Thursday, September 25, 2008

The America Financial Collapse and the American 'Indian Curse'

Okay, maybe it’s just me. I certainly take no joy in seeing America’s financial institutions recent thunderous leap into the abysmal blackness, but in many ways it seems very ironic in the grand scheme of things.

I am no real believer in Karma.

I do appreciate many of the concept of Hinduism and the theory of the Transmigration of Souls, but for me the traditional Hindu belief of Karmic destiny restrains free will and the hope of atonement for past wrongs without overwhelming consequences. I much more prefer the ‘Karma-Light’ version of the concept that most Americans who have no real concept of Hinduism espouse, that is: What goes around comes around.

The basic theme of Karma, which is cause and effect of deeds, be they good or evil are universal. Biblically we can see this theme in Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. “(NKJV)

This universal rule can also be generational as seen in the Ten Commandments, the second commandment being: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image: any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” Exodus 20:4-6 (NKJV)

Now according to Jesus , the greatest commandment (Which means literally the most important) is: You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40 (NKJV)

As spiritual people we are commanded to love God and to live in peace with one another. If we do not do so there are consequences.

The early European Settlers and their leaders were Christian in name and belief.

They swore loyalty to God and King.

But they had a little problem with the ‘loving your neighbor’ part.

It usually started with a little dispute that escalated into violence by one part or the other.

In taking a honest look into historical texts neither side had unstained hands, as a whole.

But then the Government stepped in and under the auspices of God and Country made oaths and promises to the Native Americans who were usually the ones who held the losing hand in the final deal.

And over time and circumstances that made rich men richer, and the poor and impoverished either dead or MORE impoverished, the politicians rescinded on their promises and tried to renegotiate the treaties and oaths their forefathers made so they could make a tight profit on the land and blood of those whom they had once pledged before the almighty.

The Albany Congress in 1754

The Treaty of Echota in 1835

The Ponca Tribe Treaty of 1865

Metlakatla Indian Community v. Egan, 369 U.S. 45 (1962)

Under the auspices of God and through signed vow of man the United States has done injustice to his fellow man consistently when it comes to the issue and selling of land for profit.

The ungodly practice of stripping the land from the poor and selling it to the highest bidder in order to line the rich man’s coffers has been standard practice of Governmental Ascendance from the foundation of this country.

And it stands in stark contrast to the individual pilgrim who by sheer will power, ingenuity and faith forged a path in the wilderness to reach out in love and faith to others who might not share the same skin color as they do, but still have a love for faith and kin.

At the writing of this article America is wrestling with one of its most challenging financial crises in almost 100 years.

It started with the hopes of raking in mass profit from the poor and working class in the area of land ownership.

The rich would get richer by exploiting the poor and their innate desire to have a place to dwell.

A home.

And the end result is a nightmare that dares to tear apart the very fabric of what we as Americans rely upon most as our daily world view: free market capitalism.

It was torn apart by those who dared to exploit those who had little more than faith to rely upon. And as greed and corruption spread by the wealthy to exploit the poor who had no real way of financially fulfilling their hopes and desires, I truly believe God’s Judgment has been poured out on the iniquity of the privileged few.

Now I am not a socialist.

Socialism is just the Government in more control, and the Government has been the problem since the foundation of civilization.

Or as the adage says, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I am actually a Conservative in many ways.

I am actually a Liberal in many ways.

Am I a Moderate?


I’d rather be called Wishy Washy.

I am a person of Conscience and Principle who loves God and strives to love his fellow man.

Probably a lot like you.

And we are the ones who are unfortunately caught in the middle.

Is there a curse upon America for its forefather’s corrupt grab for land at the expense of the Native American?

There were many who strove or even gave their lives to reach out in love to the indigenous peoples of this continent without the fleeting consideration of exploitation.

But still there were those who made a fortune in land stolen from the naïve and downtrodden of this country.

And I feel their sins have found them out.

Are we in the End Times, and is this but one of the knells of Doom for both America and the world as we know it?

Only God knows.

All I know is the solutions that are now being presented by those who are in power for the current financial crisis is going to make an America that in the future will be hard to recognize as the one that I grew up in, let alone the one that our forefathers fought and died for.

Is America facing a Curse from God because of its inhumanity toward the Native Americans?

Reflect upon the following and pray about it:

The Curse of Tippecanoe

The Curse of Cornstalk

Are they real?

While factual accounts may vary the psychological burden upon us shows a reality that there is a spiritual debt to be repaid by our Nation as a whole, one that has not been acknowledged by those who sit in the power elite.

Let the bowl be poured out, and may all that have an ear, let them hear.

God help us all.

May God Bless America.

Remember, the blessings begin with YOU.

Until next time,

Pastor Swope

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Thing on Johnny's Bed

I am a child of the 70s. As a late baby boomer I experienced much of the 60’s counter culture. However I had the advantage to see the effects of the unbridled freedom on many of those who abandoned themselves in it and the inevitable consequences served as a warning for me.

Free love and free drugs were the motto of the times in which I grew from childhood to adolescence. I had many a friend who never made it to adulthood and if they did, by the time of this writing they are more than likely consigned to the care of a nursing home or an adult care facility.

Johnny was a friend of mine who at the time would do any drug that passed his way. He loved getting high and it did not matter what kind of high or altered experience it was that said chemical induced. His tastes ran the gambit of the day, from uppers to downers from weed to Mescaline. If you knew of the current drug of the day Johnny had been there and done that, and would offer his sage advice to any stoner who wished to avoid a bad experience with the current drug fad of the time.

One night after a long evening of partying and mixing of various pharmaceuticals he went home to sleep his buzz off. In his basement bedroom he listened to some relaxing music and shut off the lights. He did not know how long it was before a loud sound roused him from his half slumber. With a quick flip of a switch his night light came on and he sat up to see what had caused the commotion.

That was when he saw the thing scurry across the floor.

It had quickly made its way from the bathroom to behind a pile of clothes to the left of his bed. He could barely discern what exactly it was but it was small, short and bipedal. It ran faster than his cat and had made the 4 foot run in a split second. It was also very dark.

Panicked, he was unsure as to what to do next. He decided to just stay in the safety of his bed and pulled the covers up a bit to hide in the safe and warm self made cocoon. It was not a squirrel, he saw no tail. This was the northeastern United States so it could not have been any kind of monkey. The odd this was that it looked like a miniature human scuttling across the floor. It did not slump its back as it ran from the restroom to the pile of clothes in the corner. No it looked like a husky little man in dark as it passed into the pile of soiled apparel.

As he sat there looking into the dark recesses of the basement for any movement near the laundry pile, he was sure he saw something afar off in the back of the room. It darted to and from as if it was trapped in the semi darkness of the room and stayed in the safety of the shadows so it would not be fully seen by the young teen in his bed. But it’s frantic movement betrayed that it was seeking escape.

Soon the movement abruptly stopped.

And the shadow grew larger as the thing came closer in the darkness slowly making its way to the edge of the bed.

In the seconds that it disappeared at the bed’s edge, Johnny did not know whether to feel relief or panic. Had it gone back to his worst nightmare to plague him no more, or was it lurking under his bed waiting for him to come out from under the covers so that it might do its diabolical deeds upon his pink soft flesh? The seconds seemed to span an eternity as he waited for a movement or a sign from above the bed or under it. But then as the horror of the reality that was to befall him permeated his mind his spine became as a frozen icicle as if splayed down from a lonely woebegone ledge.

He felt a tug on the comforter that he had so dearly pulled tight to his body and a single lone hand of impish size came over the edge of the bed.

It was soon followed by its equally unwelcome twin.

The comforter pulled down from his clutching hands as the weight of the thing bore down at its edge, and soon the full body of the being came into sight.

It had a face circled in dark oily hair and its dark skin glistened in the ambient lighting. It almost looked human, if a human face could have been forged in the depths of hell by one who had no pattern with which to form it. It had the basics of twin eyes and ears, but they were both disproportionate and at odd angels. The mouth twisted in a grotesque grin and opened to reveal teeth that made no sense for the small confines from which they had emerged.

As it made its way with dire purpose up the sheet Johnny was still frozen in fear with the sight he beheld before him. That it meant him ill will there was no doubt, but as to what he could do with such a creature he was left to his own small wit. Finally as he felt the small feet cross the sensitive skin of his stomach and knew for a certainty that this was no mere illusion and with dread he finally decided to act.

In a blur of motion he flipped the comforter over unto the small beast that dared assault him and with a twist he enclosed it in the billowing cover of the comforter. He then spun the end which he held making a handle of sorts with which he began to then use the whole as a hammer with which he began to pummel the bare cement floor of the basement with unabashed fear.

After a few minutes of ceaseless pounding on the floor, Johnny caved into the fatigue of his over worked muscles and let go off the wadded up comforter. Breathing heavy he fell heavy on the bedside and examined the balled up mass that lay before him.

Whatever the twisted comforter contained the creature did not move any longer. It was a motionless wad of fabric on the cold cement floor. Warily he prod it with his extended foot, but still there was no movement that he could see. With apprehension and a dread he had never experienced before in his short life the young teen began to unwind the fabric of the comforter to find…

Absolutely nothing.

The comforter was empty. He was sure as he repeatedly hurled it against the floor the comforter had contained some considerable mass. But there was simply nothing there.

He breathed a heavy sigh and in an unspoken oath he vowed to never mix again the concoction of narcotics that he had ingested that night. If he could ever remember which ones they were. And through a struggled and fitful night of half sleep he tried to forget the hallucination that had seemed so real. But whenever he closed his eyes, he saw the creature climb up the bed, and he felt the small clawed feet dig into his abdomen as he lay still on the bed in which he now tried to find rest.

He awoke in the morning feeling worse for the wear and with heavy limbs he forced himself into the bathroom to take his shower and to make himself somewhat presentable for the day of work that lay before him.

But as he stepped into the shower he slipped and fell, hitting his head against the thin Plexiglas of the cheap basement shower in his room. The shower floor was slick from an oily residue and as he regained his balance he saw the thick dark red ochre of drying blood that covered its floor. Then as he strained his head in horror he saw his gutted and disemboweled cat lying at the head of the shower, with half of its internal organs missing and its body torn apart as if from some primitive savage attack of a primordial creature from the blackness of hell.

His beloved pet had fell victim to the self same creature that had climbed up his bed that very night to assault him.

If it were not for the attack of his cat, the experience of Johnny could be easily dismissed it all as a psychotic delusion caused by the overindulgence of various mind altering drugs.

But something tore that poor creature apart that night, and made off with various organs.

Was it Johnny in a panic induced drug filled rage? Or was it the creature he saw in his mind altering state of consciousness?

People who dabble in various mind altering substances perceive things that we as people in a normal state of consciousness usually have no discernment of. From the Shaman to the ancient mystery cultic worshipper, people in religious visions induced by chemical enhancement have perceived sbeyond our own and the creatures that inhabit them.

The Bible warns of such use of mind altering substances and classifies it as witchcraft. In fact In the New Testament Koine Greek word for Witchcraft in many passages is the word Pharmakeia/Pharmakeus (Strongs 5331,5332) which literally means medication and is where we derive the word Pharmacy in the contemporary English language. In ancient Greco Roman culture mystery religions often used mind altering substances with the masses to induce spiritual euphoria in its celebrants.

Such use of pharmaceuticals for spiritual epiphanies can easily be traced to Shamanistic practices by various world wide cultures. Experiential knowledge by these various individuals would tend to suggest that use of psychoactive drugs does tend to open the perception of those partaking to an altered state of consciousness that cannot be perceived by the most ordinary beings. It is a supplement to the God ordained spiritual gift of discernment of spirits that can often attract beings of a malicious nature. Some shaman, like many we encounter in our modern society are gifted by God to perceive a different world around them. They can actually see entities and judge such said beings purpose and nature. In aboriginal societies such persons were elevated to the role of a spiritual leader, a shaman who has the gift to sense when oppressive forces are at work and had the power to overcome them. Their role is that of healer, guide and spiritual leader for the group. But many such roles were hereditary. And while many Shaman did not rely upon pharmaceutical enhancements of their gifts, many of their offspring who were not as gifted tended to rely upon artificial means to enhance their abilities. And this abominable practice tends to draw the darkness.

In brief, that is why the Bible classifies witchcraft and sorcery through the words Pharmakeia and Pharmakeus, it is an unnatural way to attain spiritual enlightenment that can often lead to spiritual oppression.

In altered states of consciousness one can often perceive in their altered states beings that dwell in the twilight of reality. And some of these twilight beings can cling onto the person for a lifetime. Draining their soul and ruining their life.

On rare occasions Johnny is afraid of the dark. He fears the flashbacks where he will once again see the little dark man that scurried across the floor. He fears seeing the being that disemboweled and partially ate his cat in the bathtub. He has seen it three times since, but only that one time long ago did it attack anything dear to him or cause any harm. Even clean and sober he feels helpless against the dark forces that he unwittingly unleashed that night long ago in the late 1970s.

Was it all a drug induced illusion? Perhaps. Or did Johnny really see a dark creature from beyond our realm of the senses that lurks in dark places which we cannot perceive?

I dare not guess.

Now well into his 40’s with a lifetime of experiences behind him, nothing Johnny has ever experienced has been so real and surreal at the same time. All he knows is the cat was dead, and the horror from beyond the pit of hell that he saw in that abysmally dark basement years ago.

To him that is enough.

Until next time,

Pastor Swope

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Rescued by Angels

I like Angel stories, they inspire hope and faith. I have quite a few of them in my collection, and I’ve shared with you one of my personal experiences. But there are some stories that are truly awesome. I’ll share some of those topically with you once in a while; here are two on the topic of Angelic intervention in dire circumstances.

Debby was VERY pregnant. In fact she was past her due date by almost a week that summer afternoon in the late 1990s, but it did not stop her from going about her daily business. She always carried her cell phone just in case her water broke and she needed immediate help. She did not stop performing her duties as a medical transcriptionist either. In fact for her at this time it was a perfect job, she could stay at home and transcribe the tapes that she picked up every other day in the city. She was called by one of her regular physicians early that morning and asked if she could make an emergency stop by his office to transcribe the report of a patient whom he had just seen that needed expert advice from a professional out of town. It was late in the day and Debby usually took the main route to town, but she knew she would face rush hour traffic and did not think she could make it there on time. So she took a shortcut through the less traveled mountain roads of Western Pennsylvania hoping to cut almost an hour off her round trip time.

She was the lone car twisting and turning on the roads that cut through those aged mountains, and she was miles away from the nearest small town when she ran into trouble. She was navigating a sharp turn and didn’t see the road was wet from a brief afternoon shower and she lost control of the vehicle. She just hit the guardrail enough to throw her car into a spin and it flipped over the rail and rolled down the hillside almost 100 yards.

Luckily the impact of the fall was slightly buffered by the small fur trees that littered the hillside. But it also hid her car from view from the road above. She was not severely hurt but as she came to her senses the pain from her leg was intense. She could see the bone sticking out and the blood trickling out of her wound and although the car sat upright, she knew she was in no shape to make it back up the hillside. Not that there would be anyone to rescue her here out in the middle of nowhere as it was anyway.

But even though panicked, Debby was still in full control of her senses, and after tearing off a piece of her dress to fashion a makeshift tourniquet for her leg in order to slow the bleeding, she groped around the inside of the car for her purse which held her cell. She turned it on and dialed 911, hoping that there was a tower within range. Thank goodness there was and the operator came on the phone. Debby told her of her predicament and stated her injuries as best to her knowledge as well as the fact of her pregnancy.

But when the operator asked her where she was, she had no clue. She could not even remember what the name of the road she was on when the accident happened. This left a wide search area for the rescuers to comb, and Debby knew even with luck she would be stranded here for quite a while.

That was when the panic struck her.

Back in the early days of cellular phones there were no GPS location finders for cell phones like there are today. Many a 911 operator had the agonizing duty to stay on the line while accident victims in remote locations slowly died of their injuries. Debby had heard the stories too many times herself from her associates in the Hospital.

Fear overwhelmed her and she began to have a panic attack, for she was facing the possibility of dying alone in the woods with no one being able to find her. In her panic she tried to get out of the car and scale the hillside.

That was when her water broke.

In the overwhelming stress she just lay there next to the car and started to weep and scream. The minutes seemed to turn to hours as the pains of labor began to become so intense that they overshadowed that of her broken leg. She knew what she had to do, but all she could do is scream and cry. And pray.

It seemed as if she had been lying there for a good many hours as the pains began to come closer and closer together when she heard the rustling of the pine limbs around her. Wearily she picked herself up to look in the general direction of the noise.

Out of the thick green canopy came a middle aged man in a business suit carrying and old fashioned doctor’s bag. He quickly came to her side and began to ease her on her back. She does not remember exactly what he said but he spoke with a gentle voice of comfort that seemed to wash away the panic and fear from her. He gave her some water and began to prepare her for the childbirth. The memories of the moment were hurried and blurred but soon she remembers holding her perfect little son in her arms, safe and healthy.

The stranger broke off a limb from a nearby tree with amazing strength for an older gentleman and quickly fashioned a walking stick. He took the baby in one arm and propped Debby up with his left side as they slowly made their way up to the top of the hill. The pain was extreme but balancing her weight between the man and the stick helped her to not cause any more damage to her leg as they struggled onward.

It was evening by the time they made it to the road, and the man helped her sit on the guardrail and gave her back her newborn son. She sat there and looked into his peaceful face illuminated by the moonlight and was overcome with so much emotion she just began to weep uncontrollably.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t even ask your name.” She said wiping her eyes and as she looked over to where he was standing, no one was there. The man was nowhere to be seen. She was alone as far as she could see, and as soon as she realized that, the headlights of a truck immediately blazed across the turn in the road.

It was a Sheriff’s Vehicle.

She asked the Sheriff is he had seen her rescuer, but he gave her a puzzled look. “Nobody’s around here for miles. You’re just lucky; I came down this way on an odd hunch.”

For months after the accident she tried to find the identity of her rescuer, but no one came forward. The nearest home was many miles away. At the time of the accident when news of her peril spread in the community from the 911 operator, not only did people join in the search for her but people began to pray.

And you might try to convince her it was an odd coincidence, but Debby is sure that on that hot summer night in her hour of great need, God sent an Angel.

Angel with an old fashioned doctors bag.

The party at the cabin went well into the night, and a good time was had by all. Members of the Parker Family always looked forward to their semi- annual get together on the lake. Not only did they love to catch up with each other, they loved to slowly go to sleep while exchanging stories in front of the cabins large fireplace.

But a spark or two must have jumped out of the grand old stonework fireplace and the fire spread rapidly. They all awoke to the screaming of their Grandmother as she saw the curtains go up in flames. Before they could get everyone up on their feet, it had spread to the carpet and across the old crisp tinder walls. Panic overcame everyone as soon it seemed they were trapped in a giant whirlpool of fire. The backdoor was engulfed, and the front door was blocked by smoldering luggage.

It seemed there was no way out.

Some of the men attempted in vain to push the flaming luggage aside only to be badly burned. The fire would quickly take the old cabin and the entire family with it.

Just when they thought their fate was sealed, the front door smashed open. A mighty axe cut the door in two and a large fireman in full gear burst through the flaming door.

With a few mighty kicks the firefighter cleared the area of the doorway from the flaming debris and quickly yelled for everyone to get out the door.

None of them needed to be told twice.

The entire family made it out safe and sound onto the driveway, and with as much pain from emotional loss as physical they all watched with sadness and fear as the old family vacation house went up in a huge blaze, lighting the night sky for miles.

After a few minutes a fire truck came tearing down the old dirt road from town.

It was then that the members of the family noticed the heroic firefighter was not in their number as they sat on the gravel parking lot.

Some panicked as they feared that he did not make it out even though his efforts had assured the safety of the entire family. They huddled close as the fire took on a new dread.

But when they made reference to the hero to the rest of the firemen none of them knew what they were talking about. They were the only fire crew for miles around and the gear they described the man wearing was too expensive for their small town volunteer organization.

Who was it then that saved the Parker family from a certain fiery death?

Searching the ruins revealed no body. No one knew who the hero was.

But the many of the Parkers are sure that it was not a mere human firefighter that saved them that night.

A doctor. A firefighter.

Each coming at the most opportune time out of nowhere, only to vanish back into that self same ethereal void when their selfless work was done.

Angels can appear at any time and in any form.

Not all come to trumpet a revelation or vision of prophecy.

Some just come at the right time at the right place.

As the right person.

Until next time,

Pastor Swope

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Hauntings of Rachel

There are some people who seem to attract the paranormal. They have a lifetime of incidents both intriguing and sometimes terrifying that they can refer to on any given subject of the unexplained. Be it ghostly hauntings, demonic influence or oppression, UFO encounters, or even cryptozoological sightings.

Rachel was that type of girl, and she had a wide variety of experiences with various entities since a young child. I met her last year at a business meeting, when by chance I mentioned my appreciation for unexplained phenomena. She was a waitress who had overheard a conversation between a colleague and myself on the subject of local hauntings. She was serving our lunch and as she laid the last platter on the table she could not help but stand there and listen. After a few moments she weighted in on the subject.

“You know I could tell you so many things.” She said haltingly, "must be because our town is built on an old Indian village or something but there are so many things I’ve seen around here. In fact there’s a ghost of a little girl that was harassing me, she was making my life miserable for months.” She was going to explain but as the restaurant was filled, duties called her away. When she came again to fill our coffee I handed her my business card and asked her to write me of her experiences. It took her a few months, but she did finally write and not only was it quite lengthy, the encounters that she related in the e-mail were quite dramatic and terrifying.

Her experiences with the paranormal began when she was a young child. She grew up in an old farmhouse in Elgin Pa. She would often wait for the school bus alone on the dirt road in front of her house, and one early twilight morning as she stood in the stacked snow that had just been plowed to the edge of the road she saw something across the field. At first it was just a dull dark shape that seemed to be shifting in the driven snow, but it grew in density and purpose as it seemed to make its way to her bus stop. As it neared the ridge of snow piled on the opposite side of the road the shape distinctly looked like that of an old lady trudging through the new deep snow, and young Rachel was just about to run across the street and offer her assistance when the shape just blinked out of existence. But before it did so, the young girl was sure it was an old lady- she even saw the polka dotted scarf that covered her hair and the tattered grey jacket very clearly. She remembers the sight to this day. As the bus came moments later, she sat on a seat facing where she last saw the old woman, but all she saw was flat snow covered farm fields without a person in sight as far as the eye could see.

The incident lever left the poor girls mind. She told her parents but they assured her that she has just been seeing things, but in the back of her mind she was sure that it was a real old lady out there wandering the field. She had the distinct impression that the woman was lost.

It was a few weeks later during an intense snow storm that Rachel was looking out at the falling snow from her second story bedroom window when once again she saw something move in the field. The small dark blob was barely visible but the child knew in her heart what it was, the old woman was once again roaming the field aimlessly. Quickly she put on her coat and boots and ran outside to the filed across the road. There a about a hundred feet from the roadside she did once again see the same old lady in the polka dot scarf and beaten grey jacket. She seemed to wearily tread with a hesitant gate as if about to collapse from exhaustion.

“Lady!” Rachel yelled to the figure loudly as she climbed the five foot high mound of snow at the edge of the road, “Are you lost? Do you need help to go home?”

The figure stopped for a while but the elderly woman did not turn to look.

“My mommy and daddy can help you find your way home! Come with me and we’ll get you home safe, ok?” She cried out as she stood on top of the plowed snow.

But the lady was gone.

She ran back up to where she had left her but there was no sign as to where she might have gone. Even after climbing the snow pile and having a panoramic view of the countryside she saw no hint of where the old woman. Confused and a bit frightened she ran home and told her parents of what had just transpired. They were very angry at her for going out alone in the storm without telling anyone but were worried about her story of the old lady as well. The problem was that they knew all the neighbors in the nearby farms and none of them were elderly or had visiting relatives that they knew about. Nevertheless the mother called the neighbors to see if they knew anything about this wandering geriatric while the father went into the field to investigate. Neither of which turned up any clue as to who this elderly woman might be, or where she had ventured off to. In fact the father found no footprints of the woman in the freshly falling snow, but his little daughters were visible yet lightly covered. They were sure that Rachel was once again the victim of her own overactive imagination and dismissed it.

That is until unexplainable things began to happen around the house. One morning the mother awoke to find that all of the dishes had been rearranged in the cupboards. The doors were still locked and there was no sign of a forced entry, never mind the fact that it would be highly odd for anyone to break into a person’s house just to play such a weird practical joke. Stranger yet was that no one had heard anything, the dishes were in the right place the night before, but now they were arranged neatly in different positions without the slightest sound heard by anyone in the building.

One afternoon Rachel’s Mother had put a roast in the oven and went off to go shopping. On the way back home she picked up Rachel from school and when they arrived home she noticed the oven had been turned off. The range was still warm and the meat thermometer showed that the inside of the roast had started to cook, but something had turned off the oven. But no one had been home at the time.

Somewhere around this time when Rachel was downstairs she would catch a glimpse of something moving at the corner of her eye or shadows in the darkness. Her parents again dismissed it, but one night as she went into the kitchen to grab a cookie from the jar she saw the old lady standing at the sink, as if washing dishes. She froze in her tracks for a while and then slowly approached her. “What are you doing here?” she asked demanding an answer.The Old woman turned and Rachel saw that she was no longer the haggard old woman she had seen wandering the fields, instead she looked well rested and happy. With a smile the woman said, “Thank you so much for bringing me home.”

Confused and alarmed the child ran to the living room to fetch her mother, but once again when they came to the kitchen the lady was no longer there. Of course the family was alarmed and finally realized they had a haunting on their hands. The focal point seemed to be the kitchen. The unexplained incidents kept happening; rearrangement of items, lights turned off, water faucets turning themselves on, etc. The father mentioned it to a coworker one day and he was told a chilling story that would bring it all together. It seems that in the 1950’s a family had lived in the house where the Grandmother was in severe dementia. She would try to escape the confines of the house many times. Sometimes she would be found wandering the streets miles away trying to get to town to shop. One winter she simply disappeared in a very bad snow storm. They found her frozen body in the field across the house a few days later. She had died wandering aimlessly, just a few meters away from safety.

It seemed Rachel made contact with the grandmothers wayward spirit and invited it back to its home to rest. The activity continued in the old farm house, but the family just called it old Grandma Jones trying to do chores. It never went away in the years they lived there, but Rachel never saw the woman again.

While this experience with the paranormal was a bit alarming, it was nothing in comparison as to what she would endure as a young twenty something when she moved into a small country house with her boyfriend. It was a small two bedroom house just on the outskirts of Waterford Pennsylvania with a nicely groomed orchard in the backyard. Rachel and her boyfriend were engaged and hoped this snuggly cottage would be their perfect first house together. But soon Rachel found out something was terribly wrong with the place.

After a few day of living in the house Rachel was awoken in the middle of the night by the sound of a child crying. She got up from bed and checked the window to see if it was coming from outside, but the sound seemed to distinctly emanate from inside the building. There were a total of 7 rooms in the small house including the basement, but try as she might she could not pinpoint where the sound came from. After a time it grew fainter and fainter until she could no longer hear it. Disturbed she tried to go back to sleep but it was to no avail, the memory of the agonized cry echoed in her mind. Within a few days there was another mysterious sound, she was alone in the house for a few hours and as she sat down to read in the late morning she once again heard the voice of a child. This time it was saying, ‘No’ repeatedly and with each utterance the voice seemed to become more desperate. Frantically Rachel once again searched the house but she found no child. The voice did seem to be localized in the spare room though, but she could not really tell for sure and within a few minutes the voice stopped its insistent protestations.

One of the most pronounced instance occurred when friends came to visit one night and they had brought along their pet German Shepard puppy. Sometime during the evening the dog had wandered into the spare room and within a few minutes the group heard it yelp in pain. They rushed in to find it writhing in pain on the floor with two horrible gashes cut across its abdomen. There was nothing or no one in the room that could have caused the injury. Their friends saw the wounds were deep and rushed it to the vet, who said it looked to have been made by a knife. But a knife wielded by whom? And why did it attack a small defenseless puppy. There were no other persons in the house at that time.

But Rachel knew something paranormal was happening and feared that the violence might not end with the dog. She called some friends who knew of a cleric who made blessings and removed curses from buildings. He was an independent Pastor of a loose group in the area. As soon as she was off the phone she went to the back door in order to do some yard work, but she froze with her hand on the door handle. Through the backdoor window she saw a figure in the backyard grimacing at her. It was a little girl with sharp pointed teeth, and no iris in her eyes. They were completely white and vacant. The girl walked in a hurried pace toward the house and Rachel screamed in terror and ducked around the hallway. Within seconds the house shook with a loud thump and as she looked back out the window the yard was empty.

The next day the Pastor came and made the blessings in every room of the house, and sprayed holy water and lit incense. As they pray, they all heard a small noise that Rachel thought sounded like the same ‘no’ that she had heard previously, but everyone else thought it might have just been the wind or another non descript noise. The blessings seemed to do the trick, for they never had any previous incidents in the house, although they only resided there for one year.

What surrounds you now as you have perused this blog, dear reader?

What unseen thing is just beyond sight, just beyond reach.

What is observing you as you look for what made that strange sound in the night?

May we have wisdom and insight as we walk through a multilayered world.

Until next time,

Pastor Swope

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Something Followed Me Home in the Woods

Eladio was a young boy when it first happened to him. He was roaming the thin forest of the woodland next to his home in the outskirts of Alberto Oviedo, Mexico when he first encountered the thing that lived in the large pile of rubble near the swamp.

He was hiding from his older siblings in a version of hide and go seek when he ventured deep into the dark woods surrounding his neighborhood. He did not understand why the rubble lay in a pile by the swampy land, but he knew that his brothers would hate the stench that the putrid waters wafted upon the air in its surrounding areas, so hiding here would prove to be the best way to beat his brothers at the game once and for all. Even though he had to put up with the putrid odor for just a little while.

But as he sat there hunched over in a pile of boulders which in elder days had been the building blocks of a great temple, he felt something was amiss.

Something was watching him.

Not his brothers, who were in the field before him searching to and fro across the grasslands beyond the forests edge.


Something was watching every move he made.

Something dark.

Something that had sinister motivations in its observation of the young boy.

Like a wild animal in the hunt he knew he was being stalked.

Not by flesh or bone.

It was then he saw it.

Out of a pile of rubble, just visible to the human eye.

The shadows seemed to coalesce into an ebony thickness that merged with the shadows surrounding it.

If he was not a sensitive youth, he might have missed it entirely.

Ever since he was a child he was a reflective and sensitive youth. He had an uncanny ability to know when things were about to happen. He knew when unfortunate things would happen in his family and in his village. He had a gift of premonition that was not specific but nonetheless was undaunted in its accuracy as to the effect it would have on those that he loved and respected.

But to his dismay the majority of his premonitions had to do with disaster.

Such would it be this day, as the thick ochre of darkness spread upon the rocks, forming into a shape that sprang into a life of its own.

At first he doubted what he saw, even though his preternatural senses sprang the alarm as soon as he caught glimpse of the demonic spirit. But after he saw it move in the silhouette of the forest he knew it was something else.

He ran as fast as he could through the woods, leaving all his cares for his friends behind him. His only concern was that of self preservation. For he knew that what stalked him was both terrible and unworldly.

Finally he found his way to home, and safety. But things were forever altered. Something had changed that afternoon in the woods, and his young mind could not conceive of what had transpired in those ancient ruins in the woods.

Years later he found himself in the same area again. This time it was as he was running from the authorities. He was no longer a youth, but as a troubled teen he sought acceptance with the vermin of the local street thugs. As he was fighting back the memories of dread that he had experienced in the area as a child, he sought refuge in the thick black forest in order to escape the local authorities. He almost felt drawn to the place. But it was in a hopeless attempt at freedom. By this time he had run from the law on many occasions and there was simply no where else to go. So even though it filled him with dread, he ventured into the dark woodlands that had so disturbed him as a youth. To find consolation for his troubled life he tried to find refuge in the very thing that struck him with fear and dread as a child. Perhaps he sought resolution to the demons that had haunted his soul for so long.

The ruins were still there, just as he remembered them. As the sun went down, the shadows crawled upon the stone. As a young boy he had feared the dark crevasses of the unknown, but now as a wanted criminal he saw them as a welcome hideaway from searching eyes. He quickly scurried into a niche in the rocks and waited for the sun to set and his pursuers to wander haplessly in the dark. Then he would make his escape.

But that night something found him. Something that was not of flesh. It was something that had been waiting for a soul that had been tainted with iniquity to cross its path, in order for it to find a home.

There was a moment as Eladio sat there in the dark that he knew something was wrong. A feeling came over him unlike anything he had ever sensed before. At first he felt utter dread, as if an icicle had been pierced into his spine which had frozen him in place. He felt fear and dread, but not enough to make overcome the fear that he anticipated if he was caught by the local police. And then there was the warmth. It spread from his head to his fingers in an ecstasy of pleasure. But in that pleasure he knew he was losing himself. Something was with him.

In him.

Something dark.

The darkness that had frightened him as a young child.

That had called him to this place.

It was then that he ran from the crumbling ruins of his ancient ancestors, temples of death that had claimed the lives of untold thousands.

He ran from the demons that had once given him fright as a child, and try as he might every time he looked behind him they still lurked behind the nearest tree. Ready to strike, ready to claim another victim in their blood lust of flesh.

He ran and ran until he was found screaming unintelligibly by the sheriffs of Alberto Oviedo. Lying on the road to Rio Colorado his clothes were half torn from his bruised body as if by some terrible slashing force. They subdued the young lad and shackled him, for he constantly jerked in defense against unseen forces that he deemed were violently attacking him. One deputy swore he saw a tear appear in the young lads flesh as he helplessly moved to block the blow, only to be hindered by his iron restraints.

They put the young thief in the cell of the local jail, but the commotion and violent actions of the boy soon became too much for the local authorities to endure.

It soon became evident that something evil resided in the young lad. The jail was enveloped in a thick and cold fog. The boy spoke in an unknown language which seemed to eerily echo in the small confines of his cell. His body tried to escape from its shackles in obscene contortions to no avail.

Finally at their wits end, the Sheriff sought the help of Father Vierra, a local priest who had dealings with those who were entrapped by the occult and demonic spirits.

He visited the young boy and soon found that he faced a challenge, like he had never encountered. The spirits which infested the young lad latched onto him like a suckling pig to its mother. They seemed to feed upon the youth and his troubled past, and no matter what he tried, the forces would not leave.

Finally after hours of spiritual combat the young boys personality emerged, frightened and desperate.

“It followed me home in the woods” the youth said in the voice of a young child, “It has been there for so long and I did not know it until I came back to…” the young boys voice trailed off into a gurgle which was followed by ungodly screams. Father Vierra evoked the name of Christ and followed his Exorcism Wright that he had learned long ago, and the boy convulsed before him.

What followed were confessions of inconsiderable wrongs done to the boy as a child by his family as well as that of the boy to others as he grew to adulthood. Demonic spirits of abuse and neglect that had hollowed out the young Eladio from the inside out since he was a young child. And the evil entities readily filled the gap, only to manifest themselves fully as he entered puberty.

It took many years but Father Vierra never gave up on young Eladio. And although not completely whole, he is now free man. Free of the confines of prison, and free of the unclean spirits of the ruins of La Oscuridad Del Bosque.

Thank you “Father Vierra” for this wonderful story of deliverance and hope for the wandering soul.

Until next time,

Pastor Swope