When You Can’t Help

Posted: December 30, 2011 in Uncategorized
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December 29th, 2011

There are times as a paranormal investigator when you start out wanting to help and end up overwhelmed and unable to do anything to assist your client. What you learn are your own limitations, both as an individual and as an investigator. When that happens, you are humbled and awed by the possibility that you don’t know but a fraction of the powers of the spirit world.

This case started with an email asking for help with what appeared to be a malevolent entity attacking the client’s six-year-old son in his room while he slept. She had attached pictures of her son, apparently scratched and burned by something inexplicable. The pictures were heart-rending. My first instinct was to “help”–I put that word in quotes because I had no idea at the time how to do that. From the start, something was off about the entire situation. Try as I might, I was unable to forward the pictures to the other members of the team. We were all touched by the mother’s story, yet we could not find a date or time that worked for all of us to visit the home; and, at the last minute, one of the team members who thought she could make it had to cancel due to work issues. I was on my own.

Of course, I shouldn’t have attempted this case alone. Our rule was–and is–that we never conduct an initial walk-through of a home without at least one other team member present. However, in a paroxysm of concern for the client and an intense desire not to appear flaky or irresponsible, I headed west on my own. This visit would turn into a traumatic series of events that left me in a state of self-doubt that took weeks to process and overcome.

The client was single, with two children, apparently terrorized by whatever was lingering or lurking in their bedroom. Both children were sleepwalking and suffering from night terrors, and more often than not ended up sleeping in mom’s bed. This had been going on for months, but the activity escalated in November, focusing on the son. The toys had been activated in the middle of the night, odd sounds emanated from the kids’ room, neither would enter the bathroom in their room, deeming it “scary”; the room was, indeed, freezing, foreboding and rejected as a place to play or sleep. The mother had heard phantom coins dropping  into the piggy bank and speculated that at least some of the activity centered on it. All of this was odd and unsettling, but it wasn’t until the night her son wandered into her room asleep and she noticed the long, jagged scratches on his back that she became truly alarmed. A short while later, she discovered burn marks in a sort of pattern on his lower back and buttocks and decided to contact us.

She was divorced, lived with the two kids and shared custody with an ex husband–who, she swore, was a great dad. I asked about the timing of the marks. She insisted that they were not there the night he went to bed and had appeared in the space of a few hours. She had been awake and verified that her daughter had never awoken from her slumber that evening. In other words, nothing normal or natural  could explain the injuries. I believed her; I couldn’t find a reason not to. We had spoken at length on the phone, she had promptly and thoroughly filled out our lengthy form, and most of all, she was intelligent, articulate, calm and showed no signs of duplicity or mental illness (both of which we had come across before). Therefore, I figured it was fine to visit her alone; even my incredibly wary husband didn’t see any harm in it.

She lived in a section of an apartment complex on the ground floor. Only the kitchen and her bedroom shared a wall with a neighbor. The bedroom in question fronted a green space and a parking area. When I walked through the patio, my first impressions had something to do with sadness and heaviness. The patio was strewn with toys, some obviously unloved or forgotten. It was a portrait of childhood, but of a childhood spent in a dark space, with little freedom. Perhaps the characterization is unfair, but I felt instantly depressed. When mom answered the door, however, I was pleasantly surprised. She was attractive and seemed confident, albeit a tad nervous to meet me, all of which made her appear open and appealing. The apartment was small but neat; children’s drawings and toys were artfully displayed; she was doing her best after a divorce to create a nice home for her kids, a place where they would feel safe. Except now, apparently, they weren’t.

We chatted amicably, even though I could tell I was talking too much. I wasn’t quite comfortable but didn’t understand why. We reviewed the forms, sharing theories about the ghost–or whatever it was–and attempting to make sense of it all. I decided near the beginning of our visit to place the digital audio recorder in the children’s bedroom, and I left it running the about 45 minutes. During this time, you can hear us talking in low tones in the living room and moving into the bedroom, commenting on the various odd phenomena in the apartment. This is where I notice how cold the kids’ bedroom is, how thick the atmosphere was, and I commented how much I wished to avoid the contiguous bathroom. She explained to me then how her children won’t go near it. We wrap up the visit and say goodbye. I never expected to hear anything strange on the audio; it was four o’clock in the afternoon, and even though I didn’t like the oppressive feel of the bedroom, I wasn’t prepared to take that as evidence for a haunting.

I liked her. She seemed genuine. I could find no cause for alarm. There was simply no clue that she could have possibly done anything to hurt her son. She wanted answers, and I thought I could provide them. I believed that I could simply rally the PHW, conduct a thorough investigation, and hand her over a report that explained all–or at least some–of the mystery. Then I reviewed my audio from that visit and all of my assumptions evaporated. I heard male voices–sometimes just one, sometimes more than one–under our conversations. I could not make out what they were saying, or he, or it–but this other voice, or other voices, were weaving in and out of our conversations, as if commenting upon what we were saying (please note that you need headphones to hear these clips and you must turn up the volume and listen more than once. If you still don’t hear anything unusual, write to me and I’ll send you the original files before they are compressed for this site). Here is an example:

voice under ours

There are other examples of this, the constant commenting and talking under/over us; and there are the three clips with odd, robotic or mechanical noises that could be the sound of toys or something else that I simply can’t explain:

weird electric noise

metallic noise


Then there were those clips that the other team members did not think were paranormal, but I still find strange; for one thing, I was in the room when these were recorded, and I didn’t hear anything unusual at the time. I leave these for you to decide:

distant voice


The laugh in the next clip is very odd. It clearly isn’t either one of us:


However, it wasn’t until I heard the following clip that the entire investigation fell apart for me. Listen to it, but be aware that I will interpret what it says right afterward. I do this only because I cannot tell the rest of the story without you knowing what it says:

whispered voice

It didn’t take long for me to hear the message: “Get out of here. Never come back”.

There is a sick feeling that I sometimes get when listening to my audio. It’s that sense that I’ve heard something that I wasn’t supposed to hear, a voice that is best left to the shadows. I still feel that odd, depressed sensation when I listen to this clip. This is a message to me from someone, unidentified, who wants me to stay away. I listened. The reason that I paid attention to this clip and took it more seriously than any others I have heard is simple: this is something that has hurt a child. This is a force capable of bodily injury. Even if you argue that those injuries must have been inflicted by a parent or guardian, the question still lingers: what kind of influence could this entity have in that apartment? It is creating emotional turmoil, so the issue is not as much whether or not I can prove conclusively who or what hurt the children (I cannot prove anything, either way) but what can, or should, I do.

I could have ignored a clear message on my audio and involved the PHW; maybe it was an empty threat. I could have justified and rationalized a decision to continue with this investigation. I agonized over this issue. There were those who insisted I call social services, those who don’t believe in spirits or demons. There were those who believed that I had encountered true evil, something that would follow me home and torment my family. In either case, this was abuse. If I was wrong about the parents hurting their child, I could have been responsible for a true family tragedy. Family members recommended I consult a priest; others said to simply walk away. I came very close to meeting with Father McNamara at a local Catholic church. I chose not to. All I could imagine was the disapproval in his voice when he heard about my naive ambitions to “help” in this situation. I felt the admonitions rain down upon me as someone who didn’t understand the evil in this world, and had walked straight into a situation that she was ill-equipped to handle.

I felt ignorant, stupid, powerless and useless. All I could do, after weeks of soul searching, was talk to her and tell her that, in my humble opinion, she needed to consult a religious authority within her spiritual tradition (she didn’t have one) and consider moving out of that apartment (which she couldn’t do, because she would have to break her lease and they would subsequently raise her rent in another unit). I told her that they should never sleep in that room again. They don’t. I sent her the audio clips, and she was duly unhappy with them. She asked about clearing the house, and I recommended a couple of books, but in the end, I don’t believe that one can “clear” something out which might have persisted there for decades . . . or centuries. How wonderful it would be to make all such unpleasant and frightening souls disappear, all because we will it.

After a while, we stopped writing. There was nothing left to say. I had hit the wall of my own naivete and impotence, and she had run out of options. In the end, I was only pleased with one aspect of this case: at the very least, I had kept the other PHW out of that apartment. In my heart of hearts, I know that something was drastically, terribly wrong in that room. Whether it was a human or spiritual agent creating the chaos and causing the pain is almost not relevant, since neither can be proved by a paranormal investigator. I did what I could, and I had to walk away. That was difficult; but how much more traumatic to have involved people that I loved in a what I believe was an ancient evil much more intelligent than I. At least it warned me to stay away; and I did.

  1. Joanne says:

    Wow that laugh was loud and I did hear the last one and could understand it before I read what you wrote.

    However, I would have loved to have seen what came up in a full investigation. I would hope you would refer this case to another team who has more experence in these type of cases. I don’t believe this woman and her children should stay there without help.

    I do believe there are those who have the knowledge to remove these type of spirits or at least find out what is going on.

    If you need help in finding another group to go there let me know, I can put you in touch with some.

    I do commend you for following your gut and not going back or having your team go. You need to always protect yourself and team first.

    • parawife says:

      Hi Joanne,
      We actually do have another team that we occasionally contact for cases where something is causing the kind of harm one cannot attribute to spirits. Problem is, they are backed up for months with other cases. If you have a good team in mind that deals with the “possibly demonic”, please do send their info to me.

  2. GOPACH says:

    I would like to help

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