Join this author as she relives one of the most horrifying nights of her life…
I don’t know how I get myself into these things. All alone, dead of night somewhere in Virginia, off the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s pitch black outside and now the damn dog wants to go whiz. “I’m not leaving the safe confines of this house. You can find a piece of newspaper!”
Since arriving five days ago, I’ve been ill at ease. We volunteered my dog and I, to pack up my in-laws house since our only remaining parent took her leave. She bowed out gracefully after a short four day fight against the West Nile Virus. The house and twenty-five acres are finally going up for sale.
I’ve been traveling to this homestead for twenty years now. It’s in my blood, a part of me that will always be here. All of us knew without ever saying, there dwells an entity inside this house. It probably lived on this land long before our family came here. There is an old home site just down the valley, near the spring. Nothing left but a few foundation stones. An old family cemetery sits up on the highest hill, some tombstones date back to the 1700’s. This land has a long human history. Happy and healthy or sick and tragic, we don’t know. Nonetheless, we know this land was theirs and they don’t let us forget it.
Up on the high pasture you can see for miles. Best view on the mountain. We lovingly call it “the North 40”. Our ranch style house sits about a mile from there on a lower hill. No trees within a tenth of a mile; it’s surrounded by beautiful, lush pasture. There’s not a marred view from any window. For many years we gathered for family holidays and vacations. Always aware that down the hall between the last two bedrooms the Entity stood guard, watching and waiting. For what, we were not sure.
We were no threat, yet we felt we were uninvited and forever intruding. It dared you to walk down the hall. It knew we could feel its menacing presence. Massive shoulders, arms crossed. Feet spread the width of the hall, nearly as tall as the ceiling. Other than brow-beating us, we were generally left physically unmolested…that is until the week our Father passed, some eight years before now.
I always slept in the last room on the right. I never entered that room without feeling I was being watched. The night after we buried our Father, I was drawn toward consciousness from a deep sleep. There was a growing pain from the back of my throat. Coldness became evident when saliva dripped from the side of my tongue onto my cheek. It was at that split second I realized the pain was from my tongue, which was being pulled out of my open mouth. My jaw and lips were not in any way touching my tongue. My own hands were underneath the covers. I knew exactly who and what was responsible for this. My eyes ripped open to a pitch black room. At the same instant drawing in my tongue and slapping my hand over my mouth. Sheer terror bolted through me. I knew I must reach out to turn on the lamp, horrified I would touch something not of this world.
The light was all I could think of. I felt what ever had played this game would not dare remain in the light. I hoped and prayed this would be the case. Summoning everything I had, which was All Fear, I shot my arm out fumbling for the lamp. Finally, the switch turned in slow motion and the light flash flooded the room. Blinded, I dared not close my eyes until I was certain I was alone. The darkness was gone and so was the Entity.
You would think after that I would never stay in this house again. But no… I had to volunteer. The dog and I have packed for days it seems. As I wander from room to room, moving boxes to the back, I notice the dog never comes down the hall. I know what she is sensing and I sense it too. The entire back portion of the house was guarded by this Specter. The only rooms it never presented itself were the living room, dinning room and kitchen, “the Heart of the House”. On the eve of my last night here alone I was granted an unexpected visit. And it changed me forever.
In the silence of the mountain, night fell quickly and hard. At 3:00 every afternoon preparation is made to ensure my warmth and safety. Groceries were stocked long before then. Wood must be hauled from the woodshed and stacked by the door. I became damn good at starting a fire from scratch. Keeping a roaring fire going all night long is a must up here, power outage is common and a January storm was coming over the mountain tonight.
The fireplace is the source of Energy that makes these rooms the heart of the house. It is built from large, heavy fieldstone pulled from the very land surrounding it. A double-sided hearth, it is so massively heavy, it had to be laid on virgin soil under the house foundation. Soil to chimney, it stands some twenty feet in height. Inside the house I can walk all the way around it, being eight feet deep from hearth to hearth and twelve feet wide. The children loved to play hide and seek; round and round they would run and laugh.
Later that evening, I had finished packing for the night and was talking to my sister from Atlanta on the phone. The wind picked up and it began to rain. I could hear tiny ice pellets tinkle lightly on the eight foot picture windows. I noticed my dog (all six pounds of her) looking straight up at the ceiling next to the fireplace as she began to bark. Odd, but dogs can be at times. It was then I felt a new energy move swiftly into the rooms surrounding the fireplace.
I knew instantly Angels had just entered directly opposite the house from where the Entity brooded. Not meekly did they enter, but with real fanfare, signaling their presence. And we all knew without a doubt they were God sent and with loving intent. The dog continued to bark, wagging her tail with great vigor and happiness. She licked the air as the Angels came down came down to pet her little furry head. Then I knew for sure I had made no mistake when the dog stopped dead still and cocked her head to one side. The Angels had vanished, but only for an instant. As quickly as they had left, they reappeared on the other side of the fireplace, beginning a delightful game of hide and seek with the little dog. Back and forth, barking then not, round and round they played. Amazed and terrified at the same time, my nerves had given it up. It was just too much to take in after spending the entire week fending off that thing down the hall. Even the dog felt it. I snatched her up, hushed her quiet and placed her in the safety of her crate by the fireplace. She made not a peep the remainder of the night.
I gathered my wits, what was left, and walked back into the kitchen, still talking to my sister (thank goodness for sisters). I thought all was quiet once again… I thought wrong. As I stood there facing the dinning room I felt the angel’s presence in front of me, calm and loving. Then it happened… I physically felt the angel reach out and stroke the back of my hair, head and shoulder. I knew the angel meant no harm. Love, caring and protection was translated to me in that instant.
Let me tell you, there is no word to describe my terror. If it had not been for the ice storm I would have run screaming into the darkness outside, dog under my arm, car keys in one hand and the phone ripped from the wall.
Manic with fright, even knowing the Angels were protecting me, all I could do was shut down. Sleep was going to be my only escape this night. Digging in a box I snagged the largest, softest comforter in the house. Wrapping up like a burrito and flopping on the couch, I covered up from head to toe with extra blanket overflowing to the floor. We slept by the roaring fireplace, my dog and I, while the Angels kept watch and protected us. I awoke several times to the sound and vibration of the house being shaken from the roof down to the very foundation. It was like a child banging a wooden block on the table, once then two or three bangs at a time. At every occurrence I was reassured, gently comforted that all was well. We were protected, safe and loved. To this day I cannot imagine what forces were doing battle on that mountain and in that house.
At first light all was dead silent, inside and out. I packed and made an orderly but hasty retreat back into civilization. If the house shaking was from the ice storm, there was little to no evidence of it. I could not escape the fact that there was but a thin layer of ice on the house. Not one shingle missing from the roof, no debris from Mother Nature down the long drive way. In twenty years, I had never heard or felt any storm on the mountain create such structural shaking as I experienced my last night in that house.
My dog and I shared an event not easily recounted, rarely believed and not known by the mountain community in which the house sits. On cold, rainy nights we sit by the little fireplace in my house, my dog, the comforter and I, so grateful for the company of angels and sisters. Thank you Angels of Mercy! That recounts the last night in my beloved family home. We sold the property a few months later. In the four years since that time the house has been sold three more times.
True account submitted with permission by Brenda Staab.