I subsidized my time in Salvador by working at a youth hostel. Work resembled a Pitbull song and every night brought a new cast of travelers from around the world who there on vacation. Most nights I hung out with whoever was staying at the hostel, with the exception of Fridays. I don’t bro out at bars with the guys and typically went to the lighthouse to watch the sunset with my girlfriend at the time. She worked late one night, so I went alone and explored a new part of the city.
I enjoy seeing new cathedrals and churches, so when I saw a large one with the lights on I went in. I sat in the back and tried not to draw attention to myself. After about two minutes I saw the rest of the crowd walking towards the front and a women in the aisle motioned for me to come forward. I wasn't sure what was going on, but it looked like a weird time so I followed the group towards the front. We then stood in a line facing the stage. Three pastors came to the crowd and started barking commands at a man. The pastors put their hands on the man's head and started yelling and shaking their hands. I stood and wondered what was going on when they finished with him and a pastor walked to me. He was much friendlier with me than he was with the first man. After a minute of talking, he put his hands on my head and started chanting. At the end of each sentence he chanted OUT or NOW and would throw his hands up. This only lasted around two minutes and then he looked at me, smiled, and walked to another person.
I figured they were done with me, so I kept watching the others with morbid fascination. After about five minutes another man came up to me and put his hands on my head. I tried to explain to him that another man had already exorcised me but my Portuguese was poor and he wasn’t really listening anyways so I got another one. This one went a little quicker and I was happy when his chanting and yelling was done and he went to another sucker. I considered leaving at this point but it seemed rude to interrupt. When in Rome…
After another 10 minutes a third man came up to me, but this time I was able to keep his hands off of me. He gave me a disappointed look and then walked up to the pulpit. At this point everyone had been de-demonized... or so we thought. The three pastors walked to the front and summoned one last person to the front. He looked like a Latino Gomer Pyle, with the same dead eyes. The head pastor grabbed Gomer’s head firmly while Gomer bent down and did a loud combination of growls and grunts while shaking his body violently. Gomer looked like a snake being picked up by its tail. I was trying not to smile, but c’mon now. Luckily, I was able to hold back laughter and instead just sounded like I had a slight cough.
At this point keyboard music started that sounded like an offkey combination of the The X Files
themes. The woman who had greeted me at the door now approached me again and told me to take my shoes off and walk to the red carpet in the middle of the room. Enough. I said that I had work. She never touched me, but stood in my way while trying to convince me to stay. She wasn't pleased with my decision to leave before the grand finale. As I got closer to the door, her mood shifted and she smiled as she tried to convince me to stay. This time I wasn’t having it. High time had arrived to wander around the neighborhood and hope not to get robbed.
While I personally think that the night was a waste, I don’t feel particularly possessed, so maybe the joke’s on me.