This account takes place a few years back when I was living with my father and stepmother over the summer in Lima, Ohio. I've mentioned in a previous submission that we were homeless and part of a program that sheltered two homeless families, we'll call it the Family Circle.
In the Family Circle program, the families would spend one week in a church and the following week, the families would stay in a motel. This experience takes place during church week. The church was actually located two buildings away from the Family Circle office.
I remember the first day we arrived. It was early morning and the church was holding a breakfast down in the basement area. Many people filled the stairway and the cafeteria where the breakfast was being hosted. My father, stepmother and I all entered and made sure we were accounted for by being assigned numbers in which they'd announce when it was our turn to receive our food.
It was my brother's birthday and we were all looking forward to visiting him later on in the afternoon. During some point, the Pastor (whom was a woman) made her entrance and talked to everyone. She ended up coming over to our table to chat and it was a this point that my father mentioned something to her about us leaving town to attend my brother's birthday party. To our surprise, she tried to tell us we couldn't go. I was outraged by this.
I stood quickly and tossed my chair back, slamming my fists down on the table. "You nor anyone else will tell me that I can't see my own brother on his birthday!" I shouted. She stared at me, eyes wide in shock. I can't quite remember what all she said, but at some point she began to say "out of love," and that's when I cut her off. "Love? You don't [bleepin'] know me. Don't you dare try to say you love me." That was that. We left after that and occupied ourselves somehow (I can't remember at this point) until it was time to meet the staff of the church and be shown our rooms.
Later that afternoon, we returned to the church and entered the front doors. I was immediately aware that we were not alone. A large man sat behind a small office desk and greeted us with a big, friendly smile. He stood and shook our hands, introducing himself as Ted (not his real name). We chatted with Ted for a little while and at some point my father mentioned something to him about going to my brother's birthday party. He said, "As long as you're back before dinner, it shouldn't be a problem." Ted seemed like a very nice guy and was very kind to us our entire stay.
He took us upstairs in the elevator to the second floor, where he showed us our rooms, the dining room, the bathrooms and the kitchen. Then he pointed to a wide flight of stairs located next to the elevator doors. "That's the very top floor. We call it the playroom." He led us up the stairs and showed us.
The playroom was huge and the floor was one big gym mat. There were all sorts of toys scattered around the room and basketball hoops. After he showed us around, we all went back down to the second floor and set up our room. While my father and stepmother were removing our air mattresses from their bins, I walked out onto the balcony (where our rooms were located) and peered over the edge to see what was below. It was the room where the actual service went down. I could see all the benches and the altar.
As I was looking down, I noticed movement below me. Something white was running back and forth below me and I could just barely see it. I turned around and saw two flights of stairs behind me: a flight leading up and a flight leading down. Curiously, I headed downstairs and found myself below the balcony, right where I saw the white figure. At the end of the balcony, where the wall was, was a large set of double doors. As soon as I saw it, I felt drawn to them and found myself slowly inching toward them.
A few feet away from the doors, I was hit by a rather foul odor. It smelled like something had died. Oddly, this made me feel nervous, so I headed back upstairs and informed my father on what had just happened.
It was probably our 3rd or 4th day there when the most intense experience happened. My father and I had gotten into an argument and I was NOT a happy camper. I was very upset and had gone off to the playroom to be by myself and blow off a little steam. I walked laps around the room and angrily talked to myself, cursing and brooding. I was in such a rage that I really gave no thought to the pins and needles sensation I was starting to get in my fingertips and face.
In the midst of my rage, my right hand began to do something very strange, and this was the beginning of a terrifying experience. My fingers began to curl and my hand seemed to be trying to go into a claw formation. At first I thought I was having bad muscle spasms, so I tried clenching and unclenching my fist to relax the muscle, but I found it was rather difficult to get my hand to cooperate. To be completely honest, I seriously felt like I was in the sequel of Idol Hands. My hand developed a mind of its own and was trying to do something of its own accord.
Of course, I was completely freaked out and I felt that if I let my hand claw up, something bad was going to happen. So I fought like hell to keep my hand straight. An uneasy task to my surprise. The pins and needles sensation had now come over my entire body and now it felt like there was a fire burning in my head and under my skin. I knew with absolute conviction that something was trying to take over my body.
I felt panicked and had no idea what to do. I knew I couldn't leave the room. Trust me, I wanted to. I just... Couldn't. I couldn't call out for help. I could only manage to keep walking laps around the room and was putting all of my energy into fighting whatever this was off. This battle was long and exhausting; there was a point where I almost gave up. After about five minutes in of fighting this thing with all my power, I began to grow tired and hopeless. I felt like this thing wasn't going to give up.
I stopped walking laps and sunk down into a corner, where I sorta curled up. I was still fighting to keep my hand straight, but was about to give up the fight. I began to feel it overcome me as it knew I was getting to the end of my rope. I believe I began thinking of all the things I love in life: family, friends, the simple beauty of nature and life. In that moment, I gathered all the strength I had and jumped back up to my feet. I went back to walking laps and had a new-found sense of willpower.
I fought this thing more aggressively and basically told it "back the [bleep] off, because this is MY body and you can't have it!" Finally, after what felt like an eternity, I fought this thing off. I knew it was over when the burning sensation went away, as did the pins and needles and my hand was no longer spazzing out. I bolted out of that room and never returned to the playroom after that.
The very last night we were there, my father wanted to go on a little "adventure". We grabbed some flashlights after everyone had gone to sleep and everything was dark and made our way downstairs. We found ourselves standing before the large double doors mentioned earlier in this account. There was no foul odor, so we pushed through the doors and entered a rather small room. The room smelled strongly of incense.
There was a very narrow flight of stairs to our left that led upstairs behind the altar. Then as we walked forward, there was another flight of stairs to our right that led downstairs. We decided to go downstairs.
As we reached the bottom of the stairs and began down the hallway, we passed an open window that was located directly in front of a brick wall. There was music coming through it as we passed and my father and I passed each other confused glances. We looked around for a few minutes and found ourselves in the cafeteria.
After we were done downstairs, we headed back up the stairs and was greeted with a nasty surprise. The room smelled like death! It hadn't even been ten minutes since we passed through there and it smelled like incense. Now it smelled of death, the same smell I'd smelled through the doors the first day we arrived. My father and I looked at each other with wide eyes. I slowly turned to the flight of stairs that led behind the altar.
"Whatever it is, it's coming from there." I said. "We should go up there and look. What if they're sacrificing people and stashing their bodies up there? We could serve justice and get a reward." My father shook his head. "There's no way I'm going up there. I don't care. Let's get out of here." I agreed and we pushed back through the large double doors, headed back upstairs, went to sleep and left the following morning.
I've been by that church a couple times since, but still refuse to go back inside. More stuff happened during our stay there, but this account ended up being long enough. Church is supposed to be a sacred place, where no evil can go. This church was bad, very bad. I'm still not sure just what's going on there, but I do know that something is. That place reeked of evil, and I smelled it the moment I walked through the doors.