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A Charming Little Book

In 1972, Zondervan Books (the Bible people) published a paperback entitled Escape From Witchcraft.   It is written in the first person by a young girl named Roberta Blankenship.   It is a classic example of Christian ignorance about witches and witchcraft; in every possible way, it hews to the "official party line."

The foreword starts out like this:

Witches are for Halloween.   Or for superstitious primitives in seventeenth century Salem.   That seems to be the "modern" outlook   -   sophisticated skepticism and a knowing smile when it comes to witchcraft.

And yet Time's recent cover story would indicate that witchcraft is not a thing of the past.   Satan is not dead ...

Yes, folks, in this book, witchcraft is casually equated with Satanism (of course, everybody knows that they're the same thing).   And everybody knows that witchcraft is something evil that you have to escape from.

Ms. Blankenship, who was born around 1950, tells of her parents divorcing when she was five, and of an abusive stepfather who beats up her mother on a regular basis.   In the sixth grade, she begins writing horror stories.

Later on, she becomes popular with her schoolgirl chums when they discover that she can conduct seances at their slumber parties.   But unfortunately, her powers are too convincing, and the girls start to be afraid of her.   They turn on her, and she loses her popularity.

About this time, she begins hearing strange voices.   She becomes enraged with a stranger who accosts her one night as she walks home.   Here is her description of what happens after she gets home that night:

I dressed myself in black, cursing like a mad woman.   "He will die for that.   I'll destroy him.   He'll suck the wrath of hell!"   I ran around the house chanting, "Give me power.   Draw it up out of my soul from the very roots of hell."

Suddenly I fell on my knees.   Realization poured over me.   The powers that I had thought were my own gifts were really the devious tricks of the devil.   Tricks used to trap me.   My powers were produced by and rooted in evil.   For almost three years I had blindly claimed these powers as my own, never realizing whose puppet I had become.

The sound of thunder echoed within the walls of my mind and a voice crackled, "You stupid fool.   Where do you think you got your power from?"   It laughed.   "Not yourself."   And laughed again.   "I'm not through with you."

I screamed aloud, hoping I could hear my own voice above the other.   "I'm crazy.   I'm crazy.   Kill me, I'm crazy."   I ran to the kitchen and grabbed a butcher knife, ready to slash my wrists.

Suddenly I froze as the voice continued, "I'm not through with you.   You've just begun.   So do as I say."   And the next thing I knew, I, Roberta Blankenship, bowed down on my knees, raised my arms into the air, and said, "Satan, you are my master and my prince.   Use me as you will.   I am yours."

With that I fell flat on the floor and cried, "The devil is real."

She blames Satan for these delusions.   And apparently Satan speaks in the same choppy, broken-sentence style in which Ms. Blankenship writes.

Exactly halfway through the book, she and a friend find themselves at a Youth for Christ rally where "an extremely attractive young man" convinces the two girls that they're going to hell when they die.   About this time, she learns "that there were no people with special powers of their own to reach the supernatural.   They were all weak people who drew from an unknown source of power, admitting that they were not satisfied with their lives.   Weak people who drew from resources more powerful than the earth's gravity   -   Satan's resources."

The book shows a troubled teenager who, at a time when she has lost all her friends, begins hearing the voice of Satan.   She doesn't need Jesus   -   she needs a psychiatrist!

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