As I mentioned in my previous Benicia story, in August of 2011 I went on a ghost walk and encountered a really hostile entity. I then signed up for a paranormal chat and mini ghost hunt with one of the ghost walk guides, Donna.
As usual with these things, I'm a trueborn skeptic. I wasn't expecting much but I did appreciate getting the chance to talk with someone who wouldn't judge me or say I was making things up. In my family circle, I can only talk about these things with my mother. My fiancé actually sees and feels things as well, but he refuses to have conversations about them.
So it was late at night and we gathered in the store Angel Heart 4 You on main street. This store sells scented candles, oils, things like that. It has a small section near the back with chairs and a sofa. The store was closing so by the time we'd settled in we were alone.
There were three of us, plus the guide. One woman hadn't experienced any paranormal events, though her children had. She was a regular chat participant because she wanted to understand her children and be able to coach them and give them advice on how to handle things.
Another young woman had had terrible experiences. It turns out she had unknowingly dated a murderer. One night, one of her boyfriend's victims presented herself to her. There was lots of blood and darkness. The man was eventually convicted, and if my memory serves me well I think he ended up committing suicide. Even after going through this ordeal, the poor young woman spent several more years in fear because dark entities had latched onto her. I believe that at the time of the chat she had finally managed to break free of all the guilt and negativity. A harrowing story, to say the least.
Then it was my turn. I began seeing things at around 7 or 8. For years, a shadow man stalked my bedroom door (my mother had to tell it to leave practically every night). As a teenager, I was watched at night by shadow people and kept awake by noises nobody else could hear. I've been punched and pinched. I've confronted many entities and told them to leave (with mixed results). Things have really calmed down in recent years. I\'m currently 30 and it seems the shadows have decided to give me a breather. Whew.
Well, Donna was extremely interested in my experiences and kept pressing me for more explanations. At that moment, I thought it was weird because the young woman sitting next to me had been haunted by victims of murder, for crying out loud! That was much more horrific and needed more attention than anything I could explain! When I mentioned this, the guide told me something that surprised me.
During the ghost walk (the previous night), she had already sensed that I could see and feel things--but that's nothing remarkable since I had just told her my story. She went on to say that I was a sort of "negativity magnet". Now, I feel silly for writing this, but the way she explained it really gave me food for thought. She suggested that I had perhaps done something in a previous lifetime that had "marred" me and turned me into an easy target for negative entities. The way she put it, it seemed like I had either fiddled with something too powerful to control (imagine something like a Ouija board), or I had been/done evil and was now paying the price. She recommended I protect myself and I shield myself from this negativity.
Though I've declared myself very skeptical of what others might tell me, in this case I actually believe she might have a point. What's more, her explanations sent a sort of peace over me that still lasts even after three years. I still have the occasional paranormal experience, but nothing has stalked me. I've protected myself and, to be honest, I've accepted Donna's explanation for my haunting. I guess I must have done something awful - either knowingly or not - and that's something I'll have to overcome. Honestly, I feel much better just accepting that I'm paying for what a past me did. It feels right. Sounds strange, huh?
When I was a child - around the same time I started seeing things - I had a terrible nightmare that still haunts me. In the nightmare, there was a booming voice all around me. The voice gave me a warning and a threat: don't do it or you will be forever punished. The silly part is "it". In the dream, I couldn't let the kitchen cupboard doors close with a bang or they would keep banging forever. Well, lo and behold, in my dream I went downstairs and accidentally banged a door closed and it wouldn't stop. The booming voice told me I was forever damned and my punishment would be to live with that noise the rest of my life. I woke up from the nightmare and still heard the banging noise for a few more seconds, though that might have been my imagination. That period of time was around when the shadow man began visiting me each and every night...
This dream is part ominous and part silly (a kitchen cupboard, really?), but it stuck to me so much that I still get the chills. So when Donna mentioned that I might be going through some sort of punishment for a past action, of course I remembered the dream.
This honestly sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? *sigh*
Now let me get on with what happened that night. After the chat, we went on a mini ghost hunt upstairs. The store we were in had an antique elevator (the kind that's more like a cage than a box) which connected to the upstairs. The building had originally been a brothel, but was now an office space with three or four different businesses operating in the offices.
We marched into the elevator and as the door closed my stomach did a sickening somersault. I felt like something was clutching at my chest and all I could think of was to try to stay calm and not run or scream. It was probably the longest elevator ride ever. When the door opened upstairs, the sensation vanished and I breathed a sigh of relief. Donna asked me if I was all right and told me not to worry, that the entity that had gotten on the elevator with us had already gotten off and left. Whew.
The elevator opened to a narrow hallway. Towards the right, there were three doors to three different businesses. Towards the left, I believe there was a door to a small balcony (not sure now) and a bathroom. We went right first. Donna explained that many times people hear someone knocking on the doors from the inside, when obviously nobody is there. We listened for a while but I didn't hear or feel anything. Then we went down the hall because Donna wanted to show us a burn mark on the hardwood floor from an antique iron (one of the workers back then had been mad about something and burned the floor).
When I was about halfway down the hall, something I had never experienced before happened. I walked into an invisible cloud - a cloud of whispers. You know like when you go hiking or walking by a river and you suddenly walk straight into a swarm of gnats? It was a similar sensation. I could hear buzzing and voices, voices, voices. Voices murmured things I couldn't make out. Voices talked among themselves... And some of the voices told me to go with them. It would be fun. I should go with them. Why not?
I could practically feel ghostly fingers coming towards me. Terror clutched at my chest again but I quickly stepped out of the cloud and the whispers vanished. I looked back and to my horror I knew the cloud was still there even though I couldn't see anything. Nobody else had felt anything.
The tour continued in the bathroom, where the young woman with the violent past supposedly saw a ghostly woman who transmitted a bit of information about herself (she ran the brothel, things like that). I didn't feel or see or hear anything during the entire time. I was just really worried about having to walk back through the cloud to get to the elevator and leave.
The visit eventually ended and we had to get the elevator to go back down. The same cloud of murmurs was there waiting for me and whispering things as I walked through, but at least I was prepared that time so it wasn't so shocking.
Those are all the experiences I had in Benicia. Who knows if what Donna suggested about my past is actually true. Nevertheless, ever since I embraced that explanation, I've been feeling much calmer and in control of the paranormal events which surround me, plus the events have stopped being threatening. So I guess it doesn't really matter if this past-life explanation is true or not (not that we'll ever find out). The important thing is that having an explanation to hold on to has helped me.