Satanic PCs

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Fri Mar 10 2000 - 12:41:30 MST
US preacher finds demon-possessed PCs

Forget about viruses and malicious hackers; the real threat these days
is far more insidious. Your home computer may be host to a demon, and
you and your family may well come under its malevolent control, the
Weekly World News reports.
"While the Computer Age has ushered in many advances, it has also opened
yet another door through which Lucifer and his minions can enter and
corrupt men's souls," the paper quotes the Reverend Jim Peasboro, author
of an upcoming book, The Devil in the Machine, as saying.
Demons are able to possess anything with a brain, from a chicken to a
human being. And today's thinking machines have enough space on their
hard drives to accommodate Satan or his pals, the paper reports.
Disk capacity is an issue, however. Only a PC built after 1985 has the
storage capacity to house an evil spirit, the minister explained.
The Georgia clergyman says he became aware of the problem from
counseling churchgoers. "I learned that many members of my congregation
became in touch with a dark force whenever they used their computers,"
he said. "Decent, happily married family men were drawn irresistibly to
pornographic Web sites and forced to witness unspeakable abominations.
"Housewives who had never expressed an impure thought were entering
Internet chat rooms and found themselves spewing foul, debasing language
they would never use normally," he declared.
"One woman wept as she confessed to me, 'I feel when I'm on the computer
as if someone else or something else just takes over.'"
The minister said he probed one such case, actually logging onto the
parishioner's computer himself. To his horror, an
artificial-intelligence program started spontaneously.
"The program began talking directly to me, openly mocked me," he
recalls. "It typed out, 'Preacher, you are a weakling and your God is a
damn liar.'"
Then the device went haywire and started printing out what looked like gobbledygook.
"I later had an expert in dead languages examine the text," the minister
said. "It turned out to be a stream of obscenities written in a
2,800-year-old Mesopotamian dialect!"
The minister estimates that one in ten computers in America now hosts
some type of evil spirit.
The Reverend advises anyone suspecting that their computer is possessed
to consult a clergyman, or, if the computer is still under warranty, to
take it in for servicing.
"Technicians can replace the hard drive and reinstall the software,
getting rid of the wicked spirit permanently," he says.

A 'Net search turns up no matches whatsoever for "peasboro" - which I
actually find fairly surprising - and nothing about the book on Amazon.
Still a great story, though.

--      Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

                 Member, Extropy Institute
           Senior Associate, Foresight Institute

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