I performed my first exorcism at the age of twenty. I was still living with my parents. My best friend, Aurvandil, and his lover were living in a strange, half-underground two-but-really-one bedroom apartment in the biggest apartment complex of our hometown. They had a ghost.
They lived with the ghost fairly amiably for most of the year. He’d slam the cabinets closed if they left them open, slam the sliding shower door open if they left it closed, and a few other things I can’t now recall. He was easy to appease, and Aurvandil was (and is) a superstitious sort, so he let it be … until things went awry.
We never figured out what set the ghost off. Aurvandil was sitting in his easy chair watching television, his lover was laying on the couch with her book. He kept his “water pipe” by the chair, invisible from most angles, beside an end table where the ash tray and the TV remote lived. Out of nowhere there’s a loud, glassy, CRACK, and the smell of bong water fills the room. The ash tray has moved itself from the center of the end table to the center of the bong, which is now laying shattered in a pool of resinated water.
I was the only witch he knew. Of course he called me.
I brought over my Tarot deck, cast a circle, burned some mugwort, and asked the ghost what was wrong. It didn’t answer so much as give me the finger. The ghost was mad, it wouldn’t say why, and it was pretty hostile.
I got scared. Aurvandil got scared. So I recast the circle, and pushed it to the edges of the house. I pushed the ghost out with the circle, and anchored the circle to the walls.
No more banging shower door. No more slamming cabinets. No more exploding paraphernalia.
Aurvandil did tell me that he could sometimes hear knocking on the walls … coming from the underground side in the office-sized second bedroom.
We were young and dumb, and if I had it to do over I’d do it differently … but that’s beside the point. We were both very pleased with the results at the time. Looking back, though, I wonder what I might have done differently. I know things now that I didn’t know then, but I think if I’d approached the problem differently, there might have been a more peaceable resolution.