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William_Blake_The_Ghost_of_Flea_1819-20_Tempera_&_gold_on_mahogany pub domainWe felt so fortunate. Dale had a job in San Francisco that summer, and his Uncle who lived nearby asked us to house sit for them while they were away. We jumped at the chance. They lived in a beautiful home in an upscale neighborhood with a pool—a perfect place for me and our 6-month old son to hang out while Dale worked in the city.

There was only one hitch. Shortly after moving in, I became increasingly afraid to be alone in the house. I was okay when Dale was at home. But as soon as he left for work, a creepy feeling overwhelmed me. As I walked through the house I was aware of something sinister and malicious watching me. It was as if the walls had eyes that followed me everywhere. As if I was living in the belly of the Beast.

I could not stay in the house. Every morning I would pack up food and diapers and books and towels and whatever else I needed so that my son and I could camp out on the patio by the pool all day. There I felt some measure of relief. While the house behind me felt menacing, at least I was not surrounded by those eyes, not immersed in the midst of it.

One of my house-sitting chores was to keep the lush landscaping that surrounded the home watered, and I did my best. But one side of the house I could not water, the side where the bedrooms of the teenage children were located. What I felt staring out at me from those windows was too unnerving.

One day when Dale was home I felt brave enough to open those two bedrooms and look inside. Nothing seemed amiss. Yet I felt sinister unwelcome and looking out the windows that had so frightened me, I had a strong premonition that something horrible was waiting to happen.

This feeling of impending doom came whenever I heard the wind chimes blow outside our bedroom window. How I hated that eerie sound, and how grateful I felt when Dale, for some unstated reason, took them down. I didn’t press him about it. I wasn’t yet willing to share my spooky feelings with my young husband who seemed to fear nothing, who was so practical and level-headed. I was afraid he’d think me silly or foolish. I didn’t want to admit how scared I was in his Uncle’s beautiful home.

The-ExorcistBut one evening when we were watching TV together, Dale jumped up and switched the channel just as a horror movie was about to play. Until then, he had always loved watching spooky movies.

That’s when I found out that he too had the same creepy feeling in the house—like something evil was lurking, or the house itself had become possessed and was watching us and waiting. We both had the horrible premonition that something awful was about to happen.

So while it was a relief to find that I was not alone, that this frightening sense of being watched and impending doom was not merely my imagination, I could not shake it and could not continue to live there with it.

220px-Exorcist_ver2That’s when I decided enough was enough. Either we were going to have to move, or IT was. I was no longer willing to allow myself to be forced out onto the patio each day. I decided to fight back.

I’d grown up attending Sunday School each week. I’d been taught that God is Love and All-in-all. I reasoned that if this was so, then God as Love must surround me, must fill the very space that occupied that house. Either this was true or it wasn’t. And I was going to find out which.

So instead of going out on the patio one morning, I sat at the dining room table and prayed. My prayer was simply to feel God’s presence, that Love, surrounding me and filling that house. No thought, no thinking, no reasoning—just feeling Love. And I sat there like that until the whole room seemed filled with a warm inviting light, until my whole being seemed filled with Love, until I forgot all about any evil presence or the need to be rid of it. All that I felt was joy.

When my prayer ended, the house was free. That sense of evil had vanished. I walked around the house and was flooded with happiness. The house was normal, non-threatening. Whatever had occupied it before was gone. Even the children’s rooms were peaceful, empty.

The rest of our stay there was uneventful. Nothing horrible happened then, or in the future, as far as we knew. We did question his Uncle years later about whether he’d had any abnormal experiences in the house, and he said he never had. Dale and I speculated that perhaps one of the teenagers had dabbled in the occult. They did seem rather strange, as most teens do, I suppose.

So we never found out why we both felt such a sense of evil and impending doom while living there. I told Dale about how I no longer needed to spend the day outside, that whatever had been bothering me before had vanished. He was not so lucky. That evil sense never left him while we were there, and to this day he says that he would never want to stay in that house. For many, many years we could not hang wind chimes in our home. It was too eerie!

You’d think after having had “exorcised” the Beast, I never again would have been troubled by ghosts or demons or evil incarnate. But you’d be wrong.

incubus tormenting humansSeveral years later when I had two small children I again was visited by a sense of pure evil. And this time was even more terrifying than being in the belly of the Beast. So terrifying, in fact, that I was paralyzed with fear. I could not move, I could not scream, I could barely breathe. For the Beast had crept into my bed, pinned me down, and sat grinning on my chest.

More about that next time.

This is Part IV of an ongoing series of true life ghost stories, experienced either by me or by people I trusted.

You can read the full series of ghost stories at the links below.