A very early and harsh Initiation--while in the second grade:
In the last part of the second grade, my family life became very troubled and distressed. I was moved from Oak Grove elementary to Llewellyn Elementary. We went to live with rich friends, in a very large house--directly behind the Eastmoreland Theater in Portland, Oregon. We were only there temporarily and our rich friends were helping us--an act of charity on their part. The lady of the house did not like children so I was not allowed to play inside her house and my movements were closely monitored. I was not allowed to "mess about" except outside--since my childish antics might break some of the valuable and plush furnishings and accompaniments inside the house.
During that one summer that I was there, the wealthy lady of the house went once a week to do her other charity work at a place several blocks away. My mother and father were at work and I was left alone. I looked forward to these times when I was alone because I could then explore this grand old house from its top to bottom and vice versa. I started my adventure in the basement but felt very uncomfortable there. This was a richly appointed house and its basement was finished and furnished better than any other basement I had ever been in Yet, even when I had turned all the lights on, it still seemed dim and threatening. I left quickly after I had explored most of the basement and never again did I go down there alone.
On the grand stairs that led to the second floor from the entryway by the front door, I found a step that sounded very different from the rest when you knocked on its front. After several weeks of pushing and prying at it when the lady of the house was out, it suddenly sprang open, revealing a secret compartment that was lined entirely with black velvet. It was an awesome discovery and a bit frightening too. Worse of all, I could tell no one about what I had found because I then would have to admit that I had been "messing about.
My next discovery was in the large, formal dining room. In one corner was an ornate, large hutch, built into the wall. I had always liked tracing the intricate scroll-work carved into its wood with my fingers, but I always took a piece of rag with me and wiped my finger prints off so as not to leave evidence of my "messing about." One day, as I stood admiring the carving, I saw a definite crack along its length--something that I had never noticed before. I examined it carefully, worried at first that perhaps my playing with the carving had caused it to break. However, as I examined it, I noticed the crack was very symmetrical and did not seem to be accidental at all. Grasping it at by its outer edge, I tugged gently and was surprised when the whole front of the carving slid out, revealing a shallow drawer. Like the inside of the stair-step, it too was lined with black velvet. I shoved it back and put more pressure on it. It slid back easily and the extra pressure made the crack all disappear into the carving. This new discovery was another one I had to keep to myself.
My next-to-the-last discovery was on the third floor of the house. This was a fully floored, stand up attic, and it was finished enough so that no studs or rafters could be seen. It was where seasonal things were stored. The full set of steps that went up to the attic was closed-off from the second floor by a door. In the attic itself, there were large windows at the front and the back. But, it was hot up there on summer days and the attic's air was old and stuffy since the windows were always closed. The house itself was large but was broken up by many rooms. The attic was the same size as the house but was not broken up by any walls. This made the attic a very huge, unbroken room. I did not get the bad vibes up there that I had picked up in the basement but I still had a strange feeling about the attic. I felt that there was something there that was concealed, something that was hidden, and something I was not supposed to see. I examined the things stored there, but didnt see anything odd.
One day I stood in the center of the attic and looked carefully around. I looked at the things stored there but did not see anything interesting. Then I looked to my left and saw a rope nailed to the wall. I looked around again. No other wall had a rope; no other wall had anything hanging on it. I walked up to the rope. It seemed to be an ordinary rope nailed to the wall by an ordinary nail. I picked it up; it felt like an ordinary rope. I pulled on it. The entire wall in front of me moved silently forward. I backed away, still pulling on the wall's rope. The wall pivoted sideways and exposed a room behind it. The room was rather small but was much too large to be a closet. The room's walls, ceiling, and floor were painted a garish blood red! I felt a sudden shiver go through me in the hot, muggy attic. Scared, I pushed against the wall and was relieved to see it move quickly back to its original position. I don't know what scared me worse, the red room or the chance of being found out. I ran back down the stairs and never again went into the attic.
The last thing I discovered in this ominous house was the most terrifying thing I had ever encountered in my young life and still counts high on the fright-value scale--even by my standards today.
One day, the minute the lady of the house left to do her weekly charity work, I headed for the hidden drawer in the dining room. Just a few feet before I got to the drawer, I heard a small sound in the kitchen. I could hear that whatever had made the sound was coming into the dining room where I was. At first, I thought it might be the lady of the house, returning because she had forgotten something. I looked at the door into the kitchen and could see nothing. But, whatever was making the noise had entered the room with me and I was suddenly very frightened. A giant but invisible entity began filling the dining room with its huge bulk and when it breathed, its breath was like the sound of giant bellows--lungs so huge they must have been almost too large for the room to hold them! It breathed and wheezed loudly. Its horrible breathing-sound echoed in the room and seemed to shake the house with its power. I still could not see anything but I COULD FEEL IT THERE IN THE ROOM WITH ME! I began to have a suffocating feeling and somehow knew that The Entity was trying to envelop me. I had never before been in such a panic. At first, I was frozen with fear but then I began to think that my very life would be in jeopardy if I did not escape! I started to run around the end of the table but then realized that I was still inside the THING, as it occupied most of the whole room! Moving faster than I ever had before in my life, I dived under the table where I felt that The Entity was not, and dashed forward, my hair just touching the underside of the table. I scrambled to the other end of the large, long dining room table until I was near the door into the entryway. I jumped out from beneath the table, back into the all-encompassing presence of The Entity. Then I ran through The Entitywhich seemed to have enough substance to slow down my progressionbut I was scared! And I quickly ripped through The Entity and escaped from the dining room into the entrywaywhere I slammed the door behind me.
Safe for the moment, I wondered if The Entity would or could follow me. For a moment, I felt relief for I could no longer hear the breathing and I was pleased when it seemed that The Entity could not move through closed doors or open them. Then I heard it enter the hallway that the entryway connected to, through another door that led to the kitchen. I turned, yanked the front door open, and dashed out, slamming this door behind me. I ran down the steps of the porch out onto the front lawn, where I stopped to listen carefully. I heard no sound of pursuit or any of the giant breathing sounds.
When the lady of the house returned several hours later, I was still out on the lawn, pale and shaky. Prompted by her inquiry, I explained about the fearsome thing that breathed so loudly, but she just scolded me, said it was just my imagination and was probably the result of my reading those horrid, sinful, comic books that she would not allow in her house. Later on, I told my mother the story also. She looked thoughtful for a moment, but then also dismissed it as my imagination. Dad didnt listen to me eitherand no once else would either.
Now just where was my society's protectors of children? Where was the holy priest who would hear my story, then perform a ceremony to protect me? Where was the wise crone who could have explained these phenomena? Where were the adults, the authorities that I could go to for help? Where were all the mighty officials of the many denominations of the Christian Church that were all around our neighborhood? I'll tell you where they were: They were busy raising money for a new church building, more lavish than the last; they were busy preaching hell-fire and damnation instead of comforting and loving the unfortunate; they were busy with rich old ladies that thought Donald Duck comic books were sinful and would not even allow children to play in her very strange house.
Let's face it, our society was not and still is not set-up to handle affairs when little children, or even adults, are attacked by disincarnate entities. But, things are better now. The worship of the Old Gods, hidden for hundreds of years under the stifling mantle of the Christian religion, is back. And the old ways are gaining in popularity and strength. I have counseled some of my own children and others that have also been bothered by things that go bump in the night. I have explained the way of these things and how to drive them away. In me, children have found that person who listens, who believes, who explains, and who will perform a ceremony to make them safe.
The Entity continued to pursue me in the house when I was alone and I continued to complain about itto no avail. Finally, in desperation my parents took me to the local pastor. He asked me, a little boy in the second grade, why I was dealing with Satan. I looked into his eyes and saw that he was ignorant and clueless.
Then The entity disappeared for a few months.
I was relieved when we moved into a new house, in a new suburban area at the edge of the city--and right next to an untouched forest. There were new kids to meet, to make friends with, and a wonderful forest to explore. By this time, I had become convinced in my own mind that The Entity really had just been my imagination. After all, when I first met The Entity, my parents were going though tough times, we were living in a spooky old mansion, and the owners were members of the politically correct, snobbish rich. There were no other children in that rich neighborhood, and it was probably the low-point of my young life, certainly a time of great unhappiness. No wonder my imagination ran away with me!
Unfortunately, as I found out later, The Entity moved with us! I then named it He Who Follows. An apt name for a being that later followed me half way around the world.
My personal demon was not finished with me! I survived more attacks over the years and began to understand He Who Follows ways. It came after me when I was alonealthough it would appear if I was in a large building but far away from other people. It could not open doors nor could it move though the walls or closed physical barriers. It always manifested first in another room, before it could enter the room where I was. I came to realize that it had a set of rules that it had to adhere toit was not omnipotent.
It had never physically hurt me but I was not convinced it could not. It wanted to envelop me. Could it then absorb my life force, gain control over me, or do something worse? I did not know. I found that the best way to handle The Entity was to let it enter the room where you were--then to run outthrough it--and slam the door behind you. In this different, safe room, I would then quickly make certain that all other doorways that opened into that room were also closed off. And it could not get to me.
Prayers to Jesus and/or God seemed to have no effect on The Entity. All inquiries to parents or clergy were met with answers ranging from just your imagination, to youre crazy, to you have evil thoughts. I learned at an early age that my society and my religion had little power over things from other dimensions.
During one typical attack, He Who Follows manifested in the hallway outside my bedroom. It then entered the bedroom where I was. I ran through The Entity's body and slammed the bedroom door on it. I went into the living room, temporarily safe. Next, I heard it manifest in the adjoining kitchen. It then came into the living room after me. I then ran back into the bedroom and closed the door again. Now it could not reach me and I listened at the door as it wheezed and breathed horribly in the hallway outside. I soon became a devoted door-closer. When I was home alone, which was much of the time, since my parents both worked, I always kept all the doors closed.
Of course, in my bedroom, as if the very powers in the universe were mocking me, the closet door in this new house was defective and the latch would not function properly. No matter how hard you pushed against it or no matter how much force you used to slam it, it would only stay closed for a few seconds, then with an evil click, it would slowly open until it was wide open and intruding into the room. How I hated the door on that dark closet! Nevertheless, all my complaints and begging did not convince my parents that this was something they should fix. Finally, when I was almost 22 years old, I took a chisel and chiseled-out the wood inside the latch plate and adjusted it so the door would finally stay closedbut by then I didnt live there anymore.
I always propped something in front of the closet door to keep it closed. However, my mother was always going in and out, even when I was asleep, to arrange my cleaned clothes in the closet and she would just shove my door-keeping objects aside. Many a night I awoke confronted with the closet door gaping open, its dark interior mocking my fear.
Our new neighborhood, outside Portland, was next to an untouched forest. In the forest was a canyon. We kids called it the Haunted Canyon. The Haunted Canyon, of course, became one of our favorite places to play--but we never went near it at night, when all sorts of strange noises issued from it. I had visions of things--outside our normal reality--near the canyon at night. And, several times, I saw the misty, white, forms of what seem to be the dead, float gracefully across the canyon entrance. One day, we found a dead cat, hanged by its neck from a rope, on a tree near the canyon's entrance. This sight, the night screams of mating cats, and the "Woo" sounds of the owls--all of which emanated from the canyon, convinced us that no one should not go near that area at night!
My encounters with He Who Follows and my apparent ability to see spirits, made me certain that an afterlife existed and that supernatural beings abounded in great quantities--and that they interacted with us. I went to church regularly and always attended Church School each summer. There I memorized scripture and was awarded many certificates and religious artifacts that were rewards for my efforts. I hung these on all the walls of my room, but He Who Follows was unaffected by them.
As I aged, the encounters with He Who Follows lessened. I believe it had greater trouble scaring me as I matured. In the mean time, in my play and interactions with the other children, I had begun to show knowledge that my playmates did not seem to have and I began to do things that later seemed to have hidden meanings behind them. I made several magic swords over a period of many years. I made them of wooden lath, cut, sanded and sharpened. I painted them silver and decorated them with jewels given to me from my mother's supply of broken costume jewelry. But, most important of all was the ceremony that I gave my swords, the baptism that I gave them, which changed them from mundane objects into magical and sacred tools. In the meadow in the forest, I broke open the milkweed plants and using their milky blood, I consecrated each sword with the blood of a living thing. After several years, I began to realize that The Entity could not enter my house when one of my swords was on display! So, for a while, there was always a magic sword in my room.
I gradually forgot about The Entity and as I grew, I set aside childish things--like making magic swords. One school week, when I was in Junior High, I came down with a very bad case of the flu. My mother stayed at home with me until I began recovering, then she went back to work. The night before, however, she had gone shopping and bought me all kinds of my favorite snacks--now that I had regained my appetite. At my request, she had also bought me one of the pulp-science fiction magazines that I so loved--having become a science fiction fan at the age of eight. I was still rather weak and was confining most of my activities to lying in bed, listening to the radio, and reading the magazine.
This particular science fiction magazine always had many short stories and between each story, there was a single page that contained a few paragraphs on some short subject--usually a scientific fact--such as "Did you know that the planet Mars has two moons, etc. . . ." I tired of reading and fell asleep before reaching the end of the second story. While I was asleep, I had a strange and frightening dream:
I was in the farmlands of a foreign country. Near one of the farms was a large hill and in the side of the hill was a large cave. In the floor in the back of the cave, were twisted, glassy, black tubes (that resembled obsidian). These tubes, like slides, were slick, smooth, and dropped down into the earth. How deep they went, was the question my dream companions and I asked, as we prepared to find out. My companions tied a rope around me and lowered me into one of tubes. As I slid into the darkness of the tube, I noticed the temperature was steadily increasing and a smell of burning sulfur became strong. Ahead of me, I saw the dim glow of a far-off light--perhaps an opening of the bottom of the tube. I never found out because as my trip suddenly ended when my companions began hauling me upward. When I reached the top and was helped from the rope, I asked my companions why they had stopped me. They informed me that they had reached the end of the rope. I asked how far they had lowered me and they said that the rope was three miles long.
As we left the cave, we met a figure in front of its entrance, outlined in the light behind it. It was the outline of a man-shaped being with a pitchfork in his hand. Outside, we found the figure to be a farmer, who had very red skin. With his red face and red hands holding a pitchfork, he looked very much like the devil himself. In a hollow, echoing voice, he said, You should not be in this cave, this is unholy ground. Those tubes in there are called the Devil's Slides, and legend says that they go all the way down to Hell! I felt a big surge of fear go though me!
I woke up fearfully, in a hot sweat. It took me several minutes to recover from the nightmare. I got up and went to the bathroom to get a drink of water. Returning to the bed, I picked up the magazine and finished the story I had started, hoping to get my mind off the nightmare.
Finishing the story, I turned to the next page and looked at the short factual story sandwiched between the fictional stories. It was about a cave in France. The cave had long tube-like holes in its bottom. Scientists had lowered cables into these tubes but had never been able to reach the bottom and so did not know just how deep the tubes went. Local farmers said that legend had it that the tubes went all the way down to Hades.
For a moment, I looked at the story, disbelieving that what I had just read I had first dreamed of! The hair on the back of my neck stood up. Then, from out in the hallway, I heard that old familiar sound of giant breathing start. The Entity entered my room but I was older now and remained a moment, listening and looking. It was then that I realized that most of the fear I felt was being broadcast at me from The Entity, only a little of it was coming from me. I cursed at it but then gave in and ran from the room, slamming the door behind me. I quickly closed off all the other doors that led into the living room and spent the rest of the day there until my parents got home.
I seldom told anyone my encounters with He Who Follows, especially my parents. Too few people believed my stories--or else my tales were received with suspicions about my sanity. Yet, in 1958, as my trusted friend of three years and I were driving Southward through the countryside of France, I found the courage to tell him of my encounters with The Entity. I finished my tale as we drove through the town of Chateauroux, heading south. This was farming country. Not too long after that, my friend stopped the car in a little village to buy some cigarettes and left me temporarily alone in the automobile. A sudden downpour of furious rain and gusts of wind rocked the car. Yet above the heavy drumming of the rain, I heard a sound that I had not heard in many yearsthe sound of giant lungs. And I remembered what my grandmother had once told me, What you think of thinks of you. The breathing got louder and louder and the thing was now not obeying the rules about manifesting in other rooms. But I was no longer a frightened child, and I was very angry at this unexpected intrusion. This time, I totally resisted the fear it was trying to project into me. I turned around in the seat and lashed out at the invisible Entity, telling it to go away. Then I threw angry punches into the air of the back seat. Swearing at it I promised it that if it did not leave me alone--forever--I would spend the rest of my life finding out about it, and then I would hunt it down and destroy it!
The result of my outburst was that the sound of the breathing ceased abruptly and I was again left in the lonely silence inside the car as the rain stopped at the same moment. Although I was to hear of The Entity several times in the future from other people, He Who Follows never again bothered me. Perhaps my outburst of anger or promise of retribution had scared it more than it had ever scared me!
It was not until almost 40 years later that I realized that the country in my youthful dream, and the country where I rid myself of The Entity, was the same--France. And Châteauroux was in the capital of that farming area. And Château roux means "the grand red house, or literally: "Chateau, Red. Remember the red-faced farmer in my dream? Were we near the cave? I may never know . . .
In the late 60's and early 70s, I became acquainted with some Witches at Portland Community College. The first one I came to know was a male, and because I had always viewed Witches as being female, I felt odd calling him a Witch. He was a Lab Assistant and we became good friends. Through him, I met other Witches and other people inside and on the fringe of the occult. I was invited to several gatherings of assorted types of people who practiced magic--but no rites were ever done. Instead, the gatherings became a type of discussion group. It was at one of the meetings that I came across the first other person who related an encounter with The Entity.
It seems that this young male, a new-Witch-in-the-forming, was in the process of making an Athame--which is a magic, ritual knife. According to the formula he was using, he was supposed to bury this knife in the ground for three days, starting on the full moon, and preferably in hallowed ground--such as in a graveyard. He entered a graveyard on a warm summer night with the full moon floating serenely in the sky above him. He began looking for some loose soil where he might bury the knife. The Athame had already been purified and consecrated; the 3-day burial was the final action to be done. As he looked for a good place, he became aware of being watched, but when he looked around, there was nothing to see. Next, the entire graveyard was filled with the sound of giant lungs expanding and contracting noisily. In a panic, he began to run from the place but found he seemed to be getting closer to the heart of the breathing. The closer he got, the more afraid he became. He veered off toward a large tree near the center of the graveyard. Using the Athame, he quickly drew a small circle of magic protection around the tree and himself. He sat down, leaning his back against the tree, and listened as the breathing became louder and louder. With his other senses, he felt The Entity approach closer and closer. But, to his great relief, it stopped at the edge of the circle.
During the rest of that night, The Entity circled around him and sometimes enveloped the whole circle. But it could not come in although it seemed be to vigorously looking for a fault in the circle--which it did not find. As the night went on, the new witch too came to understand that The Entity was broadcasting fear. As I had learned, he found that most of the fear came from outside instead of from within him. Deep into the night, he leaned his head wearily back against the tree and fell asleep. When he awoke, it was dawn, and The Entity was gone. Needless to say, he left the place in haste. He ended up burying his Athame in his own back yard on the next full moon.
Over the years, I have heard other such stories from other people, about their encounters with the Entity. From their descriptions, I know that they are obviously describing the very same being.
Yet, perhaps The Entity wasnt all bad, otherwise, I too might have grown up narrow-minded like the Cowans (lately called muggles) and been unable to visualize or embrace the greater reality that existsand all the things that inhabit it.
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