Do you believe in ghosts? Spirits? Haunted places? I do. No, nobody told me. No book or film impressed me. I have experienced - heard and saw - things that cannot be explained through science. Paranormal electronic activity. How do you explain when a disconnected printer starts spitting paper in the middle of the night?
Well, here is how I experienced this first intense contact with the spiritual world. I have always been deeply connected to my dreams, and somehow believed some of them to be premonitory, since I did not have other explanations for what succeeded in my life. But what happened to me in the summer of 2007 was on a different level. And I wasn’t sleeping.
Shortly after splitting up with the father of my girls, we moved into an old, colonial building fronting a huge and peaceful lagoon in Rio de Janeiro. I could see the Christ Redeemer statue behind the calm, static waters. It was a breathtaking view. The unit was just a three-bedroom, one bathroom, a typical 50s construction. In the biggest bedroom, I set up both of my girls, who were 3 and 5 at the time. The smallest bedroom was mine, and the other one was my office, as I have always worked from home.
One night it started. Noises in the middle of the night. A faint radio playing some old classical music in my room. I stuck my head out of the window, not a single noise there. In the hallway and other rooms, the only sound was of silence and the distant breathing of my sleeping daughters. I thought I was going crazy, but it kept going. No radio playing anywhere but hovering over my bed. Like an invisible floating device. I grabbed my ladder, thinking it may be coming from the upstairs neighbor. Almost twisted my neck trying to listen through the ceiling with an empty water glass, like in the movies - but as soon as I got up there I heard the sound fading away. Its center was really five feet from the ground.
I could not sleep that night. My head was spinning like crazy, as if I was Dana Scully in an X-Files episode. Next day, I smudged the whole apartment with sage – said prayers out loud, with so much intention that I was sure my house would be clean after. For a couple of weeks, it seemed to work. One night, when I was coming back from dinner with one of my most sensitive girlfriends (the one who really sees spirits), as she dropped me off, she looked at me, worried.
“This is where you live now?”
“Honey, I am so sorry to tell you, but I see so many dead people just hanging around the place. They sit by the common area’s big balcony, they look miserable. You need to move out!”
I left her with a terrible feeling. I had a lease with the landlords that was not up for the next year, and I could not afford the penalty. So, I prayed.
Soon, not only the music came back to my room, but other very strange things started to happen. First it was the TV, that turned on in the middle of the night, blasting. It happened multiple times, but I will never forget on a Friday night, that I woke up petrified and ran to the living room before the girls could wake up to the loud TV sound. As I looked for the remote to turn it off, I caught a glimpse of the TV statics, and for a moment I thought I was in Poltergeist. Not really, the TV had turned in the film The Ring, a horror movie in which the characters die seven days after watching a tape. As I turned the TV off, pulling it from the plug, I made a promise to myself: to seek help.
Next morning, I went to church. Yes, me, not a catholic. But there was a church very close to the apartment and I just felt like going in and asking for protection. Didn’t help: two nights later, I woke up to my printer, disconnected from the outlet, spitting white sheets like a maniac.
One of my friends took me to see a tarot reader who, without knowledge of anything, read it in the cards, right away.
“Honey, your place is haunted. They don’t want you there.”
“Well, I have a lease but believe me, I don’t want to be there either!”, I told her.
“They will haunt you until you move out”, she said, as she kept pulling horrific cards from her deck. “And if you don’t move soon, your girls, those pure angels, can be affected”, she let out, as if against her will.
“My girls? Nobody messes with them!”, I shouted.
The tarot reader knew about the music and the electronics. I swear to God that I did not tell her, she just knew. It freaked me out.
At the end, she held my hands, “you will be fine. But here is what you are going to do, Laura. You will do a nine-week novena, a devotion of prayers on nine consecutive Mondays. You will go to the candle box outside a church – keep the same church from beginning to end – and light a candle during daylight. Fiercely pray to be released from that burden and from that place. Those candles are going to be extremely difficult for you to light. The wind and the rain, you will feel sick, your girls will need you, your work will send you away on Mondays. You name it, things will try to stop you from succeeding. But every time you break the cycle, you will need to reboot from the start. Nine weeks on a streak. You pray to your angels and I guarantee, you will get out!”
With all the instructions in hand, I drove back home. It was a Sunday night and I was excited to start right away the next morning. I bought the candles, I wrote down my prayers, I had matches and a flame lighter ready. I drove to the church but, as she had predicted, it was pouring down and all the outside candles were soaked. I lit one inside and called her, but she confirmed that I would have to wait for the following week and light it outside.
I went back home, and when daylight erased itself from the horizon, I was feeling chills. I knew something was off. Something absolutely horrific happened to me. One of my daughters woke up, in the middle of the night, sleep walking and speaking in a language I could not understand or make out which was. She wasn’t babbling – no! She was speaking something with a certain intonation, as if she knew that language. I talked back to her, but she went on, not waking up. Finally, I shook her, and she awakened from what seemed to be a trance. A possession. I held her tight and decided that those spirits would not take my house and family over!
(To be continued next week...)