There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
A teenager with a Ouija board sets the furniture flying, words appear on the child’s flesh, seizures fling her body around, and she spews at priests. Neither William Peter Blatty, author of the novel The Exorcist, nor William Friedkin, director of the 1973 movie, made these things up. They read them in 1949 news accounts of the seeming possession of a 13-year-old boy in Mount Rainier and the two exorcisms performed on him. In the Grip of Evil is a Discovery Channel documentary on the events, as told by talking heads, including a priest who was at the second exorcism, Friedkin, and a psychiatrist whose attempts to explain the phenomena actually bolster the Catholics’ case. When she says that the bloody words on the boy’s body could have been caused by a skin condition”angioneurotic edema”even atheists may think, “Clue phone for Ms. Mensa, it’s Satan calling.” The preview of the documentary screens just a block away from the accursed site; Thomas B. Allen, author of the nonfiction account Possessed, will lead a discussion afterward, and Ajax Moving Company will perform its gruesome dance Lizzy in 40 Ax, set to music by Wayson Jones and words by Silvana Straw. At 9 p.m. at Joe’s Movement Emporium, 3802 34th St., Mount Rainier. $10. (301) 699-1819. (Virginia Vitzthum)