This isn't your traditional ghost story, but it is of the paranormal. It took place shortly after I turned 16 and was working at an indoor amusement park/shopping mall called Old Chicago, which is now defunct.
One night I had, what my mother called a prophetic dream, a warning. In it a man I did not know was intent on doing me harm. I saw him quite clearly, young, maybe 24-25 years old, clean shaven with dark curly hair and very intense blue eyes that burned with what I can only describe as evil or insanity. It was not clear in the dream how he was hurting me, only that he would. When I woke, I knew it hadn't been just a bad dream but a warning of some sort as they have a different feel to them then the usual dream.
Still, I shrugged it off and went into work, wondering what 'roles' I would be playing today. I held several positions in the Attractions department. Along with being the 'lead' (I handled the cash paperwork, and schedules), and covering breaks in various areas, I also donned makeup and costume transforming into Jokamo (Yo-ko-mo) a mute clown. Under that guise, no one could tell my gender let alone recognize me. It made for never boring work days. Would I be 'Val' wearing either the long 'prairie' dress uniform of Attractions, or donning Jokamo's persona? I often alternated between the two, in a single shift. That day, I learned that we would be hosting a Psychic Fair in the upcoming week, and asked by upper management if I would be willing to work it instead of covering breaks as I usually did, or clowning around. I readily agreed as I thought it would be interesting, and I possibly might learn something. For once, everyone showed up for their shift on time, and I went to my dressing room to become Jokamo.
Being Jokamo was just plain fun. I might roam the midway or the upper mall, doing pratt- falls, balloon animals, or some silent slight of hand magic for onlookers amusement and attract customers. Sometimes I'd join forces with the Dixieland Band or one of our wandering minstrels and break into dance, combining tap and ballet movements with waltzing; snatching an unsuspecting partner from the crowd or a near by security guard. It was always unplanned, but fun, and the crowd always seemed to enjoy watching this slightly overweight, non-gender clown with laughter and applause.
I had just finished a very physical tap/ballet set when I felt a hand on my shoulder, and I looked up into the face of the man from my dream. My mouth went dry, and I felt a current of electricity run through me. "Great show," he said in an oily voice, "I'll be seeing you." He released my shoulder, and I felt physically weak. He moved off through the throng, and I was surrounded by kids and parents wanting to take pictures. Still that voice stuck in my head... Be seeing me? No way, could he know who I was.?
The rest of the week was fairly uneventful, and I had pretty much forgotten the incident. The Psychic Fair was underway, and I enjoyed meeting the various talents working it, some with well known names.
Around the second or third day, some were even giving me free readings as a thank you. Time and again I was informed that I had the 'gift'. I only bring this point up, because they quickly saw me as 'one of them', and I felt acceptance as part of their group. Proof of this came later.
It was early evening, and I was working the cash box, seated at a table selling the tickets. That's when HE showed up, smiling a cold smile, instead of asking to buy a ticket he looked at me hard, and ask if I wasn't feeling well, that I looked as if I had a headache. At that moment it felt as if I was hit hard between the eyes. My vision actually doubled and my hands flew to my head. Despite the pain, I heard commotion around me, voices demanding that he leave, that he was not welcomed there, and to back off! Someone brought me some water, and I heard Enrika murmur that she would heal me, to try and relax, while another knelt (unsure if they were indeed kneeling, as I couldn't really see between the double vision, and tears) before me holding my hands and whispering a soft prayer like chant. I closed my eyes against the pain. I liked Enrika, a very thin, ancient looking woman, who absolutely glowed from within. I felt her gliding her hands along my head, neck and shoulders from behind me. This massaging sensation continued for several minutes and I felt the pain ease, my vision was cleared when I opened my eyes again as I heard Enrika say, "There, better?" I turned towards her to thank her, only to see she was standing a good 4 or 5 feet away!
It was explained to me, that the guy had once been a part of their group, but had chosen to use his gift for wrong doing, so they had booted him out. Since then he had been trying to cause trouble. They felt he had sensed that I, too, had the gift and so targeted me to get at them in a way. The consensus was he might try again, so with my permission they surrounded me with prayers of protection, and Enrika taught me some ways to ward off the evil.
They were not wrong. The following evening, on my day off, I returned with some friends, who were curious, but wanted me along, as they felt I "know about such things," and they wanted their monies worth. Just outside of the storefront, where the fair was set up, he approached one of my friends. I say approached, but really it seemed as if he just materialized out of nowhere. One minute he wasn't there, the next he was and reaching for my friend's hand, saying she should let him do a reading. I reacted without thought. I brought my own hand sharply down on his, knocking it away before he could touch her, and growled, "Back off!" My friends quickly moved behind me. Each one knowing for me to react in such a manner something was wrong. He looked down at me smirking. "Won't work this time," I said with a tone that almost dared him to try.
Confusion flickered on his face. I folded my arms, with my fists clenched, my thumbs between index and middle finger, something Enrika had taught me. "Back off! Now!" I fairly hissed the words. Despite being diminutive I can be pretty loud. Dell, one of the security guards, came over. "Problem, Val?" He asked recognizing me, as from within Enrika and a few others came out. "Not sure, Dell," I didn't take my stare off the guy, "Is there?" The guy shook his head, and walked off at a hurried pace.
"What was that about?" Both Dell and my friends asked. "Let's just say unwanted attention, and let it go. OK?" I didn't know if they would understand what had just transpired, and I didn't want word around that I was a wackadoodle. I could see Enrika smiling and giving me a slight nod. I'd done good. But, from the secretive glances and smiles on the groups' faces as I escorted my friends in, I don't think I'd been alone in telling the guy to back off.