Utter awesomeness from Rev. Peasboro

This is old news, but I just heard about it yesterday via The Doctor and Derren Brown: In a book published in 2000, Reverend Jim Peasboro alerts us to the frightening possibility that our PC’s (he doesn’t mention Mac’s, so you trendoids are perhaps safe) may be possessed by demons. Oh yes, “demons can possess anything with a brain, including a chicken, a human being, or a computer”, and “any PC built after 1985 has the storage capacity to house an evil spirit”.

I wonder if this has to do with the decreased costs of storage. Perhaps your average demon takes up 20 megabytes of hard drive space, and that limitation would have been crippling in 1985, when Commodore‚Äôs Amiga 1000 sold for $1,295 dollars (without monitor), and hard drive space maxed out at 40MB or so. Nowadays, of course, your PC could house thousands of demons, who could take advantage of the multiple CPU’s in your machine to get up to some serious mischief.

Antivirus manufacturers have been slow on the uptake here, unfortunately. I can find no mention of possession in the documentation for mine, but perhaps I’m using inferior software. One in 10 computers in the US is infected by a demon, but the South African rates are likely to be lower, seeing as I imagine the demons to transport themselves via ADSL, and our connections are much slower than those in the US – your demon might still be in transit, perhaps at a Telkom substation somewhere.

The good news is that “Technicians can replace the hard drive and reinstall the software, getting rid of the wicked spirit permanently”. While the snippets from the book aren’t clear on what stops your computer from being re-infected after this process, I imagine that the Rev. Peasboro answers this question in the book itself. My guess would be that he’s trained a select bunch of technicians in this process, who will guarantee inoculation for a small(ish) fee. I’ll look into the matter of accreditation, as us South Africans can’t be left exposed to these sorts of mortal dangers. We can’t be asked to take the risk of our PC’s suddenly uttering a “stream of obscenities written in a 2,800-year-old Mesopotamian dialect”, now can we?

By Jacques Rousseau

Jacques Rousseau teaches critical thinking and ethics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and is the founder and director of the Free Society Institute, a non-profit organisation promoting secular humanism and scientific reasoning.