When I was 15 years old, I had an experience which I will never forget. Thankfully, like birthing a child, the terror is not relived, but the memory is still very vivid. I had a rather strict religious upbringing where I was exposed to rigid standards and beliefs. Thankfully, I was able to filter those experiences that were edifying from those that were more opinion or interpretation-based. During my teens, when my family was a part of this denomination, I was not able to wear jewelry, cut my hair, wear make-up, or pants. I had to withstand being seen as different from everyone else, and though it made me a very strong individual today, going through it during my teens was very hard.
During this time I had a very close friend who I cherished and still do, dearly. We were in high school together and shared many things-much like sisters. One evening she was eating dinner with my family and me at our house and my Dad and I were fighting over something (I can't remember what), when she began to cry. Normally, it would be understandable that a sensitive person could be brought to tears being around people fighting, but this was different. I remember my Dad and I exchanged concerned looks because the atmosphere took on a disturbing energy. Nothing further happened that night, though her crying halted any more fighting.
A little later on, about a week or so, she attended my church with my family. At the end of the Sunday morning sermon, my pastor called the congregation up to the pulpit, as he often did, and we all went up to stand as near as possible. My friend was standing next to me and the congregation was silent. Suddenly, she let out a sound like a yell, and it startled me out of my reverie, as well as other individuals. My pastor asked me gently to take her to the prayer room, which I interpreted as to allow her to worship without further protracting the service, so he could dismiss everyone.
I obeyed him and led her back to the prayer room. I was standing with her as she had her hands raised, when suddenly my pastor and most of the elders and their wives all approached us. My pastor walked up to her and said something in her ear, most likely that he wanted to pray for her, as not to frighten her. I stepped back so they could do what they needed to do. I had no idea what was about to happen next.
What started out as a normal prayer group praying over a person turned quickly nasty. She began struggling and salivating as something inside her resisted the prayers. I was completely stunned and terrified. I found myself not brave enough to stay there, being so taken by surprise. I didn't feel prepared to face something like that. Not only that, but I felt vulnerable to whatever was inside of her. We didn't talk about demonic possession that much in my church. My pastor had mentioned having some experiences in his mission work in Africa, but I never imagined something evil being inside my friend. She was such a sweet person-at least when she was around me. I couldn't understand how that could have happened to her or why I couldn't feel it in her when I've been an empathic person my whole life.
Understandably, I was too upset to want to return to the place where it happened. I reluctantly attended church that evening and the following Wednesday night, but I had changed. I was trying to process what had happened and why that I just didn't want to keep pretending to be okay and keep a straight face at church.
The story doesn't end here. A few nights later, I was sleeping in my bedroom that I shared with my five year old sister, and was awakened to an evil presence. I've never really seen anything beyond shadows, and I couldn't "see" this entity with my eyes, but somehow I knew what it looked like. I envisioned a black mass with a tattered flowing robe standing at the foot of my bed. My sister's bed was about a foot and a half from mine, so it was really standing at the foot of my bed between the two beds. Like the blink of an eye, it was hovering over me. It felt like it had a vice-like grip on my heart and was choking me. I was paralyzed with fear. Nothing would come out of my mouth-I was afraid to even think of Jesus' name.
After what seemed like an eternity, I finally belted out, "Daddy!" I heard my father's footsteps running from across the house and stopped outside my bedroom door. He told the evil spirit to leave in Jesus' name and shortly after I felt calmer. Dad told me later that our bedroom was ice cold. I did not bias him with what I thought was happening to me. My sister told me she saw the thing hovering over me in my bed. She has always been the one with the gift of seeing them, if you want to call it a gift.
I believe that whatever spirit was exorcised from my friend followed me and made an attempt to possess me that night. My fear gave it strength to finally manifest and attack. It took me a really long time to be able to talk about it. I have become progressively more sensitive to the spirit world, though I try not to cultivate it. I am a scientist and people in my field do not really support this kind of discussion. However, I know that I did not hallucinate this occurrence and I try to remember that fear attracts things I don't want to come into my life.