The Fuzzy Slippers of Death

Dear Shelby,

I think my new slippers are trying to kill me. Can inanimate objects be possessed?

Slipperless in Seattle


Dear Slipperless,

Although recorded instances of inanimate clothing objects like slippers or leather coats becoming possessed are rare, it can happen. And it can be a tricky situation to deal with, especially if you really like the clothing in question!

My own experience: I bought a nice pair of fluffy, slip-on slippers with a padded sole at a large, national retail chain. It was the padded sole that appealed to me, and the skid-proof, water-proof bottom, which meant I could bring in the morning paper or take out the trash without changing my footwear before I’d even had the first cup of coffee in the morning.

The first month of use lulled me into a false sense of security. One morning, as I rushed up the stairs to answer my phone, full cup of coffee in my hand, one slipper lunged to the left as I lifted my foot, snagging the step and sending me toward a shattered mug and an unpleasant face-plant on my hardwood floors! Luckily, I was able to grab the railing in time to prevent more than a slop-over of hot coffee on my wrist. The second time, just days later, I wasn’t so lucky. I had a bruised knee that made me limp for a week, and my Disney Princess coffee mug shattered into a thousand, coffee-covered pieces. On top of the morning paper, which I hadn’t read yet. Coffee flew as high as the ceiling, which reminds me that I should do a future column on removing stains from a popcorn-textured ceiling.

Over the next few weeks, my slippers grew bolder. Not only were the stairs a treacherous hell, but the rogue footwear liked to grab every throw rug and bathroom/kitchen mat in the house. While my reflexes got faster, I got tired of pitching fast-first toward the sink. I like warm toes, but not as much as I like intact front teeth.

I could have gone the exorcism route. But if you’ve ever tried to find a Catholic priest willing to officiate at the exorcism of a friend or relative, you can imagine how much harder it would be to find one willing to exorcise your shoes! You could go with another religious denomination, but they’re rookies in the field compared to the Catholics, with a much lower rate of success.  Plus, we’re talking a $15 pair of slippers, not Jimmy Choos.

Your best bet? Do what I did. Take them outside and burn them. Then sprinkle a little holy water over the ashes before you scatter them. While a chiminea is a nice touch on the back patio, and old barbecue grill will also work. Even a metal bucket–just remember the safety rules for open flames. No holy water? Windex will work in a pinch.


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