It started with cold spots in my one bedroom apartment. I thought it was just the thermostat broken, so I ignored the signs in the beginning. It wasn’t until my bedroom became an icebox that I realized that something was wrong. I’m not crazy religious, but my Catholic mother taught me to believe in the unknown and to have faith in the good and the bad that live within that space. I never truly knew what she meant by that.
But I always understood that there had to be a type of balance in the world, and if there was good, then there must be something called evil.
A couple weeks ago I visited this small Halloween museum on West Magnolia in Burbank. Its theme was ancient Gods and urban legends. There were numerous artifacts to look at and paintings to take pictures of. When we walked in, I immediately felt off. I don’t know why, but I felt as if the atmosphere had thickened somehow. I ignored it of course, and tried to enjoy myself. I work over forty hours a week, so I try to spend time with my friends as much as possible on the weekends. Plus it was October, and I love the spooky and paranormal. Never would I believe that this trip would cause me to ever regret feeling that way.
We walked by various vases, weapons, and documents. As if it were destiny, a little brown mouse ran by my foot and of course I freaked the fuck out. I accidentally knocked into a display and an old ragged grimoire fell on the ground. Not wanting to draw attention, I picked it up quickly and put it back. It had these strange symbols written all over it. Out of the book, a small silver pin fell onto the ground. A museum attendant walked into the room and I didn’t want to touch the book again, so I picked the pin up. It was intriguing too, mesmerizing almost. It was so small and harmless. I thought that no one would notice. My friend looked at me cautiously, but said nothing. We went about the rest of the day as normal. Afterwards, I dropped my friend off at home. I then went to the store to buy some wine.
As I walked through the aisle looking for my favorite brand, I felt a burning sensation in my pocket. I reached into it and felt the pin. It was hot. I don’t mean, warm. The pin was hot. I thought it was strange, so I put it into my purse.
As I walked up to the cashier, I heard a young boy whisper something inaudible to his mother. The mother scolded him. I couldn’t hear what he said, but then he repeated it louder. “What’s that black thing around her?” I was wearing green.
“Sweetie, that’s not nice,” replied the mother to her son. The son persisted behind me. Feeling awkward, I tried to get the cashier to hurry up. The boy screamed this time, “She’s got blackness around her!”
I became a little startled. The mother looked at me apologetically. “I’m so sorry, my son has outbursts sometimes.”
But this little boy stared at me like I was the devil.
His eyes were unapologetic. Sure, he’s a kid, but the seriousness on his face made me believe what he was saying. The cashier interrupted my train of thought by handing me my bag. I hurried out of the store.
As I got inside my car, I noticed something odd. There were prints on my windshield – fingerprints. I assumed it was just some teenager trying to be funny, so I sprayed some fluid to wipe it away.
It was at that point that I realized the handprint came from the inside.
My heart pounded, but I didn’t want to read too much into it – thinking about it too much might lead me down a spiral of terror. I got a Starbucks napkin from the car compartment and wiped it away with some water. I then went home and went straight to bed, hoping morning would come soon.
The rest of the weekend went smoothly. It was not until the following Monday morning that everything changed. I woke up in an early winter. My room was freezing. It was eighty degrees outside, but in my room it felt like it was forty. Again, the Valley can get cold in the morning and nights, so I dismissed it. I went to my car, and that’s when I noticed the same fingerprint in the same spot as before. I tried to wipe it away, but again, it was from the inside. Oddly enough, there was a black fly sticking to the hand print from the outside. As I started to drive, the fly stayed on the print. Not even the wind could get it off. I tried to let it slide. It was just a bug, right?
I was on my way to rehearsal as I am an actor. Because the play I was in was going up that weekend, we were in tech. One of the things I do to prep myself for a performance is to sit in one of the dressing rooms away from everyone else and meditate. My father, before he got sick, taught me to clear my head when trouble was surrounding me. I entered the room and turned on the mirror lights. I sat on the ground and centered myself. I did some breath work and hummed. I knew I had about twenty minutes before my stage call, so I tried to ground myself as best I could.
Everything was fine until I started to shiver. The room became freezing. I could have sworn I heard something behind me. It’s not real I tried to tell myself, but God damn, I heard something move. I gathered the courage to look back, and saw my reflection echoing at me through the mirrors. Then the unthinkable happened. All the bulbs went out one by one.
Before I could move, before I could even scream, I was in darkness. Whatever the fuck this thing was moved fast as I was blind.
I could see an outline of something human and something else. I turned on the flashlight on my phone and waved it around as I tried opening the door. It was locked from outside. I tried banging and screaming, but it was as if I was on mute. Nothing came out of my mouth and I could hear nothing on the door. My voice was gone. I felt it behind me, next to me. It was foul, my nostrils instantly closed up. I couldn’t see it, but I could hear it. It was this horrible croaking sound that amplified my senses. It was the worst sound I ever heard in my entire life. If I could compare it to a word, it would be death, because hearing that made me what to die. I didn’t care. I just wanted it all to end. As I was on the edge of passing out, the muted spell stopped. I heard myself screaming again. Someone from the cast heard me and opened the door. I fell on the ground and cried.
I was sent home early and my understudy Annie took my place for the run through. As I was driving home I called my friend Grace and told her what had happened. Grace was superstitious and I knew she would believe me. I trusted her. People have faith in religion, work, and relationships. I had faith in Grace. We had been friends since childhood and she knew I would never lie about a thing like this.
After I finished my story in her living room, she paced back and forth. She asked me if I had gone anywhere in the past month or year that was haunted, cursed, or had bad energy. I didn’t know how to answer because I had mostly worked and hadn’t traveled anywhere, let alone ventured into a spooky area.
I thought about the museum I went to. I told her about the pin. Grace shook her blonde bob ferociously and scolded me on what a stupid thing it was to have done. She asked me where the pin was. I said I had it at home. We researched the museum and the grimoire that I knocked over.
Apparently, the book was a grimoire of black magic. We still don’t know what that pin was to this day, but I assumed it was cursed. Grace and I drove back to my apartment. As we entered the 405 ramp, a black shape darted in front of us and disappeared into traffic. We screamed and swerved into a rail. Luckily there weren’t any cars zooming by and we didn’t hit anyone. Grace stated that this entity was powerful and had anger behind its actions. I must have upset some kind of energy by taking that pin.
I ran into my home and searched for the pin. I had it in my dresser. Grace waited in the car outside for me. I went for the front door, but it slammed shut. The quick movement started again as this thing was in my apartment. As my apartment was on the ground floor, I went to the window, but it was locked too. Nothing would budge. I had a feeling that this would be our final interaction. This entity wanted to kill me and if there ever was a time, it would be now. I was alone. I took a bat from my closet and smashed the window facing the street. As I crawled through it and prepared myself to jump, something grabbed my arm.
I screamed as it felt like fire to my skin. I looked up at the creature grabbing onto me. It was in the shape of a human with moldy burnt skin. It had no eyes or psychical characteristics. I smelled the foulness from it. I let myself go and fall a couple feet. Grace was out of the car at this point and she helped me to my feet. We looked at my arm, and on it were three burn marks. I didn’t care; I just wanted to end this. We went for the car, but all the tires blew out in front of us, as if an invisible force slashed them with a knife.
Covering the windshield were hundreds of handprints. This evil knew what we were trying to do and wanted to stop us.
“I was returning what I took. Why wouldn’t it let me go?” Grace stated that perhaps there was an entity trapped inside the object. I responded, “It’s an evil spirit then?”
But Grace said no. That meant that it was human first. This entity was a demon. Born within the cosmos of darkness and shadow – with no purpose, light, or end. And I were its next target.
The museum was only five minutes away by drive and twenty by walking. I ran. I knew whatever it was, was coming. I looked at my watch and had ten minutes before the museum closed at midnight. Grace followed behind me. When I got there, the lights were still on. I ran to the cashier and she looked at me disapprovingly.
“We’re closing in five minutes,” she said.
“I don’t give a damn; just sell me a ticket!” I screamed back. I handed her a twenty dollar bill and ran through the museum. When I got to the book, it wasn’t there anymore. I scanned the room and saw it placed in the corner on a different display. I went to it and put the pin back inside the pages, hoping that the spirit would go back to its prison.
An attendant came up behind me, “Don’t touch any of the artifacts!”
I looked back smiling, “You don’t have to tell me twice.”
I ran back out and never looked back. I’m telling you my story to warn you that even by visiting a place like a museum, you can still attract the bad things in the world. These objects could be anything…no matter what size or how small.
Don’t make the same mistake as me, believing there isn’t anything other than us.
What happened to me and my experience is something that will haunt me for the rest of my life. It means that there are demons and spirits, and that where there is good, there is also the terrible.