(pre) possessed

an erasure sequence

by Sonia Overall

Note: Page numbers from the print version are indicated in brackets and should not be considered part of the text of the work

[page 67] ‘(pre)possessed’ is a sequence of six erasure poems created using found text. The work explores the concept of hidden messages as a form of possession, where apparently unbiased newspaper cove-rage and banal magazine columns contain the seeds of other—darker—ideas exposed through erasure. Riffing on the urban legend of satanic messages buried in song lyrics using ‘backmasking’ and the practice of subliminal advertising, ‘(pre)possessed’ demonstrates how creative erasure can ‘uncover’ the demonic apparently hiding in plain sight. The found text used in the work was drawn randomly from a collection of British print media gathered over five months. 


thoughts are poison

lives suspiciously haunted


a life that brings     hundreds of messages 

some vow to kill

everybody judges you

the grim truth is 

violence comes from you 

weak     infected lunatic 


don’t talk about it 

say nothing

fear     fear their fury 


erratic and unexpected

the dark heart of you is a revelation [page 68]

your enemy is you

the aggressive     inward-looking one     now allowed inside you 

is relentless     dysfunction


wings to tail

angelic above a broken world 

visceral     hideous     fierce

far away and vulnerable 

you want to fight

ardent and devout

you felt a sign of divine luck 

a God-fearing hope

the stirring of a first     twitch of resistance 

but to battle is always more



start the rite 

old games 

one chance

draw against the hidden 

against disaster


a charm

sometimes pliability and cunning inveigle 

seep in

voices foist their plan on us 

hold us back [page 69]

we     the imposed on

the people who don’t get to make our own decisions 

lived in

processed through

meaning left looted and full of holes

we risk living through flashes     old records of thought 

we remember so little


an aberration 

over taking all

causing mental damage

for all will experience hopelessness

the homely and innocent 

tricked and made corrupt

a crooked ordeal

the fate of the girl who started telling: 

a dark story     emotional     troubled

a final trial


hiding in dreams 

seemingly soulless 


no escape


body and soul

left to make peace with pain

terror has finally come to an end 

the conviction

of closure [page 70]


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Sonia Overall is a writer, psychogeographer, and academic living in East Kent, UK. Her published work includes novels, poetry, short stories, academic articles, and features, many of which explore place, the nonhuman, aspects of the weird, and experimental forms. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in Streetcake, Neon, Lune, Shearsman Magazine, and Seaside Gothic; her books include the poetry chapbook The Art of Walking, walking-writing manual walk write (repeat), pilgrimage memoir Heavy Time, and her latest novel, Eden. Sonia is currently a Reader at Canterbury Christ Church University, where she runs the MA Creative & Critical Writing.  

MLA citation (print): 

Overall, Sonia. "(pre) possessed: an erasure sequence." Supernatural Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Art, Media, and Culture, vol. 9, no. 1, 2023, pp. 67-70.