When my friend Dex and I were still wet-behind-the-ears sophomores chucking dice between classes in Los Banos, there was a wave of reported supernatural activity and the usual hysteria these things tended to generate. Some people were trying to summon demons (I sh!t you not) at a local cemetery for (of all things) a Humanities class and two Christian groups put their differences aside and mobilized people to stop them. That kind of hysteria.
Things I will file under "weird crap" happened to me and most of my friends round that time. I've long since given up trying to explain that rationally. And every time I talk about this to someone I can't quite believe myself.
Two vignettes, a summation and then I'll shut up.
This all happened in late '92.
* * *Why is it always a woman?
Something sat on my chest as I lay in troubled slumber on a borrowed bed-- a woman, darker than the darkness around her. I can only poorly describe how it felt-- an oppressive weight on my chest, an inability to move or breathe. A feeling that she-- if it was a she-- was insinuating herself into me, sort of trying me on for size. That I could see her through my closed eyelids was something I'd wonder about long after the fact.
I called on Jesus in my head because my jaw was locked shut. I was trying to will my lips and eyelids to part. God must have been smiling because my lips were finally loosed. I could move, I could breathe.
Classic Asian sleep disorder? Yes-- except that Dex had seen her too.
Dex and Gelo and I talked about the incident in the morning. Three of us had slept in the same room that night, each of us weighed down with troubles of a mundane sort. At around the same time I was "busy" with the "woman" Gelo had felt a creepy presence similar to the ones that plagued him when he was a child. He had cried out but could not rouse himself. Dex heard him, and had seen what looked like an apparition of a woman kneeling or sitting on my chest. He had thought it was a figment of his imagination and though he felt uneasy, he let himself drift off to sleep.
Turns out we knew this "woman," or at least two of us had had ...brushes with her kind before. But that's another credibility-stretching story I'll relate if and when someone gets me drunk enough.
* * *
I worked for the UPLB Perspective in my early college days. I was basically living in the Perspective office when I decided to pray hard for someone one night at two AM. At about six, maybe seven in the AM something happened to the office I was in. It either changed or I saw it on a level that most people don't. It was like looking at the office interior through glasses that had been wiped with petroleum jelly. I slogged through that tableau like someone swimming through molasses.
The Perspective office consisted of an "inner" and "outer" office. The outer office connected to the hallway, and was normally lit by fluorescence. Only this time, I observed candlelight as the door to the outer office slowly opened. The hand turning the knob was fish white and its fingers were gnarled like tree roots. I didn't quite get a good look at the thing that owned that hand. All I knew was that it looked like an emaciated friar, seemed to be robed in a dark dirty brown. It had a hood pulled forward so I couldn't see its face. I know what I saw. It noticed me looking and it slowly pulled the door back, turned the knob closed.
The vision lifted but a split-second later I launched myself at the door, turning the knob, pulling the door open and rushing through the outer office and into the hallway.I was met by regular fluorescence, normal sunlight streaming through windows and surprised sleepy maintenance personnel.
I don't know what I expected to achieve by catching my trans-dimensional visitor. I wonder what would have happened to me if I did manage to grab onto his habit, or leap into his reality as the door to this one closed shut behind me.
I don't know.
I'm not anxious to find out.
* * *
I can't tell these stories without goosebumps, without feeling uneasy. When I texted you that morning, called you up and babbled incoherently about three "someones" walking over my grave, I was talking about stuff like this. I felt/saw things watching me, trying me on for size, sharing my space. I couldn't pray. I was terrified. You were the first person I'd thought to call when I was trying to shake the feeling of it off. You didn't cause this but you helped me get past it.
This is why my thanks are so profuse.
I'll shut up now.