Dead Person Identification © David J. Marsden 2002
Mystery, Magic & Nazi Gold
David Marsden can bring mystery and magic into lives made sterile by technology. Visiting a fortune teller may seem harmless fun. At a psychic fair you can buy cheap crystals and symbols etc offering protection against supernatural agencies. Doctors and psychiatrists provide psychoactive drugs to manage symptoms caused by relationship problems, and criticize alternative approaches to them. Religious groups often seem to avoid acknowledging the consequences of demons or ghosts in people’s lives. Martyn Carruthers
Demon – Part 1
I was a psychotherapist for most of my adult life, and a good one by all accounts. During those years I specialized in too many things to be called a specialist. I also pursued an interest in occult phenomena. I was always fascinated when clients described events that are often called magical, or at least weird. Since retiring, I have become a ghost researcher.
There is a dark side. Such interests can become obsessive and at times people may lose their ability to discern between their objective or real worlds and subjective or imagined worlds. And some phenomena seem to bridge these two worlds. Ghosts for example … and demons.
Ghost research has become my pastime and I have heard many strange stories. Sometimes, people who should know better join cults and find themselves confronting scary anthropomorphic projections – commonly called demons. Ghosts can be interesting but demons are … different. Demons can possess people and make them do horrible things. This story is about a demon I met.
In Canada, Halloween is a time for foolish parties and mostly-harmless pranks. In Central Europe, this is the Day of the Dead – an important family holiday devoted to placing candles and flowers on the graves of dead family members who hopefully rest in peace. Forget accomplishing anything else on that day in much of Central Europe.
Halloween is a pre-Christian festival that was practiced by Celtic and Slavic tribes. The doors to the world of the dead are supposed to open, and the living can communicate with the dead – and complete any outstanding or unfinished business. But (there is always a but) other entities can cross over too – even entities that never lived and so cannot really be called dead. (Undead perhaps?)
I do not subscribe to most concepts of good and evil. I have prejudged events too many times. I have seen many good intentions produce disgusting consequences, and I have witnessed apparently evil acts do good – and what is the road to Hell paved with? Yet some entities seem to exist only to hurt – to torment – to cause suffering.
This story started with an invitation from a colleague, Martyn Carruthers, whose training programs often take him into the old Iron Curtain countries. Martyn was teaching family therapy in Warsaw, Poland, and he suggested that I visit him for Halloween. He said that he would enjoy walking with me around some places that might satisfy my need for ghost stories. Well … why not? I bought an air ticket.
Warsaw is a haunted city. The atrocities by Russian and German troops are almost beyond telling. Warsaw seems to have many spirits that cannot rest in peace. The old city of Warsaw was flattened by German troops at the end of World War two, and much was replaced by socialist apartment buildings.
Over the weekend we toured the old town, some monuments of the once-Jewish ghetto and the old Russian Cytadel. We walked through the beautiful Kampinowska Forest, the lungs of Warsaw, which hides a Nazi killing ground. And we walked around a cemetery near the center of town.
I have NEVER seen such a busy cemetery. People in their thousands – perhaps in their tens of thousands – were leaving candles and flowers by the ton. Seen from the outside, a dense black smoke hung over the cemetery like a bizarre Hollywood special effect. And after dark, the Warsaw cemeteries had so many burning candles that they were as bright as during the day.
Ghosts? Perhaps at the Umschlagplatz – the place where Warsaw Jews were loaded onto cattle trains destined for the Treblinka death camp. We went there late, when it was dark, cold and deserted. I felt a faint echo of the terror of the many people condemned to die because of their race, and I recalled the genocides of North American native tribes by the invading Europeans.
Martyn asked if I would like to witness a session the next day. He said that the client thought that he (the client) might be possessed – and that he (Martyn) had delayed the appointment until I was in Poland. What a friend! We walked to my hotel near Saski Park, and enjoyed Polish Zubrowka – vodka flavored with buffalo grass. Martyn called it a friendly spirit, and he was right.
Therapist vs. The Rapist
Martyn’s client Jan arrived the next morning. Jan looked about sixty-few, and he spoke good English with a south England accent. He seemed well-educated and was a lawyer in the city of Poznan. He had visited Toronto, and we chatted about why Canadians like American baseball.
Jan’s voice became quieter and I leaned forward to hear him better. Then his face and posture changed abruptly. He leaned forward and spoke in a raspy voice: “Do you know why your wife died? She hated your work … and you should have never married a patient.”
Hair stood up on my neck … NOBODY knew that story! Not even Martyn. But …
Jan looked at me. “What’s the matter? ” he asked. “Did I say something …?”
Martyn asked Jan some rather ordinary questions about his history. Jan mentioned that he had been raised by his mother who had died the previous year. He said that his maternal grandfather was murdered by Germans during the second world war and that he knew nothing about his father’s parents.
Jan said that he had a problem that he wanted to get rid of. He said that people have asked him to stop frightening them – and that many people avoid him.
I was still shaken by Jan’s hurtful comments. Short, sharp, and designed to cause suffering. And true. But how could he have known?
Suddenly Jan was hissing something about Martyn’s son … I was surprised that Martyn had told Jan about his (Martyn’s) personal life, and perhaps Martyn had told Jan something he had heard or guessed about my personal life. I felt angry.
After a moment Jan was again friendly and intelligent. I asked Jan how often he had met Martyn – Jan said that this was the first actual meeting, although they had made three or four brief telephone calls. I asked Jan what he knew about me – Jan said that he had expected to meet a retired therapist from Canada – nothing else.
What was going on? I signaled to Martyn that I wanted to talk outside the room. Martyn offered to make more tea and I asked what was happening. “I have no idea“, Martyn replied, “Interesting isn’t it? I don’t know how he knew so much about my son. Was he right about you too?”
“Spot on“, I murmured. We returned to Jan with black tea and lemon pieces. “No vodka?” Jan joked, “This is Poland, you know“.
Jan’s story was peculiar. People were avoiding him and not saying why. Some people would become angry and twice he had even been struck – physically hit – by strangers. Jan said that an angry woman called him a straszny demon cierpienia – a horrible demon of suffering. Jan’s ex-wife would not meet Jan, saying that she had been hurt enough by Jan’s cruelty.
It started, Jan said, with a visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp, a Nazi war museum in southern Poland. Jan had taken his Canadian relatives there, and he had sat on a bench near a gas chamber while his relatives wandered around. Jan had been there before as a child on a school trip. Jan said he despised the place and wished it destroyed. He said that on this last trip, he found a place to sit in the sun and wait. He added that he went to sleep while sitting there.
Jan said that he might have slept there for a half hour, and that he dreamed that he was touring – or inspecting – the KZ Auschwitz death camp at the height of its human destruction. Jan said that in his dream, he not only witnessed but participated in atrocities. He said that he awoke with a feeling of being cold to his bones, although it was a warm day. He dismissed the dream as brought on by the surroundings.
But since that day, Jan said, he could deeply offend people without knowing how he did it. He said that would “blank out” for a second or two, as he had just done with us – twice that morning. Jan’s doctor called it fatigue, Jan said, and told Jan to learn to control the stress of his work.
I am a competent hypnotist. Martyn asked Jan if he would care to explore that dream in Auschwitz. Jan nodded and sighed. “Yes“, he said, “perhaps it’s time“. Martyn invited him to sit in a large comfortable chair and gestured for me to begin a hypnotic induction. I asked Jan to close his eyes and relax his body – and gently recall that visit – and that’s when the trouble began.
At first Jan relaxed, then his face contorted. I could feel chicken skin on my arms and back, and stopped talking. Martyn continued.
“Jan – remember – you are in Auschwitz – you are waiting for your friends – you are sleeping in warm sun…” And so on, with suggestions for remembering that event. “You are asleep … and you start to dream … and what is happening in the dream?”
Jan convulsed in his chair. “Nein” Jan said, “Er ist meine – meine!“. Martyn said a few words in German to Jan and then switched back to English. “Jan – you are dreaming a strange dream – what is happening?”
“Destruction” said Jan, with his eyes closed. “Death. An angel of death is here. A demon of death feeds here.”
“Can you describe what you see” I asked … Jan’s face distorted soundlessly.
“No … it sees me … it’s coming … it is inside me … NO!!!”
I was softly panting. I have interviewed many patients and heard many strange stories – and some of those stories were weird – and some of my patients were diagnosed as psychotic. But who can get used to this?
Jan swore – I don’t know if in Polish or German. Then he spoke in English – something like “It’s inside me … and it’s hungry … it feeds on suffering … death is an end … it wants life … any life … my life”
“Why you?” asked Martyn, reasonably. Auschwitz could be a feast for such an entity. But why should it want a small cup of soup like Jan?
Jan screamed again, and I wondered if Martyn’s neighbors might call the police. “My father is German!” said Jan. “A Nazi! Nobody knows! He raped my mother! My mother killed him! Nobody knows! But this thing knows everything!”
Exorcize Your Options
“Ask it if it knows where the Breslau gold is buried” I said. “Go on, ask!“Martyn looked at me strangely. THAT was not one of his questions.
“G-g-g-old?” sputtered Jan.
“Yes” I said quickly, before Martyn interfered. “The gold hidden by the Nazis before the Russians captured Breslau in 1944.”
Before coming to Poland I had read about Polish ghosts. Every castle is polluted with them, if you believe tourist literature. My research pointed again and again to the German province of Silesia – now the Polish province called Sląsk. Although this may be one of the most haunted places in Europe, not much is written about it in English. It is the borderland between Germany, Poland and Czech Republic – an area with a long history of wealth, poverty and violence.
The Polish city of Wroclaw was, for a time, the German city of Breslau. There had been centuries of gold mining in Silesia, and before world war II, Breslau had been a rich city. Yet after WWII, little of it’s wealth was found. There are many stories of hidden treasures in the Owl mountains of Silesia – the same area where the Nazis developed secret weapons, nerve gas and tried to build an atomic bomb in underground factories. Or perhaps the gold had been secretly spirited off to Berlin or Moscow.
“Y-y-yes” whispered Jan, hissing a word that sounded like “Bireeser“.
“Is Bireeser a place or a person?” asked Martyn gently.
“Yes … no! … Bireeser! … no! … yes” mumbled Jan, “no! … yesss … but not my father … not my father! Nein! Gruss Gott in Himmel! Not my father!!” Jan started hyperventilating.
But I was already bringing Jan out of trance, suggesting that he feel forgetful and relaxed. We drank our now-cold tea in an exhausted silence, until Martyn made an appointment to meet Jan the next day.
We went to Stare Miasto – the old town of Warsaw – for dinner, discussing what Jan had told us. I was bursting with excitement that a famous ghost story might be under my nose. Martyn wondered if Jan had identified with his dead father. And who or what or where was Bireeser?
The Golden Rule
We checked an online atlas in an internet cafe … there was no Bireeser in Poland. Perhaps it was a German place name for a village that is now Polish, or more likely we were chasing a wild goose.
But this goose might lay a golden egg. Jan had an appointment the next day …
I am a retired psychotherapist living near Toronto, Canada. I investigate ghost stories. You can ask Martyn for online help. If you want mentorship or training on how to manage a wide range of emotional, mental, esoteric and relationship challenges, ask Martyn.
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