I could have sworn that coffee mug just laughed at me. We’ve all thought it from time to time. Before disregarding the mocking tone of the coffee mug for simply being a dangerously over-caffeinated delusion, perhaps we need to take a second. Maybe our paranoid instincts aren’t really at fault; maybe the coffee mug is possessed.

Sound outrageous, unbelievable and altogether silly? Well, let this history lesson teach you a few things about the adaptability of ghostly possessions. They’re not just for houses or little girls anymore, oh no. Anything can be possessed from buttons to cellphones to tapping shoes.

The trick to making a possessed object genuinely frightening, as opposed to an absurd laughing coffee mug, is age. Like a fine wine, the object must be given time to exist and not only become part of the general public’s awareness, but also become a beacon of familiarity and safety. This is crucial important, because without it, the holy object cannot be tainted, violated or otherwise corrupted. If we don’t already trust what is becoming a harbinger of deceit, then the terror becomes neigh, becomes laughable. Some films choose well, others aren’t quite as successful. Shall we begin…

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This article was first posted on October 28, 2012