I’ve been meaning to make this post for two years.
I’ve been avoiding making this post for two years.
There is a reason I started this blog, but I realize that once something is on the internet, it is eternal. I started this blog at the encouragement from my mentor and pastor’s wife (a Dr. in theology and general awesomeness) because I couldn’t find any Christians online who were talking about this. Now I know why. I’ve side-stepped this blog post again and again, but then I ran into someone experiencing what I did. She was unsure what to do or who to talk with about it.
Even now, it’s hard to talk about. You have to have at least a little background on me. I have loved science my entire life. I am logical and skeptical. For instance, my pastor (also a Dr. in theology) would say that the Hebrew/Greek word meant something, and I’d think, “Hmm, I’m going to look that up when I get home”. I have no reason to doubt his education or sincerity and have known him for over a decade. I’m just that skeptical.
So, when I say that I have seen demons, angels, and more, I expect you to have the same reaction I have when someone tells me that (Oh. Really?). I expect to be rejected by my science loving peers and by my Christian peers (despite Christian history being filled with the strange experiences of people like St. Teresa of Avila, whom the church labeled mystics). I expect to be called crazy by one and devil by the other. I expect to be disbelieved, misunderstood, and maligned. I expect all that, but I hope to be found helpful to the handful of other people who don’t know what to do with what they are experiencing.
How do you know that you aren’t hallucinating?
For lack of a better word, I call the trait Openness, and I’ve had it since I can remember. I assume that people are born with or without it, like color vision. If most people couldn’t see color, a person born with color vision trying to describe what they are seeing would seem crazy. As a logical person, the thought that I might actually be crazy did occur to me. It was talking to a dear, atheist friend about my experiences that made crazy seem less logical. His natural skepticism lead him to ask questions I hadn’t thought of yet.
“How do you know that you aren’t hallucinating? Hallucinations can be very real,” he asked.
“I don’t have any other random checks from reality, and besides, I’ve had shared experiences with other people.”
“When you have a shared experience, who says something first, you or another person? You saying something can stimulate them to think they feel/see/hear something too,” he said.
“Usually the other person. Most people don’t experience anything, so I keep my mouth shut.”
As a new wife with a husband who had never had anything abnormal happen to him, I naturally kept quiet.
I went on to tell him about the first shared experience I had with my husband. Some how a demon was brought into our townhouse apartment (I’ll go into that more when I talk about demons), and I could feel the place growing oppressive. While I was washing dishes, I heard voices whispering from the hall leading to the living room. As a new wife with a husband who had never had anything abnormal happen to him, I naturally kept quiet, but then my hubby said, “What did you say?” So, I dried off my hands and told him that I didn’t say anything. Cue conversation and prayer. Here, my atheist friend, suggested that it was the people in the next apartment, except that we were the end townhouse, and it happened on the outside wall end.
“What do you discuss when you see something together because that can influence memory?”
“Sometimes we don’t discuss it. We interact.”
When my older sister and I were kids (around 10 and 8), we were playing in the house. We saw my mom go upstairs, and we followed calling after her. I saw her round the top of the stair toward the middle room. My sister was faster and was a few feet ahead of me. When we reached the middle room, no one was in there. Mom couldn’t have gone back without us seeing her, so we assumed she was in the last, upper room, the room we didn’t play in because we didn’t like it. It stayed empty and shut. We grabbed a butterknife (we kept one for just such occasions) to open it because it didn’t have a knob, though it did have an old house skeleton keyed spot for one. We opened it up in full confidence because she HAD to be there, but the room was empty. We walked down the stairs, confused and wondering how she could have snuck past us without our noticing. When we rounded the bottom of the stairs, we saw our mom in the kitchen.
“Mom! How did you get down here? Why didn’t you answer us when we called you?”
“What do you mean? I’ve been here cooking lunch.”
My sister and I didn’t discuss anything while it was happening. We just followed after our mom. When my mom asked what happened, we told her. We didn’t confer with each other about details. We told the story as children do, talking over and with the other, but there was no disagreement in what we said.
You will have to decide for yourself, and that’s okay.
After telling my friend the stories, he got quiet. There were basically three choices: 1. I was being dishonest. 2. I had a mental problem. 3. I was experiencing something supernatural. Having been friends since our teenage years, he dismissed first the first option. As my readers, and strangers, you don’t have that luxury. You will have to decide for yourself which of the three options you will apply to me, and that’s okay. I think my expectations of how most people will react are realistic. To those who share this trait and are looking for answers, I may have a few, but mostly, I can tell you that you are not alone. I’m going to do several blogs on my experiences. I hope that they are useful and help you to struggle less against what you are. It has taken me years, but finally I have come to accept myself for what I am, a skeptical mystic.