Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Real Life Ghost Stories

How many kids at camp have sat around the camp fire being regaled by their camp counselors with scary stories? The thought of this great American camp tradition may evoke feelings of nostalgia in the hearts of erstwhile kid campers. However, the darker side of this tradition is that there are true accounts of the occult and demonic activity that should give us pause. Steve Hays at Triablogue spins thoughtful yarns from time to time. He posted a story Saturday about the breaking of an occultic ring. The story is fictional, but it is intended to be a realistic account. You can read in the comments from Steve that the issuance of this short story was coincidental with All Hollows Eve. He also invited me to relay some of the true accounts to which I alluded. I’ll reprint my comments here as you prepare for your celebration of Halloween/All Saints Day/Reformation Day – whatever it is you celebrate at this time – with the understanding that the world we know is not all there is.

I have several accounts. I haven't asked permission to retell these. I'm sure it would not be denied, but I'm not sure that I can reveal all identities. Therefore I'll withhold names just in case.

When my wife was young she played with a Ouija board with her friends. One friend levitated and my wife felt the presence of something try to take control over her. She threw the thing down and gave up anything she knew to be occultic.

After her husband died, my wife's aunt foolishly prayed for God to make her late husband her guardian angel. An apparition in the likeness of her husband appeared and she let the thing stay with her. It took over the house and apparently possessed her for a short time. Objects were reported to have moved about inside the house of no natural means - toys, knick-knacks, etc flying through the air. A minister was called to come and cast the demon(s) out (there's some question as to whether there was more than one).

My grandmother told of her grandmother who was plagued with demons. Her mind apparently wasn't affected by them, but she had enough faith to keep them at bay. Why she didn't just cast them away is beyond me. My grandmother is no longer alive to ask. It was told that men from the circus came by to recruit her to join them. In those days food was often cooked in the fireplace and there were various utensils and vessels hanging about the fireplace. She refused the men their offer because of the danger the demons posed. When they pestered her for a demonstration, the demons took the utensils from the fireplace and chased the men away.

A friend told me of a spare bedroom in his house where a few relatives had died over the years, including his grandmother. One summer day he was on the front porch with his mother, his brother in the house watching television. They arose to enter the house to discover that all the doors and windows were locked. Knocking and calling for his brother was for naught. When his dad came home with a key they entered the house to discover his brother hanging upside down from one of the four posts of the bed in the spare bedroom, tied there with a belt that had apparently been used to lash the boy. When asked what happened, he said that grandma had come out of the television and did this to him.

A couple from church have ministered as foster parents for years. One very young boy (+/-5 years old) who was once in their care was the only child of a woman in prison. They tell of strange occurrences concerning the boy and the manifestation of a demon. I can't remember all the details at this point (something about a voice calling). The boy was also terribly troubled and often acted out with a vengeful intent far beyond his years. One Christian lady from the outside who worked with the kids noted that the boy probably had a demon. One session the lady brought a minister with her and they prayed and cast the demon out. The demeanor of the boy improved immediately and he was grateful that they had gotten rid of the demon. A couple weeks later the boy died mysteriously. The Christian lady worker speculated that God took the boy because he was too weak to resist the demons. When they went to speak to his mother in prison, without the first word of explanation as to why they were there, the mother angrily told them that they were there to tell her that her son died. She also offered that her son had had demons just like her.

A fellow from church on mission to Nepal relays of a shaman of sorts who was following them along the trail who vanished from before them.

An older fellow from church has had regular encounters on missions to the Ukraine, Cuba and Vietnam as well as here in the States. He's told more than I could ever relate. He appears to have been particularly called to a ministry of casting out spirits. The following are some that I can remember his sharing with me.

He relates of a time when he was speaking in a church in Cuba (officially, this was merely "giving his testimony" which has been legal for foreigners to do). He was compelled to share particular knowledge of a struggle someone had that he had been given by the Spirit. A lady came up to him afterward and said that she was the one of whom he spoke. She had a demon that then manifested itself. He cast it out.

He spoke of a meeting he had with the leader of the Church of Satan in our area. It was evident to them that he was not possessed and they began to pray for him. Just then, demons manifested in the room and became quite violent. The Satanist begged them to stop saying that he had never seen them act this way before.

There's a church in town where I suspected a powerful demon to be at work. A group of men and myself prayed for this church for weeks on end. Finally, at a meeting at this church, a man who one would not expect to be harboring a demon became uncharacteristically irate and started yelling at people. He fell dead within minutes, whether of a demon or not I don't know - I only suspect.

I asked this fellow from church if he had ever encountered anything like this in his experience. He gave account after account of people being killed from demonic influence. One such stuck with me. One church he had been called in to minister to had gone from a decent little church to one that was sorely divided and turbulent. There were twelve deacons on the board and all of them had been compromised somehow. Come to find out, a witch had moved into a nearby house and was intentionally working through demons to destroy the church. Within a short period after the discovery all twelve deacons had died, each of mysterious circumstances. This account is the closest to your story of the ones I know.

I have related these accounts here as accurately as my memory will allow. Since I did not experience them except for praying for the church in my community, I offer that I trust the various sources as earnest accounts from my brothers and sisters in Christ. There may be minor factual errors, but I believe these accounts to be essentially true.

Edit:
I don't know why I didn't remember this when I wrote these accounts, but I do have a personal account to add. The Armed Forces School of Music (SOM) is located in Little Creek Virginia - or was when I was there. It is rumored that the building was an old asylum. Whether this is true or not, I don't know. I do know that one fellow dropped his tuba down the ladderwell (stairwell) and claimed that it happened because he saw the devil. He recieved much scorn for this.

As for myself, one night I was on duty at the SOM building. The building is three decks (stories) tall, over 150 yards long with a center section that has ladderwells fore and aft unified with wings on either end to the extent that one can see nearly from one end of the building to the other by looking down the main passageway (hallway) on each deck. There are also ladderwells at either end of the building. The practice was ofen to use the ladderwells at the ends of the building when walking post and travel from one end of the building to the other on each deck checking the center section areas in passing. One end of the third story had a large office/classroom for advanced course students. There were dividers in the passageway just outside the room to muffle noise from the rest of the building. This only worked to some degree and sound would still carry if things were quiet. The dividers also did not obscure the view of the hatch (door) to the ladderwell.

This evening as I walked post, I arrived on third deck at the end opposite the advanced class. At 150 yards, no noise was evident from the adanced class. As I passed midway, I became aware that of the piano playing in the classroom. I wasn't alarmed because advenced students would often burn the midnight oil. I hadn't seen anyone in there earlier, but I reasoned that they could have come on deck from the ladderwell on that end while I was patrolling the second deck. The dividers and the glare from the EXIT sign on the well-waxed deck prohibited me from discerning whether the light was on in the room. As I approached, the fact that the piano was being played was unmistakable. The glare gradually changed with my position such that it also became clear that the light was not on in the room. As I neared the dividers, the playing stopped. With the hatch to the ladderwell in full view and no other exit possible from the room without a daring dive from the old louvered windows, I cautiously rounded the dividers and peered into the room. It was devoid of any other human presence. I turned on the lights and inspected the room in the event that we had an intruder who was hiding, but there was no one.

Leaving the area, I reported the incident to my counterpart who was on the first deck and was keeping the duty log. Whether he actually logged it, I don't know. I resumed my patrol and experienced no further incidents.

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