My encounter with A/pop/his, the Evil One, or A/pep occurred thirteen years ago. A convenient time frame for the Halloween season, I know. This is the first time I’ve ever felt ready to share it. Known as the Eater of Souls in ancient Egypt, A/pop/his, the Evil One is said to have fought and lost battles against Ra, the sun god, in an attempt to disrupt and gain control of life on Earth. Even Set, who himself is a god of chaos, is a sworn enemy of A/pep.
Ancient Egyptian texts, known collectively as The Books of Overthrowing A/pep or simply, The Book of A/pop/his detail how to engage in spiritual warfare with this entity (see Raymond O. Faulkner’s 1937 article in The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, titled The Bremner-Rhind Papyrus: III: D. The Book of Overthrowing ‘Apep. At the time of this post, you can download the article for free with a trial of Scribd — and for the record no, I am not being paid to promote anyone).
Using specialised execration rituals, the ancient Egyptians would cut, smash, spit on, or burn reproductions of A/pep to destroy the entity’s power over people’s lives. This would often occur during Wep Ronpet, or the ancient Egyptian New Year. Today, we might think of these rituals as a form of deliverance or exorcism. I didn’t know any of this information back when I had this experience. If I had, things might have gone differently.
Today, I recount my story as if it were just that, a fictional short story I decided to make up one day when in reality, it’s completely true. In fact, my mother and ex-partner would back me up on this. The consequences of challenging the entity I’m calling A/pop/his, the Evil One were severe, but I didn’t have much of a choice at the time, given the predicament I was in. I had to help my family and so, without any real experience in clearing houses at the time, I attempted to do just that. When the encounter occurred in 2009, paranormal investigation shows on TV were just getting started and there really wasn’t a lot of help available the way there is today. Culturally, we’ve had a shift in the acceptance of the paranormal since the early 2000s, but it wasn’t always so. On a personal note, this also took place before I converted to Kemetic paganism, and I had no specific pantheon or group of deities or spirit guides to step in and assist. I was more or less on my own.
Let me back up and start from the beginning. When I was twenty-one, I left home and at the time, my family lived in a modest, two-story house in a town called Dolgeville, in upstate New York. Dolgeville is a typical, small American town, which runs along either side of a creek, called East Canada Creek. Dolgeville was famed in the past for manufacturing ladies’ footwear, piano parts, baseball bats and for developing a number of hybrid varieties of African violets. Its landmark mansion unfortunately burned down in the 2010s and was a huge loss for the town. People tend to take their local history for granted but to a visitor, the town has a lot of charm. In fact, Dolgeville still holds a place in my heart, even though I haven’t visited there for many years.
There were no paranormal issues ever experienced in the home when I lived there in my late teens and early twenties, nor when I came back to visit, not long after 9/11. It was a normal house like any other. Sure, it was a bit old (somewhere between eighty and ninety years old at the time) and needed some work done, but most of the houses in the area could easily match that description. As a young adult, I decided to migrate overseas to Australia, as my first love, Jason was an Aussie. Because we were a same sex couple, the laws at the time were more favourable for us to remain together in Australia. We had help from a non-profit organisation called the Gay and Lesbian Immigration Task Force (GLITF) but we more or less applied for my immigration status by ourselves, without a lawyer. This was several years before the LGBTQ+ community won the right to marry in the United States. When I first arrived in Queensland, it was spring in the Southern hemisphere, and hundreds of Jacaranda trees in full bloom dotted the landscape. It was beautiful. I took to Australia like a fish to water and I never looked back. Because I moved so far away, visits with my mom and dad had to be fewer and farther between. Once, there was an eight-year gap between visits, which was too long. I know that now.
In 2009, my dad was diagnosed with COPD due to his many years of smoking, a disease which we used to call emphysema, and he asked my two brothers and I to come out for a family reunion, as he wasn’t sure how much time he had left. He did end up living with the disease for six or seven years afterward but at the time, it was still a lot for everyone to process, especially my dad. The call came at the worst possible time for me, as I had just started a new business a few months prior and had also enrolled in a bachelor’s degree. All of that had to be placed on hold, in order to make an extended overseas trip. The whole process of placing your life on hold just as you have a good momentum going wasn’t easy, but that wasn’t the only problem. Simply put, I had a bad feeling about going, for some reason, which I’d never had before. I didn’t want to be selfish or complain and family obviously had to come first. Because I hadn’t visited my family for so many years, Jason and I decided to stay for a whole month with my mom and dad in the family home. When we arrived at the house, we were greeted by my parents’ herd of tiny chihuahuas, all of which, to my delight, remembered who I was. After the initial cheer of embracing my loved ones, there was the shock of seeing dad, completely transformed by his illness. He looked frail, hunched over, and ashen; his medications gave his face a puffy appearance. He wore tubing attached to a mobile oxygen tank that delivered an intermittent hiss…hissing sound.
The very first night in the house, I realised there was something wrong. It creeped me out from the start, which never happened when I lived in the house previously. Back then, it was just a normal house. Now, I felt a sense of dread closing in — the familiar feeling of security was gone. Everything seemed alien, somehow. Disconcerted and unsettled, I wondered whether or not the feelings I was having were connected with how I was processing my dad’s illness, which caused me to question my intuition. The vague sense that something other than my father’s illness was going on in the house persisted.
Jason and I stayed in my younger brother’s old bedroom upstairs, as he still lived in upstate New York and didn’t require accommodation. The very first night in the house, I awoke with a start, after feeling something had touched me. With a jolt of fear, I saw a dark, shadowy figure standing at the foot of the bed. The dark figure was pulling the blankets off us. By that point, I could see the blankets sliding down off my waist and legs. I felt odd, tugging sensations on my feet. Despite the shock and fear, I quickly regained my composure. I sensed that I needed to try and seize the upper hand somehow, if such a thing were possible.
I heard my own voice say the words, “Get out of here! We don’t want you in here.”
Luckily, I wasn’t suffering from sleep paralysis and was able to move and speak. I jerked the blankets back over Jason and I, then went back to sleep. Why I didn’t scream and run, pulling Jason behind me right then and there, I really can’t say. Perhaps it was due to exhaustion and jetlag from the twenty-four hours of travelling and four flights it took to get to upstate New York. Maybe it was because I had previous experience as a kid with the paranormal, when my family lived in a haunted house in Connecticut in the 1980s. Whatever the reason for my reaction, my composure wouldn’t exactly last for the entire month. The next morning, I asked Jason if he experienced anything weird last night and he replied that he hadn’t. He enquired as to why I had asked, and I decided to downplay the situation. It was probably just a dream, or maybe the blankets fell off us for whatever reason and I misinterpreted what I saw and felt? My parents used to tell me stories about how I would get too hot at night as a little kid, and I’d kick the blankets off in my sleep. They would put the blankets back on, worried I’d get too cold, and I’d kick them off again. Maybe that had carried on into adulthood? These explanations were certainly more plausible than the alternative. After all, I knew this house and it wasn’t haunted! I decided to continue on with the visit for my dad’s sake and did the best I could to put the whole experience behind me. Nerves and stress can do crazy things, after all. I tried to convince myself it was probably just that.
Other odd occurrences kept happening in the house, however, such as tapping and later, pounding in the bedroom walls that appeared not to be random but controlled by some form of intelligence, and flitting shadows seen in the corner of my eye. In one sense, it was nothing major but in another, they were red flags, warning of impending paranormal danger. Deep down, I knew exactly what was happening because I’d been through it before. The room we were staying in seemed to be a hotspot, or rather, a crossroads. My brother’s closet was a modified entrance to the attic; when you approached the closet, to the right was a makeshift closet space, directly in front of you was a door that connected to our parent’s bedroom, and to the left was another door that opened up to a flight of stairs leading to the attic. It was an odd, and busy little space. With a flash of insight, I realised this was the portal for whatever was in the house. Whatever this thing was, it had come from the attic above, and was using this space to concentrate its energy and gain access to the rest of the house. Despite my desire to stay in denial, all of my senses were switching on and I was picking up way more than I wanted to know. I really needed to come to grips with what was happening and do something about it, but I kept on teetering between feeling confident and in control, to feeling deeply afraid and out of control. I felt guilty, but I decided to get out of the house for a while. Not to think, but for a distraction, instead.
There once was a charming gift shop in Dolgeville called A Painter’s Garden, which we used to frequent during the Beanie Babies craze. Of course, my tastes had changed since then, and I was now in the market for antiques and such. The ladies’ shoe factory, which used to be called Daniel Green, had been converted into a massive antiques mall and I couldn’t wait to check it out. Looking back, I think shopping helped keep my mind off what was happening with dad, plus all the other strange phenomena going on upstairs in my brother’s old bedroom.
Mentally and emotionally, dad wasn’t handling his diagnosis very well. He became incredibly demanding both physically and emotionally and I quickly felt drained and fatigued. I felt like I couldn’t give him the support he needed, despite my training in the healthcare field (I guessed it was different when it’s one of your own family members involved). The next day, I decided to walk down Main Street and hit the shops and cafes again with Jason. A little wine would go a long way, right about now! I joked in my mind. The streets were lined with hanging baskets of pansies, petunias and other such delicate annuals; American flags waved lazily in the breeze. If you were patient, and made no sudden moves, you might be lucky enough to spot a hummingbird fly up to one of the bright red feeders in people’s yards. Jason, like so many Aussies, loved America and all things American. During moments like these, I could kind of see why. Dolgeville was simply a great little town. I sighed with contentment and the tensions of the past few days began to fade away. It felt really good just to get out of the house for a while, to get some fresh air and sunshine, and reconnect with the town I left behind. I tried to see things through Jason’s eyes; watching his reactions and happiness amplified my own and the old sense of familiarity, of feeling at home, finally came drifting back.
That afternoon, when we returned to the house with bags of stuff in our arms, I was more or less accused of being materialistic and selfish by my dad. He was back on his intermittent oxygen again, which made its usual short, sharp hissing sounds every few seconds. A sinister keeper of time.
“We never raised you to be like that.” He griped, between hisses.
He shot a glance at Jason. I became defensive, and tensions quickly rose. The fragile sense of security I had constructed during our outing was snatched out from under me and I was beginning to get rather touchy about it. Really, I couldn’t see the point of getting pulled into more of dad’s mean-spirited criticism. After all, I came all this way, and I was an adult! What did it matter if I wanted to check out the town and do some shopping? A lot had changed since I was in Dolgeville last. The US had a lot of interesting architecture and culture, which is less commonly seen on the Gold Coast of Australia, where I had moved to, and I was just trying to soak it all in. Many Americans, I felt, took their culture for granted and left it by the wayside. I felt bewildered and confused about who was right and who was wrong, who was being reasonable, and who was not. Was I being selfish for going out when my dad was ill? I honestly didn’t know. The whole situation became confusing. I tried not to argue with my sick father and apologised. We didn’t go there so I could play tourist. I made a mental note of that.
Dad wasn’t ready to let things go yet. He switched his focus, and began harping on the fact that Billy, my younger brother, hadn’t visited yet. He proposed we go to visit Billy and his partner, Marty instead.
“Dad, I really don’t think we should do that. We should give them some time and let them come here when they’re ready. They’re busy with work and stuff. I really don’t want to go down there uninvited and impose on them.”
“Well, I don’t care what you want, or what any of you want!” Dad erupted, “I’m dying, and I want my family together, now!” He demanded.
I looked at dad in disbelief. I couldn’t believe he’d spoken to me that way! My patience suddenly snapped.
“After everything I’ve done for you!” I began, “I put my business and my degree on hold to come here, flogged off our poor dog to Jason’s parents with hardly any notice, I really didn’t want to do any of that, so I’m not doing anything else I don’t wanna do!” I shouted at him.
Before dad could answer, a thunderous crash came from the kitchen. Then another, and still, another. The chihuahuas began to bark in a muffled chorus, their insistent yapping lost in the din of smashing dishes. I rushed to the kitchen and saw that one of the cabinets was hanging halfway out of the wall. Plates, cups, glasses and miscellaneous items came tumbling out, one or two at a time and were shattering on the floor below, over and over again. I thought I could hear something else as well. Was that laughing? I could hear a distinct, deep male voice giving way to laughter, coming from the area of the back door. There was nobody there. And I was wide awake. Something inside me skyrocketed into red alert. I turned from the scene unfolding in the kitchen and ran to Jason in a flash.
“JASON! We have to go, now! Go, go, go!” I screamed.
I bolted up the stairs and began grabbing our stuff. I was getting the hell out of there. Something really bad was happening and we had to get out now, while there was still time. Jason came rushing into the room, trying to calm me down. Moments later, he was followed by mom, who had tears streaming down her face. I looked at them both.
“We have to get the f*ck out of here!” I screamed again.
“Scott, you’ve had an adrenaline dump. You’re in fight or flight. You have to calm down and breathe.” Mom said.
“Listen to me!” She cried.
“Mom, I can’t stay here anymore. I have to go home. I’m sorry.” My voice shook, “Things have been happening here and I just can’t deal with it, anymore,” I said.
I turned to Jason, who then explained to me calmly that going home would mean buying a new ticket, which would be expensive, and we really couldn’t afford it. I searched his face in perturbation, and slowly made sense of what he was saying. So, we were trapped in this house and there was nothing we could do about it, nothing at all? It seemed cruel. Surely, there had to be another way. It took a long time for me to calm down, but mom and Jason managed to convince me to stay. I had completely flipped out when I heard the laughter in the kitchen, but for some reason, I kept it a secret. How could I tell them? Everyone already thought I’d had a nervous breakdown, just because I heard some plates breaking in the kitchen. They were looking at me now as if I were just as fragile. Maybe I was? Inwardly, I admitted defeat and like a child, I allowed mom and Jason to direct me downstairs, where I numbly sat down on the couch. Mom explained that the cabinets were old, and one of them had simply come out of the wall on its own, due to the weight of the dishes inside. This, I decided, could very well be true. Not everything was paranormal and to be completely honest, I much preferred a rational explanation. Maybe there was a rational explanation for everything? I fumbled inwardly, reaching for some kind of grip on reality.
Eventually, I settled down and became more euthymic. I felt guilty for leaving Mom and Jason to clean up all the broken glass, and privately, I began to wonder if I’d had an auditory hallucination earlier. Maybe there really was something wrong with me? I decided to monitor myself. If anything else freaky happened, I resolved, I’d respond in a rational manner and not freak out about it. Surely, I could handle that? My behaviour had already been embarrassing enough as it was. No matter what happened, I needed to keep my cool and just get through the rest of the month. Then, I would go home and never have to deal with anything like this again.
We decided later to order take-out, which seemed to diffuse the situation for a while. Perhaps the best thing about Dolgeville was an excellent Italian restaurant, called Ina’s. Practically everyone in town adored that freaking restaurant. You couldn’t go through Dolgeville and not stop by Ina’s. It would be sacrilegious. From my understanding though, the restaurant eventually changed hands after many years and the old recipes had also changed and it was no longer the same. Back then though, the place was a much-loved shindig. Simple pleasures like being back in my hometown and eating food from Ina’s felt like old times, which soothed my soul. Even dad seemed contented. I pushed the incident in the kitchen out of my mind.
To me, it seemed like there were brief moments when dad forgot he was ill; forgot to be demanding and critical, until he couldn’t breathe again. Then he would look to us with wide, panicked eyes, and I initially felt helpless. I knew from my healthcare background that we needed to maintain his airway, obviously, but with COPD the lungs lose their elasticity; the passages in the lungs spasm and air gets trapped. He had medications, inhalers and nebulisers and breathing exercises to do each day, and he kept a little diary so he wouldn’t forget anything. Despite all that, there was only so much we could do to manage his condition. His lungs were slowly failing, that was the reality and eventually, he would not be able to regain control of his breathing from one of his lung spasms. One day, he would suffocate. It was just a question of when. My father, I realised, was traumatised by the prospect of his own impending death.
Once I recovered from the incident in the kitchen, I tried to point out that my dad was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, and not a terminal illness that gave him only three months to live. There were things we could do to improve his quality of life. Of course, that didn’t go down very well. Did I have any idea how scary it was when you couldn’t breathe and nothing seems to help, or the meds take forever to kick in? Who was I to judge? It seemed like no matter what I did, it was wrong, and it was really starting to get on my nerves. Somehow, this wasn’t the visit I had imagined. I knew my father was unwell, but I didn’t realise seeing him was going to be like this. Unconsciously, I expected my dad to still be my dad; I expected him to have come to terms with his condition and have everything sorted out and just be with us to maximise what time he had left, before he passed away peacefully. I imagined something like the movie, Beaches. I wasn’t expecting my dad to be so acopic, so abysmal, so needy and demanding. I wasn’t prepared for it, and my response was to become withdrawn, which only made things worse. That wasn’t the only problem. The paranormal occurrences around the house weren’t going away, either. In fact, they were only getting worse the longer we were there, which was unsettling, because we were going to be there for an entire month. It was a terrible thought, but I just wanted to get the hell out of there and go back to my new home, in Australia. After all, I did everything I could, and I was sorry if it wasn’t enough.
Not long after our first night in the house, I was startled awake once again by the feeling that something was terribly wrong. I looked up, and it was as if the ceiling above me had transformed into a churning night-time sky, thick with rolling cloud that resembled billows of smoke. Weaving to-and-fro was a massive, serpent or dragon-like creature that would disappear and reappear as it slithered through the ceiling, as if the ceiling itself were not solid at all. The serpent was thick and fat, yet powerful and it moved with ease. I recoiled in horror. We were in big trouble, bigger than I had realised. Intuitively, I knew it was the Evil One; Satan or the devil, or at least a manifestation of this being. I had no doubt about what I saw. Years later, as a Kemetic pagan, I would see this thing through an ancient Egyptian lens as A/pop/his, the Evil One or A/pep, a manifestation of the ancient Egyptian devil himself, whose name we never write down without slashes between the syllables, to destroy his power.
I would also learn how unprepared I was to go up against him, with no proper spiritual allies or experience. A/pop/his, the Evil One slithered around the ceiling with a sense of malicious merriment. I sensed he’d come to check on the status of his victims and the progress of his stronghold in this house. All I could do was look up in terror at this thing. Something had to be done before it was too late; before one or all of us were dead. That was my last thought. Then suddenly, it was morning. How I managed to fall asleep amongst all that churning hell, I do not know. Perhaps A/pop/his, the Evil One had willed it and I fell into a deep sleep? It had been happening a lot, and I’m not normally the best sleeper. It’s possible it could’ve been just jet lag, it’s also possible it could have been something more. At the very least, I was now ready to face what had been happening.
I decided this time to have a more serious talk with Jason. No more denial, no more wandering around town looking for antiques and yard sales and homemade fudge, while my father lay dying, trapped in a house from hell with A/pop/his, the Evil One coiled around him. We had to do something; that was the real reason we were there, I realised. My father had always been a decent dad and a good man. No one’s perfect, but he certainly didn’t deserve to die like this! Somehow, I sensed A/pop/his, the Evil One was drawn to my dad by his vibrations of trauma and suffering — and was feeding off him. When my father died, A/pop/his, the Evil One was going to take his soul, and anyone else’s he could take with him, to hell. Human souls are like batteries for this thing and the more souls it has, the more powerful it will be. I shuddered, remembering how powerful its body had seemed. Obviously, evil was working out pretty well for it. I wasn’t sure how, but I had to stop this thing, to cut off its energy supply, to get it out of the house and away from my dad. I had to do a house clearing, the sooner the better.
Something the town did not have unfortunately, was a New Age shop, because if it had, I would have gone there for guidance and for some answers. I’d always been a sensitive, but I’d never dealt with anything like this before and I really needed some form of backup. Maybe there was a shop in the town of Herkimer or in Utica that could help, but there wasn’t any time for that. Suddenly, I felt a sense of urgency. We were in a paranormal emergency, which required immediate attention.
“Jason, did you see that thing in our room last night?” I asked over breakfast, wasting no time on preliminaries.
Mom and dad were still asleep upstairs. Dad slept very poorly, and he kept mom up at night to help him, so they were both late to rise.
Jason replied, “Yes, I did.”
“Tell me what you saw,” I said, not wanting to give away any information.
“Well, it looked like a black, shadowy snake slithering along the ceiling, up in the cornices,” he said.
I gasped in disbelief, my horror confirmed. It was all the proof I needed — I certainly didn’t want anymore. I cannot emphasise enough how bizarre it is when you’ve seen the unseeable, and someone else is able to describe exactly the same thing, because they saw it, too. We weren’t crazy! In that moment, I didn’t care what anyone else thought. I knew what was happening to us was real. Science doesn’t know everything, and I couldn’t wait a hundred years for science to catch up; I had to help my family now. Situations like this are something you have to experience yourself to believe and yet, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
When mom came downstairs, I decided very diplomatically, to tell her what was going on. With dad so sick, I had no idea how she’d react but either way, she deserved to know the truth. I told her about A/pop/his, the Evil One and about what Jason and I had both been experiencing.
“That’s exactly what I saw but, in a dream,” mom exclaimed, “I dreamed I saw a huge snake slithering around in our room and it made me really worried it was there; I had to wake your dad up to tell him about it, that’s how bad it was,” she said.
I asked mom if she was kidding. She said she wasn’t and proceeded to tell me she had this dream about a week or so before we arrived. I told mom we needed to do something because the situation was becoming dangerous. Dad wasn’t safe in the house anymore, and neither were we.
I spent the day gathering supplies and writing a banishing spell I would recite to make A/pop/his, the Evil One leave. I had salt and a singing bowl that I had sent to my parents previously as a gift. We couldn’t smudge with sage or burn incense because of dad’s oxygen tanks and his super-sensitive breathing; the lightest of whiff of smoke, sprays, aerosols or anything with perfume would make his lungs spasm and stop working, so we had some unusual factors to contend with. They even had air purifiers in the house, which ran 24/7. Too bad they weren’t able to purify evil entities from hell, I thought.
Ironically, mom and dad both had a reasonably good night the evening before, and they felt up to getting dressed and going out to shop for groceries and whatever else we needed. I speculated whether it was because A/pop/his, the Evil One had spent the night in our room last night, drawing off the energy of Jason and I, instead of mom and dad’s. I was glad that dad had a better night, even though I was feeling sluggish and zapped myself. The longer I spent inside the house, the more unsettled I felt; it was hard to think, it was hard to know what to do, and I fought against this feeling as best I could. Getting out of the house, even for just a few hours, was the only clear thought in my mind. Looking back, I should have sent my parents out for the day and did the clearing then and there, but I wasn’t thinking as sharply as I normally would. Plus, I felt unprepared, like I wasn’t quite ready. Maybe I needed more stuff? If I went to the bigger town of Herkimer, perhaps I would find what I needed.
What can one find in a WalMart Supercenter to clear houses with? That was the big question, as I looked around. The United States was becoming less and less of a familiar place the more time I spent abroad. Dad whizzed around in a mobility scooter, much faster than necessary. Slowly, I realised there wasn’t much I actually needed for the clearing, I just needed to do it. My mind was becoming clear itself, and I felt a tremendous sense of relief — and sanity — returning. You couldn’t clear a house without a clear mind first, I reasoned. I decided to get a coffee. Normally, I would prefer tea, but my mind had been so frazzled lately, I needed something a bit stronger. When we get home, I should just do it, I gave myself a pep talk. Screw the concept of perfect timing, and just get it done. Don’t make a big deal out of it. When we get back, I’ll just sweep through the whole place, and it will be over before you know it! I took a deep breath, gathering the courage and resolve that I needed. I decided firmly to do the clearing when we arrived back home. I was no longer hesitant or hazy. I was ready. By that point, I’d lost mom and dad. I figured dad would come around and nearly run me over with his mobility scooter again, if I was patient. Sure enough, he did come, and he nearly ran me over again! A/pop/his, the Evil One would just love that, I joked in my mind, hisss problems would be solved! I giggled to myself. Anyone observing me would have thought I was a crackpot. I didn’t care!
As we approached the house and pulled into the driveway, I was met with a now familiar sense of dread. Something definitely wasn’t right there; you could feel it. I tried not to, I tried to hold onto my sanity and the sense of normality I had just won back during our outing, as we pulled into what felt like a vortex to hell. I stepped out of my parents’ mini-van and jumped back in shock: I nearly stepped on a Garder snake! It had been coiled up in the driveway, soaking up sun or waiting for us? I wondered, darkly. I watched as the snake slithered away, up an embankment and toward the woods that bordered the backyard. I recalled the jokes I had made earlier about A/pop/his, the Evil One. I’d certainly been put back in my place, but could this thing hear my thoughts all the way from Herkimer? I wasn’t sure, but my nerves were shot once again. Garder snakes were relatively common in upstate New York, of course, but what were the odds? I’d never gotten out of a car and nearly stepped on a snake before in my life. It was freaky. Whatever this sh*t was, that was going on in this house, was not my fault. Why was I the one who had to deal with it? I became short-tempered and irritable once again.
I need to get out of here, just do the clearing and go. I can’t stay here anymore, I thought, as I made my way inside the house, rummaging around for the crap I needed to do the clearing. Where did I put the salt and the singing bowl, were they upstairs? SQUEEK! I nearly screamed myself, as I realised I’d stepped on a dog toy — a snake dog toy, complete with a forked tongue made of red felt. The chihuahuas gathered around expectantly, but I wasn’t in the mood to play with them. I turned to mom and dad accusingly.
“Why would you have something like this in the house when you know you’re having problems with that thing? You should get rid of it!” I looked at both my parents with searching eyes. I’d become irritated beyond belief.
Dad was dumbfounded. That’s when mom told him about what I saw upstairs, and that she’d told me about the dream she’d had, just before Jason and I had arrived. I told both my parents they had a real problem in the house, and we needed to do a clearing, asap. If we could just accomplish this one thing, everything else might settle down.
“Maybe not right now, honey. Brendan’s coming,” mom said.
I looked at mom in exasperation. Brendan was my older brother, who was flying in from Washington state. He would arrive at Albany airport later that afternoon, which I’d forgotten about. We’d have to go pick him up, in a few hours.
“Fine, I’ll do it later,” I said, feeling deflated.
I helped put away the groceries without saying much, then marched upstairs, feeling very much like a teenager again. How odd it was that we could fall into old family roles, no matter what age we were. I flopped onto my brother’s old bed and listened to CDs. Tori Amos’ Abnormally Attracted to Sin had just come out and was my soundtrack at the time. Brooding initially, my mood eventually lifted, and my mind drifted. I remembered when I lived in this house with my parents, I used to do yoga in this room. My younger brother must have had a bedroom in another part of the house back then, but I couldn’t remember where. Could it have been downstairs, where the den was now? I would have to ask him later when I saw him. Funny how I remembered certain details, but others drew a blank. With that, my younger brother Billy came down the attic stairs, startling the living daylights out of me! I had no idea he was in the house. Billy said nothing as he walked past. He turned and shot me a disdainful look. Then he walked into a wall and vanished.
I stood frozen, slowly making sense of what I saw. Whatever it was, it hadn’t been my brother. The room was completely silent; the cd had stopped playing. Somewhere in the distance, a lawnmower was humming. Outside, the sun was shining, filtering through the window. Suddenly, it was the normal world outside that felt like a fantasy. The nightmare happening inside was the reality. Tears welled up in my eyes, as I struggled to process what had just happened. That thing was not my brother! Suddenly, I felt very cold and began trembling. I moved out of the room and to the staircase. Gripping the railing as tightly as I could, I descended the stairs quickly yet carefully, afraid I might be pushed, or levitated, or who knew what. Obviously, A/pop/his, the Evil One could do whatever it wanted, and appear however it wanted. I told no one about what I saw. In fact, it would be years before I would ever tell Jason about the doppelganger I saw of my brother. For some reason, it frightened me to the very core of my being, more than seeing A/pop/his, the Evil One; more than hearing the laughter in the kitchen, and more than anything else I’d seen in my life. At the time, if I tried to tell anyone what I saw, I would have come undone.
Somehow, I made it down the stairs alive. Choking back sobs, I made my way to the front porch. Mom and Jason were in the dining room, chattering and looking through the purchases we had made, discussing how we might pack them to get them home safely — we would probably need another suitcase. Too bad, because we were just at WalMart! We’d have to go back now… Thankfully, they didn’t notice me. In truth, I had made most of those purchases, but I couldn’t deal with them right now. By that point, I was hanging by a thread, and that thread was frayed. I just needed to be alone. I no longer had resources to deal with anyone — or anything — else. Once out on the front porch, I cried and shook uncontrollably. No one seemed to notice me, and I was incredibly grateful for the invisibility. After what felt like an eternity, the fit slowly subsided. I closed my stinging eyes and listened to the gentle roar of the creek nearby. It was very warm outside and air conditioners hummed in the neighbours’ windows. I was vaguely aware that I’d been in shock and for some reason, I didn’t want anyone to know. I thought back to the doppelganger. The look it gave me had been ominous, a warning, I realised.
What was I going to do? The goal of A/pop/his, the Evil One was to completely and utterly destroy us all. I felt it now, understood it in my bones. Something worse than death awaited us, if we didn’t do something. At that moment though, I felt as helpless as a fly caught in a spider’s web. No one else seemed willing to do anything to help us; we were nothing more than sitting ducks. Why had my parents asked me to come here? They should have known better; they’d been through this kind of thing before, in Connecticut. They knew all too well the tell-tale signs of paranormal danger. I felt a flash of anger, and my thoughts took a dark turn. Yes, it all made sense now. My father brought me here to sacrifice me! He’d save his own soul by offering mine. Why would A/pop/his, the Evil One want to devour his soul, anyway? They brought me here to kill me, I thought. I stood up, fuelled by anger. I went back inside the house.
“Where is Billy?” I asked coldly, looking at mom and Jason through narrowed eyes.
“Brendan’s coming today, not Billy. Well, Billy might be here today, I don’t know. Today or tomorrow, depending on work,” mom replied.
I smiled coyly and nodded my head. I knew Billy wasn’t actually there. I sat down on the couch and watched TV. There I stayed until it was time to pick up Brendan from the airport. I was completely miserable. Looking back, I can’t remember now if I stayed in the house alone or went with my family to pick up Brendan. To me, it wouldn’t have made a difference. We were all screwed either way, so what did it matter? I’d all but given up hope of doing a clearing on the house. Everyone stood in my way, and no one cared about what was happening. What was the point?
Exactly what happened next, I can’t recall. All I remember is that it was dark, Brendan was finally there, in the living room and I told him about what had been happening in the house, all except the part about the doppelganger. Brendan seemed deeply concerned. He’d been ten years old, when we lived in the haunted house in Connecticut, and whatever had been in that house hadn’t been kind to Brendan. I told him I didn’t want to sleep in Billy’s old room upstairs, anymore. Because Brendan had flown in from Washington state and needed accommodation, he would be staying with us also. It was decided that Brendan would sleep in Billy’s old room upstairs. Jason and I would sleep on a blow-up bed in the living room. I’d been hanging out in the living room for hours by that point and had been left alone. Since nothing happened in the room that I was aware of, I felt safer there.
“I’m not afraid of whatever’s up there,” Brendan said, referring to Billy’s old room.
I felt sorry for him; he had no idea what was up there, but I was also relieved that someone else was willing to share some of the burden. The suspicion and paranoia that I had, surrounding the motives of my family members began to fade, as Brendan and Jason began showing me some concern. Even mom was willing to help, who went and got the blow-up bed out of storage for Jason and I. Maybe everything would be okay, after all. Things would work out, I just needed to stay calm. I felt better with my older brother there; he was a level-headed person. Surely, he’d be able to give some perspective on what was going on. Maybe he’d even be able to help.
Jason and I inflated the blow-up bed, which was roomier than I thought it would be, perhaps the size of a full or double bed. Not bad, really for roughing it on the living room floor! Blissfully, nothing sinister happened that night, but it was not without incident. I awoke from a trance-like sleep. Not far from our heads, was the dining room. Sitting at the dining room table, watching over us, was the spirit of my grandfather, Grandpa Bill, dad’s father. After everything I’d experienced in my life, seeing my grandfather’s spirit was almost no different than if he were still alive and had decided to drop by. I felt a sense of wonder that he was there, but it didn’t frighten me in the least. I got the sense that he was fully aware of what was going on, and he was doing what he could to help, but he could only do so much. The grip of A/pop/his, the Evil One was so strong on this house, that Grandpa Bill seemed limited to the ground floor only; he couldn’t get upstairs. Mom and dad had an upstairs bedroom. I could feel my grandfather’s dilemma, who had an angelic presence, who enjoyed watching over his family. What was happening here, though, was of grave concern. I took it all in, all that Grandpa Bill was relaying to me, and I tried to evaluate what strengths and resources we had for the battle that lay ahead. He told me, through my mind, that I was the one who needed to close the portal there. He encouraged me and told me I could do it. I had visions of other family members in angelic white robes smiling at me, and I didn’t know who they were, because they had lived before my time, but they were from dad’s side of the family. I communed with them for a while and eventually drifted back to sleep.
Billy — the real Billy — arrived the next day and surprisingly, I felt completely fine seeing him. The family reunion that dad had asked for was finally happening. Dad was feeling reasonably well, and Brendan reported that nothing bad had happened to him in Billy’s old room the previous night. For a moment, I considered my own sanity and whether or not I imagined the whole thing. Maybe I really am disturbed in some way? I wondered. I didn’t know what to think. ‘Normal’ seemed more difficult to process than the ‘para-normal’, suddenly. Since nothing happened to Brendan the night before, it seemed to have maxed out his credulity, as far as my story was concerned. That was my cue to avoid talking about anything paranormal, so I made an effort to chat with Brendan and Billy about normal stuff, and slowly started feeling a little bit more cheerful. We had made tentative plans to stay in a rental cottage at a fishing resort called Peck’s Lake, which Jason and I had paid for in advance. Of course, it all depended on dad’s condition. Since dad was feeling reasonably well, we were actually considering going. I’d also heard from an old high school friend, John. He and his wife, Jolene also wanted to catch up with us and were coming over that evening for a couple hours to say hi. I started to forget all about the house and my urgent desire to do the clearing. I just wanted things to be normal again; I wanted to be normal again. I avoided talking about the house and A/pop/his, the Evil One and tried to put anything unpleasant out of my mind for a while. The house seemed quiet, which made my efforts easier.
Once John and Jolene arrived, the living room was starting to become cramped, with eight people inside, so Jason, John, Jolene and I decided to go out on a double date of sorts and let my two brothers catch up with mom and dad for a while. We went to Ina’s and had buffalo wings and pizza. John particularly enjoyed torturing Jason and Jolene with the spicy wings, coaxing them to try them, which I thought was hilarious. I’m a vegetarian, so I managed to dodge a bullet there, although I’ve always enjoyed spicy food myself, so either way, I had immunity from John’s challenge. While I hadn’t seen John in years, it only felt like a few weeks. We seemed to pick up right where we left off and Jolene felt like a sister. We were genuinely having fun and for the first time, I was happy I’d made the trip. I said nothing to them about the house because I was afraid of how they might react. What could I say, my parents are living in a house from hell; it was never like that before, but now A/pop/his, the Evil One is slithering around in the ceiling and wants to kill us all? They would have thought I’d gone completely mad. I decided to keep my mouth shut and simply enjoy the moment and the badly needed link with normality. Whether I was deluding myself or not, I no longer cared. In truth, I just wanted to avoid the topic altogether.
After the double date, John and Jolene dropped us off at my parents’ house again. I told them about the cottage at Peck’s Lake and invited them along. The cottage was larger than it sounded, with three large dormitories and could sleep ten people. John said that he had work but would try to drop by on one of the afternoons during the weekend, after he finished work. We said our goodbyes and Jason and I went inside. Mom, Dad, Brendan and Billy were watching TV. It was a vampire film called, From Dusk til Dawn. Dad was a fan of the genera, ever since reading novels by Anne Rice. It was nice to see him enjoying himself, but I was only mildly interested. Instead, I gravitated toward the dining room, and started the process of sorting through all the antiques and souvenirs I had accumulated, including a stained-glass plaque of an angel from Meyda Tiffany. Why would someone who lives overseas buy a stained-glass plaque and expect to get it home in their luggage without smashing it? I began to feel like a dimwit. Perhaps I was being impractical, after all. Now I’d have to either ship this stuff back home, or pack it in a second suitcase and hope for the best. Either way, it would be expensive. I sighed with annoyance.
I looked up at the television and my eyes widened in dismay. The actress, Salma Hayek was playing out a scene in the film, in which she dances with a massive live snake wrapped around her body. I’d never seen the film before and had no idea what was coming. Was this A/pop/his, the Evil One finding new ways to torment me? First the Garder snake in the driveway, then the snake chew-toy and now this! I jumped up from my chair. To me, it was a synchronistic mocking of the trinity. I took it as an especially bad omen. I looked at dad and gestured to the TV.
“What is this?” I asked.
“It’s From Dusk Til Dawn, with Salma Hayek. Doesn’t she look great?” Dad crooned delightfully.
“But why would you watch it?” My voice rose, in a plaintive tone, “don’t you see you’re giving it a way in? Look at the snake!” I cried.
Everyone looked at me.
“This place is infested. It’s all around us, can’t you feel it? There are snakes everywhere!” I continued to rant.
Whatever else I said, I cannot exactly recall but by the end of it, everyone was looking at me like I was disturbed. At the very least, I had ruined everyone’s evening, including my dad’s. Meanwhile, I felt like I had no safe place left in the house. I had no refuge, anywhere. I fled back out to the front porch. This time, Jason came out after me. He sat down on the front steps beside me.
“Jason, I can’t stay here anymore,” I blurted out. “I don’t know where to go, we’ll have to find a hotel or something, I don’t know where, but somewhere. We have to go,” I said.
“We can’t, Scott,” Jason replied, “we can’t afford it and besides, the closest hotel would be at least forty-five minutes away, you know that. Then we’d have to hire a rental car and drive up and down through Little Falls to get to Dolgeville, which can be a dangerous drive; you were a passenger in a head-on collision on that road, yourself. I’m not comfortable driving through all of that when I’m used to driving on the other side of the road. Plus, we didn’t budget for those kinds of expenses, and the way you’ve been spending…” he trailed off.
I hung my head and frowned. He was right. It really was my fault. Everything had been my fault. I set us up to fail from the start. Whatever I did, I only dug us deeper into a hole where A/pop/his, the Evil One was waiting. I apologised to Jason and reiterated to him that the house was haunted. He said he knew that; he’d seen it for himself, and he believed everything else I’d told him. I then shared my frustrations regarding the fact that there was never any pounding or tapping in the walls when other people were around. For some reason it was targeting me. Was it because I was weak? Jason said, no. It was because I was strong. I was the only one of any of the family members who could clear it. A/pop/his, the Evil One saw me as a threat. I thanked Jason for his patience and insight. I realised his loyalty to me was being tested like never before and while he maintained his own boundaries around what he was and was not willing to do, he still remained supportive of me. For that, I was truly grateful. In the back of my mind, I still thought it was lucky that Jason had seen the thing for himself, which was later reinforced by mom telling us about her dream. What if Jason hadn’t seen it, would he still believe me or would he think I was crazy? I tried not to think about it.
We were being eaten alive by mosquitos. We had no choice but to go back into the house. Inside, everyone was getting ready to retire for the evening, packing up their belongings and making room for the blow-up bed. There was a difference in their behaviour toward me though. Not just me, I realised with surprise, but toward Jason as well. Dad looked hurt. Brendan was quiet and red-faced. Billy looked as if the whole situation were painfully awkward, and mom looked as if she’d been crying. I instantly felt wracked with guilt. I didn’t know what to say.
“I’m sorry,” I began, “I was –”
“It’s fine,” mom said, through her tears now renewed, “we’re going to bed, anyway. We have to get up early tomorrow.”
“Are we still going to the lake?” I asked.
“Well, yeah. I mean, if you want to go. We still want you to be here,” mom stopped then, her pain too much to bear. I put my arms around her and told her again that I was sorry, I was just really stressed out. She released me then and we said good night.
Billy decided to drive home to his house in White Plains. He and his partner, Marty were going to drive to the lake together sometime in the next few days. Brendan went upstairs to Billy’s old bedroom without speaking. I began to feel like I’d lost the support of both my brothers. They think I’m wacked. I thought to myself, and rightly so. I’d been incredibly hot-headed and ill-tempered. I completely lost patience with dad. I showed little consideration for any of my family members during a difficult time. Brendan had flown in from Washington and had taken time off work as a croupier to be there. Billy was visiting in between his accounts as an office cleaner. Mom was normally there by herself, looking after dad. Everyone had their own crosses to bear, yet I was the only one decompensating over it. It was a hollow and somber feeling, to know that I had alienated everyone around me. Jason and I were now left alone in an empty room. We turned on the machine that would inflate the blow-up bed. We spread the sheets and blankets and said our own goodnights to each other and settled down. I was finally left alone with my thoughts. Should we go to the lake? Should we try to find another place to go? Staying in the house alone didn’t seem like a very wise idea. If we went to the lake, at least we’d be out of the house. I peered into the darkness, wondering what would happen next.
I was awoken in the night by a rumble of thunder — and something else. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! My eyes opened wide in the darkness, and I gasped for breath. I wanted to wake Jason and ask him if he could hear the pounding, but I couldn’t move. Ah, yes. I’d been expecting this. I knew it was going to play this trick, inevitably. Yet the experience of sleep paralysis itself was no less terrifying. I was completely immobile, at a time when I needed to be mobile the most. The urge to pull Jason out of bed with me and run out the front door was overwhelming. I struggled to accomplish this, but my muscles refused to obey. I was nothing more than a spectator at whatever game A/pop/his, the Evil One wanted to play next. The stairs began creaking, one after another, accompanied by a soft thumping sound, followed by a HISS… HISS. Oh, my god, I’m in hell! My mind screamed. My heart thudded in my chest. I closed my eyes tightly, convinced that A/pop/his, the Evil One was descending the stairs after us. We were going to die, and it was all my fault. We were given so many chances to get out, I lamented. Why didn’t we listen? Now, it was too late. Slowly, I realised it was just dad coming down the stairs. He was pulling his oxygen tank with him. But why was he coming downstairs by himself? Had he been causing the pounding? I couldn’t see how. He was a frail, sick man and the pounding was so deep and cavernous, it sounded as if a boulder the size of the house itself were smashing into it. How the neighbours didn’t hear, and all come running out, I’ll never know. The sound was explosive, I could feel the whole house reverberating. How could no one else be aware of this?
Despite his poor health, I was hoping dad might realise we were in trouble and do something to help us. But he didn’t acknowledge us; he said nothing as he came closer. His expression appeared blank. I became filled with a new kind of terror, as it occurred to me that he could be possessed, or at the very least, this could be another doppelganger. I watched him helplessly as he stepped past. He didn’t walk into a wall, and he didn’t vanish, he was real. I still didn’t understand why he was down here. Maybe he was looking for medications, or snacks — how the hell should I know? Something didn’t seem right, and my mind raced to assess the situation. His oxygen tank continued its intermittent hissing as he hobbled around the room. Abruptly, the pounding stopped, only to be replaced by whispering. I did my best to adjust my hearing, as the noise levels went from loud to something very soft. A chorus of whispers had arisen from empty space. It sounded like it was coming from everywhere, yet nowhere in particular.
I became strangely calm, since it was all I could do. I couldn’t take flight, and I couldn’t fight. I could only observe. Freaking out wasn’t going to improve the outcome, I realised. For some reason, I was no longer terrified, the way in which I might have been before. Of course, there’s whispers, I thought. This is a house from hell. Disembodied whispers are to be expected. The air felt staticky, and the whispers were fast paced. The sound had a wet, slurpy quality that grossed me out, as if I were listening to something obscene or repugnant. An odd smell of burned rubber assaulted my senses, and I began to feel violated in some way, like a deep part of me had been touched by something really bad and unhealthy; by something unclean. I refused to acknowledge it or give vent to whatever was happening to me, I refused to participate in the victimhood of it all. That was my choice, I realised. In the back of my mind, I was aware that A/pop/his, the Evil One was there with us at that very moment. Tasting us. I kept my eyes fixed on dad as he ambled around the room, oblivious to my plight. I began to wonder if he was sleepwalking or in some kind of a trance, or perhaps it was some bizarre side effect from his meds. Maybe he really was possessed? Absolutely anything was possible at that point, and it seemed like there wasn’t much left that could shock or scare me, anymore. There I was, getting spiritually raped by this thing, and my mind simply became a detached observer of it all. I was so tired of being afraid; tired of being tired, and tired of being terrified all the time. I didn’t want to be a victim, anymore. It didn’t matter to me, that in that very moment, I was being victimised. In my mind, I was no longer a victim. I did my best to repress the sights, sounds and sensations of the assault. How I responded to the situation was the only freedom, the only choice I had left. Somehow, I managed to keep my wits about me just long enough to preserve my sanity during the assault. It was all I had left.
Dad eventually made his way back toward us, and I felt a moderate pang of concern. Thankfully, I was starting to regain my ability to move again. Clumsily, I began to sit up sideways on the blow-up bed, just as he shuffled past, still in his trance. Neither of us spoke. What could I possibly say, and to whom would I address the conversation? To my surprise, dad simply made his way back up the stairs. I was exhausted from stress, and my nerves were shattered beyond belief. I felt incredibly weak, suddenly, now that the assault was over. Since I was reasonably convinced that dad would be okay, I didn’t alert anyone or go upstairs after him. That would be asking for trouble, I decided, and I simply wasn’t prepared to go looking for any. At that point, I genuinely believed we were lucky to be alive and I didn’t want to tempt fate. I contemplated, in the darkness. Could dad really be in a trance, and walk down the stairs by himself and carry his oxygen tank all at the same time? That would be quite a feat for a sick man. If it were true, he was at a high risk for a fall, which would be catastrophic, if it occurred. Maybe he needed a bed alarm, like they have in old people’s homes? I didn’t know what to do, or if I should say anything. I caused enough trouble already and was now at odds with all my family members. The best thing, I decided, was to wait and see how things went. If dad continued anymore bizarre behaviour, I would tell mom immediately. Then she could decide how to best deal with it.
In those pre-dawn hours, I became re-oriented to the fact that we were having a thunder and lightning storm. I lay there, drenched in sweat; drenched in terror and freezing cold from it all. I simply burrowed deeper under the covers and listened to the rain. Now that I could move, I didn’t want to. What would getting up accomplish, anyway? What would be waiting for me around the next corner, if I decided to try and do normal people stuff like taking a warm shower and putting on some clean clothes? Maybe if I lied there and didn’t move too much, no one would notice me? Then, I would be left alone. The storm outside became soothing, and an unexpected ally. I began using its sounds to conceal my own. If thunder rumbled, I could reposition my body or take a deep breath. That was the safest and smartest way. It was nice to witness some natural phenomena for a change. There was something reassuring about the storm. There were still so many things in the world that were normal and natural, I marvelled. There were cycles and laws in nature, that this thing could not control and that comforted me because it meant there were many powers greater than A/pop/his, the Evil One, powers of good. The thought renewed my hope and courage to continue on. All the evil phenomena had spent itself and I was alone, spare for Jason, who was blissfully asleep by my side. Perhaps I could be forgiven for falling back to sleep, myself?
The soothing thunder and lightning storm of that first morning grew into a monstrosity, which visited itself upon all of upstate New York. Dense cloud cover remained fixed over the land for the entire week we stayed at the cottage. Looking out upon the gloom, I chuckled to myself in dark irony. Maybe A/pop/his, the Evil One could control the weather, after all? My mood had plummeted. I should’ve known this would happen. It looks just like the ceiling did on the night I saw A/pop/his, the Evil One. He wants the whole world to be like this; he wants the whole world to be hisss! I laughed out loud. Oddly enough, I began taking delight in my own torment. That my friendship with the rain and the storms should be turned into a travesty was a rip-roaring joke, and I appreciated the humour. It had certainly been very well-played!
I stood out on the balcony of the cottage that overlooked the lake and stared at the grey water and even greyer sky. It was bad: the mountains on the other side of the lake were not even visible, only a dark wall of grey presented itself, which had an aura of danger and instability about it. Sporadic bouts of thunder and lightning boomed and cracked without warning. You couldn’t go swimming or boating in this kind of weather, you’d be hit by lightning. I’d grown up in the area and had only seen it this bad occasionally. Usually, storms came, and they went just as quickly, it was as simple as that. This was more of an unusual weather event that lingered on and on, and we were unfortunate enough to be stuck in a cottage which was meant to be rustic and charming. We loved the Adirondack State Park and had many fond memories at the lake. Normally, we’d be happy to be there but when faced with such unstable weather conditions as these, our location and lack of modern conveniences became potentially problematic. Still, we had plenty of food and bottled water. We had all the essentials. If we had to, we could go out, although it probably wouldn’t be the best idea. The roads immediately around us were all dirt roads, and often hilly. In this kind of rain, they became unstable. Main roads weren’t far away, no more than a mile, in fact, if we could get to them safely. If there happened to be any emergencies, we’d have to deal with them when that time came. With dad’s ill health, it was probable that something could go wrong. That understanding hung over all our heads.
We cooked food and watched TV. We conversed about old times when we’d all been together last; and we caught up on more recent times, in which we all lived our own separate lives. All we could do was wait for the rain to end. For days, there wasn’t a single ray of sun but there were breaks in the rain. On one of those occasions, Brendan, Jason and I stepped out onto the dock and had a look around. Other people were already out on the lake, which increased our confidence. We decided it was safe enough to go out on the boat for a while. Billy still hadn’t come by yet, what with the weather and all. It was just the three of us setting out toward the back end of the lake. Brendan fished for a while and didn’t catch anything. We then decided to drive the boat to an island on the lake and check it out.
The island was quite small but charming, and people were not allowed to camp there for practical reasons. It could not accommodate an outhouse or any kind of facilities. It sustained just a few trees and had a few large rocks and a rocky shoreline with a pebbly beach. Still, it was a cool little island, I thought. If I could build a cabin there and stay forever, I would; all tucked away from the world. How many other imaginations had the island captured over the years? Unfortunately, Jason sliced his foot open, and we were initially concerned he’d need stitches, but with pressure and patience the bleeding stopped, and the wound edges easily closed and formed a seal. Thank goodness something was going right, I mused. We were lucky Jason’s wound was only superficial. He would still need appropriate first aid however, to prevent infection. We decided to head back to the cottage. The reprieve in weather wasn’t going to last long, anyway. The storms weren’t over yet. I said goodbye to ‘our’ tiny island and wished it well.
While nothing paranormal happened during our stay at the cottage, we all developed cabin fever, and our moods matched the weather outside. I became withdrawn and irritable, once again, finding a space as far away from everyone else as possible with a cup of tea and a book to read. During another break in the rain, Billy and Marty finally made it to the cottage. Since they’d had a good run all the way from White Plains, it was decided that mom would take dad back home, then come back to the lake. The visit with Billy and Marty was somewhat awkward. Not because they were gay, I’m gay! Brendan was the only straight brother out of three boys. My parents were seasoned by the time Billy came of age. The controversy was that when they met, Billy was still a teenager and Marty was in his thirties. Dad was especially unhappy about the age difference but ultimately, there was nothing he could do about it. Billy was going to make his own decisions no matter what anyone else said. With Billy and Marty arriving and dad leaving, it eliminated additional tensions from emerging, that no one would have had the patience to deal with.
It was the most sensible course of action to take dad home. He’d been driving everyone batsh*t the whole time and our ability to put up with him, and to be nice to him no matter what, had eroded. Because the outhouse was up a hill and too difficult for dad to access, he’d been using a bucket, which meant someone had to empty it. After mom and dad left, I retreated to my favourite spot in the whole cottage, a little nook under the staircase, only to find a bottle of p*ss siting on the shelf. This was dad’s little parting gift, and it was positioned directly in front of a small heart etched into the wall, with mine and Jason’s initials carved inside, which we had placed there some 10 years prior. While graffiti was frowned upon at the resort, almost everyone did it, and a small heart out of everyone’s way shouldn’t have been too much of an eye sore. Plus, we were nineteen or twenty at the time we carved it; what can you expect from young lovers? Dad wouldn’t have known, of course, but it was possible, I decided, that A/pop/his, the Evil One could have known about the heart and influenced dad to place the urine in front of it. The thought was upsetting. Was I making connections that didn’t really exist, or was I still within reach of this thing? I poured the p*ss hastily down the pit under the outhouse, threw some lime powder down over it for good measure, and went back inside. Water was etching down the faces of the hills nearby, forming miniature rivers that rushed to the lake. Although it had stopped raining, water was everywhere. The familiar ritual of handwashing helped me to zone out; I would have been happy to keep going.
Billy quickly grew bored with it all, which was not surprising. Not long after, it was suggested we go to a famous local cave, called Howe Caverns. Why on earth we decided to do something like that in the kind of weather we were having is beyond me, but as they say, it sounded like a good idea at the time. We were recreating memories, and it was the only time we had to do so. In the thirteen years since, we’ve never been together under one roof again. I live in Australia, Billy in New York, Brendan in Washington state; mom and dad would eventually move to Florida. We were and still are, scattered family, which is sad. It’s just how things happened. Today, I can see why my father tried to bring us together again. Everything he worked for in his life, his hopes and dreams for the future, all lived in us. I was so wrapped up in my own affairs, and then with the trauma of the haunting, it was hard to properly cope with the situation. I felt weak and ineffectual most of the time, which is what A/pop/his, the Evil One wanted. We had end of life issues to deal with, and a dangerous haunting that was occurring all at the same time. How does a family cope with that?
We made it to the caves and back without any problems. Howe Caverns is a modern set-up and I’m guessing they would have had pumps to remove excess water. The only issue was, which had completely slipped my mind, was my friends, John and Jolene were coming to the cottage at some point, which I completely forgot about. No solid plans were ever made with them, and I later learned that John had left a voice message on my mom’s cell phone. He wasn’t happy we weren’t there when he arrived, and the situation placed a strain on our friendship. I never meant for it to happen, but it didn’t seem to matter. John was angry about it, and our friendship never fully recovered from the incident. A few years later, after a friendship of more than twenty years, he moved and never left a forwarding address or phone number. I haven’t heard from him since; nor have I seen him on social media. I’ve had to learn to accept some people don’t want to be found. What else can I say?
Finally, it was time to hand over the keys to the cottage back to the property manager and head home. It was a surprisingly bittersweet drive. For better or worse, it was one of our very last opportunities for family time where we could all be together and now it was gone. Billy and Marty went back to White Plains. Brendan had to fly back to Washington, soon. There was nowhere for Jason and I to go but back to the house in Dolgeville with Brendan and mom. As we drove back into our neighbourhood and neared the house, we saw our driveway was swarming with children on bicycles, perhaps half a dozen of them. Our driveway was shared with the house next door and was rather wide. The kids were pushing their bikes to the top of a hill in the yard of our next-door neighbour, Jean, then tearing down our driveway and skidding to a halt just before reaching the street. I sensed that Jean wasn’t home. Had she been there, this never would have gotten so out of hand. Gravel and mud were strewn everywhere. Due to all the wet weather, the driveway was soft and ripping to shreds. The children barely made room for us, as we cautiously pulled into our own driveway. Dad was standing at the door, visibly shaken with shortness of breath. In wispy tones, he told us that one of the kids had almost gotten hit by a car that was barrelling through the neighbourhood. Apparently, the kid had been unaware that he’d nearly been killed. Dad asked us to make them leave.
“One of you kids almost got hit by a car! Go on home now,” I said to them firmly and flatly. I wasn’t in the mood for any shenanigans, let alone a hit-and-run.
The children stopped peeling down the driveway, and began riding around us in a circle, which I noted to be an incredibly odd and creepy behaviour. The hairs on my arms stood up, but I refused to be intimidated by them. A little girl spoke up.
“We don’t have to. My mom told me we could ride here,” she said.
“Well, I’m sorry,” my mom replied, “you can’t because my husband isn’t well and you’re upsetting him,” her voice broke with emotion.
“This isn’t your land,” the little girl chimed, “it’s a road.”
“A road? It’s a driveway! You’re in our driveway. In any case, you shouldn’t be playing in a road.” I was exasperated and beginning to lose patience. My parents had owned and lived in this house for at least ten years, which appeared to have been before these brats were ever born. What right did they have to speak to adults like this? None, I decided.
“You’re being disrespectful,” I told them, “Go on home now, or I’m gonna go find your mother and tell her what you’re doing.” I warned the ringleader. None of the other children spoke.
I then broke the children’s formation by stepping through their circle, no longer caring if they hit me or not. These kids were behaving like little ratbags! Mom and I started walking down the street, which finally got the ringleader’s attention. I wasn’t in a rage, by any account, but it was sheer annoyance that I was feeling, and it was enough to fuel me. I had no idea who the little girl was, or where she lived, but I was determined to find her house on intuition alone. As it turned out, I had all the help I needed. The little girl suddenly raced past us and sped into the driveway of her own house, jumped off her bike, and ran inside. My bluff had worked. I beat you, little brat! I thought, haughtily. My victory would only be short lived, however. When we approached the door and knocked, a woman in her early thirties answered. The woman confirmed she was the girl’s mother. We explained the problem, and the woman proudly announced to us that she was an elementary school teacher at the local school; she had lived in the area all her life and knew it well. To our utter amazement, she informed us that our driveway had indeed, once been a road and was therefore, public property and her children could play there, if they wanted to.
Can this really be happening? I wondered. Her response was so out of the norm, so out from left field, I had no frame of reference for it. I felt I’d been given an unfortunate reminder of why I decided to leave upstate New York, in the first place. All of these small hick towns were filled with ignorant, entitled people who thought they owned everything in the entire town. We left, and my mom called the police. I let her do the talking, as I was at a loss for words by that point. A police officer did arrive, who refused to ‘take sides’ and instead, mediated an agreement that the children would play elsewhere. The evidence of their destruction was all around and plain to see. I was just relieved the officer was a reasonable man. He seemed like a local, and he could have been a jerk if he’d wanted to be, but he’d chosen not to. We were really lucky about that. Not that I was against cops, I certainly wasn’t, but I was aware that these people catch hardened criminals, they break-up domestic violence and control drugs, and there we were calling them about a matter as petty as this. It could have easily been seen as a waste of official resources. The fact that children’s lives were in potential danger was reason enough to get the police involved, I reasoned. It just seemed extreme to me, and I didn’t want to mess with any more extreme forces, whether they be for good or evil. I was relieved when the police officer finally left. I simply couldn’t pretend to be normal anymore, because I wasn’t, I really wasn’t, and I had been afraid the police officer would see that and misinterpret it. Then what? I wondered. He would never believe me! I’d end up in a hospital, in a country that’s become foreign to me, with no way of getting home, that’s what. My real fears finally surfaced; I was afraid of losing my mind. Perhaps I already had?
We walked away from the driveway and entered the house from the side door. I was last, because I was the farthest away. The main staircase leading upstairs was immediately in front of the side door, so that anyone who entered, faced the stairs head-on when entering the house through that door. I stepped over the threshold and placed my hand on the door jamb for support. The act of making physical contact with the house gave me an odd, jolting sensation, causing my head to spin for a moment. I sensed movement from above, coming out of Billy’s old room to the left. As I watched, a shape began to materialise at the top of the stairs. Gossamer threads of woven shadows formed out of thin air and became more concentrated and defined until an unmistakable shape emerged. There was A/pop/his, the Evil One, semi-coiled and undulating at the top of the stairs. Its tongue flickered out at me, in a hideous display. Never before had I seen such a thing in broad daylight. Something about it seemed very brazen and bold. It took such pride in the chaos it created. My jaw dropped. I slowly raised a hand to cover my face as I stumbled backward. A/pop/his, the Evil One, lowered its head, and peered down at me. It had caused the children to behave the way they did. It wanted them to get killed. Then it would swallow their souls, along with my father’s, along with all of us. Like a python devouring its prey. It seemed amused that I could pick up on its thoughts. I, on the other hand, was terrified of it knowing that I knew. The face of A/pop/his, the Evil One morphed into the craggy face of a man. Its lips pulled back into a savage grin, as it stared directly into my eyes. For a moment, I was mesmerised, locked into place. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t think. Then, finally, the thought came: if I don’t get out of here, it’s going to kill me!
I tried to scream but a whimper was all I could manage, as I half fell, half ran down the side steps. Once outside, I turned around and there was nothing up there. Nothing I could see. I didn’t take that as a sign of reassurance for a single moment. Without thinking, I lurched around to the front of the house and up the main steps, entering the house through the front door. The entire situation was so insane, I could hardly believe what I just saw. This thing was so disgustingly diabolical, and it had absolutely no shame. I had to get everyone out of that house now. If I didn’t, A/pop/his, the Evil One was going to kill us all. I had no doubt of that. I didn’t care if anyone objected, or what their thoughts were on the matter: we were leaving, even if I had to physically heave everyone out the front door myself. What happened next, I can still vividly remember: dad was sitting in a recliner in the living room, eating a lemon Italian ice that mom had gotten for him from the kitchen. I moved to the dining room, so that I could talk to dad in the living room to my left, and mom in the kitchen to my right. Something dropped from the ceiling directly above the front door; it shrieked and howled like a mountain lion or some kind of large cat and leapt at my father, mercilessly digging into him with its claws. The sound sent shivers through my body and caused me to start sobbing. Dad seemed unaware of what was happening, he didn’t even flinch! How could that be? He shifted uncomfortably and set down his Italian ice. He wavered for a moment, then said:
“Deb, I think I need to go to the hospital.”
Dad was diagnosed with a pseudomonas infection in his lungs and had to remain at least overnight in the hospital at Little Falls. Naturally, he was asking for everyone to be at his bedside, in case he died. He was terrified of dying alone and fought for air at times like a drowning person. I resisted his request to stay for a bedside vigil, not because I couldn’t handle it, but because I had to seize the moment. It was now or never. Getting dad out of the house created a window of opportunity, and if I didn’t confront this entity that had a hold on my family, then I would fail them in ways we couldn’t fully comprehend. For me, it was a battle graver than life or death; it was a battle for our souls. Of course, dad didn’t have the capacity to take any of this on board, because of what he was going through, and I no longer had time for his tantrums and his demands and trying to find ways to assuage his fear. It wasn’t only compassion fatigue I was feeling, it was something else besides, something I couldn’t quite identify, but that didn’t matter anymore, either. Only one thing mattered: getting that m*therf*cker A/pop/his, the Evil One out of my family’s home.
That night the house was quiet, and yet, I was still on high alert. By that point, I knew absolutely anything could happen at any given moment. The house was infested with evil, and it could come alive at the drop of a hat and swallow us whole, it seemed. Any silence in the house had become just as threatening as a full-on assault. I wasn’t about to be complacent or put any trust in A/pop/his, the Evil One. There would be no safety inside the house until we made it safe again, and that wouldn’t be accomplished until I did the clearing. It was time to face this thing, once and for all.
Even today, I am embarrassed to admit, I didn’t do the clearing that night because I was afraid. Attempting something like that on my own — at night — was too difficult a prospect to bear. Jason couldn’t help me; he was too out of his depth, and I understood that. He and I walked to another restaurant on the edge of town, a seasonal place, called Green Acres. I don’t remember now if they had vegetarian options back then, or what. If not, I would have eaten plain chips, or fries. Whatever. We went back to the house, still very much on guard, and worked on our exit plan. We had only a few days left in Dolgeville. I told Jason that if need be, I would pitch a tent somewhere, if anything else happened, if things got worse, or if the clearing failed. I was 100% serious. He could come and get me when it was time to go to the airport, if he didn’t want to join me. I was done. I would rather take my chances out in the woods with all the bears, wolves and psychopaths, it was much safer! Jason knew I’d made up my mind, and the fight had been beaten out of him, too; Jason could no longer control the situation any better than any of us and he no longer pretended that he could. Jason simply agreed and was there to help in any way I asked, and I was deeply grateful for that.
It occurred to me that A/pop/his, the Evil One could be hiding from us. The house remained quiet that evening, which grew into an uneventful night. I was expecting some form of retaliation, like a horrendous pounding in the walls or screaming, or another physical attack of some sort, but there was nothing. I could scarcely believe it. Maybe it had nothing to do with my intention to do the clearing, after all, and it was because dad, its main energy source, had gone? I really didn’t know but ultimately, it was irrelevant. That morning, the day of the clearing, I grabbed the salt, which if I remember correctly was nothing more than table salt from the local grocery store, called Big M. Because dad wasn’t home, I momentarily considered burning some white sage in the house, but immediately decided against it. That would only delay us further, because it would mean we’d have to go out and find a place that had sage, do more shopping and that was my weakness. Plus, the smell of smoke would probably linger inside the house, and cause dad to have another lung spasm, not to mention the fact that dad also had about fifty oxygen tanks stashed around the house. The chances we might miss one, if we tried to remove all of them, then light a match in the house and blow ourselves up, was far too great. No; we couldn’t have any flames in the house. We’d have to work with what resources we had. There was a Tibetan singing bowl in the house and that would suffice in dispersing and clearing the negative energy, as would the table salt. It simply had to be enough.
It felt dangerous to start in the attic, which I knew A/pop/his, the Evil One had come from, so I decided to start in the basement, instead. Rather than do the clearing from top to bottom, I would do it from the bottom up. Without any fear or hesitation, I marched down into the basement. The faint, musty smell of earth and laundry hung in the cool, damp air. Nearly all basements are at least a little creepy, and ours was no exception and yet, as I scattered the salt and told the entity to leave, then filled each corner with the warm, resonant hum of the singing bowl, the basement felt fine to me. I wouldn’t push it, of course, but I could tell there was nothing down there. Next, I paid special attention to the kitchen because we’d had a few incidents in there. Any place in the house where problems had occurred, I gave those areas my focus. I wish I could remember the exact words I used, but the truth is, I can’t. From memory, I told it this was our house, and it wasn’t welcome there and I told it to leave now. I believe I also prayed the Our Father; coming from a catholic background with New Age influence, it was all I had to really draw on. I also visualised white light filling the house. I simply did the best I could with what skills, knowledge and experience I had. It more or less seemed to work; I was met with no resistance, which began to boost my confidence.
In Billy’s old room, I felt some foreboding as I remembered the doppelganger, which had frightened me more than any of the other phenomena in the house, for some reason, but I continued on, hovering the singing bowl in front of the doppelganger’s exit portal in the far wall of the bedroom. I scattered salt on the floor, along the doorways and windowsills. Next, it was time to clear the entry point in the closet, then finally, up to the main source in the attic. The attic stairwell had no railings and if A/pop/his, the Evil One wanted to push me, it would have been an opportune time to do so. I ascended the stairs quickly, at a crouched angle, ready to brace myself, if something did try to push me, but nothing happened. In the attic, at last, I could feel I wasn’t alone up here. To my left, in the deepest part of the attic, away from the lone window that overlooked the creek, was a presence. A/pop/his, the Evil One was back there, but for once, it was not on the offensive. I could sense it cowering, like a wounded animal. I felt uneasy at being in proximity of this f*cking thing from hell again, but I also knew what had to be done and because of that, I felt more confident. I threw the salt right at it, then sounded the singing bowl. I had it cornered, which could be dangerous, I knew, but it had to be done. There was no other way. I could sense A/pop/his, the Evil One shrinking, it hesitated and moved to the right, then left. Then it simply gave up. It grew small, perhaps to the size of my forearm. Then it flashed up into the space around the attic roof and disappeared. I hovered the singing bowl as close to the spot as I could reach, to seal off the portal. It was gone. The job was done. Could it really be as simple as that?
You always hear stories about houses feeling so much brighter and more peaceful once an entity is cleared. I wouldn’t go that far, but the house definitely felt normal and normal was good enough for me! I was so happy and relieved once it was all over. I thanked Jason for his support, then went and had a shower and put on some fresh clothes. Nothing bad happened. I went about my daily routine. Still, nothing bad happened. Mom went and did a morning run to the hospital to see dad. I should have gone with her, but I stayed away. It felt mean to do so but I’d had enough, and I desperately needed some time to call my own, with nothing sinister or dramatic or draining happening. Dad didn’t know it, but everything I had done was for him and I just couldn’t give him anymore of myself. I was sorry, but it had to be this way. I stayed home and played with the chihuahuas, trying to enjoy their company, knowing that I might not see them again. Even if the house really was clear, I could never come back to it again, not after everything that had happened. I knew that, but I tried not to think about it. Instead, I focused on the little dogs frolicking around me. The chihuahuas had a stand lined with sheepskin, that attached to the windowsill, which they accessed via the couch. They would often perch there, shivering from the air conditioning, and would look out the window on North Main Street. As I looked to the window, laying there on the stand, was my childhood cat, Cupcake. She’d passed away years ago, and had never even been to this house, yet there she was. She looked at me with gentle eyes. Her warm gaze was calming and reassuring. I became covered in goosebumps and mists covered my eyes. I blinked, and she was gone. Something about seeing her, let me know it was over, and everything would be alright.
Dad was discharged from the hospital that night. We did eventually make it back to WalMart and got a bigger suitcase, and mom helped us pack up all our stuff. All too soon, it was time to shuttle everyone back to the airport and say our goodbyes. Poor mom fought back her tears as bravely as she could. Dad’s goodbye was the most painful of all, asking if he’d ever see me again and I honestly wasn’t sure if he would. In the end, I told him I would try. Unfortunately, my relationship with my two brothers had become strained as a result of the events which took place during the trip and our goodbyes were awkward and brief. I don’t think Brendan even wanted to hug me, but he did. If any of them truly understood the living hell I went through to try and protect our family, they’d be acting much differently, I decided. In my mind, I forgave them. They just didn’t get it. The fact that our family had survived a haunting once before and knew the paranormal seemed to get lost on the wind, somehow. It almost felt like I was the monster now, for freaking out so many times and for refusing to see dad when he had to go to the hospital. Well, if that perception of me was the price I had to pay, then so be it. I would bear it, just like I had to bear everything else. Dad was alive, we were all alive. God had our souls. Not A/pop/his, the Evil One.
No other events were reported in the home after the clearing.
Looking back, I never thought to try and capture any physical evidence of the haunting and it’s too bad. As they say, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, and I was thrown in the deep end without any preparation. Plus, our energy was constantly sapped by this thing, which made it hard to think clearly. Smartphones had only just come out (I had an LG-Prada KE850 phone back then, which I barely knew how to use). It wasn’t as easy to capture evidence as it is today.
Once we arrived in Australia, Jason and I tried to settle back into our normal life again. A few months after we got home, I was alone in our bedroom, reading before bedtime, when I heard a child’s laughter in the room, followed by tiny fists punching me in the gut. I was taken so much aback that I simply laid there, trying to process what was happening. Something hard and solid, like hooves ran up my body and screamed into my ear, and as it did so, in my mind’s eye, I could see fire and I could smell the same odour of burned rubber that I’d encountered in Dolgeville. A/pop/his, the Evil One was back.
And that was the start of it, a struggle that would last four years or so before it resolved. Somehow, A/pop/his, the Evil One had managed to follow us from upstate New York, all the way to Australia. How, I don’t know exactly, but I believe it may have attached itself to the souvenirs we’d come home with. I never cleansed myself after the clearing, and I never cleansed our souvenirs properly before we brought them home. That was a huge mistake. It reminded me of the sci-fi film, Aliens in which the main character, Ripley, brings the alien Queen on board the ship, except I didn’t have an air lock to blow this thing out of. In Australia, the energy was different, and the attacks were more psychic and less physical, especially when I tried to sleep. I had to fight this thing every moment of every day. It attached itself to the left side of my body most of the time and I was constantly losing energy from my head and the palm of my left hand. This thing was not in my house; it was in me. I started going back to church and even joined the RCIA, which is how adults are brought back into the church. Even though my family are Catholics, I’d never made my first holy communion, so to do it properly, which I felt I needed to do, I decided to attend catechism classes. I remained a practicing catholic for a few years, until the gay marriage plebiscite in Australia during 2017. The church felt it right to instruct parishioners to vote no on gay marriage, and that was when I decided to leave, more or less. Occasionally, I go to mass with my new partner, who is Filipino and highly catholic (Jason and I are still good friends, by the way). I simply wasn’t used to being told what to think and how to vote, it was preposterous to me and something I was not prepared to reconcile. Through my faith, and praying the rosary, A/pop/his, the Evil One eventually left me. I never spoke to anyone in my church about the problems I was having and kept it a private struggle. I lost my business, had to quit my degree after three semesters, and nearly lost my mind. Had it not been for Mother Mary (who I personally, believe is an incarnation of the goddess, Isis) I probably would have died. It was after having positive experiences with Isis in 2020 that I became a Kemetic pagan.
Dad’s health improved and for a time, they experimented with running a pet store from the downstairs floor of their house. This was something I never got to see. Mom and dad would eventually move to Florida, in or around 2012. They sold the house to someone who divided it into upstairs and downstairs apartments, which it had been at one time, apparently. I never heard about anything else happening there that could be deemed paranormal. Before the house was sold, mom and dad gave us three brothers the opportunity to buy it, but we all declined. I loved the house, but all my adult life had been spent in Australia and I couldn’t go back and be responsible for a house in which so much trauma occurred. To this day, I still occasionally have nightmares about what happened there.
Dad eventually passed away in late 2015. After he died, I had a vision of him clinging onto great robes of white light. He looked like a koala bear nestled in a tree. His head was buried in the robes, God’s robes, I decided, and he wasn’t ready to poke his head out yet or acknowledge anyone. He was still adjusting to everything that happened to him on his own journey, and I decided to leave him be. He would move on and have new experiences in his own time. The main thing was, he was safe. Whatever it was I had to do in Dolgeville, to help save my dad, had been a success, and that made it all worth it. The knowledge helped to me process dad’s death much easier.
Before he died, dad told me a story on the phone, an old rumour, really, about one of our neighbours. Years before, our neighbour had a wife. He was what they used to call a wife-beater and one day, she tried to run out of the house to get away from him and he chased after her. She was later found dead in the creek across the street. Her death was ruled an accident, but some people in the town, including our other neighbour, Jean, were convinced it was the husband who did it. He got away with it because he was a prominent person in the town and that was just how things worked in small towns, especially in those days. Dad finally acknowledged A/pop/his, the Evil One. He didn’t say much about it, but he wondered if our neighbour really had committed murder, if his actions could have brought a demon to the area. I told him it was a possibility.
Another story, which I honestly forgot about, because it would be so out of character for me today, would come from my cousin, Wade. He reminded me that when we were in our late teens or early twenties, before I left for Australia, Wade had come to visit us from the Southern United States and stayed with us for a while. I don’t know what got into our heads, but Billy, and Wade and I decided to use a Ouija board in the attic so we wouldn’t be disturbed. Nothing really happened during the session; we got bored and tossed the homemade Ouija aside. I lost contact with Wade for a number of years after, he had a troubled life and I lived so far away but we reconnected during COVID, when everyone was in lockdown, and we used the time to become good friends again. I didn’t know this at the time, but Wade said he’d been plagued with paranormal issues ever since using the Ouija board with us that day and was nearing his wits end, trying to deal with it. My heart broke from the knowledge that I might have been involved in attracting so much negativity into Wade’s life. He was struggling with alcohol and substance abuse. I tried to stay in contact with Wade, and be there for him as a support, as much as I could. One of the last times we spoke, we prayed the rosary together because he felt something evil was after him and it wouldn’t leave him alone. I told Wade he needed to contact a pastor, a paranormal investigation team, a psychic, or someone. He needed some kind of help. Wade said that he would. Not long after, I noticed a missed call from Wade. I intended to return it, but I just wanted to finish my run of shifts at work first, because there wasn’t really a lot of time in-between shifts to tackle serious issues like this. Then I heard from mom, that Wade had died. He had come home from work, and wasn’t feeling well, so he went to bed and that was it, he passed away. He was only thirty-eight years old. From my understanding, it was never determined if he died from COVID, or if drugs and alcohol were involved; we never found out. Honestly, I still haven’t come to terms with my cousin’s death, and I don’t think I ever will. For some reason, his mom, my aunt by marriage, blocked me on Facebook after Wade died. Will the drama ever end? Had Wade lived closer, we would have been good friends, which might have made some kind of a difference. Now, we’ll never know.
Rest in peace, my dear cousin. Rest in peace, dad. I love you, all.
:: Acknowledgement of African Origin The author of Kemetic Blog acknowledges and respects the African ancestral origins of ancient Egypt and recognises the practice of Kemetic paganism as a modern reflection of Traditional African Religion. ::
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