Demons. Ghosts. Apparitions. Unexplained sounds and movement. Poltergeists. I have been on the pendulum of disbelief and believing ever since childhood. As a little girl, I saw things no one else seemed to. “Green angels fighting over my bed,” I told my dad when I was three. A black distorted monkey sitting atop a man’s shoulder, digging its claws into the man’s back when I was five. Then I saw the man grimace and reach to massage himself right where the monkey’s claws were. The monkey just stared at me with black eyes the whole time, knowing I was watching.
As I got older, I experienced these images less and less. By the time I moved out of my parents’ house at 17, I hardly thought about them at all. I became an actress in Hollywood, living the couch-surfing tales of former nobodies like Matt Damon and Brad Pitt. All thoughts of my radical Christian upbringing, complete with the casting out of demons and the laying-on-of-hands kind of prayer, slowly buried into my memories. But the demons of my childhood came back when I was 19, living in my first apartment on Gardner Street.
I awoke one early morning in spring to the sound of someone whispering intensely, right into my ear, “ALICE!” The hiss was urgent, a threat or a warning I couldn’t tell. I bolted upright and turned on my lamp, not exactly surprised no one was there, but definitely knowing someone or something had just spoken my name. I wondered if it was God, I wondered if it was a dream. Either way, there was no going back to sleep. When I finally got up to get dressed, I froze as I looked at my clothes hanging in the closet: they were all covered in cobwebs. Not silky strands of silver, these were Disneyland Haunted House-style cobwebs, the kind that are ancient and fluffy, spun into clumps of dead clouds. Trying to convince myself that a spider had just been really busy during the night, I peeled them off and threw them in the trash. Then the noises started.
There were two closets in my apartment at opposite ends. If I were in the living room, I’d hear stacked boxes falling in the mud room closest down the hall. When I would open the door and look at them, all were in perfect place. Then I’d hear boxes falling in the living room closet. Again, nothing was out of place and I began to think I must be imagining things. Maybe it was the neighbor moving stuff on the other side of the wall. This continued for four nights.
On the fifth morning I called my mother and told her about the awful nights I’d been having. She said she’d pray for me, instructed me to bless a bowl of water in Jesus’ name and sprinkle it throughout my apartment, and then tried to bring me out of my fear by asking distracting questions, like what fun things had I been up to that week. I told her about the NBC party I went to over the weekend, and how Jackie, my costar on the TV show we worked on, gave me a present. “It’s a little stone that looks like sea glass, from where a meteor crashed into earth someplace near Russia. It’s called moldavite.” As the words were leaving my mouth, I just knew it had to be the moldavite causing all the disruption in my home. Mom agreed, and told me I had to get rid of it.
I found the moldavite in my jewelry box in my bedroom, not even a week old, and stared at the tiny unassuming green stone, wondering if it really could be the source of the whispers and rattling. What was attached to it? I walked to my front porch, which I shared with four other neighbors, and I told the moldavite that it and whatever spirits attached to it were no longer welcome in my home, and I tossed it out. It landed on the cement, and I glared at it and shut my door. Feeling like an absolute looney, I did as my mom instructed and sprinkled holy water around my apartment, with lots of “Jesus’ names” thrown in for good measure. The noises completely stopped, the whispering didn’t wake me up the following morning. Finally, peace was in my home again.
I’ve since seen apparitions and heard voices in numerous places with numerous energies. A friendly female ghost walked the hallway of an apartment I used to live at. I could smell her lily of the valley perfume when she’d pass me, her 1940’s heels clicking out the door as her fluffy blond hair bounced behind. A male infant would cry an yet another old apartment I lived in, and I somehow knew he’d been abandoned. In that same place, my mother once heard a child’s voice cry out “Mommy!”.
People I have talked to about the paranormal have had similar stories. One of my friends recently encountered what one would call a ghost in the apartment of a friend he was visiting. “If you hear the TV or radio come on, just ignore it,” she casually instructed him after explaining the resident ghost. My friend is not superstitious, but during the couple hours he was there, he became increasingly alarmed as dishes moved, the radio indeed turned on, and when he’d turn it off it would turn right back on again. The cat hissed at nothing visible. “Don’t freak out, you’re making him mad,” the girl told him. My friend had enough and left before anything further happened.
So what is really happening? What does all this stuff mean, how can it be explained? I have so many questions, and this week I decided to sit down and do some real research to get to the bottom of it. Maybe there is no bottom, but I wanted to dig as deep as I could…