© David J. Marsden
Since I retired, I research ghost stories and I explore interesting ghost stories.
I am often asked, “What can I do if someone cursed me“. If you think you have been cursed, it’s probably it’s because …
Here’s one of my personal stories about a curse.
Jackie (not her real name) was a warm and usually happy woman; good-looking with chestnut hair, dancing eyes and glowing with vitality. Most people know her as a respected realty lawyer, a workaholic and divorced. She had helped me buy and sell a house, and we chatted occasionally, so I also knew that she had found a new boyfriend, who moved in with her about a month ago.
I bumped into Jackie in the shopping mall. She was looking upset, and I asked her what was going on. “Nothing!” she said, in a tone of voice that discouraged enquiry. I gently invited her for a Starbucks coffee.
We small-talked – and then we big-talked. Jackie and her boyfriend, Mark, were apparently madly in love. All seemed well, until a woman phoned Jackie to inform her that unless Jackie kicked Mark out, that Jackie would be cursed.
Jackie quickly discovered that Mark was still married; and that he had left his wife and two young sons to be with Jackie. Mark also told Jackie that Sally, his ex-wife, was a practitioner of black magic, and that he left her partly because he was scared of her.
I knew that Jackie dabbled with New Age ideas; she was a Reiki master and she toyed with the idea of opening a New Age shop. Jackie said that Sally’s telephone call was upsetting, but Jackie considered herself to be strong enough both emotionally and esoterically to cope with any unfriendly energies sent her way. Her main concern was to protect her new partnership.
I tried to warn her about curses – I had met enough scary situations with sad endings – but Jackie told me not to worry. She assured me that she could handle it.
While researching ghost stories, I had met a number of people at the fringes of black magic. I made a few telephone calls. One of these people knew some members of Sally’s black magic group (coven) in a nearby town. Later, he phoned back and advised me to “forget about it” and to “let matters run their course“. He said “Don’t get caught in the middle!” a few times. Sometimes I don’t listen well.
Sally was an authority in her coven, and had the sympathy and backing of her group. Apparently Mark had told Sally that Jackie had seduced him and persuaded him to leave his family. At the start of their marriage, Mark had also been a member of this group; he was charming and he was well liked by them. They suspected that Jackie had made “love magic” to bind him.
“What year is this?” I asked myself. “Will the inquisition also return?”
Apparently, the group planned to undertake a “ritual of destruction” on the coming Friday night. I couldn’t get any more details. Secret societies do tend to be secretive.
Jackie hadn’t mentioned Mark’s involvement with black magic but I doubt that she would have cared. However, seducing a man away from his family – that was not the Jackie that I thought I knew. I called her – and again she asked me not to worry. She said that she had prepared herself – and that she was not going to give up her boyfriend so easily. I told her about the planned Friday night ritual. She reassured me that everything would be fine.
The following Thursday, Jackie phoned me and asked to meet for lunch in a restaurant outside town. When I saw her, I was shocked. She seemed to have aged ten years. Her face was lined and creased, with a grayish pallor and she smelled badly. Something seemed very wrong.
She told me that she had taken Wednesday and Thursday as “sick days” so as not to be seen at work. She described horrific nightmares and a “cold, grey cloud” that sometimes hovered over her left shoulder. In those moments she described gooseflesh “to her toes” and would feel her left shoulder become cold.
She knew that I was a psychotherapist before I retired, and she asked for help. I referred her to a Toronto psychiatrist whom I respected. Jackie knew that my hobby is “ghost stories” and asked what she could do to keep ghosts away. I joked about garlic – and then realized that THAT was the bad smell. She said that she had maybe eaten a kilo of the stuff.
On Monday morning we talked again by telephone. She seemed to be in extreme stress but resisted the psychiatrist’s recommendations that she be hospitalized. She had hardly slept for a week, she said, and she was afraid to take sedatives. She was beginning to hallucinate. The gray cloud had taken the shape of an old man’s head, whose mouth seemed to be kissing or sucking her left shoulder. Worse, she said, she could feel a ghost-tongue stretching under her left armpit, into her chest and licking her heart.
She was trying everything, she told me. Surrounding herself with light, going to church, drinking herbal teas, and using crystals and aromas that she thought might help. Her friends were praying for her and sending her energy she told me, and she was further protected by sacred symbols. At night she would keep every light in her house bright.
I phoned her psychiatrist, who I knew quite well. He talked about a rapid onset of psychosis, resulting from overwork and fatigue. He would not discuss any occult factors, except to call it rubbish. He said that he had prescribed chlorpromazine (Thorazine, an anti-psychotic drug) and diazepam (Valium, a sedative).
More phone calls. Apparently, the coven had made some ritual to enslave the spirit of a dead person, and promised the spirit freedom if it completed a task. I enjoy must ghost stories, but I find this dark side too toxic. I contacted someone with more experience – Martyn Carruthers – (founder of Soulwork, a systemic therapy that could heal relationships with both the living and the dead). He was teaching in Europe.
Martyn was in Prague, Czech Republic. I envied him – Prague was a medieval center for alchemy and I had wanted to visit the home of the golem. As he would not return to Canada for some time, he suggested that Jackie telephone him. I passed this on.
She later told me that she talked to Martyn for over an hour (I wouldn’t want to pay her phone bill.) Martyn offered no advice, she said, but asked questions that helped her formulate her own advice for herself. Even more strangely, she told me, he wanted to talk to the ghost! She was vague about details – Jackie was not secretive – it was more like she really didn’t want to remember the details.
After her phone call to Prague, Jackie said that she slept for over 24 hours – without drugs – rising only to visit the bathroom. The grey cloud was still on her left, she admitted, but not as fierce as before, and a bit further away. She said that it seemed to be waiting for something. A few days later, we met again.
Jackie looked more like her old self. She was planning, she told me, a much-needed holiday in Europe – in Czech Republic. She said had never visited Central Europe before. As Martyn was teaching in Prague, she said, she would go there and they would meet. I asked her to take lots of photographs.
I phoned her psychiatrist again … he seemed content with the efficacy of his medications. Jackie had obviously not told him about her phone calls – and I didn’t tell him either. I praised his good sense and thoughtfully hung up the phone.
Maybe six weeks later, Jackie asked for another lunch meeting. This time she was tanned and relaxed. She told me about walking in the Czech hills for a week, about Prague, and about a beautiful village called Czesky Krumlov that Martyn had recommended to her. She had even learned a few words of Czech.
Of Jackie’s meetings with Martyn in Prague, I know few details. She told me that she stayed in Prague for a week, at a small hotel near the old city. She showed me many beautiful photographs of Prague and Czesky Krumlov. She had many sessions with Martyn, in between exploring the old city and Czech cooking. The ghost faded away and did not return. Perhaps it found a better girlfriend, she joked.
Even better, she said, he understood how her anger and guilt about her partnership with Mark created a fertile ground for the toxic seeds planted by Sally, and how her relationship with her father had predisposed her to seek intense, short-term relationships with immature men. (She didn’t elaborate but I could guess some of the dynamics. See Martyn’s article Little Princess.)
The story ends with the question, “What is real?” Jackie’s “psychotic interlude” seemed real enough. Her disappearing health was enough to concern an experienced psychiatrist. The coven’s ritual curse was also real, apparently, although I did not observe it. As for the “ghost” – Jackie explained that it was a spirit of a man who died by suicide, and that it was made to do something that it did not want to do, and that she was able to say “Goodbye” to it in Prague. It was over.
Jackie also said “Goodbye” to Mark, who returned to his wife. Jackie now had, she said, a much better concept of what qualities she wanted in a life-partner … and what she would not tolerate. She was satisfied – the psychiatrist was satisfied – and I had to be satisfied too.
I am a retired psychotherapist living near Toronto, Canada. I investigate ghost stories.
Sometimes a BELIEF that you are cursed can generate bad luck or psychosomatic symptoms. Sometimes someone may falsely claim to have deliberately caused your misfortune. I’m retired … you can contact Martyn for help.
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