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The Ritual of Chüd is an eldritch psychic battle of wills used by a group of 7 human misfit children called the Losers Club as the only means to defeat the nightmarish, interdimensional child-eating fiend known as IT/Pennywise. It serves as a crucial plot element in the classic 1986 Stephen King horror novel It.
Bill Denbrough first found the information about this "ritual" when he discovered a book "Night's Truth" at the Derry Public Library within Derry Maine, where he also learned It was part of an obscure race of spider monsters called "Glamours" existed to many cultures under many different names. The Ritual was from an old Himalayan belief, a myth, that recognized It as a kind of monstrous shape-changer called the "Taelus". In the forgotten Himalayan tradition, a holyman and the Taelus overlap tongues, biting in towards each other, and telling each other riddles until one laughed despite the pain in this "content". If the Taelus laughs first, it gets sent away for a hundred years, while if the holy man laughs first, the Taelus gets to eat his soul.
As children, Bill Denbrough was the only one who engaged with It, being thrust toward the Macroverse, heading to the dreaded Deadlights, but his physical body remains put. Maturin the Turtle from the Macroverse who came upon before Bill because of the special significance within Bill and his 6 closest friends as seen and approved Maturin's cosmic superior Gan (otherwise knoen by his alias "The Other"), and he only offered advice that "–you must help yourself, son," and "you've got to thrust your fists against the posts and still insist you see the ghosts[...] once you get into cosmological s**t like this, you got to throw away the instruction manual." Bill began contending with It telepathically, biting his teeth into Its' tongue, saying "He Thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he see the ghosts" in his father Zack Denbrough's voice again and again. Overall, the battle is but one of the Losers' optimism, imagination, unity, and faith over malice and rage. The Losers emerged victorious, but ignore the Turtle's advice to make sure they finish the deal, and It escapes, which the Losers suspect but were never sure of. So they formed the Blood Oath by shedding blood from the palm of each other's hand with a glass shard of a discarded Coca-Cola soda bottle, holding hands with each other in a circle and swearing themselves to come back to Derry should It return alive.
As adults, Bill Denbrough is the first to face It head on once again. However, without his childlike imagination, he is but weaker in the battle. It taunts him, saying that the Turtle died some time ago. Bill '"misses" It's tongue, and Beverly calls out that something is wrong, It is laughing. Richie Tozier quickly realizes something is wrong and screams out in his Irish cop voice, catching Its tongue and being thrown into this universal sprawl with Bill Denbrough. He rescued Bill from the Deadlights, threatens It with his voices, but they still struggle against it. As before, their bodies remain still within the real world, but Eddie Kasprak hears Richie calling for help, and rather than enter with them, he uses his aspirator as before to seriously hurt It within the physical world, yet it cost him his arm in the process and dying a bloody demise. It was able to break through further into It's lair, dropping eggs along the way that Ben stays to crush, as Beverly Marsh remains with poor Eddie's body. Richie reluctantly leaves Eddie and Bill leaves Audra to go further after It needing to ensure It stays dead this time. When they found It, they hit It with their collective belief and love and childhood nostalgia along with the power of the Other. Richie is knocked out, Bill crushes Its beating heart between his hands, and carries Richie, who he believes may be dead, back to the other Losers as they at last won and called the eldritch ancient evil It forever.
It (TV miniseries)
The Losers Club (also sometimes referring to themselves as the "Lucky Seven") battled the evil being It in the Ritual of Chüd (with the said ritual being different compared to its version in the novel) together (a small but urgent advice from local Irish policeman Officer Aloysius Nell,one of the few caring adults within Derry). The children believed that the precious metal silver had supernatural abilities, as seen in numerous monster movies. Because the children believed in it strongly, the silver became the real ultimate weapon that was used in the fight against It in his prominent dancing clown form Pennywise at the sewers beneath the town. Because Beverly was very good with a slingshot, the Losers' Club injured It the first time when Beverly shot a chunk of silver into Its skull now flashing with the Deadlights before It acrobatically jumps over towards a small water drain and retreated deep underneath the sewers. The Losers thought that they killed It, but were uncertain, so they made a pact to return to Derry should It ever resurface.
Now as grownups, Bill, Richie Tozier, Beverly Marsh, Eddie Kaspbrak (murdered by It) and Ben Hanscom found It's secret lair fulled of broken skeletons and web-covered victims within a cave deep within the sewers of Derry despite It's contemptuous warning via a floating phantom avatar of Pennyise's head to them at the sewers (though it is true no one can see It's eldritch true form, only what their minds can allow and comprehend). Once the five of the "Lucky Seven" found It's cave, the malevolent being finally challenge them to their second final confrontation, this time as a hideous giant spider. Yet the Ritual of Chüd ended almost the same way with Beverly shoot the familiar lost silver metal jewels later recovered by Mike Hanlon 10 ago during It's hibernation and one of the silver materials sucessfully hit the creature's glowing hindquarters comprised of Deadlights and fatally injured it. The Losers succeeded at last in killing the weakened foul beast by both punching his hindquarters and ripped out It's beating heart.
It (2017-2019 film series)
The Ritual of Chüd appear and (but in a different form, but not by name), when the Losers then find It/Pennywise's Lair within the sewers beneath the derelict Neibolt House/Well House within the town of Derry where they find Beverly Marsh in her catatonic state and floating in suspended animation cause by Ir's Deadlights, with the bodies of the other missing children kept in a similar form of suspended animation for a number of years. Ben kisses Beverly, which restores her to normal as she remembers his "January Embers" poem and that it was him who wrote it to her. Pennywise tries to decieve Bill Denborough by posing as his murdered little brother Georgie, but the deception fails when Bill shoots "Georgie" in the head with Mike Hanlon's bolt gun and tells him "You're not Georgie". After a brief fight with the Losers during their struggle, Pennywise takes Bill hostage and offers to spare the others' lives if they let him go and eat Bill in peace. Richie begins stating all the reasons they should leave Bill and save themselves, but then grabs a bat and says "I'm gonna have to kill this f**kin' clown". The Losers no longer fear "It" anymore, and begin fighting together as one fearsome unit. After a brutal battle despite It's eldritch shapeshifting abilities, they all defeat Pennywise, who descends back into the well and into deep below the sewers of Derry and goes into hibernation. The suspended missing children who each have fallen victim to It's nightmarish wrath over the centuries, float back down to the ground. Bill's friends comfort him as he cries, emotionally breaking down from accepting Georgie's death. One month later, Beverly informs the group of a vision she had of them being visited by Pennywise 27 years later (a clue alluding), and the Losers form a blood oath in a circle, promising that they will each return to Derry should It/Pennywise resurface to kill him for good. After departing one by one, Bill kisses Beverly.
Mike Hanlon discovers the Ritual of Chüd himself by visiting with local Native American tribes including the Shokopiwah tribe as an adult. The Ritual involves burning tokens special to all those in the Ritual to expose Its true form as the Deadlights and trapping them in the tribe's ceremonial Sealing Jar, a vessel strong enough to trap the evil within as revealed in a drug-induced vision given to Mike by the Shokopiwahs via their sacred root herb called the "Maturin" that first reveals all of IT's origins including its first arrival upon the young planet Earth millions of years past as well. Mike even took the same jar fashioned in the ealry 18th century by the Shokopiwah people (though he did not explain well that relic was given to him by the said tribe, meaning as he says "it's complicated" meaning either they gave it to him willingly or he stole it from them). the ritual is unsuccessful, as the 7 late members of Shokopiwahs that condone this spiritual ceremony attempted to use it to trap It failed and were brutally slaughtered. Mike withholds this truth from his friends, believing that the tribe was unsuccessful because they had not truly faced their fears and felt that his own group stood a far better chance at survival and victory. The Losers' performing of the Ritual exposes the Deadlights, but fails to actually contain It and are forced to back off. Taking the form of a far-sadistic half-spider/half-Pennywise hybrid, It separates the Losers to go through personal trials, overcoming each together giving them strength. However, this exposes Richie to the Deadlights causing Eddie to attack It with a spear (the same iron gate spear Beverly Marsh used at the Neibolt House to stab Pennywise in the face and saved Eddie's life during their dark childhood years), while believing in it as Beverly did that it can kill monsters, dealing a serious blow to the heinous beast. It retaliates, killing him over Richie, but not before Eddie is able to tell the Losers they have to make It small to kill it. The Losers succeed in doing this, convincing each other that Pennywise is small by insulting It, until all the remaining Losers crush Its beating dark heart together, finally killing the ancient evil once and for all.