Warning! The subject discussed below is not suitable reading material for a young person; use your own discretion.
Where do I start? How do you begin to compress around 30 years of study, and by doing so enabling someone unconnected to the subject to fully understand? I guess you start from the beginning.
My earliest memories? Scared to death.
2 years ago in October I was invited to write an account of my experiences for a competition based in the U.S. The only real rules were a word count, that it had to be in English, but more importantly, that it had to be true.
Before I reproduce this account – and I hope that you will view it as a serious and sincere statement from a university educated person who is used to critical thinking – I want to reassure people that I have no involvement in organised mainstream religion any more, though I still hold a deep spiritual belief.
I’m not going to be all ‘preachy’ either – over time, along with the other stuff I write about – I want to give people an idea of why I feel the way that I do. I also don’t like the term ‘Christian’; I apologise if that’s the term you use personally, but I don’t, which I will eventually explain the grounds for; part of it is because early believers were just known as those following ‘the way’ or ‘Nisan Fourteeners’ for the reasons of their practices; other feelings about it are surrounding how religion is generally viewed today.
And finally, I’ve done this not because I think that I’m anyone, or that I’m good in some way; I’m not. I hold the view that other people are far better than me. I’ve needed spirituality because I’m not a good person you see; I need an idea to kick me up the backside and do what is right: for others it comes naturally.
I felt an obligation to share what I know, even if it’s only to a few people; even if I’m laughed at and mocked.
So here goes:
Do you go trick or treating each year? I never have. To some, Halloween seems like harmless fun, but during my childhood it was no benign ‘trick’ – let alone ‘treat’.
As Halloween loomed back then, I became terrified. I rarely slept a wink during the witching hour, imagining evil and grotesque beings on broomsticks flying outside, bound somehow to work their insidious machinations inside as well. It may sound like ordinary childhood fears – monsters under the bed – but I had good reason to fear the improbable, or indeed, the seemingly impossible.
My home back then was a late Victorian house out in the wilds. Successive owners had removed the original features; a house without a soul somehow. It was a habitually gloomy place even in broad daylight. During the winter months the heating would make the pipes rattle and the floorboards creak, but there were also inexplicable groaning noises and other strange unearthly sounds. Those things would scare any young child: it contained more evil nonetheless.
I hated the stairs. They were enclosed with a door at the bottom. The walls were papered with a largely black city-scape that reflected hardly any light from the small window at the top during daytime. The light-bulb wouldn’t always work if you turned it on from the bottom; vice versa if you tried the switch on the landing. It was a horrible feeling, thinking someone, or something, was following behind you – and frequently there was.
I’d dash into my bedroom, dive into the bed, dreading the time that mum would come to tuck me in and kiss goodnight because of the fear of being left alone. It was a shadowy room even in the dusk of summer evenings – the deep red brown and orange curtains giving the spooky impression of changing shapes. As time went by it became not just a twilight visual abomination of sorts that forced my head underneath the blankets, but an actual place of torture.
My first memory in that chamber wasn’t connected to my parents but to the entities who visited. I would see forms with no faces, dark outlines, with blind eyes looking over my cot. They would pull my blankets down. I remember feeling so cold because I didn’t know how to pull the covers back up. I wasn’t scared of them at that point.
As I grew a little older however, the night, the dark, started to terrify me. Unlike during my babyhood, I kept my eyes firmly closed as an older child then, frightened stiff of what I might see.
Once the household was asleep, and largely only then, I would hear a high-pitched whining noise slowly becoming louder: I knew I couldn’t escape. The eerie whaling sound would slowly dissipate and morph into the moaning of the winds through the trees outside, then into babbling voices increasing in volume until deafening: enough to drive you insane. That in itself was gruesome: more was to come.
‘They’ didn’t go about things quickly, rather slowly tormenting victims. They would paralyse me, silence me, and leave me in that state for many a while. After that, pure silence, and the dread of every single frozen sinew and muscle encompassed me: ‘it/they’ were coming. Incrementally, haltingly, they would ease my bed-covers down: first off my face (ahhhhhhhhh); over my nose; chin; down the line of my neck (they’re…ahhhh help: someone: help!); then chest; towards my stomach (pleeeeeeasse: hellllllp!!); groin (noooooooo!!!); thighs; knees (leave me alooooone!!!!); ankles (Oh God, pleeeeease: nooooooo)!!!!!; toes….(NOOOOOOO!!!!!!)
The touching started; creeping multiple fingers and hands fondled, grabbed me, over and over; sometimes tickling me, again and again until I felt physically sick/retching: out of my mind with fear; passing out eventually: eventually.
They never physically hurt me, but due to their mental torture, by the age of 8. I was so anxious and sleep deprived that I pulled my hair out leaving bald patches; I behaved in other weird ways too. I never told anyone however thinking that adults wouldn’t believe me: children were ‘to be seen and not heard’ back then.
These things continued through teenage years into adulthood following me wherever I lived, but I haven’t had such intensified experiences of late. The odd thing happens though. Most notably, one night in the winter of 2011, my friend Elaine – who attends a local church – asked if we could discuss a section of the bible concerning satan the devil to ascertain my thoughts (I’m not religious but I studied the bible). She sat adjacent to me and started reading. On reaching the words ‘satan the devil’, at the exact same time, a bulb in the brass candelabra hit the ceiling and floated down slowly – still lit – landing with its tip facing outwards between the two of us, as if it had been exactly placed.
I turned to my shocked friend and said: “ now do you believe me?”
The dark doesn’t terrify me now; neither Halloween. It’s been a long road. I guess you become hardened to it in the end. Ultimately, I think that ignoring these evil entities, not showing I’m scared – even when I am – is the answer. Like bullies, in time they get give up if you don’t respond.
Those thoughts of further monstrosities on Halloween back then – the witches on their brooms – subjecting me to some other form of ghastly torment was unbearable, but strangely nothing did happen on that night. But, this Halloween, if you hear anything in your bedroom – if you feel an invisible hand over your mouth – lie very still. Most of all, keep your eyes firmly shut and don’t bother screaming: though, of course, I hope you’ll never have to.
I won second prize for that account, not that it matters at all; it’s not that good actually.
Most of my experiences happened before there was access to the internet, so I wasn’t able to share what had happened to me, or find out more about it. As an adult I was told that it was just ‘sleep paralysis’, but they neglected to take on board the fact that it used to start happening as soon as I got into bed, when I was wide awake.
I can take on board the idea that I could have imagined the whole thing, but people also didn’t realise that they hounded my ex husband, though he was literally evil; he left a lasting and terrible mark on our family. These entities also appeared to and terrified my children; even now, my eldest who is 34, won’t talk about what happened, and what continues to happen to her now and again; it frightens her that much. Friends have also experienced weird things in my current house.
When I happened to look on the internet years later then, I was astounded at hearing people recount the exact same experiences than I had. Some had felt that they were ghosts or some kind of alien, and others said that they benefited from it, but my stance has always been that there was no goodness in them if they tried to scare babies and little children half to death. The fact is that they are fallen angels or demons. They can’t be ghosts of people, because ‘judgement day’ – when God resurrects people – obviously hasn’t happened yet.
‘They’ haven’t touched me for a few years now. The last time must have been about 5 years ago, again when I’d just got into bed. I felt what I thought was a thumb placed on my lips, not fleeting, but for some time; it seemed to be communicating something to me, but, as usual I just turned over and pretended that I’d fallen fast asleep. There’s a lot of noise in the night sometimes; I’ve had my bedroom door knocked on quite a few times, and whispering, but nothing so serious. And no, I have no psychosis, and these things happen when I’m wide awake.
For me, from childhood therefore, I knew that good existed, that there was definitely a God, for the fact that evil existed. It is said that the greatest trick satan ever pulled, was to convince people that he didn’t exist, but he surely convinced me that evil was alive in this earth. The bad experiences could push you either way I suppose, but over time, it rather directed me to find out more about God.
That’s what made me search for him all of my life, and now that I’m most probably coming to the end of it, I want to tell you what I know, that I’m so sure of, such that despite how ill I am, I would walk away from all I have tomorrow if it was asked of me, but I doubt I’ll ever be faithful enough to be asked, because I know the journey of sin too well; notwithstanding that, I remain, quasi-sanguine: the beginning.