"You are sickened by the weakness
Of a heart that's filled with fear
And if the world won't understand you
You can make it disappear
'Cause there's a dark secret
Carry with you
Carry with you"
"How Soon Is Now?" is a 1984 song written by Morrissey and Johnny Marr and first released by their band The Smiths. Co-writer Johnny Marr described it as "possibly our most enduring record. It's most people's favourite, I think." Despite its prominent place in The Smiths' repertoire, however, it is not generally considered to be representative of the band's style.
The song contains only one verse which is repeated twice, plus a chorus and a bridge. The subject is an individual who cannot find a way to break out of his shyness. Two couplets from the song are well known in pop culture, the opening to the verse: "I am the son, and the heir, of a shyness that is criminally vulgar / I am the son and heir, of nothing in particular", and the chorus: "I am human and I need to be loved / Just like everybody else does". The opening was adapted from a line in George Eliot's Middlemarch: "To be born the son of a Middlemarch manufacturer, and inevitable heir to nothing in particular".
"How Soon Is Now?" has been covered by various artists. The song was covered by Psychedelic Furs spin-off band Love Spit Love. Their version was used on the soundtrack to the film The Craft, about a group of teen witches. It was later used as the tune to the witchcraft-themed television show Charmed, and has since become associated with the series.
Russian pop duo t.A.T.u.'s cover of the song is featured on the album 200 km/h in the Wrong Lane (2002); Johnny Marr found their version "just silly", but Morrissey considered it magnificent. t.A.T.u.'s version of "How Soon Is Now" is the opening track on the album Tribute to The Smiths, a compilation of Smiths covers.
The Craft is a 1996 horror film directed by Andrew Fleming. The original music score was composed by Graeme Revell. The film's tagline is: "Welcome to the witching hour." In Argentina the movie was called Jóvenes Brujas.
Sarah Bailey, played by actress Robin Tunney, has just moved from San Francisco to L.A. with her father and step-mother. She enrolls at the local high school, but struggles to fit in as the "new kid." A group of three girls who dabble in witchcraft believe that someone will arrive to be their "fourth", complete their circle and make a full coven. Sarah then becomes the fourth witch.
However, as time passes by, Sarah soon finds that her best friends can become her worst enemies. She later discovers that her late mother was a powerful witch, and unlike the other girls, she has the inherent gift of witchcraft herself.
The Craft's Impact on Popular Culture
The film employed special effects, presenting "gothic fashion" and pagan behaviour to the MTV Generation in an attractive package. Through this exposure, many teenage viewers gained an interest in witchcraft/paganism, and especially Wicca. Though some of the interest waned, the movie helped lesser known religions come into the spotlight for a time.
The game is widely popular among teenagers and it is called The Glass Game (el juego de la copa). Two or more people sit around a glass surrounded by papers with letters and numbers. The glass is placed upside down and the participants of the game place their index fingers on the base of the glass to conjure up spirits. At first nothing happens but then, due to the psychic ability of the players, the glass begins to move letter by letter anwering the questions that have been asked. Teenagers play this game at night and especially when they go camping. The game, however, is far from being innocent: severe psychological harm (as well as symptons of demonic possession) have been reported as a result of it.
In July 2010 a fifteen-year-old teenager became diabolically possessed after playing the glass game with a group of friends. In a deep state of shock and with his body completely paralysed, the boy showed clear symptoms of demonic possession. The local parish priest had to exorcize him but important and serious sequels of the event -such as his paralysis- still remain. The case happened in Paso de los Libres, in the Argentine province of Corrientes.
The glass game is the popular Argentine version of the ouija board, which is a flat board printed with letters, numbers, and other symbols, to which a planchette or movable indicator points, supposedly answering questions from people at a séance (= a meeting at which spiritualists attempt to receive messages from the spirits of the dead). The term ouija board comes from the combination of the French and German words for "yes", oui and ja. The ouija board became popular during the First World War, when many people tried to communicate with relatives who had died serving as soldiers.
The Teen Witches
As a consequence of the Salem witch trials, which took place between February 1692 and May 1693, over 150 people were arrested and imprisoned, and nineteen of the accused, fourteen women and five men, were hanged. The outcry was started by two pre-teens: Betty Parris, age 9, and her cousin Abigail Williams, age 12, the daughter and niece (respectively) of Reverend Samuel Parris. The girls screamed, threw things about the room, uttered strange sounds, crawled under furniture and complained of being pinched and pricked with pins. Other young women in the village, most of them teenage girls, began to exhibit similar behaviours. In a sort of mass hysteria the girls began accusing other men and women in the village as their attackers starting the most incredible witch hunt in history.
The Salem witchcraft trials served as inspiration for the play The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller in 1953. In 1996 a successful film version was produced with Daniel Day-Lewis as John Proctor and Winona Ryder as Abigail Williams.
The Nun Witches
The 1634 case of demonic possession in Loudun, France, is probably the most famous case of multiple or mass possession in history. This case involved the Ursuline nuns of Loudun who were supposedly visited and possessed by demons. In 1632, Sister Jeanne Agnes and sixteen nuns of the Ursuline convents, allegedly possessed by demons, threw convulsions and used abusive language. Father Urbain Grandier was convicted of the crime of bewitching the Ursuline nuns, according to the words of the possessed nuns. Grandier was incredibly good-looking and was accused of having seduced an entire convent of nuns. In 1634, Father Grandier was burned alive at the stake.
The 1952 book titled The Devils of Loudun by Aldous Huxley tells the story of the trial of Urbain Grandier, in what is seen by many scholars as one of the most sensational cases of mass possession and sexual hysteria in recorded history. In 1970 Ken Russell directed the film The Devils, also based on Huxley's book.
In March 2000 a police story shocked Argentine opinion: Silvina Vásquez, aged 21, aided by her sister Gabriela (29), had killed her father in a satanic ritual in the neighbourhood of Saavedra. In the house where the tragedy took place numerous elements connected with satanism and alchemy were found as well as booklets about purifying rituals that an esoteric store called Transmutar used to sell.
The store owners always denied any ties with satanism: they claimed that they supported new age ideas and their rituals had nothing to do with either the use of blood or human sacrifices.
My Point of View
Partly due to the influence of popular horror movies, many teenagers start experimenting with esoterism. However, to indulge in any type of black magic rituals, no matter how innocent they may be, is seriously wrong. Most teenagers have impressionable minds which can be easily affected by these practices which are far from being just "games".