in reply to VVP:Character code Accusation!
Since you said you needed 2 programs: 1 to check the file<HUMOR>
for control characters, AND one for stripping them, I would
advice the diff command for the first one.
1st run one of the programs already mentioned by my fellow
monks to strip the characters.
2nd: run the 'diff' program on the 2 files (your original,
and the file resulting from the stripping of the characters).
If there really were control characters in
your file, diff will have output...
print "profeth still\n" if /bird|devil/;