Ever sit down and talk to a missionary who serves in a faraway land? Ever hear strange stories about the power of God, and of evil? Yes, I've seen the wackos on TV claiming that God can give you gold dental fillings if Pastor Richdude touches the prayer cloth you send in with your "best gift" of $2,000 or more. No, I mean... real missionaries. People who have given up just about everything you could think of to go live somewhere just about nobody wants to live.
I've heard stories. Usually they're not as dramatic as the ones you hear ninteenth-hand about the minute the church in the US prayed, this big legion of angels scared natives away who were planning a raid on missionary settlements. And there were the exact number of angels as there were praying on the carpet at Whatever Baptist Church at 3 p.m., etc. That story's about as overused as the preaching on the frog-in-the-pot. But I've heard dramatic stories about people who really ARE demon-possessed, and the spiritual darkness you can just FEEL in some places of the world from some missionaries, and even laypeople. Go ahead and laugh.
But I have been in a place like that.
In Kearney, Missouri.
No, really. I'm not given to weird stories and claiming victory for Jesus by marching around affected buildings seven times and that kinda stuff. But one day, when I was househunting with my husband about 12 years ago, I encountered a house with something in it.
We were househunting this way: One of us would go in while the other stayed in the car or yard with our small children, Patrick and G. Then we'd switch so both of us would get a chance to look at the place without our children making silly comments or getting into the cabinets. So I went into a place with my realtor.
Have you ever just KNOWN someone was staring at you, and felt uncomfortable? Well, oh, it was odd... but there in the living room, I could FEEL something staring at me. It was as if someone were standing RIGHT IN FRONT of me and glaring. I wanted to back out, but thought I was a silly. Because stuff like that isn't real. The living room looked totally normal, but the carpeting was a bit outdated and the curtains were those old thick plastic-lined ones with the tweedy fabric on the side facing indoors. Icky, but hardly anything to freak out about.
Further into the house, I'm doing a little chat with myself. I mean, I REALLY like the layout. The kitchen and living areas flow around in a circle through to the TV room. You know the older houses I'm talking about like that. And then a stairway upstairs and a doorway down to the basement. Looking back, my, was everything dated. But that sort of thing really doesn't bother me so much as it does other people. In fact, it's kinda nostalgic to see those white countertops with the goldy flecks in them. You remember when that stuff was en vogue.
But the basement was ... something. I have never seen the like ever before or since. Maybe I wasn't so silly.
The walls were painted black. Skulls were drawn on the walls. There were black candles and blood drawn on the walls. Some sort of table with things on it and my mind has blocked out what on earth it was. I just remember it bothered me. The realtor was a bit uncomfortable and started to talk about a nice coat of paint and you could let your kids play down there. He was shifting funny on his feet when he said it, too.
I started thinking of getting my pastor to please walk through the house with me with the anointing oil and pray, pray, pray. I mean, no weapon formed against us can prosper and all that. It was a good price, even if it smelled vaguely of pot.
Outside, there were a couple teenagers and neighbourhood kids hanging out with their parents. They looked like normal enough people, though these parents let their children draw on their clothes and smoke. But otherwise about like anyone else. I liked the house and the neighbourhood and told D maybe we should make an offer and then call the pastor?
D hated the place. He thought I was nuts for even suggesting it. He said, you know, it isn't so much the place, because the PLACE is nice, but there are probably all kinds of people used to hanging out around here. Well, he's probably right on that one. Ok, then, on to the next house on our list...
But ever since then, our car didn't work right. We even had the GM dealership servicepeople working on the phone with National Headquarters trying to figure out what on earth was wrong. The house is evil, D tells me, and it messed up the car. I'd be inclined to agree with him though I know how SILLY that sounds. Imagine, scary house killing your car. I mean, that's silly.
But if you were there, maybe you would believe me that it's at least possible. It was very creepy. D refuses to even drive down that street EVER AGAIN because of the power he thinks that evil house has. And that was TWELVE YEARS AGO.
Now, I don't get "into" stuff like that. I've never called people over to look for ghosts or thrown up demons in a bucket or any of the really weird stuff you might be thinking about. It wasn't like I started my day just then looking for the paranormal.
Can I tell you about another house? This one is up the street from me. NO ONE on our street would even be paid to live there, so far as I know. It is, as my Catholic neighbour put it once, jinxed. EVERY family that has ever lived there for 40-odd years has gotten a messy divorce or one of the spouses killed themselves. OK, it's a bad place to my knowledge, but I've never been in it. I just know what people have lived in it over the last 12 years or so haven't been upstanding citizens of the community. I'm not sure that the house is jinxed, or if it's just that the house keeps going up for sale and it's a bargain... and you know, if someone just shot themselves in the house before you bought it, you'll get it for cheap.