Unexplained scratches

If you like watching documentaries about ghosts like I do then you’ve probably noticed that if someone is being haunted by an evil spirit or a demon, they tend to find scratch marks on them.

The person often wakes up to find scratches on them. It is less common for them to appear during the day but this still happens. Maybe this has happened to you or you know someone who says this has happened to them.

If you don’t know anyone who has experienced this, then let me tell you that it has happened to me.

You may be expecting me to tell you an exciting tale about an evil demon who tried to steal my soul or something along those lines but instead my story doesn’t involve a malevolent demon or a revenge seeking spirit. It simply involves an unexplained phenomenon.

It all started a few years ago. It was a regular Sunday afternoon and I was sat in my bedroom reading a book when all of a sudden I felt a horrible burning pain on my upper left arm. I quickly pulled up my sleeve and was astonished to find three long scratch marks.

My boyfriend was in the room with me and I showed him the scratches straight away. His instant response was to tell me I must have scratched myself in my sleep and that I’d only just noticed. As great as this explanation sounds, I knew that wasn’t the case. The scratches were new, I could tell. They were raised and bleeding very slightly. I’d been awake for 7 hours so any scratches I may have inflicted on myself in my sleep would have surely begun to scab up by that point.

After dismissing his explanation, my boyfriend then suggested that I’d just scratched myself without realising. This too seemed implausible since I was wearing a thick jumper so it would have been difficult to scratch myself that deeply, plus I’ve never scratched myself that hard and not realised as I did it.

A few days later, the same thing happened again, only this time I had scratches on my other arm. It started the same way with a burning sensation. I started doing some research online and all I could find was articles to do with demon possession and haunted houses.

I didn’t jump straight to the conclusion that a demon was after me because I just didn’t feel like that was the case. The house didn’t feel haunted, there were no other signs that my house was being invaded by unearthly beings. I didn’t feel frightened or threatened. The only odd things happening to me was the scratches.

A few days later it happened for a third and final time. These scratches where the most painful and appeared on my back. Again it was three long scratches and it started with a burning sensation.

Since this happened to me, I can’t watch documentaries about demons and ghosts in the same way. Whenever someone claims to have been scratched by a demon, I think ‘Yeah yeah it happens’ I can’t take that sort of stuff seriously because I know it can just happen without explanation.

You could say that it’s different when scratches appear on someone who is also experiencing other signs of a haunting, but what if all signs of a haunting are just a bunch of things that sometimes happen with no explanation. The laws of probability say that unexplained scratches would happen in conjunction with other signs of a haunting to some people. Other signs could be things like unexplained footsteps and a feeling of being watched.

It feels like I’m doomed to go back on fourth with my opinions about the supernatural. Sometimes I’m provided with evidence for ghosts, other times I am confronted with facts that say otherwise and then there are times like this, where weird stuff happens and I don’t know why.

The Shadow Man

Even though people have encountered shadow people for centuries, it is only recently that it has become quite a mainstream paranormal topic.

The first memory I have of encountering shadow people was when I was 4 years old, I had no idea what they were but they didn’t frighten me. They’d always appear at around twilight time in a particular corner of our garden, one would appear for a split second and then vanish and then a few minutes later another would appear for a split second and it’d go on like that for a while. I was so accustomed to seeing them that I didn’t really think they were anything out of the ordinary. Eventually I mentioned it to my dad, he said he’d seen them too when he was young and that eventually I’d stop seeing them.

I stopped seeing the shadow people in our garden at around 6 years old. The cessation of my experiences with shadow people ended at around the same time that I began to question reality more. I think that at that age, children begin to develop an ability for critical thinking and as the mind changes and evolves, the ability to see otherworldly beings seems to end.

Not all paranormal experiences end during childhood. Many adults see shadow people but there seems to be a difference in how they’re perceived. Adults who have seen shadow people tend to have a more negative view of them. They often say that they could sense evil. It’s difficult to decide whether there are different types of shadow people, maybe we’ve been wrong to group all paranormal things that resemble a shadow as ‘shadow people’ some of them could be aliens, some could be time travelling beings and others could be something much more demonic. It is the latter catogory of shadow people that I want to talk about.

One warm summer evening in 2009, I got a call from a singer who was starting up a band, he’d heard I was a guitarist looking for a band and wanted me to come round for a jam. I turned up to his house the next day with my guitar, met the other band members and had a fun afternoon of playing music.

The exterior of the house.

It all seemed well and good and although I was apprehensive about making a good first impression, there was something else that bothered me. His house was creepy! we were practicing in his dining room but when I went to use the upstairs bathroom, I felt uneasy, I didn’t like being alone in that house. At the time I didn’t think too much into it because I was more concerned about joining the band and music, but after being invited into the band, I began to notice more about that house.

It was probably a few months later when I actually saw something. I was in the kitchen making myself a cup of tea, the kitchen door was wide open and it led to the hallway which had the stairs and a door to the living room in it. In the corner of my eye, I saw a tall black thing walk quickly from the bottom of the stairs through to the living room. I could tell it wasn’t human, but regardless of this I checked the living room and there was no one there.

You don’t only see it, you feel it.

I saw the black thing in the corner of my eye a few times but I didn’t mention it to anyone as I thought I’d be laughed at. I’d seen things in the corner of my eye before and I think most people have. Most of the time it’s just your imagination, but this is different. You don’t only see it, you feel it.

When I started dating the singer, I told him about what I’d been seeing in his house. He said that his mother is a strict Christian who insists the house is blessed and can’t be haunted. I should mention here that it is his mother’s house but I didn’t really speak to her at first, it took a while to get to know here.

A view from the kitchen to the hallway. (Although you can’t quite tell from this picture, the stairs are on the left and the living room door is on the right)

One day I was sat in the conservatory chatting to the rhythm guitarist we had at the time, he was facing the door which led to the kitchen. He was in the middle of talking when he suddenly stopped mid sentence, his face went pale. I asked what was wrong and he said he’d just seen a ghost. I asked him what it looked like and he described it as a tall black shadow. I mentioned that I’d seen it too but when the singer (now my boyfriend) came back from the shop he told us to stop being stupid and that if his mum heard us talking about it, she’d chuck us out.

His mother didn’t like anyone to discuss ghosts in her house and she wouldn’t even entertain the idea of her house being haunted, her son (my boyfriend) was very much the same in the early years.

I remember one night when it was just myself and my boyfriend in the house recording music in the dining room, I went to the kitchen to get a beer when I noticed a rattling sound. I looked around the kitchen and saw a bead necklace hanging from a door handle swinging from side to side. I assumed it must have been knocked somehow but as I watched it, it became more erratic and started swinging faster and became almost aggressive. I shouted for my boyfriend to come and look at it, as soon as he walked in and saw the swinging necklace, he grabbed it and flung it in a drawer and refused to discuss it. He has changed so much over the years, but I believe he didn’t see the shadow man like everyone else did because he refused to acknowledge things like that.

Years later, the singer and I began living together elsewhere but we still visited his mother in the house. Our bass player at the time had also moved into the house because he had nowhere to live. This is where the story gets weirder. I had told the bass player about the shadow man in the house so at the time I wasn’t sure if the events which happened next occurred because I’d filled him with paranoia, but the shadow man definitely seemed to get stronger as soon as he moved in.

He felt the shadow man was watching his every move.

Our bass player who was once a loud and energetic character became more and more withdrawn the longer he lived there. He confided in me one day that he’d heard someone shout ‘Fuck you’ loudly in his ear when walking down the stairs on numerous occasions and that he felt the shadow man was watching his every move. Even though I had seen the shadow man with my own eyes, I put his experiences down to his use of cannabis.

Regardless of my skepticism I remember we decided to ask the tarot for guidance, it didn’t really help that we kept drawing ‘the devil’ card in every reading. I took this as a sign that there was something a bit odd going on. Not long after he’d hit rock bottom, he left the house and the band. He had a lot going on in his head, but looking back now, I can’t help but think that the shadow man fed off his negativity and that if he remained in its presence much longer, it would have attached itself to him.

The Devil Tarot card

After some hard times recently, my boyfriend and I ended up having to move in with his mother, so as I write this I am in the domain of the shadow man. Nothing has changed, there is an oppressive atmosphere and I have seen the shadow man a few times but it’s always such a brief sighting that it’s hard to even describe it. My boyfriend has now also seen it.

The layout of the house has changed a little over the years. There’s a door that goes into the kitchen from the dining room and this door has some frosted glass that allows you to see into the kitchen. Whilst my boyfriend was recording some guitar for a song in his makeshift recording studio in the dining room, he saw what he thought was me walking into the kitchen. He saw it a few times in the corner of his eye, so he became quite distressed when he found that I was still in bed with a migraine and had not left the room. His mother was out so the only explanation was the shadow man.

Finally I have a kind of conclusion, or atleast an explanation. One night I was sat downstairs talking with his mother about her journey to becoming a Christian and she told me something that she’d never mentioned before, it was something that could finally explain everything that had been going on.

It had once tried to drown her in the bath.

I already knew that she used to dabble in the Occult as a teenager and that doing all of that had encouraged her to turn to God later in life. What she’d never mentioned before is that whist messing around performing rituals and séances, she had unwittingly conjured something evil into her life. She described it as a tall dark thing that would come into her bedroom at night and try to strangle her. She said that it had once tried to drown her in the bath. It wasn’t until she became a Christian that she stopped seeing it.

This could explain the origin of the shadow man but the unsettling thing is that although she claims to not see it anymore, everyone around her has. Believe it or not, I have tried to keep this post brief, but there have been a lot of other people who have encountered the shadow man in her house.

Maybe her belief in God has protected her from the shadow man but it has entered our reality and can’t leave. It could be looking for a new person to attach to, I believe it was trying to attach itself to our old bass player. I only hope that I am strong enough and positive enough to keep the shadow man from attaching itself to me.

Is Tarot Reading Safe?

Anything that is a little bit mysterious or magical is often considered evil. For a long time things related to witchcraft, sorcery and divination carried the death penalty in both Europe and America. Practitioners of witchcraft are still killed to this day in various other countries from around the world. It is no wonder that there are plenty of people out there who are terrified of tarot cards and tarot card readers. They associate it with witchcraft and the devil. They believe a tarot card reader is being influenced by demons, and they fear that being involved in that world will plunge them into an afterlife filled with fire and brimstone.

There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God.

Deuteronomy 18:10-13

You are probably expecting me to defend the tarot against these Christian fanatics, but the fact is I can’t. They have their beliefs and I have mine. I can only tell you about my own experiences.

When conducting a tarot reading, I have never once felt like I was in touch with something evil. In fact when doing a reading, I feel that a more positive energy is with me, my higher self perhaps. I have never experienced odd happenings around the house after doing readings, I’ve never contacted a ghost or demon via the tarot. Tarot cards have nothing to do with satanism or devil worshiping, in fact, most things that religious people believe is related to Satan has nothing to do with him. Everything from crystal healing to making herbal remedies has been associated with Satan, yet these things sound so harmless and are if anything, only there to help people.

If you’re Christian then I’d advise you not to buy a pack of tarot cards or get a reading done. I’m not saying this because I believe there’s a slight chance of demonic entities being summoned from the use of the cards, I’m saying it because there a numerous references to fortune telling and divination in the bible and it is always condemned. It is considered unholy and sinful. If you are someone who abides by the word of the bible, then tarot cards are certainly not for you.

A man or a woman who is a medium or a necromancer shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones; their blood shall be upon them.

Leviticus 20:27

So, what about non-Christians? even non-religious people tend to believe in evil forces and demons. I don’t know if this due to Hollywood churning out demon possession films year after year or whether it’s because it’s an exciting concept. If you don’t believe in God, then why would you believe in demons? that’s something I have never understood. Spiritual people and those with an open mind may believe in ghosts or evil spirits, maybe even inter-dimensional beings and entities that could be mistaken for demons, but reading tarot cards isn’t going to bring you any closer to evil forces, in the same way that playing a game of ‘Clock Patience’ won’t cause you any harm.

Not all faiths believe that fortune telling and cartomancy is evil, but most of the major religions advise against it. I have actually had a few Muslim clients before. I did find this a little strange since even wearing a necklace with your astrological sign is considered wrong in Islam. I have read most of the Bible but haven’t read as much of the Quran so I can’t be sure on the exact rules in Islam when it comes to tarot card reading, however from the limited knowledge that I do have, it seems that divination and astrology is forbidden.

Tarot cards started out as playing cards, they most likely originated in northern Italy during the late 14th century. The game of Tarocchi eventually spread to other European countries, including southern France, where it was renamed tarot. The cards were not even regarded as mystical until the late 18th century. Much like the Ouija board, the tarot started off as an innocent game. Our views and opinions changed over time thanks to popular media, films and TV. The idea that these things are evil can in a way be looked at as a form of mass hysteria. If The Victorians were dabbling with tarot cards and performing seances with no negative consequences then why would that suddenly change? the fact is, it didn’t change; people’s opinions changed.

To summarise, tarot card reading is not dangerous or evil, I don’t know of anyone who has been possessed by a demon or ended up selling their soul to Satan after playing around with tarot cards. If for your own personal reasons and beliefs, you wish to stay away from the tarot, then that’s fair enough. For anyone else though, the tarot is a useful tool, it’s like a personal therapist, a stress reliever and it’s also pretty fun!

Do Ouija Boards Lead You To God?

I don’t know if it’s a case of me being open minded when it comes to the existence of ghosts, or if I’ve just been lucky enough to stumble across haunted locations, but I’ve had quite a few ghostly encounters. I must say that although I’ve had frequent experiences, I’ve never had anything dramatic happen to me. I’ve never walked into a room and seen a woman in white running at me with a knife after saying ‘Bloody Mary’ into a mirror and I’ve never been haunted by a dark presence who wants to kill me after a night of seances by candlelight. I have seen, heard and felt things that should surely make me a believer, but I’m still unsure yet open minded. Maybe it’s the case that some people are supposed to have these negative experiences, and others just aren’t.

I remember chatting to someone on Reddit who said she sees ghosts all around her, all of the time. She says they have messages for her sometimes. At first I really did think she had something wrong with her, maybe schizophrenia. It didn’t seem believable that she could live a normal life with ghosts following her. After a while, I even wondered if maybe she was making it all up to sound special. I also got talking to someone who claimed to have brought demons into her life through the use of a Ouija board. She talked at great length about her experiences. She had been pushed down the stairs, had her hair pulled and had her head pushed under the water in her bath. I have played with a Ouija board so many times (I couldn’t even count the amount of times) and so far nothing evil has ever come through! At the time it got me wondering if people who have these negative experiences are either more open to it or more paranoid than other people.

A lot of the people I know who have had demonic entities or evil spirits following them as a result of seances or Ouija boards have turned to God. As bizarre as this is going to sound, I sometimes question whether God sent those evil spirits to them to make them turn to religion. When I was about 14, I thought it’d be fun to sell my soul to the Devil. In exchange I wanted fame and fortune. I followed the instructions in an old book on the Occult that I’d found in my dad’s old stash of books. I performed a long ceremony and at the end, I was supposed to burn some paper which had instructions on it. It was an important part of the ceremony and would complete it to seal the deal. As I put the paper into the flame on a candle, the flame suddenly blew out and hot wax hit me in the face. I turned my bedroom light on in a panic and tried to get the wax out of my eyes, it really burned! I considered that to be a warning, either God didn’t want me to sell my soul, or the devil didn’t want it.

When I was 21, I decided to try and sell my soul again, but this was only because I was in a band and I’d been listening to Robert Johnson and fancied going to some crossroads. the idea was for me to go to the crossroads at midnight with my guitar, I’d wait there for the devil to arrive, he’d tune my guitar and I’d become the best guitarist in the world, in exchange he’d take my soul when I turned 27. I remember my mum actually drove me to the crossroads, she dropped me off at around quarter to midnight. She said she’d come back at twenty past midnight to pick me up again. I felt ridiculous standing at the side of the road with my guitar, and after seeing a couple of cars passing, I thought it’d be best to go over the barrier at the side of the road and wait in a ditch until midnight. At midnight, I heard the bells chiming in a nearby church, and so I tried to get over the barrier so I could get to the middle of the crossroads. I say ‘tried’ because it didn’t go well, I tripped on the barrier and as I fell, I made a split decision to save my guitar and so I held it in the air as I fell so that I didn’t fall on it. I ended up injuring my knee and hurting my face as I hit the ground. I tried to crawl to the centre of the crossroads but I didn’t make it in time. I started to get the idea that something obviously wanted to prevent me from selling my soul. It seemed it’d rather injure me than let me become a servant of Satan. I’ve not tried to sell my soul since.

I can’t prove there is a God or a Devil, but I know one thing. I’m not supposed to go down that route. When it comes to religion, there are two paths you can go down, but the path that leads to hell, usually has a fork in it that leads to Heaven. So many dabblers in the Occult, Satanists and demon enthusiasts turn to Christ in the end. I’ve not been forced down that road, I’ve been steered away from it. I can do Ouija boards without negative consequences because my path is separate. I’m not alone, there are plenty of people (if not most people) who will find that they will never live in an Amityville horror type house or conjure up demons from a harmless dabble with a Ouija board. There are also plenty of religious people who didn’t need demons haunting them to turn to religion. If God really wants you though, maybe he does let the demons into your life for you to fight off so that you become part of his flock.

It’s probably not a popular belief that all religions could actually be true, but since we have freewill and we can shape our own destinies, couldn’t it be true that we can shape our own afterlife? Of course not everything is down to us, other things out of our control shape us.. and again it is the same when it comes to finding our spiritual path. The point I’m making is that nobody is wrong when it comes to their spiritual beliefs. Just like in life, we’re all going down a different path and all of them are as equally interesting as they are true.