Ufrivilligt rollespil, gidseltagning og Hell House

“Now we know what we have to do in the future,” Lanza said. He said he doesn’t plan to shy away from the practice, which he called a valuable learning tool.


I sidste halvdel af marts blev 15 teenagere kidnappet, fordi de var kristne. Ikke fordi de blev forfulgt for værende kristne, men fordi deres lokale menighed syntes de skulle lære noget om, hvorledes forfølgelse af (amerikanske) kristne kunne være.

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (RNS) The men burst into the church classroom and ordered the 15 teens in the youth group to the floor.

They covered the teens’ heads with pillowcases and bound their hands. One man waved an unloaded gun, and another yelled, his face daubed with camouflage paint.

The kids gathered at the Glad Tidings Assembly of God Church and had planned to partake in youth ministry activities at 7 p.m. Wednesday (March 21).

Instead, they found themselves face down, hugging the linoleum floor, said the Rev. John Lanza, who described what happened. If they listened, they wouldn’t get hurt, their assailants said.

It sounds terrifying, but there’s a catch: The raid was fake, staged to show the teens the perils faced by Christian missionaries in the world’s trouble spots, Lanza said.

Yet it traumatized one 14-year-old girl so badly that her mother filed a report with the police, claiming her daughter suffered a busted lip and bruised knees.

Læs resten af historien.

Denne historie er ikke ny, men her efter Fastaval, Knudepunkt og Krigslive, vil jeg lige nævne begivenheden og spørge, om det ikke er et rollespil?

For arrangørerne er det eskapisme. En eskapisme til en virkelighed, som ikke er, men som de kunne forestille sig, en virkelighed, hvor de er forfulgt på netop den måde, som de forestiller sig de bliver i dagens Amerika. I deres verdensbillede er de en forfulgt minoritet plaget af liberalister, kommunister, ateister, muslimer etc., men da de ikke kan finde beviser på dette uden for deres egne forestillinger, må de i stedet forsøge at skabe dem. Dette er ikke et rollespil om, hvorledes kristne i f.eks. nogle steder i Mellemøsten eller Sydøstasien eller Afrika forfølges, men om hvordan det ville være, hvis deres verdensbillede vitterligt gjorde sig gældende.

De bruger rollespillet til at skabe den virkelighed, som de gerne vil have, og de bruger derfor rollespil i en langt større grad af eskapisme, end rollespillere almindeligvis formår (og synes denne tankegang langt ude, kan der læses mere her: 1, 2, 3).

Samtidig er det et rollespil med ufrivillige deltagere – men det er heller ikke ukendt for rollespillere – for hvem vil ikke gerne kunne skabe en autentisk illusion, hvor spillerne føler oplevelsen på deres egen hud?

Denne praksis har de længe haft.

Traditionelt hedder det Hell House.

Her er lidt om Hell House fra W. Scott Pooles bog om monstre i Amerika:

Moral panic and the American monster tradition also appeared in the phenomenon of Christian-themed haunted houses that became popular in the 1970s, a cultural form that combined the gothic aspects of Christian theology with imagery from the battlefields of the culture war. Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church featured an event in 1972 known as “Scaremare”, a strange mixture of traditional haunted house frights (at least of the tamest sort) and a crucifiction scene, followed by the distribution of gospel literature. By the early 1980s other evangelical churches in Florida and New Mexico began including social and political imagery in their alternative Halloween productions.

So-called Hell Houses and Judgement Houses owe a great deal to American monster culture, often referencing the gory effects of bargain basement slasher films and the demonic terrors of post-Rosemary’s Baby horror. Social problems that evangelicals perceive as part of America’s “moral degeneration” in particular are portrayed with a horror film aesthetic. Hell Houses amost always include an “abortion scene” in which buckets of fake blood and a cold, dismissive medical staff turn the patient into their victim. In 1991 one controversial Hell House in New England used animal intestines in a jar to represent an aborted fetus. Blood and other effluvia fly in scenes that replicate a school shooting, a teen suicide, and a drunk driving accident.

Hell Houses not only borrow images directly from horror films, they tell tales of cultural and theological monsters. Images from hell frequently employ an S&M sensibility with masked and leather-clad male demons whipping and torturing attractive teenage girls. These images owe something to Clive Barker’s Hellraiser series of the late 1980s and early 1990s in which demonic spirits in bondage-wear rip the flesh of unlucky souls with a pain that becomes pleasure.

Author and religion scholar Jason Bivins reports from his site visits that exorcism and possession scenes are common fare in Hell Houses. These scenes often borrow directly from both Alien and The Exorcist, with demons exploding out of chests and heads doing a Linda Blair-inspired 360-degree turn. Bivins goes on to describe how the aesthetic of the Hell House makes a liberal use of “blood and meat … The sets of Hell Houses are littered with broken bodies, blood, weapons and debris, with demons and malevolent spirits flitting between the worlds to torment the waking who suffer through graphic portayals of late-term abortion, murders, risen corpses and sexual trauma.” Ironically, one Hell House in Texas featured a scene in which a young woman, described as a lost soul who “directs horror films in Hollywood,” is sent off to hell for poisoning the minds of the young.

The Hell House phenomenon shows the usefulness of monster narratives in the American culture wars. The willingness to make use of the aesthetics of modern horror (a genre often deplored in official evangelical rhetoric as part of America’s moral depravity) suggests that America’s monsters are an inescapable part of the rhetoric of moral crisis. This is not exactly a cynical use of monster imagery since most evangelicals believe in a literal supernatural monster with monster allies – Satan and his demons. The moral panics are a conservative counterassault on the 1960s, informed by the literal belief that real monsters are stalking American kids.

Poole, W. Scott: Monsters in America – Our Historical Obsession with the Hideous and the Haunting. Bayolor University Press 2011, p.185-186)

Er Hell House ikke meget lig 360-grader rollespil eller arrangementer, som Villa Salo?


~ af Morten Greis på 3. maj 2012.

En kommentar to “Ufrivilligt rollespil, gidseltagning og Hell House”

  1. Hvad kalder man ufrivillig eskapisme? Abduktionisme?

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