Fifty Sure-Fire Ways to Tell If Your Next-Door Neighbor is a Pagan
How many of the following does your neighbor exhibit?
1. Never puts garbage out on the curb…I mean, recycling and compost are fine, but you can take it too far!
2. You casually mention the moon’s phase, and s/he replies with the exact number of days, hours, and minutes of rising, position on horizon, and current angle of declination.
3. All the stray cats in the neighborhood congregate in her/his garden.
4. A screech-owl has chosen the lamppost outside her/his house as it’s favorite perch…just when it’s getting warm outside at night and you want to sleep with your windows open.
5. Doesn’t mow down the weeds in his/her garden and lawn…in fact, it sort of looks like s/he’s cultivating them!
6. The abundance of black garments drying on the clothesline out back.
7. Local kids whisper and stare as they pass his/her house, then start running if they spot movement in the house or yard.
8. Nobody trick-or-treats at his/her door–not since the year that his/her costume was scarier than any of theirs!
9. Footprints on the roof…and the trees near the house look as if they’ve been pruned for a flight-path!
10. S/he can’t make a sandwich without adding fresh herbs to it…and don’t accept that offer of a cup of tea unless you want something yellow-colored and smelling like flowers!
11. S/he never gets junk mail…you idly wonder why, and s/he confides that she just returns it to sender after writing something on it in strange curly script.
12. When you drop in for a chat, the coffee pot or tea kettle is already starting to perk.
13. Jehovah’s Witnesses never knock on his/her door anymore…not after the last time…
14. Keeps the local candle shop solvent.
15. Has a pond out back full of frogs…and you haven’t seen that pesky storm-window salesman in a while.
16. S/he’s always smiling peacefully!
17. Went to a Halloween costume party dressed normally, and won first prize!
18. Her/his house always smells like incense and herbs.
19. Has cats named Kali, Diana, Loki, and Pele.
20. Bumper-sticker on his/her car reads, “I brake for toads”.
21. Frequently gets questioned by the drug squad, who confiscate large amounts of dried green leaves and always return them with abject apologies after analysis!
22. At Christmas, it seems like half the garden is moved into the house.
23. Sometimes you hear the sounds of singing and drumming through the wall…if you look outside, it’s usually a full moon.
24. Was given a bodram or dumbek for her/his last birthday…and sometimes plays it outside at midnight…
25. You discover the “realistic resin” skull s/he affectionately calls “Ron” in the living room actually is real…and hadn’t you heard of an ex-lover named Ron?
26. You catch her/him washing a crystal ball along with the dishes.
27. S/he wears lots of silver jewelry, even when weeding or changing the oil in the car…
28. You knock on the door and s/he answers it wearing only a robe…you apologize for disturbing her/his shower, but notice her/his hair isn’t wet…
29. Tendency to hum or softly chant, especially while outside in the garden.
30. Has a tame robin that will eat from his/her hand in the garden…that can’t be normal.
31. Never catches a cold, despite a tendency to walk around barefoot often…even in the snow.
32. Doesn’t kill spiders…even the huge hairy ones that startle you when you’re in the tub.
33. Always listens to what you’re saying like s/he really cares.
34. Has lots of female friends that come around once or twice a month…when you ask what they’re up to, s/he tells you they just have cake and ale and a nice chat.
35. You catch him/her hugging a tree.
36. Owns a dinner set decorated with Celtic patterns or a “stars and moons” design.
37. Has a mail-order account with a semi-precious gems wholesaler.
38. The priest who lives around the corner always crosses himself when driving past her/his house.
39. Never watches television…but owns shelves full of books with black spines and silver lettering.
40. To your certain knowledge has never set foot in the local church…you’ve even heard rumors s/he’s been barred from it.
41. You ask to borrow a deck of cards for an impromptu evening of canasta, and there are 78 in the pack.
42. You’ve never known him/her to go to a physician.
43. When you chat, s/he gently maintains eye contact the whole time.
44. Expectant mothers are always visiting…also women who become expectant mothers a short time after visiting and leaving with bags full of herbs.
45. You ask for suggestions of nice walks in the area, and they all go by way of strange earth mounds, oak groves, and stone circles.
46. S/he only buys organic food…and you suspect vegetarian as well!
47. When you ask about vacation plans, you’re told about camping in yurts…or festivals with communal cabins.
48. There aren’t any clocks in the house…and most of the mirrors are black.
49. Has a statue of a dragon near the garden gate…calls it her/his “watch-dragon”.
50. Tells you s/he’s coming out of the broom closet, and installs a stained-glass pentagram window in the front door!
1-10: Probably just a bit odd.
11-20: Might be a New Age hippy…harmless, maybe a little deluded.
21-30: Best not to offend her/him, just to be on the safe side.
31-40: Definitely something suspicious going on…stock up on your supply of Holy Water.
41-50: Get the kindling together–we’re going to have ourselves a burning!
- Andie Gilmour