Healing Mud: Jesus and Misty Day

As I was reading along in John, verse 6 from chapter 9 sparked my neurons to produce a vivid reminder of a particular character from a television show I had seen a few weeks earlier:

“Having said these things, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “ Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.”

Obviously, a miracle performed by Jesus is described. Jesus heals a man from blindness by using mud. The character I thought of was Misty Day from the third season of American Horror Story, a swamp witch with significant parallels to Jesus Christ. For a little bit of background, American Horror Story is a television show produced by FX that focuses on individual horror tableaus for each season. Each season is self-contained, meaning that each has its own set of characters, setting and plotline. The third and most recent season was entitled Coven; it featured a prominent coven of witches that battled against a group of voodoo practicioners in New Orleans, Louisiana, taking place in the late 1800s as well as current time. The coven is run by a witch known as the “Supreme”, a witch born every generation that is the most powerful of all, and able to achieve the Seven Wonders of Witchcraft. These Seven Wonders include telekinesis (manipulating objects with one’s mind), transmutation (transporting physically from one area to another), divination, concilium (mind  control), pyrokinesis (controlled arson with one’s mind), vitalum vitalis/resurgence (reanimation of the dead), and descensum (spiritually descending and returning from hell). The current Supreme is dying, so the next must be found. The entire season follows the coven as they search for the next Supreme; murder, manipulation, and finally a test of the Seven Wonders makes the Supreme apparent.

One of the forerunners of the group is Misty Day who is introduced to the viewers as a beautiful, humble girl and member of a rural Pentecostal church. In the first episode, she brings a small bird back to life in the middle of a baptismal ceremony. Her fellow church members declare her a necromancer, drag her to a swamp, and burn her at the stake for her biblical crime. This is the first instance of her parallelism to Jesus; murdered for playing outside of the established religious community’s guidelines.

The second parallel is that she can resurrect the dead. This small bird isn’t the last of her resurgence gift being displayed. Misty resurrects two people from the dead over the course of the season; one is Kyle, a fraternity boy who falls in love with one of the witches, and the other is Myrtle, another powerful, older witch who had also been burnt at the stake.

The most significant parallel between Misty and Jesus, in terms of resurrection, would be the resurrection of herself after death. After being murdered by religious extremists for her abilities, she sinks into the swamp mud, and is shown being healed by the mud that encases her. The show later explains that Misty’s power of resurgence is what brought her back to life.

The other feature of Misty Day’s character that is similar to Jesus is her ability to heal, particularly with mud as evidenced by the above-mentioned verse from John. Misty uses the mud late in the season to coax a nearly dead plant back to life, practicing her gift of resurgence. But plants aren’t the only things healed by the mystical mud. Kyle’s resurrection was a mess; his body had been in parts from a bus accident caused by telekinesis, and sewn back together by two young witches who attempted a guilty resurrection spell. Misty Day arrives at the morgue where the necromantic trio are, and is deemed responsible for having the power to bring Kyle back to life. She then takes him back to her cabin in the bayou to nurse him back to health, as he is in a zombie-like, scarred state. Various episodes show her coating Kyle with mud, and when asked if the mud will really work, she is quoted in the second episode: “I know it will. This stuff is the shit. Literally. Louisiana swamp is full of Spanish moss and alligator dung. Amazing healing properties.” She also uses this mud concotion when healing Myrtle, whom she resurrected as well.

Misty Day has obvious similarities to Jesus as evidenced by her actions and traits throughout the third season of American Horror Story. Other characters recognize this quality, as Myrtle later compares Misty to Jesus: “She brought more people from the dead than Jesus Christ.” Between her murder for being abnormal to her religious community, her ability to heal through swamp mud, and her resurrection, Misty Day could be deemed a messianic type character.