Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Witch Cave of Une

Gladys and Syd Marklin had been Missionaries in Bogota for over 37 years when they had the weirdest and most disturbing experience with the supernatural in their whole career.

They have had much experience with battling demonic forces and have preformed numerous exorcisms while working in Colombia. While Bogota is a large modern city there are pockets of “the old religion” of animism and practitioners of the occult throughout this urban center. The Marklins specialized in counseling and delivering people from the dark forces in which they unwittingly had become ensnared. Their specialization as Exorcists made them the ‘go to” people of both other Missionaries and indigenous ministers as well when there was any hint of demonic activity. They had the spiritual gifts to both deliver victims of demonic bondage and lovingly nurture them back to wholeness of body and spirit. Mrs. Marklin is a gentle and gifted counselor who can pinpoint spiritual issues at work within her clients and with encouragement and care helps them through the recovery process. During a tough time in my life I had the privilege to be blessed by her insightful counsel and not only was she spot on and authoritative but she was also gentle and understanding as well. We shared many tales together, and her personal stories of demonic possession and deliverance were both spiritually terrifying and gracefully poignant. The most startling and uplifting of all happened just before they left the Mission field for the last time. Just a year before their retirement a local Pastor asked them to visit the small town of Une to meet with a fourteen year old girl named Tabora.

Bad luck seemed to dodge Tabora since she was a child. She was born and raised in the city of Caqueza. Her mother had died in childbirth and for that very reason her father and siblings not only resented her, they would physically abuse her. She grew up as the household slave, not allowed to go out and play with the other children but rather would do all the cleaning and food preparation for her father and two brothers. She was not even allowed to attend school, but during the night when her family slept she had taught herself to read by using her brother’s school books and papers. One night her father caught her studying at the kitchen table and calling her a Huevóna beat her so bad she never had enough nerve to try to learn from her brother’s books again. Finally when she was twelve years old she began to go through puberty. It was then that the physical abuse at the hands of her family began to turn to sexual abuse as well. By the time she was thirteen she ran away from the abuse and had found her way to the nearby village of Une. She was a deeply disturbed young girl, her mind warped from all those years of cruelty and abuse. But she found no solace on the streets of Une. Local thugs plied her with alcohol and drugs in order to offer her up for prostitution. Her fragile mental stability was shattered by the constant drug abuse and selling of her body, which led to violent and unusual behavior. When she attacked a rude customer her proxeneta beat her senseless and left her for dead outside the city limits near the mountains of the Cordillera Oriental.

It was here she roamed the countryside for a few days seeking shelter from the elements where she could until she found the cave.

It had a small opening that was covered over in foliage. So secluded was it that not even the local animals had discovered it to make a home therein. Tabora later told Mrs. Marklin that she felt as if she had been drawn to it while walking down the hillside. She knew something wanted her and needed her, and it was a feeling she so desperately desired even in her manic state. So she clawed through the thick thorn covered foliage and crawled in the tiny cave opening.

After traversing a small entry tunnel the cave expanded into large vaulted room, and there appeared to be decayed furnishings within. Tabora said it was only after clearing away the entrance and letting the light into the cave that she was able to behold exactly what the cave held. There were decayed things in the cave, but not just old furniture. There were the skeletal remains of someone lying amid what looked like a rotted table that had fallen in upon itself. On the table were old musty papers and a moldy book still open. They were in Spanish but of a style that was readable but unfamiliar to her. What they said made no sense to her so she tossed them aside. After rustling through the ruins of the cave’s previous tenant she found some old money, gold and jewelry. There was also a decayed mattress, but she did not care and she slept on it insect ridden frame and had the first peaceful sleep that she could remember. There was no one there to hurt her anymore. Finally she could be left alone.

In her sleep that night she had a strange dream. She was in the cave as it might have looked if all the decayed furnishings were still in their prime. At the table sat a heavy set middle aged woman with matted hair. She was writing on the papers with an old ink pen. There seemed to be a mist covering the air and laying thick on the ground. The woman spoke to her without looking at her. “We were waiting for someone to find us.” She said in a graveled voice, “I were so alone.” It was at this point that two little people appeared at her side, both wearing strange attire. They looked at her with their abnormally huge eyes and smiled. She said at that time she felt very afraid, but the woman at the table stopped writing and looked at her as well. The eyes were white as of a blind person, yet they seemed to peer into her soul. “Do not be afraid of my friends. They will help you to find the power you have always wanted. You will no longer be afraid of the world, the world will be afraid of you!”

And with that she woke up in the dark cave. It was night, and the thick blackness prevented her from seeing anything. As she rolled over sleepily on the decayed pile that was once a mattress she had the distinct feeling that she was not alone in the room. She could not see them but she knew they were there. They were the two strange little beings from her dream. After remembering the promise from the woman in her dream, Tabora reports that she told them if they could make her never be afraid of the anyone again, she would do whatever they wished. She told Mrs. Marklin that she felt a power fall upon her that night, a power and a presence. Something had bonded with her in the dark of that cave, something of power that lived in the corner of her mind. And she welcomed it that night as a friend.

She remembers awaking the next morning and looking at the book and papers again. This time they made sense to her, they were spells and oaths to invoke power and curses. She began to read for hours and it seemed like she remembered this material somewhere back in the corner of her mind. She began to get hungry after a while and made up her mind to leave the cave and search for some food in the countryside. But as she got up from the cave floor she saw a loaf of bread was sitting beside her, along with a clay vessel full of water. So she sat and read more. Tabora recounted that whenever she was hungry, food would appear, giving her no reason to stop her study of the moldy manuscripts. Finally when she was done she fell asleep again.

She dreamed the same dream again. The woman was still at the table, but had finished writing. Tabora came close to her and as the woman looked up she noticed that the woman looked just like her, except much older. The woman smiled and nodded and the dream faded away.

When the Marklins received the initial call from the indigenous Pastor of Une they were told that the small village had been under assault from demonic forces for months. People were telling tales of a witch roaming the streets at night, marking symbols on doors and leaving chicken legs and entrails in a chalked circle at the doorstep. The people residing in those homes became sick and the doctors were baffled. At least two people died by this mysterious disease. At other times people would wake up in the middle of the night and find her hovering over their bed laughing a diabolical laugh while they felt unable to move. She would toy with them and make threats and then leave. At the beginning she seemed to only target the drug dealers and criminals of the town, but eventually people in the well to do suburbs were being harassed as well. The police were alerted and they finally had caught her when an alarm went off in a drug store. There were no visible signs of forced entry but when the police entered they found Tabora, disheveled and frantically hurling bottle after bottle over the counter of the store. When they confronted her she actually hissed at them and they shot her twice in the abdomen. She was knocked down but the wounds were not severe, yet even though wounded she put up a struggle so she had to be restrained until they arrived at the hospital.

She was at the hospital almost a week before the Marklins were called. The local Pastor was brought in almost immediately after her wounds were tended to and the sedation wore off. At first the hospital staff thought she was just suffering from psychological distress but then the odd things began to happen. The temperature in her room fell to below freezing numerous times. Objects would be thrown by invisible hands at the Hospital staff and attending law enforcement officers. Electrical equipment around her would cease to work. Finally one nurse said she saw her eyes blacken and her fingernails grow into claws. The Pastor was brought in and tried an exorcism, but he said she actually transformed into some kind of hag like witch that you would read about in fairy tales and she breathed a noxious gas that almost knocked him and the attending officers out.

So he Marklins gave it a shot in that hospital room early one morning. They did their preliminary blessings, bindings, and prayers. They addressed Tabora but she would not speak to them, she merely muttered obscenities. Mrs. Marklin said the ordeal lasted many hours and in many sessions. They witnessed the temperature drop, various strange inhuman sounds coming from nowhere, Tabora twisting her body at unbelievable angles, her eyes changing color, her tongue seemed to grow and rot before their eyes. The most astonishing thing to Mrs. Marklin though was levitation. During an intense part of the session the hospital bed actually rose off the ground and tried to wheel itself up a wall. All the while Tabora squealed in an incredibly high pitch. Mr. Marklin commanded that the bed be brought back down and after a few repeats of the command, it finally did. Shortly after that they the entities gave their names and why they resided in Tabora. They were so strong in her because they felt a bond with her trouble and suffering. Briefly through the hours the real Tabora would surface, crying and asking why this was happening to her. She wanted to die and she begged the Missionaries to kill her. Then the entities would take hold again, but each time she asserted herself they were weaker. After the long hours the Marklins finally delivered Tabora. It could have happened in less time but she was so afraid to be powerless again. Mrs. Marklin told her of God’s love and that she was a special girl. That she was not alone. Not only did God care, they did as well and they would take her back to Bogota where she could stay with them and have a real family. That was the impetus Tabora needed to let go and be set free. The entities were cast out and Tabora lay sobbing on the bed.

After talking with the authorities the Marklins made good on their promise and brought Tabora back to Bogota with them. She still had many emotional and psychological problems but she received the help she needed by counseling with Mrs. Marklin and therapy with trained professionals. The Marklin’s other children found it rough at first but gradually accepted her as part of the family. She found God’s love actualized in real people who really cared. In less than half a years she seemed to blossom. She was alive and vibrant, she took care of herself and her self esteem grew by leaps and bounds. She still had to have counseling once in a while and had a daily regiment of medication for the first year but by the time I was told this tale a few years had already gone by and Tabora was doing exceptionally well. She was actually attending college in the Western United States. Her goal was to be a college professor. Mrs. Marklin showed off a picture of her to me. She was radiantly beautiful, and you never in a million years would have guessed that this beautiful college girl had gone through so much.

In desperation that tortured little girl reached out to evil to find power, but she ultimately made the discovery that true power abides in Love.

Until next time,

Pastor Swope


cryptidsrus said...

Interesting story. Makes one think of some of the people in our society who commit heinous crimes. Some people are definitely vulnerable to the "Dark Side."

Child molesters, mass and serail murderers---who knows???

Definitely food for thought. Thanks, Pastor.

Pastor Swope said...

Thanks for the comment Cryptidsrus,

Mrs. Marklin gravitates toward the abused and neglected in the world. She has an incredible gift.

Funny thing is I found that people who are strongly bent to darkness can change to be incredible agents for light. And chillingly versa.

Anonymous said...

cryptidsrus, I agree with you. when I read about evil people who committed evil acts on the news I wonder how many might be influenced by the devil or one of his demons. Like that guy who beheaded a stranger o a greyhound bus in canada.

Pastor Swope, thanks for this great blog. I think I came across it on he coat to coast web site and I have been hooked ever since. I love hearing about the "supernatural" from a religious point of view rather than the new age types that seem to dominate the field. Especially the creepy missionary war stories. I could read those all day. Keep up the great work!

Mr Butterscotch said...

No offense pastor swope, but your comment actually sounds like it comes from a statement of the Night Watch - a fictional organisation created in Lukyanenko's Night Watch.

I'd like to draw your attention to:
While Bogota is a large modern city there are pockets of “the old religion” of animism and practitioners of the occult"

In some cases, some religions featuring animism and practices that you would term of the 'occult' are far older than Christianity itself. Does that make their gods more powerful than yours?

Personally, I don't think so. All religious beliefs have the power to do good and evil. Just look at how the Roman Catholic church has treated the memory of the Knights' Templar. Or those in positions of religious authority who use their power to commit sexual crimes. Lastly, there are followers of all religions who are guilty of acts of war, whether state sponsored or not. There are no explanations needed from the so-called 'godly'. Human behaviour, as Prof Richard Dawkins has explained numerous times, is explanation enough.

Shamus said...

I love this Blog. great camp fire stories and the feel of twilight. what would humanity be without story telling.

Pastor Swope said...

Thanks for the comment Mr.Butterscotch,

No offense taken.

Never heard of Lukyanenko's Night Watch (After Googling it sounds like a good read, thanks), but my expressions are based on common Christian perspective.

Perhaps we differ in essential cosmology? If so interpretation is very subjective.

While Christianity is a "new" religion historically, monotheism is not. Christianity is based on monotheistic Judaism which is an synthesis of various ancient monotheistic beliefs of the fertile crescent.

In my cosmology monotheism was first and later degraded into polytheism. There can be great conjecture as to many ancient archaeological artifacts and their religious significance, but the people who made them are dead, so even the most learned can merely theorize.

Also,I think just restated me by referring to my statement of 'old religions" and your assertion that animism is older than Christianity. Or am I missing something? I do not mean to gibe, just the opposite I want to understand what you are trying to say.

I whole heartedly agree with you about religion. All religions are guilty of heinous sins and crimes. Because they can easily be manipulated by people seeking power and authority. When religion becomes politic it becomes corrupt.

However when it comes to human morality I think I would disagree with Dawkins by theological ideology and personal experience.

Pastor Swope said...

Thanks Shamus,

However I do not do justice to this story as Mrs. Marklin tells it. She told this to an audience of a couple thousand and you could feel the vibe in the room. Not only could you hear a pin drop, you could hear the hair raise on the back of the collective neck.

Then you are filled with joy as she describes this young girl's journey as she finally begins to realize what it is like to be truly loved unconditionally.

tomas said...

Thank you Pastor. This story beautifully illustrates what can be accomplished by love.

I'm a new reader here and I really like your stance on 'other worldly' happenings.


Mr Butterscotch said...

Dear Pastor Swope,

Thanks for taking the time to write such an elegant reply. I would like to offer another question if I may. You said in response to my original comment:

"All religions are guilty of heinous sins and crimes. Because they can easily be manipulated by people seeking power and authority. When religion becomes politic it becomes corrupt."

Isn't the problem therefore inherent in all organised religions? Surely, any organised religion of significant numbers becomes a body politic - active in striving to develop its own self interests such as more members, furthering of their belief systems in society and ultimately control/subjugation of the population?

With regard to Lukyanenko's novels - they are certainly worth a read. The forces of Light and Dark contained therein could certainly be read as angels and demons, influencing the everyday folk with their power.

Pastor Swope said...

Thanks for the comment Mr. Butterscotch,

I think you have my assessment of the church politico spot on.

When any organization becomes big enough repression is the ultimate result at least for a time. Then as in any governmental political body a reformer comes to bring the balance back, but then again only for a time. The back and forth of freedom and repression.

It all depends on the people in power and their attitude toward others and God. Sometimes the size of the group does not matter that much. I have found that most people who seek church office have the same psychological need for power as those who seek public office. Many also succumb to the elitist mentality as well and think the power is their right.

It is always an entertaining time for me at church elections to see those tyrannical divine dictators see their power stripped away by the 'common folk'.

Viva la Revolucion!

SeanBrandt said...

Very good story, it almost seems that alot of possesions are textbook cases,meaning the similiar occupants and theyre actions upon the host.Thanks it was a fun read.