Quincy House residents are ostensibly safe from the spells of evil spirits for another 12 months following the 11th annual "Exorcism of Ghosts" yesterday with which House Master Charles W. Dunn officially opened the year and reaffirmed the House's Celtic character.
Clad in a dress kilt, Dunn proclaimed to about 450 onlookers that "we herewith exorcise, exile, expel, exterminate, and exsufflicate all evil spirits, whether banshees or bogles, warlocks or witches, from our walls and floors and ceilings, our books and briefcases, our featherbeds and waterbeds, our plumbing and pinball machines..."
The unusual sight of red and tan kilts worn by 21 members of the amateur Stuart Pipe Band and the equally strange wail of bagpipes drew passers-by from Plympton St. and the largest crowd of Quincy House students and affiliates ever to attend the event.
Dunn, Robinson Professor of Celtic Languages and Literatures and a native of Scotland, initiated the annual rites when he became Quincy House master 11 years ago. He created the exorcism ceremony, which has no close counterpart in Celtic culture.
However, Dunn said yesterday, when ancient Gaelic rites of witch-expulsion were christianized, Scottish priests continued to appeal to the Gaelic deities that had become saints.
Asked whether he believes the exorcism is effective, Dunn replied indignantly, "Of course it works. That's like asking me if I believe in the Loch Ness monster."