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[Happy pre-Halloween! All week long the Mercury has been publishing classic tales of local Halloween horror from our archives, as well as brand spankin’ new (and creeeeepy) pieces… in this one, writer Santi Elijah Holley tags along on an actual local exorcism.—eds]
On an unseasonably warm Saturday morning, Archbishop James Cloud and I meet at a Starbucks in Bethany, a small suburb north of Beaverton. Bishop Cloud wears a clerical collar, with a crucifix hanging from a golden chain around his neck. He is in his mid-40s, has a playful smile, and could otherwise be mistaken for the dungeon master of a local D&D group. But we’re not here to play games. In less than an hour, I’ll be accompanying Bishop Cloud a half-mile down the road to watch him perform a home exorcism.
Finishing our coffee, I ask Bishop Cloud what to expect. It’s my first exorcism, after all, and I don’t know the protocol.
“If you have a faith, pray,” he tells me. “Get yourself centered, ready to rock, because if you go in unarmored and without faith, you can be attacked, as retribution for what I’m going to be doing. It can get scary.”
I nod solemnly. I wonder if my faith is sufficient. I can’t remember the last time I attended church, and lately my faith has been more like acid reflux—stronger some days than others. Nevertheless, I do what I can to center myself, to get ready to rock. I ask Bishop Cloud if he expects much resistance or struggle during today’s exorcism. He explains that the dark entities, such as the ones we might soon encounter, respond only to force. Occasionally they put up a hell of a fight.
“I’m not there as a negotiator,” he says. “I’m not there as, ‘Hey, I’m your buddy, let’s have a nice conversation.’ I’m there to kick ass and take names. I’m there as a soldier. I’m going into battle. And, by God, I ain’t giving them any quarter.
“I like a good fight,” he continues with a laugh. “Bring it, son. Let’s do this. Let’s get it on like Donkey Kong.”