This Is God’s Property

a "no trespassing sign" hangs on a padlocked fence
Photo by Paul Sableman via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Kelsey Munger shares the story of a childhood spent being vigilant against the demons, witches, and werewolves her parents believed were stalking their family. One of their main lines of defense? Canola oil—on doorways, around their property, on themselves.

The cross on our door, drawn in canola oil, was a symbol that our house was God’s property; demonic forces had no right to be there. It was a spiritual “No Trespassing” sign. Friends, neighbors, extended family, the mailman, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses who stopped by every Tuesday afternoon all stood on that same welcome mat without looking closely at our door. The evidence that my family wasn’t like all the other families on our nondescript suburban block was literally under their noses, but no one ever noticed.

The grimy oil smudges were everywhere, not just on our front door. They dotted the outside walls of our house and lined the halls inside. Throughout my childhood, my mom would often walk into my bedroom holding a mug of oil. “Don’t mind me,” she’d say with a smile, drawing an oily glob on my door and then reaching down to put some on my forehead. “Just doing an oil line.”

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