“You’re never going to guess what the big story was on the CBC this morning,” my wife says to me.

“Missile failure in North Korea?”

“No…. It’s some service we don’t have in Saskatchewan and, horror of horrors, you have to go to Calgary to get.”

“Brain surgeons?”


“Well, some health thing then.”

“No… Oh wait. I guess it is,” she says. Then the big reveal: “Exorcism!”


“It’s true. There are no exorcists in Saskatchewan and people are all in a huff about it.”

And sure enough. There it is, top story on the CBC Sask website. “Exorcism expertise sought after Saskatoon ‘possession.’

Clearly, CBC failed to eat its research Wheaties this morning because if they had they’d know there is a shit ton of people in this province who can sort out the possession problem.

Me, for instance.

No. Seriously. I’m totally “qualified” to deal with demonic possession. Oh sure, my “credentials” (an MA in English Lit) are always accompanied by ironic quotey marks, but I reckon for an ailment that is always reported in the media along with liberal use of ironic quotey marks, I can be your Max Von Sydow just as easily as the next guy.

And what would I do in my official capacity of Saskatchewan Exorcist Laureate? Why, the obvious thing. Send these poor “demonically-possessed” individuals to see someone I like to call “a doctor.” Preferably, someone with a specialization in psychiatry and a PhD in Coping with Philosophical Malarkey in a More a Sympathetic Way than I Can.

Oh, I know, the usual defense of exorcism runs along the lines of, “But if the person truly believes they’re possessed by a demon, then maybe the only way to help them is through religious ritual.”

Nonsense. You don’t cope with an illness by humouring the afflicted person. You find out what’s wrong with them — for reals — and try to fix that. For instance, there was this time a couple years ago where I was convinced I was having a heart attack so I went in to the doctor and he ran a battery of tests and gave me a clean bill of health.

“What have you been doing the last couple days,” he asks me.

“Nothing. Um. Trimming trees.”

Turns out, that was my problem. That I’d been using muscles that I probably hadn’t since high school and they got really freaking sore. And I’m really glad the doctor checked that instead of just cutting my chest open because he’d taken my word for it when I said, “Doc, my chest kind of hurts. Clearly, I’m having a heart attack!”

The upshot of all this is, CBC, what the hell? In your online story (can’t speak to the Morning Edition story), you don’t even speak to one doctor or scientist who can tell you, demonic possession: doesn’t exist. That seems a little shoddy, don’t you think?

Of course, if you had, then you wouldn’t have got to run the usual, “Oh, poor hard done by Saskatchewan” story you love so much.