Appendix 1 - Demonic Possession
It happened at night. I had had experiences before (many people have) whereby I found it an immense struggle to avoid sleep; not as in feeling incredibly drowsy or finding it hard to getup in the morning, but rather a physical sucking out of the will into unconsciousness. The sensation was akin to being drawn into a vacuum at great speed – some sort of black hole - and of being mentally conscious but incapable of speech or movement. This is a kind of forced out of body experience and I always find the sensation incredibly disturbing on the rare occasions that it happens. It occurred quite frequently when I was a teenager, but I always managed to wake myself up properly with some concerted effort. On this occasion, however, I did not awaken in the usual way, but was drawn instead to the precise location of my deepest fears.
I felt something to be amiss as soon as I lay down to sleep, for after a lifetime of haunting I was attuned - and therefore vulnerable – to the force of fear that comes only in an absence of light. I am usually an easily roused sleeper and fall into restless insomnia at the first sign of stress. On this occasion, however, I found myself instantly dragged into an unconsciousness that took me entirely by surprise. (Perhaps I should now state that it was an otherwise ordinary night and I had taken no drugs, not even cannabis, or had any alcoholic drinks. I was actually quite alert considering it was supposed to be bed-time).
Although I was taken unawares by the immense strength of the force I struggled free quite quickly at first, opened my eyes, and looked round the room in anxiety; I felt myself to be at the start of something very bad. Over the next 15 minutes or so I battled with whatever it was that tried to drag me into helpless unconsciousness, but each time I managed to resist the moments of clarity became shorter and less distinct. My will power seemed to be drained away by the sheer malevolence that confronted me.
I was aware of the time because in an effort to control what was happening I would tip my head backwards over the edge of the futon bed in order to check the digital clock of our video-recorder, and thus maintain my sense of reality. In desperation I tried to attract the attention of the man sleeping beside me, for in the moments when I was awake I was completely conscious and in a state of panic. I was also virtually paralysed because my body was unconscious. It was with a dreadful sense of betrayal and ever approaching terror that I realised he was simply not going to wake up and help me.
It was at about 1.30am when I became horribly aware of the actual nature of the attack. Without warning I lost the fragile grip on my inner self as a dreadful surge of dark power suddenly tore me - fully conscious - from the protection of my earthly body and into a top corner of the bedroom. The only positive aspect of the situation was that the turn of events was so shocking that my own spirit was roused and forced to react as will. But I may as well have been a feather in a storm and my only thought was of survival.
I was gripped by fear - actually it was horror, at the fear being present - but it was my confusion and disorientation that posed the greatest difficulties for my self-preservation. The opposing energy had come in the form of a tremendous wind. This had literally blown me from my mortal shell, which thus lay dormant on the bed. The wind was the strength of a tornado and produced a deafening roar though I heard nothing; I knew the noise. As I have said previously, the senses of the spirit are not as they are on the material plane and the story of trying to speak in this wind may remind you of the description I made of silently ‘calling’ the names of my girl friends, or of trying in vain to shout the name of Peter while I was having my out of body experience.
The wind was so strong that I was at first incapable of moving from the corner spot I had been shoved into, but with a monumental act of will which came from goodness knows where, I summoned the strength to return to my body. When I awoke in shock it was to a comprehension of the origin of fear that I had never before experienced, even in my wildest dreams. I was helpless at the centre of this battle for my soul. My consciousness lasted only a second or two, long enough for me to croak out for help to my sleeping partner, but it was more than difficult to speak and he remained sleeping.
An instant later I was buffeted again into the top corner of the room but this time things were even worse, because rather than being there alone I seemed to have brought out with me the dream-body of he who I had asked for help. To my added horror he was still fast asleep, even in that state. I was appalled as I looked at him because even then his eyes were closed to my fear. At that moment I vowed that I would leave him forever and his presence slipped back from whence it came. I was alone again.
The room looked physically the same as it had always done, although there were obvious and major discrepancies that made it appear very differently; one of these was the awful howling gale which tore through without so much as ruffling the curtains, but multiplying the overall horror – how it got worse is a terrible thing - were the rivers of blood that had started to pour down the walls on 3 sides. My only thought by this time was to escape and I somehow directed myself towards the door.
It was a studio flat and the bedroom door opened directly onto a small area with the bathroom on one side and the front door at right angles to it. It was easy enough for me to move out of the main room and it seemed less disturbing once I had done so – which did not strike me as being unusual even though movement had otherwise seemed almost impossible – and I relaxed a little as I gained some control over my movements.
I was upright standing on the carpet in relative calm as the storm raged behind me and the door to the outside world swung open and away without me touching it. I stared out into the deepest, blackest, darkness I had ever seen, menacing in the extreme, and during that moment of hesitation I knew that an even greater terror was awaiting beyond. With utter dread I was suddenly struck with the realisation that whatever was left in the bedroom actually wanted me to leave the house. It wanted to take possession of my body, left waiting on the bed, and could only do that if my spirit were to become lost in the nether world. The further I went the harder it would be for me to return. My resolve grew firmer again and I turned back to the room to face the carnage.
As soon as I stepped back over the threshold of the bedroom I felt the full force of the wind again. With my back against the wall I inched round the room in a clockwise direction towards the full-length wardrobe mirrors. I had a sense of purpose, quite strong in itself, although I did not precisely know what I was going to do to save myself.
I had the vague hope that if I could concentrate on my own image in the mirror I would somehow get a grip on safe reality and regain my senses. The mirrors had long floor to ceiling poles for handles and I took hold of one of these in each hand to prevent myself from being blown away by the vortex behind me. I was shaking with the effort of standing and keeping my grip as I stared into the glass and tried to see my own face. My body and hair were clear enough – the right size, colour and shape - but I could see nothing at all of my face, not even my eyes, a fact which brought about the onset of panic. I should have cried had I thought tears would help me.
At the time I had the subconscious feeling that it WAS possible for me to view my face but I truly dared not see it because of my ravaged state. I thought I might scare myself to death if I saw my own eyes. I tried to speak, hoping to gain real evidence of my continuing existence but my voice, when I actually managed to make a sound, was so guttural and dreadful that it only intensified my fear. Things seemed to have gone from bad to worse, but I forced myself to battle through the mire, trying all the while to ignore the demonic sound (and maybe sight) of my own self. Each utterance became more painful and I felt my strength disintegrating until, in a simple act of surrender, almost as a last resort, which somehow gave me a spark of inspiration; I found a clear voice and spoke these words: “God help me”.
In a split second I was fully awake and back where I belonged – in my body, in my bed. I felt exactly as if anyone would if they had just escaped the clutches of a strong, murderous assailant, which is to say primarily relieved, but in a state of shock, with wild eyes, a racing heart and a film of sweat over my skin, as adrenalin coursed through my veins. Most people in that position would have invoked God, I believe - even the most ardently outspoken atheist - for sheer terror cuts through every aspect of the personality and ego, right to the primordial spark of life, the soul of one.
I sat up immediately, eager to move out of my former position; I was trembling from top to toe. I turned around to look at the clock and saw that about half an hour had passed since I’d last checked it, which meant that my dreadful experience had occurred during the passage of our usual time. Never before had I known such conscious terror; I may have been prone to nightmares but I had watched no scary movies that night and whatever had just happened affected me as if it had been an actual physical attack on my person. I was exhausted and, despite my shock, felt like the danger had passed, so I nodded off surprisingly quickly. I’m amazed I ever managed to sleep again after all of that. When I woke the next day I had one thought and one thought only: I needed to see a priest.
I spent the following week in a state of gradually diminishing aftershock and toyed with the idea of visiting the college chaplain. This was something I had never considered before as I’d always avoided conventional religion, despite my interest in the supernatural. I think I had a bit of a rebellious nature and throughout my life had managed to avoid going about things in the conventional way. This is not to say that I was closed to the idea of God, but the idea of church-going had always turned me off completely as being boring, stifling and oppressive. I seemed incapable of belief without some sort of direct experience.
Well now I had more than an inkling of direct experience. How could I possibly forget my deliverance from harm in the nick of time, by virtue of those 3 words, a plea to the saviour? The impression left by the terror, which seemed to be a culmination of all my childhood fears, faded quickly, but it soon became undeniably clear that I HAD received a permanent ‘brand’ on my self. From the point in time of my first actual prayer I knew without doubt that God existed, at the very least for me, for I had been saved by God in my hour of greatest need. The demon had been conquered through an expression of faith and this knowledge was to form an inner foundation of my newly protected self.
The attempt at demonic possession of my soul happened at the same time as I met John, but before I fell in love with him.