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© David J. Marsden 2003
David J Marsden brings mystery and magic into lives made sterile by our fascination with technology. Visiting a fortune teller may seem harmless. At a psychic fair you can buy crystals, aromas and symbols etc offering you protection against supernatural agencies. Doctors and psychiatrists provide psychoactive drugs to manage these symptoms and criticize “alternative” medicine and alternative therapy. Religions may condemn New Age groups and alternative therapies, yet provide ways to evict the demons or spirits in which they do not believe. Martyn Carruthers
Sam and Linda invited me to visit their country home near Port Perry (Ontario, Canada). It was hell to find and I’m glad that I left early and that the roads are not so busy on Saturdays. Their home was located near the end of a bumpy dirt road by a picturesque stream, surrounded by low wooded hills, in a community that seemed to disapprove of road signs. Except for a few hunting camps, there were no other houses around. My main thought was “I wouldn’t want to try to get here in winter“.
The land thrived on neglect. It was an old wooden house, with shingle covered walls. It looked as if rooms were added to the house at different times, perhaps to make space for a growing family. It had not been painted for many years – and the last green paint was not attractive, with a lot of grey wood showing. A small field behind the house held a large untidy garden, surrounded by a deer fence.
I did not want to enter the house immediately. I felt unpleasant and I wanted to gather my resources. I asked that we drink tea in the garden, despite the 101 types of biting insects that Ontario is blessed with. “Baby vampires” I call them.
I had met Sam and Linda at a meeting about preventing learning disabilities. You could call them aging hippies. Sam was always very relaxed. He was a musician, and he recorded his music onto cassettes and CDs, which he sold, while Linda taught at a primary school. They lived together with Trent, their 12 year old son.
After the workshop, Linda asked me for help with her son’s learning disabilities. I referred her to Martyn Carruthers in New Brunswick. Linda asked if I knew anything about ghosts. I hesitated before answering … ghost stories is my hobby since I retired … I said that I knew a little. She invited me to check out her ghost stories at her home and offered to cover my costs. I accepted, and here I am.
View from Outside
During our small-talk, I examined the house from the outside. A darkness seemed to hover over the building, particularly over the back extension, closest to the garden. I asked what they knew about the house history. They said that the last owners sold it to them for a really good price – in cash – for a quick sale. A title search showed a problem, the house had been inherited by three children, two boys and a girl. The two boys had been missing since the 1930’s, and the third, the youngest child, a daughter, sold the house a long time ago and was probably dead. Three other families had lived here since that time. Sam and Linda chose to ignore the legal details as the house was such a good deal. As Sam said – if they live there ten years – the house pays for itself.
Sometimes when they went out, things moved, or fell onto the floor; especially in the work room in the back extension. Occasionally fresh food would become putrid overnight, especially if left in that extension. Even cartons of pasteurized milk could sour if left in there.
At first Linda wondered if Sam was playing around – until a book she was reading in the work room started dripping goo onto her legs. Sam refused to discuss it – if there was a problem he said it was the quality of his marijuana.
Their boy Trent had chronic disease symptoms – he was often dizzy and weak, and was a grade behind his age group at school. Linda had taken him to physicians and alternative healers; food allergies or deficiencies were suspected, but no firm diagnosis had been made. I got the idea that Trent was being fed every dietary supplement known to man. He probably rattled as he walked.
My experiences in ghost hunting indicated that people can get hurt – especially children. I wondered what was haunting the family – and why. I took a few moments to do some breathing and grounding exercises, then I asked to enter the house.
View from Inside
I entered the front of the house, through an entry porch into the living room. A strong smell of incense seemed to be mixed with the smell of marijuana. Their room was full of pictures and symbols from many cultures, with small Hindu statues and colorful Buddhist posters. Their huge bookshelves looked like mine, with many “old friends” visible. An enormous stereo was surrounded by CD chaos. The room was visually pleasant but somehow generally uncomfortable.
I asked Linda if Trent could go somewhere – so Linda persuaded Sam to take Trent to get the next weeks’ groceries, and then take Trent to a movie. After they had left, I helped Linda enter a dreamlike state in which she could contact whatever was in her home that was not available to her ordinary senses.
Some people say that information can exist between or behind the lines of the world – information that can move between worlds. This information seems to have different laws, and it can be perceived in abnormal states of consciousness, which includes some states of consciousness called mental illness. I use a technical word to describe this information which can harm people. I call it stuff.
In my experience, almost every old house (and many new ones) has stuff. You can call it what you like – “associations” or “conditioned responses” or “etheric goo” or ectoplasm. It’s like cleaning out an old closet – under your shoes and behind your jackets may be a lot of old things that you had forgotten about – and each thing has some emotional charge – or a memory – or both. And a lot of odd socks mutating into coat hangers if your closets are like mine. Emotional debris from other times. Stuff.
The first step to clean stuff is to recognize it. The next steps are to accept and to empathically understand it. After that, the final step is to rationalize and either integrate the stuff or return it to its “right place”. Sounds easy, does it? Cleaning stuff often takes hours – and occasionally days – depending on the volume and toxicity of the stuff.
The front room contained a lot of stuff, which we cleaned, although it did not seem particularly toxic. It was more like the trails that snails leave when they crawl (?) over leaves. We cleaned the front room and each room in the main house – and then we stopped for some green tea before opening the door to the back extension. Linda said that she often felt sad in that extension, although the windows overlooked both the garden and the stream, through which you could watch a parade of Canadian wildlife. She said that Trent had claimed the room as his own and seemed to like it.
We talked more about Trent – and Linda started crying as she described Trent’s problems at school. He was intelligent, but couldn’t concentrate. He wasn’t hyperactive, quite the opposite, and a diagnosis of attention-deficit-hyperactive disorder (ADHD) just didn’t fit. He could never seem to finish his homework, instead he would just stare through the window at the garden. (he seemed to like looking at the garden, but couldn’t be persuaded to help maintain it, and might cry if Sam or Linda were digging or planting there).
Finally, we both looked at each other, sighed and nodded; and went to the door leading to the back extension, which contained Trent’s bedroom and a work room. Well. There’s stuff … and then there’s STUFF!!! We opened the door. I cannot easily describe what we found there.
Stuff Can Always Get Worse
When I talk about esoteric phenomena – which is not so often as most people think it’s too weird – I talk as both a therapist and a ghost hunter. I am open to the idea that esoteric phenomena are dissociated emotional debris reflecting relationship issues. And I am open to the idea that we are normally only aware of four dimensions – and six senses – with many more available to human consciousness.
I try to avoid using words like “possession“, “demon” and “exorcism” as the words are so emotionally charged, and elicit unpleasant memories, fearful reactions or scorn. But, I must call these phenomena something more understandable than “kinesthetic image schema“. I refer to associations of dead human beings as ghosts, to things from other dimensions as entities, and I follow Martyn Carruthers’ example by referring to “spirit possession” as dead person identification.
The back extension was filthy with STUFF!!! and a horror for Linda. Although there was nothing new for me, I felt disgusted and in need of a shower. At the door to the work room, an aggressive ghost immediately threatened us, and there were two more ghosts behind it that were more passive – more like two dark, sad entities, one tall and one short.
In the adjacent room, Trent’s bedroom, we found two more entities. The larger was about a meter high, crawling like a caterpillar, with a flowing surface that seemed to absorb light, without being black. The smaller entity was by the window and more mobile – it looked like a big, lively amoeba with a semi-transparent surface and a pulsating interior. The ghosts, even the aggressive one, seemed to be terrified of the entities.
This was the just the start of the real work, which took hours. A few times I worried about Linda, but she insisted that we continue as she didn’t ever want to do this twice! We made one break, to walk around the house and for Linda to phone Sam and ask him to take Trent to his favorite fast-food restaurant after the movie, to delay their return.
Of the three ghosts – two were the two missing brothers who had inherited the house. The older one was aggressive – it didn’t know that it’s body was dead. Their bodies had died of some wasting disease and were buried – perhaps under the garden. The third ghost – the smaller zombie – was Linda’s own dead child, whom she hadn’t mentioned – a miscarriage that had occurred when she and Sam slept in the room that was now Trent’s.
The entities were far older – if human years have relevance to them. It seemed that they had been summoned here by Ojibwa (Chippewa) Indians, who lived here before the Europeans arrived, at the same site as Sam’s house. This made sense, Sam’s land was flat, near a stream and surrounded by good hunting. The entities had apparently been used in magical rituals that steal energy and power from enemy warriors. After the Indians left the area, the entities had apparently continued to suck life energy from young males – including the two brothers who had died here, and Linda’s baby … and Trent seemed to be on their menu.
Although it seemed that the entities were merely fulfilling their mission in this world; we evicted them, and we hope that they never return.
About four months later, I received a phone call from Linda that Trent was enjoying what might be called a recovery. I visited them once, when I was in the area. They said (and I agree) that the house is now warm and welcoming. They had made the back extension into a sort of greenhouse and were moving the garden to the front of the house. Trent was pleased with his new bedroom, on which Sam had spent quite a lot of money to motivate and ensure his move.
Afterword by Martyn Carruthers
Childhood fairy tales and Hollywood horror movies provide scary stories of ghosts and the unquiet dead. Stories of zombies, werewolves, mummies and evil spirits are mingled with sorcery and black magic. Stories about divination by mediums in séances; reading crystal balls or using tarot cards or spiritualism remain commonplace. Witness the astounding success of vampire and Harry Potter tales, and the popularity of divination using Ouija boards.
Ghosts and goblins reside in fairy tales … and in our minds. Your willingness to walk in a cemetery at night may expose how close you live to a world where not all dead corpses rest in peace. The symptoms associated with spirit possession resemble those of dead-person-identification. The solutions offered by exorcism and dead-person dis-identification are each appropriate according to your subjective reality.
The consequences of reckless trespass into other realities can include excitement and fun – and also suicide, disease symptoms, psychosis and broken homes. Whichever metaphor you prefer, you live in more than one dimension, and news from abroad can upset your equilibrium and perhaps your health.
We help people access the strange phenomena described by David Marsden, safely explore them and satisfactorily solve them. (Martyn Carruthers)
I am a retired psychotherapist living near Toronto, Canada. I investigate ghost stories. You can email me at: or ask Martyn for help.