This is my first story that I'm posting on this site, and I hope I don't bore you with its length, but I felt the need to explain a few things along the way. This story is a collection of events that happened to me or to close family members that intertwine to form the account. Most of the events happened a few years ago, so if the details are sketchy I apologise in advance. Feel free to ask questions and I'll answer them to the best of my ability.
It relates to a particular family member and some séances that we have performed. I have always been interested and drawn to the paranormal, and I even have a family member who was a "witch" and I would like to share some experiences with you. Whilst I am drawn to the paranormal, there is no way that I would want any experiences remotely close to what happened to the "witch" nor be part of anything remotely related to the happenings.
The family member, who was a witch, was my grandfathers' aunt who was called Ksenia (not her real name). She only died ten years ago when I was 15. My family are Russian and escaped the revolution and lived in Harbin, China until communism came to China (they left in 1956). Harbin was essentially a Russian city with most of the population being of Russian descent. As a young girl, Ksenia befriended a local witch who passed on her knowledge to her before she died. Despite practicing witchcraft through her life, she still maintained her Russian Orthodox religion/beliefs and superstitions. One time Ksenia managed to upset the domovoi (a house spirit according to Slavic folklore) and found dirty handprints all over her washing (no children were in the house at the time so that was ruled out).
When we would go to Ksenia's house, she would always offer to tell our fortune through playing cards or tea readings (note that historically playing cards are derived from Tarot and you are able to perform readings from them) or do a séance via a Ouija board (my aunt was severely negatively affected by one where a spirit (a murderer from the Stalinist era) attached itself to her and harassed her for weeks and tried to "strangle" her at night-time). Her card readings were always accurate to the day/week. I know the layout she used and some of the meanings; however, I am nowhere near proficient enough to do a proper card reading so refrain from doing so.
She would also cast spells on people (her own sons weren't excluded from this) and would always leave a token of some sort (a homemade doll or a random object) under her seat if she visited you (a spell). She once told my grandmother that she had this uncontrollable urge to do nasty things (usually via spells) and that a voice told her to do these things. Every time she tried to fight this urge, the voice would get stronger and would threaten her. She would then perform a spell or do something nasty to appease the voice. My grandfather (who is a snoop) once visited her and snooped in her room and found a booty of weird items under her bed (dolls (voodoo?), snakes in bottles, that type of thing).
Over time, my grandparents distanced themselves from Ksenia as they didn't agree and didn't like what she did and didn't want her to influence their grandchildren in any negative (witchcraft) way. I always have pleasant memories of visits with her as a child, but was aware of who she was and what she did.
Many years passed and at the ripe old age of 95? (she was well into her 90's when she passed away) she was diagnosed with cancer and was given two months to live. She lived longer than the two months and eventually died on a Friday afternoon. With Orthodox religions (particularly the Russian one), religious celebrations are celebrated according to the Julian calendar and not the Gregorian calendar (current dating system in use). The Julian calendar is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar and as such we celebrate Christmas in the 7th January (which is the 25th December now) and Easter is usually at a later date.
Ksenia passed away on a Friday, which happened to fall on the 13th according to the Julian calendar. Those of the Orthodox faith also believe that a person's soul wanders the earth for 40 days after they pass away. On the 40th day a mass is performed for that person to help their ascent to Heaven. Her 40th day fell on a feast day, meaning that the mass could not be performed.
Two strange things occurred around her death - the date being Friday the 13th (Julian calendar) and the absence of her 40th day mass. Is it a coincidence, given the life she led or is something more at play here?
Her son (who lived with her), shut up her room and left it be for many years after her death. When he remarried, he and his wife decided to clean out her room and use it for another purpose. When they did, they found the strange things under her bed and also string tied up underneath the mattress. The base of the bed was raised off the floor and the flat part where the mattress lay were a series of springs. It was on these springs that the string was tied in a criss-cross fashion. Knowing that this was one of her spells, they contacted a friend whose mother was also a witch. They were told that the spell was made to bring tension and conflict to the house, and to reverse it they would have to burn the string and walk away from it not looking back. After the spell was reversed, an apparition could be seen around the house (believed to be Ksenia). Not long after this, they both moved out.
Years after she died (I would have been 20-21 - I'm now 26), we decided to perform a séance using a Ouija board. I was present along with my mother, aunt and Ksenia's son. We tried to summon her but nothing happened. We then decided to summon a random spirit who would be around. The strange thing about that session is that all dearly departed family members came through. We spoke to both of my great-grandparents (mother's side), my grandmother and my uncle (father's side). It was surreal contacting my ancestors and their answers were a mix of Russian and English (Russian spelt phonetically through the English alphabet).
Thinking it strange that all family members came to us, we asked them why they were all here. My great-grandfather replied that they are waiting for someone. We also asked about Ksenia and if she was with them - the answer was a resounding NO!
Three months after this séance, my grandfather passed away. I like to believe that his wife and family were with him during his final hours to help him crossover. Since then I have completed quite a few more séances and every time we do them (only family who participate) we get family members contacting us. I have managed to contact my grandfather and he is with the rest of my family. Whilst I have made a conscious decision to no longer dabble in séances and the like, every time I have done one, it has been a positive, uplifting experience to communicate and get messages from my family. I have never felt threatened or anything negative come through. I know that my family (especially my grandmother and great-grandfather) watch over me and I feel blessed to feel their presence, even momentarily at these occasions and when I need them.
Never have we been able to contact Ksenia. Despite her spells (when she cast them), she was always someone pleasant to be around - she wasn't all bad. Regardless, I don't think that I would want to encounter her spirit lest it is sinister or invites something sinister.