A mother from King's Lynn is calling on Pope Benedict XVI to perform a full Rites of Exorcism during his planned 2010 UK visit after the breakdown of the family's Zanussi Jetmaster 1200.
The washing machine catastrophically seized during a spin cycle, leaving Catherine Casewell fearing for the safety of their wet clothes. 'It was the billowing smoke that told me something unnatural was happening,' said Catherine. 'I wouldn't dare approach the demon machine, but I managed to retrieve our soggy undies in the nick of time with the handle from our JML Super-Mop. I'm sure I've read in Pick Me Up that poltergeists smell like molten rubber and fabric softener.'
Catherine's husband James made efforts to reassure his panicked wife, but with little effect. 'A couple of years ago she went all 'Ghostbusters' on me when our TV wouldn't switch off,' he said. 'A quick change of batteries in the remote sorted that out, but this time there's no convincing her. I told her that that it was probably the drive belt burning through after one of her underwired bras got caught between the drum and the edge of the tub, but she reckoned I was lying to try and calm her down and hasn't been near the bloody utility room since. I suppose cleaning the blood up might help.'
'I've always used Calgon to make sure that our machine is unbreakable,' said mother-of-seven Catherine, 'which means there's no way it can be faulty. It's only six years old and does just three washes a day so I was straight on the phone to my local vicar who initially had me sectioned. Subsequent psychological testing confirmed that I'm completely sane, so a friend of his put me in touch with Yvette Fielding from Most Haunted, who was absolutely useless. She even screamed when our doorbell went off, and she was the one who'd pressed the button. Another call to the team ministry office escalated my case through various bishops and eventually ended up with a call to Rome.'
A Vatican spokesman has confirmed that Pope Benedict would be 'thrilled' to visit the Casewell house and would waive his usual performance fee in exchange for 'certain services'. Mrs Casewell has readily agreed to the Pope's terms 'just for the peace of mind', but took some convincing about the cost. 'I'm sure I could have got the virgin-thigh-rolled Cuban cigars from somewhere,' she said, 'but I suppose popping our first-born-son's anal cherry saves me the effort of an internet search, plus he gets the benefit of Pope Benedict than some seedy local priest.'