(Part 4 of 5)
New Orleans, LA
My mother continued to pray and read scripture and light candles, continuing these tacts until the voice dwindled and seemed to disappear into the thin air it had emerged from.
But the spirit did not flee, nor go far from its new habitation.
I was eight years old. Sound asleep in my bed when I woke up to a strange and utterly terrifying situation. My bed was jumping up and down.
At first I thought my sister was pulling a prank. Our beds were in an "L" shape--mine vertical to her, horizontal. But such a prank would be uncharacteristic of my sister. Once she fell asleep, she slept like a log. Nothing stirred her. Still--what else could it be?
I reached for the desk light on my headboard and pressed the switch. Smile on my face, I was all ready to to yell "Cut it out!" until I saw with my own eyes what was happening. The right side of my mattress was bowing down and then up again, as if someone of substantial weight were bouncing or jumping on the edge of it. And I could hear the squeak of the mattress as the invisible weight of something bounced off it. I looked beyond my mattress and noticed my sister sound asleep in her bed. Sound asleep!
Sound caught in my throat. I could not scream. I could not breathe. I could not move.
All the while, the mattress scrunched and squeaked as an unseen weight bore down upon it. And that's not all. I was acutely aware of the presence of a being. There was something or some invisible someone on the end of my bed. Jumping or hopping, bouncing perhaps from a seated position or standing for all I could tell. On my bed.
I tried again to shout, to yell, to scream. And though it began with a mere squeak, I let out a scream.
My mother ran into the room and asked what was wrong.
Between the hysterical tears that came with her comforting presence, I told her what happened. She sat on the edge of my bed and soothed my fears, but told me it was probably a bad dream. Just a nightmare. She sat with me a while longer to calm me down. But when she left me to go back to bed, I was unconvinced. The rest of the night, I stayed awake with the light on--afraid whatever it was would come back--fearful it might happen again.
The next morning I asked my sister if she'd heard anything. But she didn't. I already knew the answer. She was sound asleep--didn't hear a thing. I'd seen her with my own eyes. But I'd also seen my mattress going up and down with my own eyes.
To my relief, my bed never jumped up and down again, but I spent many a night terrified it would, and worried what else might happen. I had the feeling of being watched and often hid under my sheets. If I had known about my mother's experience, I might have understood there was reason to be afraid. I wondered if it was all in my mind, if maybe I was going crazy.
The demonic spirit stayed in the background for a while. We don't know why. Perhaps the arrival of a hurricane and the destructive impact on the house. Perhaps my mother reciting scripture daily? Whatever the reason, my mother was fully convinced that whatever had tormented her was now gone for good. But it had moved from her to torment me.
And a few years later, the spirit would move on to torment another family member.