility. Co-incidence does not prove caustion, but the Slender Man images really disturb me. from that perspective.

    I’ve had a very slight encounter with unclean spirits and wish no more. I know every unclean spirit can mop the floor with me. Only our Lord’s strength and merits keep me on the right path.

  41. Phil_NL says:

    Sorry to say, but confusion reigns supreme – also in this thread. Allow me to offer 2c that might set a few things straight.

    Firstly, this isn’t about parents monitoring what their kids see or do on the internet. Of course, parents would be well advised to keep an eye on that. But don’t think for a second one can weed out evil or prevent your children ever coming into contact with it. That is impossible, and pretty much always has been impossible. That’s why we’re armed with a conscience.

    The real duty is not to prevent evil from ever touching your kids – you can’t, the kids are in the world, as are you, and the world contains evil. Your duty is to arm them with the knowledge of right and wrong, with a conscience. That a young child, even a 12 year old, might partially live in a fanatsy world is a given (though 12 is perhaps a bit on the tail end for that, but still). But even a 12 year old, even a 5 or 6 year old, can and should be taught that certain things are wrong, period. Harming others, except in self defense, should be on or near the top of that list.

    First conclusion is therefore: it isn’t that the parents weren’t monitoring the internet usage of their kids enough, they weren’t giving them strong enough consciences.

    Second point is that there is no mileage in seeing demonic activity absolutely everywhere, especially in entertainment. There might be, and it might prey on those who are weak, but there are litterally millions of D &D players, Harry Potter fans and WoW subscribers (and probably over a million that fall in all 3 categories) who are good, upstanding citizens. Children recognize that too, and will throw fantasy sauces over their play anyway. Likewise, any problems aren’t in the packaging. Problems arise when people cannot distinguish between play and reality anymore (ironically, kids tend to be better at that then adults in some senses) and at the same time are not equipped with warning lights that tell them that certain real-life action are plain wrong. Again, that’s where a conscience comes in. (And civil law; even if these girls would somehow have had no sense of right and wrong at all, they surely also didn’t have any sense of consequences. Like a life in jail. Something you can also teach a 12 year old).

    Now should these girls all have been raised well, I’m not discounting the possibility of something more sinister, but I’d wager that for each case where that is so, there are 100 or more where there is simply the absence of a formed conscience. Which is our job to fix, in our families, rather than trying to find some external cause.

  42. Suzanne Carl says:

    Penny, I understand your reaction to Hostage to the Devil. I’ve had similar reactions to other books on exorcism. Perhaps it was the way in which the actual physical book had been used the caused the reaction. Also, unnatural curiosity can cause problems in this area.

    As for those who are skeptical of demonic influence, demons and their intervention in our lives are as real as the help of our guardian angels. We no longer really teach about the miraculous, so the magical gains a following in the empty space left behind.

  43. aviva meriam says:


  44. KevinSymonds says:

    @SuperTradMum: Exorcists elicit information from demons during exorcisms. It is a common occurrence, especially to get the name of the demon so it can be used in the exorcism.

    I do not know about the merits of the specific claim of demons inspiring Rowling, but otherwise it is not uncommon to elicit information.

    One must, however, be careful not to give too much credence to what the demons say and in that, I would question whoever publicized the HP/demons claim.

  45. StJude says:

    This story is so disturbing.
    My heart goes out to parents of young kids in todays world. My son is only 21 but I can see a huge difference in what he was exposed to and what young kids are today.

  46. Supertradmum says:

    To all, I gave my sources-and the primary one is Fr. Chad Ripperger, at this time, the foremost expert exorcist in the United States who trains exorcists from dioceses all over America and has given talks in Europe as well.

    I do not make up or use false or spurious sources. Besides, Fr. Ripperger’s information has been corroborated by other priests I know in the field, one I exorcist I have known for 45 years.

    If people want to slander or doubt the fssps and other excellent priests, so be it. But, I do not quote junk.

  47. Supertradmum says:

    sorry for typos and errors-my eyes are not healing properly after the operations and I have an appt. on Friday…not consistent, however. Still you all can figure out the message.

  48. Imrahil says:

    On the Harry Potter topic,

    I trust the two safe principles that 1. rumours are not equivalent to truths and 2. demons are known to be liars.

    I for one don’t think you need to make more of Harry Potter than just very good popular literature written by an Anglican of the present day.

    Pretty much all of the actually problematic parts, such as an at least unclear stand on euthanasia and to a degree on doing evil that good may come of it (in the person of Snape), some prejudices against Catholicism (in the naming of “Pius Thicknesse” and perhaps, though that is less clear, “Cornelius ‘Corny’ Fudge”, it being a Roman name), or declaring without basis in the narrative other than celibacy that Albus Dumbledore is homosexual (though that has been defended from an orthodox Christian perspective, – pretty much all of that can be explained that the author is simply an Anglican of today.

    An in my view, however, necessary discussion of the series’ merits from a Catholic background is, at least around here, somewhat obfuscated by a rather unhelpful book from a charming and orthodox (champion of orthodoxy, even) lady, Gabriele Kuby, who just happened to have no idea of the subject that she was writing about – judging from the citations (and assuming that if a book contains a valuable insight, it would somewhere get cited too, not only blatantly avoidable misunderstandings).

    Michael O’Brien has more things to say, or the rumour (to be investigated, but seems more credible than the one above) that people in countries struggling more than we do with occult cults don’t want to read it.

    Certainly, also, the efforts of Harry Potter apologetes to throw all sorts of moral worthfulness into the story were too much. It has neither the allegoricism of a C. S. Lewis nor the deepness of Tolkien – or, in fact, the childlike suggesting-at-the-surface deepness of Michael Ende or Otfried Preußler. It’s an adventure story, period.

    But all things with caution, even the caution. We oughtn’t always shun any new practice, entertainment, etc., for want of a real moral argument, as “possibly dangerous” only to see the criticism slow down over the years because after all anyone does it, and there’s indeed nothing directly wrong with it. (Such as the TV critics which even I still remember from my youth, who have quietly started to criticize the mobilephone and internet instead, and by now have stopped to criticize the mobilephone and criticize the smartphone – or so it seems.)

  49. Imrahil says:

    Dear Supertradmum,

    I read your last comment just now, but forgive me that I still wonder why our beloved exorcists, God help them and bless them, would make public anything that they heard from a demon.

  50. CrimsonCatholic says:

    @Supertradmum-If that is the case, then you must agree that Tolkien and C.S. Lewis fantasy books should not be read? Both have references to magic and beasts of Greek and Norse mythology, which are pagan and demonic in nature.

  51. Marissa says:

    I resent that a mainstream, vanilla kids TV show such as “The Wiggles” contains a surprising number of occult references.

    You’d be surprised! I check out the website Vigilant Citizen sometimes. It can be a little goofy, but it’s opened by eyes to the creepy occult/Illuminati bombardment that’s occurring with more frequency than I ever thought before. I’m finally starting to see this stuff on my own.

    For instance, I’ve been working a second job lately where a TV is tuned to TNT and they’ve been constantly showing the series “Falling Skies”. It looked like a crappy science fiction show, but something about it “called” to me. So I started looking into it: the main character is Tom MASON, his enemy is a terrible villain named John POPE and Mr. Mason is the leader of the fighting force 2ND MASS (named after the 2nd Massachusetts Regiment). There are other things: a character named Lourdes (she turns out to an evil traitor to the 2nd Mass), Acton Armory, JFK High School, etc. Lots of Catholic references. I find it difficult to consider this a coincidence.

  52. A.D. says:

    Is anyone else disturbed that these children have been charged as adults and named for all to know? Both of these girls are severely disturbed and culpable to one degree or another, but they are children, barely at the age where their minds should start to expand beyond their own little world. What “adult” would believe this character real? Yet they obviously did (children) and acted on it (severely disturbed). Can they be salvaged? After being publically named and trashed by the media? It would have been sufficient to try them in Juvenile Court for this serious crime and provide the long-term help necessary to salvage their minds and souls.

  53. mrshopey says:

    My older child (out of house) likes listening to the stories as they are some of the best scary stories in her mind.
    She is aware they are fiction, unlike some younger ones.
    I guess with anything, your imagination can get the best of you.
    Yes, we should pay attention to what they are being influenced by.
    I cannot fathom young children doing this. I just can’t comprehend it.

  54. Unwilling says:

    It is far from unknown for parents to encourage their children to read/see dangerous books.
    The damage that can be done to young minds by exposure to books full of wonders is inestimable.
    Fortunately, our schoold and teachers are vigilant to catch, capture, and confiscate such material.
    You may find it difficult to believe, but a mother recently allowed her 8-yr-old son to go to school with a Bible!

  55. Matt R says:

    Why would anything believe what a demon says? Well, because demons have preternatural ability, and it’s worth taking a moment to consider that maybe, just maybe they are telling the truth about something we don’t want to be wrong about. They are still angels, as disgusting and evil as they are in their permanently fallen state. Demons are prideful, and it would seem to me (correct me if I am wrong, Supertradmum) that a demon would relish in souls being brought close to Satan through something such as Harry Potter. And I don’t know what to think about Harry Potter…I’m just throwing that out there for everyone who dismisses Fr. Ripperger’s account (which is rather foolish, I think: he knows his stuff).

  56. Imrahil says:

    Dear Matt R,

    maybe, just maybe they are telling the truth and this is precisely the point. Even by pure logic, the information gained by someone saying what may or may not be the truth is precisely zero. In this case, more importantly, they’re smart, and always willing to seduce us. What intentions could they be having even if it is the truth they are saying noone may know.

    For instance… let me stray a bit from the topic… God gave clothes to men to hide their naked body after the Fall. According to the spiritual sense interpreted by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (yes, a Protestant, but what he says makes sense), this means that keeping secrets secret, e. g. not telling a truth about a person that would ruin her name, some amount of letting sleeping dogs lie, is willed by God as some remedy, small as it is, against the effects of the Fall. I can imagine the Devil to be very willing to tell disgusting truths about people, of which he has knowledge. End OT.

    Exorcists, I am told, sometimes have to ask them questions as part of their job; I don’t know that more precisely and frankly I don’t want to know. That said, I do know the basic rule of conduct is “never listen to a demon”, and how an exorcist might disclose such-like information to the public (!) is, forgive me, beyond me.

    Slightly OT again: Traditionally, exorcists quite logically prefer seclusion. Some exorcists have felt the need, these days, to go into the public, to combat the idea that there is either no preternatural world at all, or no malicious fallen angels. But it is no secret that they are sometimes less than apt for the job, by which I do not mean Fr Ripperger but the most prominent of them, Fr Amorth (see here a page by Dr Peters on his public statements: ). End OT.

    I’m quite favorable to a learned discussion about occult influences and morality in Harry Potter; I think suchlike is somewhat lacking still. But it cannot only be about, e. g., subscribing to anything Gabriele Kuby wrote, even if it is obviously the result of either blatant misunderstanding or a determination to excoriate, or even problematic in Catholic doctrine itself*, just because she is the champion of our party. [* Such as the assertion that a witch cannot love. A witch is a sinner, but not (yet) in hell, and sinners can love.]

    And we should also remember: caution where caution is due! But if the caution should be judged undue but still remain in place, then Christians have denied themselves innocent fun, and in the world gained once again the reputation of spoilsports and zealots and perhaps – which is worse – as willing to cheer to anybody who shares in the attack no matter whether what he says makes sense…

    then that is not ideal either.
    (And in necessity, the Devil eats flies, as the proverb goes: the Devil will with delight bring even that little damage on Christianity if he can’t get anything better.)
    On the other hand, as I said, caution where caution is due.

  57. Some people are saying we shouldn’t believe a demon’s admission to having inspired Harry Potter because we shouldn’t believe what demons say. Yes, demons are liars; but is this not selective skepticism, based on a dislike of the message? An exorcist, using the power of Holy Orders and the authority of the Church, can compel demons to speak the truth. Christ Himself did that: we have examples in Scripture of Christ putting a question to the demons and getting a response that He did not contradict (“We are legion”), and of demons testifying that He is the Son of God. We also have examples from the lives of the saints. Read St. Louis de Montfort for accounts of St. Dominic compelling demons to testify to their fear of Mary and her power to snatch souls from their grip. Is anyone prepared to say that we should not believe in Jesus as the Son of God, or in His Mother’s power over the forces of hell, just because demons said it?

    Given the immense popularity of Harry Potter, it seems as if skepticism would be more in order if the demons said they didn’t inspire the stories.

  58. Imrahil says:

    Demons are liars; but is this not selective skepticism, based on a dislike of the message?

    No, it isn’t.

    It is general skepticim, based on the principle never to listen to a demon. The morality, and possibility of occult influences, in Harry Potter must be established using our reason without proof-quoting sources from – down below, insert expletive, the very idea is appalling!

    Is anyone prepared to say that we should not believe in Jesus as the Son of God, or in His Mother’s power over the forces of hell, just because demons said it?

    Our Lord actually treated that very matter: Whenever the demons in the Bible say that Jesus is the Christ, he forbids them to speak about it. (Noone suggested that everything a demon says is factually false.)

    [Personally, I consider the Harry Potter books innocent of the specific charge of occultism (and a nice-read for an adult plus good at teaching English to a foreigner). That is not the only issue, though: I’d, for instance, say that with whatever means, but by all appearance with natural means, they can really really scare children. Whether the attitudes Mrs Rowling is conveying are good is yet another question, etc.]

  59. Imrahil says:

    That comment should have been preceded by a “Dear Anita Moore”, and the first paragraph is a citation.

  60. Mike says:

    Given the immense popularity of Harry Potter, it seems as if skepticism would be more in order if the demons said they didn’t inspire the stories.
    Why would they have to go to such trouble? They have the mainstream media and politically correct putative Catholics to do their dirty work for them, if it comes to that.

    I’m reminded of a remark I heard from a fellow chorister after concerted pressure abetted by “spirit of Vatican II” modernists got our parish’s Gregorian choir shut down last February. “I feel something very dark here,” he said as we stood in the choir loft. Well, I thought, where else would the Devil seek to make an attack but among worshipers in the pews? He already owns the supermarket and the airwaves.

    Mock the forces of evil all you like, but better to invoke the aid of St. Michael.

  61. Susan G says:

    I was a fan of the Harry Potter series for years. Then I was listening to a Scott Hahn CD and heard that the word covenant is also referred to as “to seven one’s self”. And it all started to sink in… a friend and I spent several hours before we realized why it wasn’t just similar to the story of Christ- it’s a mockery in which the Satan character triumphs. “I AM “Lord” Voldemort”… The 7 horcruxes Voldemort made… The types of horcruxes match up quite eerily in some way with each sacrament and the houses with the 4 evangelists. The Jewish people as the pure bloods and the Gentiles as the rest. The Jesus character- Voldemort- is ultimately defeated by the Satan character- Harry. It was terrifying to realize how involved the links were- far too deeply embedded in the books for JK Rowling to have intended it.

  62. mrshopey says:

    I think the appeal, at least for mine, is being scared and telling scary stories. If I remember correctly, the screen displays a camp fire while telling it.
    I am not looking to be scared as I am aware of what is going on in govt, etc. Maybe that is the difference. Sometimes I have to turn off the news.

  63. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Actually, I would say that Voldemort is the Antichrist character (with the seven horcruxes as seven heads, and with his false immortality contrasted to true immortality in Christ), and Harry is the Christian character. Jesus is the true Lamb Who was slain and lived again because of love; we live forever in Him; and the Beast is just a pathetic copy with His pathetic promises of immortality and power. Christians are all marked on the forehead (with chrism and the Cross) and on the hand (among another anointings and exorcisms), and Antichrist’s marks are just a pale copy of that.

    St. Beatus of Liebana (following his patristic sources) goes into a fair amount of detail on this point.

  64. Suburbanbanshee says:

    “and the Beast is just a pathetic copy with his pathetic promises, whereas God really gives us immortality and power.”

  65. Suburbanbanshee says:

    And of course demons would lie about stories and artists. Demons aren’t creative, whereas we were made in God’s image and are able to sub-create. Just as they hate and fear human fertility, they hate and fear fertile minds.

  66. Imrahil says:

    Dear Banshee,

    whatever about pale copies of the Antichrist, Mrs Rowling makes it very clear that Harry’s mark on the forehead is explicitly a symbol of evil – it is in fact the emblem of his being possessed (to use this word for simplification).

    (Painting children with it as done in fandom is thus a mistake.)

  67. Imrahil says:

    A rather balanced view I kind-of totally agree with is given here:

    (I found that in an old thread in here.)

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