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Monday, February 20, 2023

Something About Sanitizing In A Church

Caveat subscriptor (sort of).

I found some notes someone shared with us years ago regarding hiding objects in churches, cathedrals, or other holy locations as a means of disinfection. The notes cited a few examples, including the whistle Professor Parkins finds in the Templars church and the lamia within in the Cathedral of Southminster, as described in the M.R. James stories "Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad" and "An Episode of Cathedral History" respectively. The notes compared the acts in these stories with someone hiding the ushabti in the basement of St. Michael's Church in The Curse of the Blue Figurine (1983):
Unsavory characters were buried in the north side of the churchyard, the ghost-calling whistle is sealed in the wall of the Templar round church, and a lamia is hidden within a tomb surrounded by an altar and pulpit. Is the theory to render the objects neutral or balance out their evil influence by putting them in a church? Father Baart's ushabti contaminates the church - or does it? It can manifest some spiders, and Baart can materialize in the church, but that doesn't necessarily mean the church is contaminated. Professor Childermass says someone put the figurine in the church basement for safekeeping. The lamia is still active within its tomb, only leaving the cathedral when the pulpit surrounding it is taken down. So I guess the pulpit is even doing some good guarding it. Still, I can't help thinking sticking the evil in a church is not very helpful. Wouldn't it be more natural to stick it somewhere way out of the way of civilization, then barricade it a bit? This seems a bit more fair or neutral. Everybody gets their own territory. But the good-aligned clerics in these books seem to want to imprison or guard evil objects more closely and don't seem to fear being around them. 
This can't help but remind me of countless relics stored in churches worldwide, but those aren't necessarily evil, are they? Unless so-and-so's nose was cursed or there was something amiss with Saint Poynter's hair. 

Let us not be silly.

Are there other historical examples of such an activity? 

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