On a dark bleak night of April 22, 2008, I was confronted by an eerie presence in my bedroom. On entering I found the atmosphere frightful and unnerving. It felt as though there was something staring at me from the shadows of the room. This invisible force griped me with apprehension as if it had piercing eyes. It is a presence that has haunted my sleep numerous times since birth. This is the creepy feeling that accompanies those who suffer from sleep paralysis.
I tried to just fall asleep and not think about it but that did not work. I then tried to meditate by focusing my mind on something other than this situation. And after this failed I used a mental exercise where one uses their inner mental voice and repeats encouraging phrases. “Oh, it’s just a trick of the imagination” or “It’s my fears getting the best of me, nothing more” or “I’ve been through this before, I’ll survive.” Even though it was a daunting circumstance I still tried to brush it aside pretending it was nothing.
As my eyes slowly gave in to the body’s desire for rest, mentally I stayed on the defensive. I told myself: “Stay alert!” “Stay in control!” “Don’t let it win!” It was of little avail as apprehension griped me and my fears turned into reality. For a dark presence seem to capture my soul and I couldn’t awake. Lying lifeless upon my bed I tried to jerk my foot; when this did not work the seconds felt like an eternity. So I started to panic because I felt like a prisoner frozen inside my body. Then suddenly things got worse because I felt pressure on my chest. It was as though something was holding me down.
All at once terror filled me and then a memory flashed across my mind. It was a sermon given by a Christian preacher on how to scare off this spirit by using the “savior’s name.” So I cried out internally with vindication and I lashed out at this unknown presence. I said “in Jesus Christ’s name release me.” I was in shock and horror when the entity didn’t immediately leave me. The name seemed to hold no power over it. At this point the entity became angry and it began to smack my face from side to side. Then it pounded my face deeper and deeper into the pillow.
I screamed out mentally, “Oh my god, what have I done?” “I said the name and it did not stop!” Then the nightmarish experience abruptly stopped. I awakened to find both my cat Bendelia and my wife Michele asleep undisturbed by this event. I was astonished by this because it felt so real. I thought to myself was this just a dream?
I felt a calmness come over me and I once again fell back to sleep. Then suddenly in my dream state I saw an image of a young woman with a tan complexion who was sitting on my chest. She was wearing a gossamer black dress and had long flowing black hair. She was staring down at me with a sad face. Then I noticed that her eyes were filled with tears. As I watched a single tear roll down the left side of her cheek, a single strain of her hair touched my lips. I felt a burning sensation come over them which caused me to awaken.
Opening my eyes this time I found my cat staring back at me. My lips still burning from the encounter, I gazed back into the cats eyes. Then suddenly a loud thump and a rattle hit the inside of my closet door. The cat heard this commotion and turned its head to see what was going on. And at this point my wife also was awakened by the noise that came from the closet.
So to alleviate our fears I got up to investigate it. As I opened the door a brand new rolled up bathmat came tumbling out. Taken back by this I wondered how this could be when the mat was last seen at the bottom of a storage bin filled with clothes. My wife also stated that the last time she saw the mat it was buried under a heap of cloths. At this point I believed this event was no fantasy but a paranormal one.
It’s been several years since this event occurred and I have had plenty of time to ponder its meaning. One thing is certain, this entity has not returned; nor have I experienced sleep paralysis since then. I believe she was saddened because her mission to awaken my consciousness was accomplished. A veil was removed and she was no longer able to visit me. My spiritual flaws were revealed to me that night but it would take years for me to comprehend it.
Since then I have researched Christianity and have come to believe that it holds flaws that hinders one’s spirituality. I believe that within the core of Christianity is the true teaching of a Jewish Rabbi called Yahshua. I believe this Rabbi was misrepresented in a book called the Bible which is supposedly infallible. I believe over the centuries his message and doctrines were subverted and corrupted by a small group of egotists who wanted to create a system of tyranny in order to enslave the spirituality of all of humanity.
I believe that there are many guides and paths to spiritual elevation and that spiritual power resides in the individual. I believe that personal spirituality is not based on belonging to a religious organization. I also believe that one must be more open minded and objective towards all religions in order to grasp the Divine. I believe no one religious organization or “true church” has all the answers; nor do they hold the keys to a heavenly reward. I believe those who do hold this narrow view do so out of ignorance and egoism.
The one thing that should matter the most to those seeking answers to spiritual matters is that they have a choice. No one should dictate who you should worship nor stigmatize a deity because they disapprove of it. In the end you determine your own fate because you are your own savior.
Copyright 2014 Edward M. Bartlett Jr.