This story takes place during the summer of 2006 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, NC. At the time I was a Lance Corporal in the United States Marine Corps. My wife and I lived in the Tarawa Terrace II base housing area in a small little 2 BR 1 BA apartment/house. There were five conjoined units that made up a housing section. The units together made the shape of a square "C". Across the parking area was another housing section that mirrored ours. This was old housing that had been built in 1942 during WWII. They had been remodeled since then to modernize them and were well maintained by the base. The base was in the middle of tearing down these old housing units to build new privatized housing. Our area was last on the list for demolition (...of course).
I was starting Iraq pre-deployment training and was leaving to go to CAX, (Combined Arms Exercise) in the Mojave Desert in California the next week. During this time my wife had decided to go home and spend some time with her family; as I would be gone for a month.
I got home one late afternoon and started my normal routine of a shower and grabbing a bite to eat for dinner. While showering, I kept thinking I could see a shadow in the shape of a person through the shower curtain in my peripheral vision, and the bathroom seemed to get darker. I pulled the shower curtain aside to see what was there. However, I never saw anything out of the ordinary. The shadow would dissipate and the lighting in the room seemed to normalize. Granted, the lighting in the bathroom wasn't very good and I was pretty tired and beat down after a long day of training in the hot and humid NC summer. I never had a bad feeling or felt that anything was out of the ordinary. It was a little unnerving and I thought to myself "Whoa, that's weird..." I convinced myself that I was just exhausted and my eyes were playing tricks on me. I finished my shower and got dressed into some PT shorts and no shirt (NC summers were pretty intense with nightly temperatures averaging mid-high 80's with 100% humidity).
I went into the kitchen trying to decide what to fix for dinner. After about 10 minutes I decided that I was too tired to fix anything and I would just order a pizza. After placing my order I sat down on the couch, turned on the TV and waited for the delivery guy. It didn't take long, maybe 10 minute or so, before I fell asleep. During my time asleep I had dreamt about a dark shadow figure that was chasing me. It was a dream where no matter how fast you ran or tried to run, you never could get away or you would trip and stumble over everything. As the figure chased me it would make the lights go out. And I had an ominous feeling that I needed to stay in the light or it would get me. The dream started in my house going from room to room. Then I opened my front door and I was running into a new house. I then realized this was my childhood home. Then after going through another door, that morphed and I found myself running inside of a random hotel. All the while the shadow figure consuming the light as he followed. Then I left the house running outside into the dark night (so horror movie cliché, I know..., but I can't be held responsible for the actions of my dream self). I would run from street light to street light trying to evade the shadow figure. Finally I was awakened from sleep and my dream by the sound of the doorbell. It was the pizza deliver guy. The dream seemed like it lasted for a long time. However, I was only asleep for maybe 10 minutes.
Not bothering with plates or utensils, I took the pizza, sat it on the coffee table and began to eat. As I ate my pizza I thought about the dream that I'd had. I didn't feel scared about it at all just thought it was a bit strange. I did wonder if my dream had any correlation with the shadow figure from the incident in the bathroom earlier. However, I just chalked it up to coincidence and exhaustion. I finished eating, turned off the TV and put the leftover pizza in the fridge. Then I brushed my teeth and went into the bedroom to go to bed. I remember I went to bed a little early (before 22:00), because I had to get up early for unit PT in the morning at 05:00. Before I climbed into bed I turned on the TV and DVD player, put in a DVD of the TV series M*A*S*H and set it to play all episodes. Then I laid down in bed, began to relax and began watched my show. It didn't take long before I fell asleep again. I didn't even make it through one episode before I passed out. Then a few hours later, it happened...
All of a sudden, I was awakened by something. I was on my left side when I opened my eyes and I was looking out the bedroom door into the hallway. At the instant I had opened my eyes, it seemed as if my eyes had caught someone/something (a shadow?) moving passed my doorway. I looked at the clock to check the time and it was 03:17, I remember it distinctly. As I laid there regaining my senses, I got a really bad feeling. It was a feeling of such dread, terror and sadness; as I've never felt before or since. The feeling made me nauseous and I felt I might have to run to the bathroom to throw-up. I decided to get up and investigate what I thought I had seen. I flipped off the covers and began to sit up. My torso didn't quite make it fully upright when my body was slammed back down on to my bed! As I hit the bed my eyes closed and I could not reopen them. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't open them! Even though I couldn't see, I could feel or sense that there were four, dare I say, spirits/entities that were each holding one of my limbs. I was being held down! My limbs outstretched; my body making an "X". I realized that I was being attacked and that I had to do something! I struggled to break free of their grasp, but I couldn't.
I tried to speak, yell...anything, but couldn't! All that I could get out was almost like baby babble. I could feel that this was very bad! I didn't know what they planned on doing to me, but it was such a terrible feeling, I can't even describe it! I tried commanding the spirits to leave by yelling "In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to leave!" But again, my words were all garbled; like a toddler just learning to speak. I didn't know what I was going to do; I was so scared! All during this time, I could hear my TV show M*A*S*H playing in the background, so I knew I wasn't dreaming. It was the episode where Klinger goes AWOL and tries to escape Korea on a hang-glider.
So, I thought to myself "I can't say a prayer, but maybe I can think it in my mind?!" So I began trying to say a silent prayer in my head. But my thoughts seemed scattered and rearranged now as well! "What am I going to do?!" I thought. Then I felt a new presence enter the room. I felt this new presence had command and authority over the others. As they held me down, it put its face down close and began scanning over my body. It's hard to explain because I couldn't see anything. I sensed it had the face of a lion or some kind of beast. It started at my feet, and began slowly and methodically working its way up; almost like a CT scan or an MRI. Back and forth, back and forth... It seemed as if it was searching for something... Like it was peering into my soul. I tried so hard to break free from their grasp but still couldn't free myself. As it reached my face, it stopped and stared for what seemed like forever! Finally it started back down my body and stopped at my stomach area, just peering into me... What was it looking for?!
My mind seemed to regain a little control of itself at this point. I thought to myself, "I should try commanding it to leave again!"...I tried with all my might to sit up and I began to think the command in my head at first. Then my mouth began to cooperate with my mind and started to say it as well. Words were still a bit jumbled but they began to come together. Still trying to free myself with all my might, my mind regained control of my mouth and it happened... I shouted "IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, I COMMAND YOU TO LEAVE!" Then all of a sudden my attackers let go of me and fled! Because I was trying so hard to break free, I sat up with such force that I almost flung myself out of bed! I was overcome with emotion, I began to cry and again yelled, "IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, I COMMAND YOU TO LEAVE!" Then I ran out of my room, down the hall, out my front door and into the parking lot. I didn't know what to do, but I felt I needed to call my dad. Of course, I ran out of my house and didn't think to grab my cell phone on the way out. In fact I was still in nothing but PT shorts. I was going to have to go back in and get it!
As I started toward the front door, I got that weird feeling on the back of my neck. The hair stood up on my arms, legs and neck as I began to feel sick, again. I flung the front door open and ran back into my house. Turning on lights as I went, I headed for my bedroom. As I reached my bedroom, I immediately turned on the light, ran to my nightstand, grabbed my phone and ran back out of the house as fast as I could!
I called my dad at almost 03:30 in the morning in North Carolina, which made it 01:30 back home in Utah. After about six rings, my dad answered the phone. He immediately asked me what was wrong. I assume he asked me this because of the time in which I called. As a general rule, I don't call my parents at zero dark thirty to discuss the weather, so his assumption was correct. Unable to hold back the tears I said, "Dad, I was attacked!" He said "Who attacked you!? Are you ok?! Where are you now!?" I replied, "Dad, I was attacked by a spirit!" The phone went silent for about five seconds... He said, "A what?" "Dad, I was attacked by a spirit, a ghost...something!" He then asked me if I had a safe place to go. I told him I that I should, but I'd need to call my Corporal, who lived just up the street and around the corner on an adjacent block. He told me to call whoever I needed and to call him back if there were any problems arranging a place to stay for the night.
I called my Corporal, and good friend, Jake who without any hesitation or questions offered me a place to stay as long as I needed. He drove over to pick me up and even went inside my house to get my uniform items and shaving bag etc. I couldn't bring myself to go back into the house again. I still had a terrible feeling just being close to it. He drove us back to his house and setup a makeshift rack on his couch. Then he asked what all had happened. I told him exactly what had transpired. He told me that he believed every word and said he had never before heard someone tell a story with such fear and conviction. I am so grateful for all that he did for me that night; most of all for just listening.
After I had returned from CAX, I told my wife about the incident that had happened when she was away. I didn't tell her right away, because I didn't want to frighten her, as she scares easy and figured she'd freak out. As we were talking she told me that she'd had strange things happen to her in that house as well. On a couple of occasions when I was at work (before my incident) she had gone into the bathroom to take a shower. She swore she saw a shadow of a person through the shower curtain. She just figured I'd come home for lunch and snuck into the bathroom for a quick peek and a kiss before heading back to work (which was very common). She said she spoke to me and asked how work was going but no one would answer. She would pull the curtain back to find nothing there and the shadow would be gone. Was this the same shadow figured that I'd seen prior to my attack?! (Cue Twilight Zone Intro Music) At the time, she said she didn't really put much thought into it and figured she just imagined it. However, after I told her my story she really got pretty scared. Before I deployed to Iraq, she flew home to stay with family again. She didn't like to be alone when I wasn't there. And even more so now with our experiences in the house. Once I returned from my deployment we decided to move to new place off-base in Jacksonville, NC.
Now for some post attack analysis. With no tangible evidence to support my claim of the attack, I found myself questioning my own integrity. Did this really happen? Was it just a dream? For weeks and months I tried to find a logical explanation almost every avenue to reason with myself that this may have not happened and that perhaps it was just a dream or maybe a hallucination. However, I couldn't deny the way it felt when I was attacked. Every fiber of my being tells me that it did happen, I wasn't dreaming/hallucinating, and I was in fact attacked by an evil spirit.
About five years after the incident, during another deployment, I found another U.S. Marine who had a similar experience. This was the first time I had heard the terms "Sleep Paralysis" and "Old Hag Syndrome". He didn't believe he had been attacked by an evil spirit and put all his stock into sleep paralysis. I have done quite a bit of research on sleep paralysis. There are many potential triggers of sleep paralysis; most of which revolve around high stress and abnormal sleep patterns. High stress and lack of sleep definitely fits the profile of a U.S. Marine training for a combat deployment. About a year later I met another service member in the U.S. Army, who also had a similar experience. She however, believed that she had been attacked by an evil spirit as well. Before telling this story, I had only told a handful of people of my experience. Strangely enough, I don't think my dad believes my story. Years later I brought it up to him once in a "Do you remember when," moment and he seemed to scoff at it. Regardless, it's really not important if he or anyone else believes it. I know what happened and how it felt. I don't ever want to feel and experience that again.
So, could my experience have been just another case of sleep paralysis? Science and "experts" tell us yes, absolutely it could. However, I believe that my experience wasn't just a mere case of sleep paralysis but rather something more sinister. To this day, I have not had another experience like this nor have I ever experienced the same feeling of terror.
What do you think? The floor is open for my readers to comment. I would very much appreciate some thoughtful honest input. Also, consider this a reach out to find other readers who have experienced similar events.
Thank you for reading!