This happened when I was in a relationship with Fran, my ex boyfriend from the story "He saw his father leave his body." We were both sixteen years old, and this was the first encounter we had together, and definitely the most vivid, frightening experience of my life.
We had a mutual friend a few years older than us called Adam. He was nineteen and infamous in our town for living a very promiscuous lifestyle where he constantly looked for sex, alcohol, drugs and parties. His family were extremely rich Catholics, and many times as we were growing up, Adam had thrown his parents into turmoil over their reputation by sleeping with prostitutes on a school rugby tour, or crashing important school functions blind drunk and humiliating the headmaster, teachers and governors.
Needless to say, Adam didn't last long in education and embarked upon an alcohol-lubricated gap year while planning to attend a college his parents had paid for him to get in to, in an attempt to help him do something with his life. In the space of this year, he seemed to get in with a bad drugs crowd, and as he grew more and more alienated from his family, he would often not return home at night, and end up sleeping on a bench in the centre of town, or be found unconscious in a park in the early morning hours by the police.
Fran and I never really knew why Adam liked us all this time, as he mostly enjoyed beating up the younger boys and hitting on the girls who didn't know better. But for the most part Adam left us well-alone and obviously approved of our relationship, even stopping by at school once in a while after he had left, to chat to us about what he was doing over the fence.
What always astonished me about his exploits was that he was hardly ever held accountable for them. He would think it was funny that he was off his face in the middle of nowhere, that he had slept with somebody's wife without her husband finding out, or that he only got a caution from the police when they had caught him breaking into some gallery or other in the early hours of the morning. To him, it was just what a "young lad" would do, and I don't think he ever perceived it to be behavior that was harmful to others.
One morning, as I was on the school bus, group after group of pupils were getting on with wide-eyes, talking very excitedly about something that had happened yesterday afternoon. News spread to the back of the bus, where my friends and I were sitting, that Adam had been arguing over drugs with local tramps in a field a few miles outside of the city, and the tramps were so desperate for them, they, for want of a better word, had decapitated Adam.
"NO! That can't possibly be true?!" was our first reaction, excited and scared at the same time. But as the day progressed, we learned the sad news in school assembly: That one tramp had knocked Adam unconscious, already in an inebriated state, and attempted to steal his drugs and his money.
As Adam had come round every so often, he had started to fight him off and was proving too strong to control, despite drifting in and out of consciousness. Once they had seen how much money Adam was carrying and how lucrative it might be to steal his possessions and clothes, five other tramps joined in, and with a knife one of them was carrying, held him down, slit his throat and killed him.
Despite it not being relevant whether Adam was decapitated or not, it seems he eventually was, as the tramps became more and more psychotic about what they had done and continued to torture the body until his head eventually came off. While police originally thought that was the cause of death, they later found it was the cut to the throat.
The school and local community were immediately encompassed with what I can only describe as catholic hysteria. Some were saying he had it coming, others were crying for the "poor boy" and his parents were utterly broken. Fran and I, being neither catholic, nor so close to Adam that we were broken too, watched it all with a very quiet religious inquisitiveness and a deep sense of sadness.
Two nights later, Fran and I were lying in each other's arms in his bedroom, talking about what had happened, and the spell the local community seemed to be under. No sooner had we talked about it for more than five minutes, we "felt" someone come into the atmosphere. Something was downstairs.
We sat up. I was half clothed and immediately tried to cover myself up as it was becoming freezing in the room, but couldn't move. We thought for a second it was Fran's parents returning home, or worse, a burglar, and we'd have to get a weapon to fight them off. The most primeval part of my being was raising its hackles in a way that seemed totally unnatural to my surroundings: I was utterly terrified to my core. It was a strange feeling, because my body was reacting to a perceived threat while my mind was still babbling on and rationalizing, talking in a very mature way to Fran about the feeling we were both having and what it could be downstairs.
The very next moment, we "felt" this atmosphere coming up the stairs. I watched Fran's head nod, as if he was falling asleep, but he still had his eyes open. He stopped talking and just looked at the floor. I also fell silent, as the feelings were beyond words.
The whole experience probably only lasted for a maximum of two minutes, but once the atmosphere had reached the top of the stairs it came to the doorway of Fran's bedroom, and stopped. We could see the condensation of our breath and we were both shivering vigorously. I didn't want to look at the doorway, even though I knew it was there, and before I tried to turn my head, Fran said,
"It's Adam. It's okay."
Fran was crying and holding his head, although this seemed perfectly natural to me at the time, considering the way we were both feeling. I saw him do this many times after this incident, especially when he was experiencing the overpowering emotions of others, or when I was upset. He always seemed to feel these things very keenly, to pick up energy like a magnet and to this day I believe he is extremely psychic. Fran continued:
"He's just popping in to say hello, that he's having a great time in heaven, with a couple of beers and some nice girls."
I knew that this wasn't the case and that Fran was trying to diffuse the situation and make me less scared, by lying about what he was hearing. I also believe Fran was trying to deny that it was actually happening, as he was quite overwhelmed. I knew for a fact that what we were experiencing was a desperate cry for help, rather than an innocent drop-in of an old friend
. When I built up the courage, I looked over at the bedroom door and there was a dense, grey mass, swirling around the stair banisters and reaching with tendrils into the bedroom. What felt like every ounce of oxygen and heat in the room had gravitated towards it, it was so suffocating in its intensity. I felt oppressed and forced-upon, through no choice of my own, and it felt like one feels during one of life's voluntary experiences like the process of retching or giving birth.
I have since learnt that I am slightly empathic, or have qualities of an "empath" but I didn't know the word or meaning of it at the time. While I believe Fran could hear what Adam was communicating, I intuitively received my own "picture" at the time, which matched the communication that Fran had. This is what it was:
Adam had been forced out of his body and didn't realize it at first. He wondered around for a while, despairing as the tramps tortured his body, but soon was being overwhelmed by the outpouring of grief and gossip about him by the community, and found himself pulled this way and that, to whoever was thinking about him at the time. Maybe the unified, projected thoughts of myself and Fran must have created a particularly strong call for him, to draw him to us.
Worse still, and I don't know quite how to describe it, Adam's spirit had been imposed upon by various unruly, perverse entities who had leeched on him while he was alive because of his many misdemeanors, and now in death, had pounced on him and obscured his perceptions so much that he believed he was in hell and being punished for his sins. The truth, I believe, was that now he was in spirit, these bad spirits were trying to distract him from seeing the light. Therefore it was either the bad spirits themselves or Adam's fear that filled the room at the time.
It would have made me feel better if we had managed to convince Adam at the time that this was not actually his reality and that he had a choice. Better still, if by coming to us, it had helped him to gain back control over the bad entities, but as the atmosphere dispersed, Fran and I said nothing to each other about it or what we thought had happened to him, until two years later. Not a word. It's strange how the most significant, life changing moments do not always get discussed until years after they bear an influence.
Five hundred people turned out at Adam's funeral. Amongst them, I heard rumors that a few others had experienced symptoms such as unrelenting cold night sweats or believed that they too had visits from the dense, grey mass, and felt that overwhelming sense of fear.
Despite the high-church Catholocism of the funeral and discussions about hell raised by the religious people who knew him, I never believed that Adam was damned. For a start, I don't believe in hell, and I also don't believe that there is a fixed destiny for anyone that is infinitely bad. However I'd be interested to know what all of you think was happening to him at the time.
I obsessed over this occurrence for months. Every night, after that evening I lay in bed, petrified that it would happen again, but that Fran wouldn't be there to protect me. It never did, but I did have a dream three years later.
The dream is a bit of a cliche, but do forgive me, because I think it's rather significant: I was taking part in a play, and I was behind the scenes waiting to go on. Calmly, I turned to my right, and Adam was sitting next to me. He smiled and seemed distracted. He said, "I'm okay now, so you can just get on with your lives," and he disappeared. I went on to the stage, and Adam stayed behind the scenes.