Ken Korczak: I want to tell you about a bizarre night many years ago when I accidentally found myself at a gathering of Satan worshippers. It was one of the freakiest nights of my life -- and I swear this story is 100 percent true. It happened about 27 years ago. I was a young man of 19 or 20, and I was out partying with some friends. We were at a keg party at someone?s cabin in a remote corner of northern Minnesota. For the record, in those days, I was a total nondrinker, but I didn?t mind hanging out with my pals who were swilling down beer like the Apocalypse was scheduled for the next morning. One of my buddies, whom I?ll call Sparky, suggested we go to another party he heard about about 20 miles away -- in an even more remote location of the northern woods near the Canadian border. So I jumped into the car with him and another friend, whom I?ll call Bucky. I wasn?t driving, despite being the only one sober. Ah, youth.
It was a dark night. The stars and moon were obscured by moldy low clouds. As we drove through the woods, the pine trees which hugged closely to either side of the rode looked like a jagged wall of shadowy sentinels guarding the exit ramp to Hell. We eventually turned up a long, narrow graveled driveway that opened into a wide yard of a place that had once been a small country church. The church was an ancient structure made of locally quarried granite stone. But it was no longer a church. Someone had clearly converted it into a home. There was a large campfire burning, almost a bonfire, out in the front yard. I immediately knew something weird was going on because around the fire were sitting about 15 people dressed in Druid-style hooded robes. I could see other shadowy figures milling about in the yard, moving in and out of the flickering firelight.
We got out of the car. Sparky and Bucky were totally baked. They had been slamming whisky shots on the ride over. We walked toward the hooded people around the campfire, and a I felt a swarm of cold spiders run up and down my spine because the hooded figures were chanting in some strange language while rocking back and fourth. My first thought was: ?Let?s get out of here.? But my two drunk friends were already approaching the circle of chanters -- and to my consternation -- Bucky went up to them and started slapping them on the backs of their heads!
I expected immediate trouble, but to my amazement, not a single one of the robed figures reacted an iota to being slapped, and quite hard, on the back of the head. They just looked into the fire as if they were oblivious to all else. I rushed over to Bucky and pulled on his arm to get him away from the group. ?Bucky!? I said. ?What the hell are you doing? You?re going to get us killed out here! Let?s get out of here!? His response to me was something along the lines of ?go (bleep) yourself!? In the meantime, Sparky seemed to have suddenly disappeared into the night. I asked Bucky: ?Where?s Sparky? He has the car keys!? Bucky?s response was: ?I don?t give a damn! Let?s go check out the house.?
As we walked closer to the house, the dancing firelight revealed a large white cross hung upside down above the front door. I thought to myself: ?Oh come on! Is this really happening? An inverted cross? Hooded zombies chanting around a fire? It?s all so clichÃ±K33;? Of course, everyone has heard about all these aspects of devil worship, but to me, it always seemed like something out of a crummy B-horror movie. But here I was on a black night in the middle of nowhere about to enter a converted church adorned with the symbol of Satan. Once again, I want to remind my readers, I am not making even the smallest detail of this.
Listen: The last thing I wanted to do was enter that house! But Bucky had already staggered in ahead of me. I decided to follow, mostly because I hoped that Sparky had gone in there. I wanted to find him, get his car keys and get the hell out of there! Walking though those front doors was not easy. It was unnervingly dark inside. All I could see were vague outlines of what I assumed were various pieces of furniture and whatnot. But there was a dim rectangular outline of light coming from a closed door kitty-corner to my right. My idiot friend Bucky headed straight for it. I saw him open the door and plunge down the stairs which led to a basement. Against my better judgment, I followed.
Down the in the basement was a large empty room illuminated by hundreds of candles. A set of chairs were circled in the middle of the room, and sitting on each chair was an incredibly obese woman. Some of the women were just basically fat, but about half of them were enormous. Bucky had already pulled up a chair and joined this ?round of mounds.? He was looking around and laughing. He was hurling insults at the women, making extremely crude references to their weight. Some of the women were wearing robes, but others were wearing normal clothing. None of whom seemed to mind Bucky's long string of fat jokes and extremely corse insults, which I can't repeat here. In fact, they seemed delighted at the arrival of Bucky, who was too drunk to be really coherent about anything. They all smiled broadly and stared at Bucky the way a cobra might eye a helpless frog. The women sitting next to him put their hammy, fleshy hands on Bucky?s arms and shoulders and started rubbing his chest. This only made Bucky laugh. Then he got up and said something like, "I can see why you guys might be hungry for a man!" Of course, I am giving only a mild version of what Bucky was really saying, but let's just say his comments would not normally be heard inside a church -- well, maybe in a church with an inverted cross hung over it, but you know what I mean.
I had heard enough. I had seen enough. I walked up briskly, grabbed Bucky very roughly by his shirt collar and dragged him rudely away from the group and back up the stairs. Thankfully, none of the women followed. They just watched and laughed as I dragged Bucky out. I hustled Bucky up the stairs and out the door. I was extremely thankful to be back outside. I gave Bucky a rough shove sending him sprawling to the ground. I resisted an urge to kick him in the ribs as he lay there, laughing like an idiot. Instead, I stood over him and shouted: ?Dammit -- let?s find Sparky and get the (expletive) hell out of here!?
It was clear Bucky was no help to me, so I started looking around for Sparky. As I looked back toward the group of chanters around the fire -- and was totally amazed at what I saw next!
NEXT COLUMN: KEN?S NIGHT WITH THE DEVIL WORSHIPERS GETS MUCH WEIRDER!