Geist Rewrite

Next year, somewhat later than planned however, l shall be commencing “The Confession Series …” A series that deals with aspects of my life from the years 1980 – 1993. In those 13 years alone, l lived a lot of life and responded to many challenges that life both gifted me and presented me with opportunities and ‘occasional moments’ for good and great times!’

13 years is such a small number but it met me when l was 17 and introduced me to 30 and in-between that period it allowed me to discover parts of me that l never really knew l had and more importantly it encouraged me to participate in curiosities that perhaps l may never have experienced had not certain chances arisen before me.

One of the Confession series is my time as a ghost hunter between the years of 1980 to 1983 or from the ages of 17 – 20.

How did l even become a ghost hunter and did l really see any ghosts? Is it all codswallop and Martian bollocks or is there something more to it? Deeper and sinister perhaps? Was l scared or fascinated or both? Did l jump frequently? Did l see strange things, smell stranger scents, feel cold and clammy and was l at all influenced by anything wayward and unnatural?

Well those questions and more will be addressed in the small series of tales and stories that l create in support of that part of the main series which will outline my experiences when looking into the darkness and waiting for it to speak.

But for the time being – with this post and the mini-series that follows over the next couple of weeks, l would like to explain to you how l actually came into contact with the term ‘ghost hunting’.

So many people have quite different opinions when it comes to the question of Time. More so, when it presents itself to observers as today, yesterday, tomorrow and beyond. You hardly ever hear of people today conversing about the beyond. In WordPress l watch creative fiction writers of tale, story and flash alike publishing wonderful literary reads about the beyond and yet, so many of them don’t even believe in that aspect – it’s simply all good fun, a bit of a laugh in black and white.

People watch horror movies because they like to be scared and others watch them because real life scares them more and so horror escapism in film is considered normal and therefore non-threatening.

The human mind can consciously in both reality and actuality as well as fiction and nonsense create ghastly moments in time for readers and thinkers alike, shockingly scary occasions and even when left alone and unattended the mind can scare itself in the dark. Feed your body the wrong foods and or substances and your mind can easily create ghouls from mere flecks of escaped imaginations and just hidden nothings!

Earlier this week l was reading a post by Lisa of The Road Back to Life titled Strange Occurrences in which she was talking about a strange occurence in her kitchen recently. The event was a ‘flying potato’ potentially moved by a ‘geist’ or an entity if you wish, an essence to some others. This story reminded me of my own experiences with geists when l was around the 13/14 years of age mark or as l like to remember 1977/78.

The problems l encountered during this time remained with me and my family till 1980. It never really left even then, it simply manifested itself differently and my life started to change dramatically because of the presence in the house that l lived with my two parents and my sister.

Let me go back a way first …

From the age of l would say 12 and when l was still living in Australia l was very interested in reading horror and ghost stories and whenever l could with my pocketmoney l would buy second hand books and read scary tales and stories and even from that young age l became almost obsessed with certain topics that were not healthy for a boy of my age such as unnatural elements of life, cryptozoology, science fictions, witchcraft and the occult. This passion of mine would stay with me for many years and by this l would prompt maybe the age of 40 that l stopped collecting books on the subject avidly.

From 13 l was writing my own scary works of fiction, and from 14 – 16 l was writing horror stories for money for pulp magazines – so you could say l was keenly enthusiastic for the subject matter.

Living at home with my parents when l was a youngster was hard work. My mother loved me dearly but she had strains of anger that at times bordered on evil and cruelty, l wasn’t the mummy’s boy my father teased with, but he wasn’t like other father’s – because my dad was equally brutal and violent and living under the same roof as him was like living in a war torn city. But my mother was as said no angel either and if there wasn’t combat between my parents then both of my parents at times waged war on me as the eldest.

I wrote and read to escape my living reality – the more scared l became of living with my parents the deeper l sank into the quarry of fictionalised horror but also into the darkest pits of the occult and paranormal.

The arguments prior to the family leaving Australia to return to the United Kingdom were horrendous and nightly affairs that would at times last for hours and not unusually from dusk to dawn. My father was a man who drank and then lashed out, my mother was back then taking valium for stress and who threatened suicide almost daily, lost her temper as frequently as my father and who didn’t hesitate taking it out on my sister whilst he took his anger out on me. When we were not being lashed upon we were being used as weapons against our father.

Life was hard ….

Some of you may even recall that my mother was at that time undiagnosed bipolar and l was undiagnosed Asperger’s – but my father well l think he was probably a sufferer of narcissistic personality disorder maybe comorbid with a variant of autism, whilst l was also undiagnosed bipolar. None of us knew of these strange terms though … to me my family was seriously hard work and most days l wanted to die or run away and or simply cease to exist.

Some of my readership may also remember these two posts Our Little Secret 1969 and Gift [An Overview] – 1975 – Present and these displayed another level of personality and understanding into things and to those who do ‘understand’ what l am writing on as in another level you will start to build up profiles of myself and my family members and how very dysfunctional we were when we arrived back in England in 1977.

Both of my parents regarded me as more than a little strange, a very dark, dark soul ready to raise hell.

Both of my parents regarded me as more than a little strange, a very dark, dark soul ready to raise hell….

WHO LET THE GEIST IN?
PART 1

Just prior to emigrating back to the United Kingdom from Australia in February 1977, the previous month/s as in November, December and very early January 1976/1977 were very troublesome periods in my life. My family had got to a point that they believed me to be troubled mentally.

If you know of my stories about my life, you will know that my father referred me quite often when l was growing up as backward and stupid and on some occasions ‘retarded’ – these were terms he used to throw at me alongside, the likes of, “you’re not my son or my son if you were him, would be smarter, more social and the list of insults from roughly the age of l would say just after my 11th birthday grew almost daily.

I was convinced that my father didn’t just dislike me, but hated me with a passion. My sister fared much better from his attentions from her very young years till literally a couple of years before his death in 2018. She could do NO wrong ever, even when it was blatantly obvious she was in the wrong and was as wrong as he was.

This placed my mother and l at times in precarious situations domestically. My father was a violent and brutal man, who thought not twice of beating his wife or his son but never his daughter – she could do no wrong’. The problem with this is that the misdirected angers manifested themselves into other area of our lives. If my mother felt persecuted by my father and her husband, she then directed her own bitterness and anger at her daughter and my sister, which in turn meant that my sister would be seriously scolded by my mother…..

…………. except, my mother soon learned that if she scolded my sister too harshly, then my father would beat her. So then my mother raging many a time through various temper cycles looked for other avenues to vent her rage and her emotional upheaval.

She vented her physical rages on her son and she vented her emotions into suicide attempts or sadly she exercised her cruelty in another fashion in order to gain attentions to her sadness from outsiders without simply saying she was a victim to a wife beater and she acheieved this through at the time an undiagnosed disorder she had called Munchausen’s by Proxy Syndrome . This is no longer known as that – it is referred today as Factitious Disorder by Proxy.

This has become one of the ‘elephants in the room’ that is no longer discussed by my mother who poo poos it all and states it was a fabrication of my father – which would be all well and good if no one else was included in her disorder and therefore wouldn’t know any different. Except that’s not the case … my mother has/was/is/has always been a hypochondriac and there is a difference between the two – one is an anxiety disorder whilst the other is when you always want to be seen as ill, or alternatively you want others to believe that someone in your care is ill.

If you haven’t already guessed … then the someone the carer wanted others to believe was ill, was me – her son. Back in the very later sixties and early to mid seventies or if you wish a period of time from when l was 6 – 1969 – 15 – 1978 my mother subjected me to countless visits to the hospital and many a time l had to undergo investigations and proceedures under the guise that l was ill.

It mattered not when l told the medical teams that l was not ill, because back then in that time period my mother was my prime carer and her word was concrete! Back then, no one knew l was on the autism spectrum with Asperger’s.

I remember when l was a child of having nothing seriously wrong with me. In all, l was actually a pretty healthy child who if anything was guilty of no more than being slightly quirky and at times inappropriate by asking too many questions. I had a ruptured appendix at 10 and my tonsils out when l was 11 or something – pretty normal really!.

Being brought up in Australia l hardly ever had any major problems with my health – except when my mother wanted to get attention – then l was an ill child! The long terms effects of that time is that today, l hate doctors and hospitals and l never want to go even if l was dying, l would not wish to go to hospital. There have been actual times in my life when l have been seriously ill that l have had to almost be forced to go to hospitals under the threat of forced sedation.

So as much as l loved my parents, neither of them was particularly without serious faults and both at times were guilty of cruelty. Life was really hard back then. My mother was so miserable that when she wasn’t carting me off to hospital or slapping or punching me then she was trying to kill herelf with overdoses. When that wasn’t happening, l had to continually tread carefully around my father when he was in a bad mood, because he too would lash out. So many a time thankfully l simply retreated into my own world.

But my own world was at times darker than my actual world was and as l started to read more deeply into horror l also started to read more books to do with witchcraft and the supernatural. The unknown and undiagnosed Aspergers/autism welcomed me retreating into the darkness, welcomed the darkness to manifest itself into my imagination and the darkness allowed me to experiment with self harm which for me at that time was cutting.

I hid the smaller scratches and passed them off scuffs and scrapes caused by mishaps when kids play outside, but l remember the tingle of losing small amounts of blood and the joy it offered me. Long before l left Australia to return to my birth country of England, l was already a broken child mentally.

I had a violent father who drank and who denied l was his son, a violent and highly neurotic and pill swallowing suicidal mother who craved attention and a supposedly angelic sister who was gifted in the finer arts of manipulation of parents and who many a time was able to escape punnishment by redirecting blame to her brother.

Neither, my father, my sister and or myself wanted to leave Australia, it was my mother and she created years of merry hell till she got what she wanted from her husband. He had gone through this when we lived in Malaysia and she wanted to live in Australia – simply put my mother was a very unhappy woman with my father and she didn’t actually want to live anywhere with him …….. but she detested Australia and Malaysia and had convinced herself that England was going to be better.

So finally, my father agreed to the move, l think it was either that or face years in prision as a wife murderer!

During the weeks leading up to the house move, my parents didn’t just give my book collection away, they made a big song and dance about burning the evil literature away in the garden as ‘they were not suitable reading materials for a 13 year old boy to take into England!

On Wednesday 26th January 1977 at 2.00pm, we left Melbourne docks and set sail on a four week adventure at sea and we would arrive in Southampton on the 26th February. I remember the date and the times very clearly , l wasn’t happy at leaving a country that l had called my true home for many years to travel to a country that l couldn’t remember with a family that l felt would end up probably killing me one way or another. I was 13 when we left Australia – and as l saw Melbourne disappear l recall feeling very unhappy, very sad, very alone, very angry and very, very dark minded.

Maybe, life in England would improve our family? Maybe being in England would make my mother happy, maybe…

Maybe, life in England would improve our family? Maybe being in England would make my mother happy, maybe…

WHO LET THE GEIST IN? PART 2

In 1977, after leaving Australia and sailing half way around the world to return to the United Kingdom to take up full time residence after an absence for me especially of 10 plus years was a hard yank to my emotions. I left England with my parents when l was 2 years of age in 1965, 12 years later l was sailing back. In those 12 years, l had spent my childhood in either Australia or Malaysia and in those same 12 years l had only returned to the UK once in 1970 for a small month long holiday.

My sister who is five years my juinor was born in Australia and so she didn’t know England at all and l can recall easily her upset at the whole affair … however, what did we know, we were just children, our carers – parents were the decision makers of the family and as adults they knew what they were doing …….. right?

If that holds any truth what so ever, l would have to say my parents hid that intelligence pretty damn well from their kids!! Many a time they were clueless to my sister and l except when we were being lashed out at or being used as weapons against the other. Not everyone should have children, l have a firm believer in this and as much as my mother wanted children and the hardships she had to endure to have children, her husband, our father was NOT happy to have kids.

He preferred kids [especially boys] below the age of 10 and above the age of 3 so that emotional pocket zone of his was very slim – my sister fared better, but then she only had to say ‘Daddy darling’ countless times and he was the ideal father figure to her – something which lasted between them as father and daughter and daughter and father from the time she was around 2 to 50 odd, it was only as he was getting older and she was becoming more demanding that his loving thoughts of his daughter began to see someone very different than initially thought.

Of course l didn’t know these things when l was younger, l just assumed that my father only really loved me for 50% of the time and tolerated when not berating me for the remaining 50%. Had l known that in essence he was only going to be a great dad for 7 years – well who knows what might have been different??

I was despite everything closer to my mother, although in truth that did wane as l aged and became more aware of the painful times l was subjected to during unnecessary hospital visits for invisible ailments. But my mother couldn’t talk to my father and so l became her sounding board. She would talk to me of things l didn’t really want to hear from her … for many reasons. I had a hard enough time with my father and tried not to hate him and find where possible some nice things about him, but that was hard, and made harder by my mother complaining bitterly of her marriage and how he had failed her as a husband!

Talks like this to a child from a parent drain you emotionally, you are constantly tired and if also being bullied at home by not just one adult, but both parents, you start to live your life living on a knife edge! That’s how l started to live my life, l didn’t live in a happy family, we were 100% dysfunctional from the get go of our arrival. Although l loved both of my parents – l didn’t always do so out of an emotional love for them … but because l thought that was expected of me as their son, it was my duty.

I had always been quirky, l felt many a time like an outsider looking at myself from another angle, l was at times considered inappropriate by my parents, my teachers and even my peers. I had strange ideas and thoughts and l was horribly shy and preferred my own company. I was labelled with ‘lights on, but nobody at home’ by my teachers – because 1] schooling bored me, 2] the kids in my class took forever to learn anything and so l tended to switch off and 3] because l was a daydreamer who constantly dreamed of living a happier life with parents that both wanted kids.

In addition to that l had even stranger hobbies and behaviour traits, despite being shy l had been fascinated with girls for a very long time, l liked to write very dark horror stories, or ghost stories or stories of mass murder and maiming, l liked to draw grisly scenes, l was constantly talking to myself. I had a series of strange tics and rituals and l was always [not that l knew it at the time] stimming. I was in essence very much a loner and very not bothered by it. Of course to the knowing those are classic traits of Asperger’s/Autism – but back in the 70’s that wasn’t yet a thing.

In addition to that, people regarded me as ‘spooky or creepy’ and the reason they viewed me like that was because of the Gift. I sensed things – energies, essences – strange things in the air, l could smell sound and see numbers in my head of different colours, l could smell things no one else could and see figures out of the corner of my eyes, l could feel when energies passed through me and it made me very conscious of the very air around me and so much of the time l started trying to talk to these figures and ask what they wanted or try to reach out to help them … l tried to communicate with the beyond.

This did not bode well for me from a relatively young age and l remember countless times between the ages of 10 – 15 when l wasn’t able to control my Gift nor really understand it. It got me in trouble frequently and equally got me branded and labelled as mentally unstable and a freak by teachers, friends and even my parents. My sister was convinced her brother was a few planks short of a boardwalk! What made things more frustrating for me was that my mother on one hand would say she understood and yet on the other hand would belittle me for it which l found terribly upsetting considering she introduced me to it in the first place!

My father well ………….. do l need to really explain? He did not approve of his son seeing strange invisible people or things that weren’t there and so he had to be mentally ill, which was his conclusion! Mentally ill people needed to be hospitalised. So l learned to NOT display any outward signs of seeing things that others could not see as l really didn’t wish to go to the place where all ‘the stupid people went’ as my father used to tell me when l was being severely spanked for seeing strange things!

I ended up reading more at a young age and developed a taste for the darkness ………

One of my happiest times during the 70’s and indeed for the family as well was the time we were sailing back to the the UK on the Australis liner. A month voyage from Melbourne to Southampton, stopping at various locations around the world.

Sydney, Auckland, Tahiti, the Panama Canal, Curacao, Puerto Rico and Portugal and if not a location then just days at sea. We felt like a proper family, we had fun, there were no arguments, no overdoses, no conflicts, no father trying to kill mother, no mother trying to kill herself, no sister trying to be an angel and no me having to worry about all of them! We were a family having fun ……….. but not together, we all had fun in different ways and with different members but hardly ever together as a family unit! In 1977 l was 13 going on 40 looking at life and thinking is this how family life is supposed be? Where we don’t really have fun together except when there is no real responsibility?

It mattered not, l could just chill out and relax and for a month not have to worry about anything bad and apart from that one little strange incident a few nights before arriving in Puerto Rico, the trip was a very welcomed break. I mean, there always has to be one thing doesn’t there?

We arrived in the UK on February 26th after a month at sea, relaxed and recharged and ready to face whatever England had to offer us. My mother was relaxed, so too was my father …………….. l wasn’t feeling as apprehensive or dark minded – perhaps our family could finally start to find happiness and peace and maybe feel connected to each other?

By the end of April 1977 l knew that was NEVER going to happen for our family – we were never going to be happy together or maybe ever, living under the same roof, we didn’t belong together, something had to give and soon! Just sometimes, little bad things happen for a reason.

Just sometimes, little bad things happen for a reason.

WHO LET THE GEIST IN? PART 3

My mother confuses me, as much today as she did in the yesterdays of my childhood growing up with my parents. However, these days she also suffers from an ailment known as ‘selective memory’. She can remember every bad thing my father was guilty of in her eyes and the eyes of morality, but she cannot seemingly remember any of her own faults. My mother will never admit to her faults with her husband and my father.

My father was no saint, far from it – he had many faults, and he did both knowingly and deliberately and unknowingly bring out the absolute worst behaviours from my mother. He liked to tease and coerce and manipulate her – but although we didn’t know way back a day, but found out much, much later, my mother was bipolar and we also didn’t know that my father was a pure and at times brutally evil narcissist!

My father could bring out the very worst traits from his closest family members with the click of his fingers, he could and so often did belittle, downtread, humiliate and work on embarrassing us in front of other people as a sport and form of enjoyment of his! Whilst my mother was no demon, she wasn’t entirely completely angelic either!

When younger and by this l refer to my late childhood days and approaching my young teenager years, l oft caught her in the act of some deviant behaviours – very unusual things indeed. Things she pushed into drawers in secret areas, strange coloured papers which were slipped back into books and if not material things – she would talk to herself at times in a strange language … she was involved actively in a lot of strange little rituals!

However, since the mid 60’s and the discovery of pinned effigies l wasn’t always that surprised by her antics … and yet they were not the behaviours normally associated with Salvation Army girls purporting to be naive.

Malaysia had had a strange effect on my mother, she used to shy away from so much and yet … become deeply engrossed into other things. She was always so scornful of traditional herbalists or unusual apothecary practices and yet somewhere during my father’s tour she changed direction and started to study hard and furious the properties of various ‘magical elements’.

My mother was if anything … in her late twenties to early thirties – a dabbler, or maybe a daubler- she was fascinated with strange phenomena on one hand and yet on the other was dead against it – this actually made her quite dangerous and more so when mixed with her volatile angers!

Me personally, l have also dabbled in much, but l respect it and the power it represents and all sides to that power!, With black, there is white but there is also grey and then the oft forgotten in between!

There is never simply two sides to anything, there are at best a minimum of four pending an individual’s predilection! BUT not everyone looks at the other sides. Over the last forty years as an example, I have met many so called practitioners of just as many forms of magic, or energy, or healing, or belief.

A few years ago l met with some Reiki Healers who refused to acknowledge that there is a darker side to the energy and many may not know that the so called beauty of the practice is the simplicity of learning and a lack of regulation to the practice. Because it is ‘easy to learn’ this can make for some bad healers.

I have met those who, where ever they go, open portals up to the other side and then never close them and leave houses and people in a hell of an uncomfortable dispositions for days if not weeks and months and those same openers can’t even close them back up again! Totally dangerous people!!

My mother was a bit like that at times with her dabbling, she would play around with things that one shouldn’t play about with! She did that once back in 1976 about four months before we were due to emigrate back to England. My father was away on business which left my sister and my mother and l alone in the house.

That week, my mother had been speaking to an elderly Italian woman who lived down the road from where we did in Seaford and who was always walking it seemed with two shadows of her own, l have seen it a few times since and as much as l have seen those with no shadows or worse no aura! But this elderly woman was a fascination to my mother on account of her interest in black magic, hexes, curses, and jinxes!

1976 wouldn’t be the last time l would have problems with this kind of magic, because that was the year that a so called little thing went horribly wrong and would continue to haunt me till l hit my 30th birthday!

What was the little thing that went wrong?

Well, that would be my mother’s seance night with the elderly Italian woman!!

It was that little thing ….. and little things have a way of snowballing out of control into a huge avalanches of misery at times!

It was that little thing ….. and little things have a way of snowballing out of control into a huge avalanches of misery at times!

WHO LET THE GEIST IN? PART 4

It wasn’t the first time my mother had become embroiled in somewhat nefariously dark occult practices and it wouldn’t be the last, there wouldn’t be many more admittedly, but there would still be a few over the following few years and if that wasn’t enough, she wasn’t the only one involved. Someone had to try and clear up and repair the damages and they were never easy!

The problems with the unknown, the darker side to the beyond and black magic and other phenomena and not forgetting as already mentioned the occult – many people tend to hahaha …. laugh.

They do so for a number of reasons – fear of the unknown, generalised fear of the strange, stereotypical behaviour and belief, cultural differences, fear of the crazy ones … you name it, there are many reasons people don’t like to discuss certain subjects. If it isn’t due to taboo, then quite often it is due to the so called believers perhaps experiencing mental fatigue!

Whatever … however fundamentally if there is one side to anything, usually as standard practice – there is always a reverse side, another side or even the other side but as l explained not long back – sadly it isn’t always that simple! Also, as many would probably not contest – there are some things, dark forces if you wish that really do need ……. to be left alone.

Now, why did my mother become involved in these things, that is the first question of the day. If you haven’t already guessed it was to teach my father ‘lessons’, to not betray his family, to not betray his wife nor be a brutal thug of a husband, to not, to not and more to not!

Now l can understand that with the likes of hexes and curses and to a certain degree jinxing – but why she thought that a Seance would help, is quite, quite beyond me.

My mother thankfully, is wiser and more savvy these days, but when she was younger, she wasn’t so untrusting of people like today, and so many a time she believed what they told her. The Italian lady had told her that by calling forward a ‘spirit’ she could teach my father a lesson he would never forget and that it would make him more loving.

In 1976, when l was 13 l wasn’t informed of the so called ‘intentions’. My mother never told me the details of the actual incident until 1983 when l was 20. So what l reveal to the reader now is portions from my memory from the night in question … everything was completely out of my control.

It was during the closing days of October when my mother and Mrs Rossi sat down together extremely late into the night if not early morning and began their rituals. Mrs Rossi was a wealthy widow, her husband had died in mysterious circumstances whilst at work the previous year ….. I didn’t like the woman; l didn’t trust her, and she creeped me out – but my mother said she was lonely. She didn’t strike me as lonely. Even back then as a youngster l thought she was dangerous … but more telling, was that Mrs Rossi detested me for no reason, she told my mother l had problems and was not well!!

The house is Seaford was a bungalow and my bedroom was the third bedroom in from the front door down the hall, my parent’s bedroom being the first and my sister was in the middle of the line.

Even though l usually went to bed, especially on a school night around 10ish, my lights wouldn’t go off until around 10.30 and even at that time – when my sister was in bed and had been by a couple of hours … Mrs Rossi had not come to the front door to be let in. I could still hear my mother listening to No 96, a popular programme in Australia for the time.

So, l have no recollection of when the woman arrived ………

My first memory of that night is when l awoke to hear screams in the darkness … l remember sitting bolt upright and all l could hear was crashing and thrashing in the darkened hallway outside of my bedroom. Further in the house and l had to guess perhaps the dining area, l could hear my mother yelling at the top of her voice to ‘make it stop’, followed closely by Mrs Rossi’s voice telling her to ‘shut up, she was trying to concentrate!”

Silence, followed by more screams, then more bangs, more heavy thuds, the darkness outside in the hallway was unnaturally dark? I swung my legs out of bed and started to run towards the hallway – as l was just peering around the corner, l could see my sister sleeping in her bed, completely oblivious to the noises. I crept down the hallway and eased open the living room door and peered into the mostly dark room …

… l could see my mother; her back was towards me and Mrs Rossi was sitting to her right. There was a large candle on the table flickering wildly! My mother was cradling her head and rocking it backwards and forwards and yelling at Mrs Rossi to make the noises stop! There was something else going on in the darkness in the corner behind Mrs Rossi – l couldn’t make it out, not properly anyway, it just seemed to be darker than the rest of the room and it seemed to move.

“Mum!!” I yelled out. Both women turned to me, Mrs Rossi screamed at the top of her voice “NO!!” That’s when the candle went out, that’s when the room went completely dark and that’s when the darkness spoke!

But it didn’t speak like you might expect, l heard a low rumbling inside my head and remember being flung across the room and felt like l had been hit by a hammer! My head hurt, l remember looking up into the darkness. I could see my mother and Mrs Rossi still sitting in their chairs, a small sliver of moonlight shone through the patio doors. My mother looked horrified, Mrs Rossi was smiling and yet both were not looking at me … they were looking at the darkness in front of me. I followed their gaze and saw … something really not right, staring back.

That’s when l blacked out.

I awoke the next morning, l felt sore, my ribs, back and thighs really hurt, and my head throbbed. I had a headache from hell.

“Hello sleepy head!” My mother said from the doorway, “Boy oh boy did you have a hell of a dream last night, more of a nightmare really! You fell out of bed, l came running in to see if you were okay? You were dazed and mostly out of it, so l helped you back into bed. Do you remember? You have really got to stop reading all these silly books, l am going to speak to your father when he is back tonight about it all. If they are going to give you dreams like this, you can’t read them, l think they are evil and having a bad influence on you!!”

I remember looking at my mother … had l really dreamed all of that? She sauntered off down the hallway. When l got out of bed, l had bruises on my body – my thighs, my back and my ribs.

My sister was clueless to everything and my father was back much later that day than originally said because he had been involved in a small car crash coming back – something had hit the car with a lot of force causing him to break suddenly and he had bruises on his ribs, his back and his thighs…

” ….something had hit the car with a lot of force causing him to break suddenly and he had bruises on his ribs, his back and his thighs…”

WHO LET THE GEIST IN? PART 5

The Incident, or whatever my mother was calling the episode of ‘that which didn’t happen, but really did’, wasn’t discussed in the following days or week. Equally, l don’t recall seeing Mrs Rossi coming around to the house anymore, but was aware that my mother was a frequent visitor to hers – l know this because l followed my mother on a few occasions and she went to the ladies house!

The day that my father returned home from his business trip away and having experienced a small but in truth rather large car accident on his returning journey, was not ‘not’ discussed either by my mother, but he still found it a strange incident because he was sitting at a T Junction and there was no one behind him, in front or anywhere really near him, and YET. The car was suddenly ‘smacked about somewhat’, was his terming.

“It was really strange, l was sitting there at the junction, there was no one around me and suddenly the car was lurching this way and that way and l was being shoved and pushed like a giant fist was trying to hustle me out of the car through the window!? I can tell you, it was bloody odd, spooked me a little as well. I pulled over into a layby, got out for some fresh air and that’s when l noticed all the dents on the driver’s door, it was like something had hit it repeatedly!”

It was a very odd time … tensions were high in the house – the hostilities between my parents hadn’t gotten any better either. Worse than that, my mother had become even more hostile to me since the ‘elephant in the room incident that didn’t happen! But more annoying was that so too had my sister – she was normally aloof to such things and yet, she was starting to pester and tease more than normal! I remember thinking that things HAD to get better somehow for this family, because something bad was going to happen if it didn’t!

Years later, a Catholic priest would inform me that l had created the problems in my household, that l had unwittingly encouraged the Devil to come play with the family. I was raised as a Catholic. My parents were not specifically religious – my father was also raised as a Catholic and his own parents had wanted him to be ordained as a Roman Catholic priest – my father always answered with the word Chance to his parents – “Little and No Effing!” This caused a lot of problems for him when growing up. My mother before marriage had been a Salvation Army girl which caused at times open warfare between my father’s parents and my mother. When she married my father, she had to take on board his faith which didn’t go down well with her.

I attended Sunday School when l lived in Malaysia, and attended until my First Communion in 1970, when l was 7. But an incident befell me – which l rarely discuss – my parents had to step on board, although no arrests were made, and l suddenly was apparently no longer actively Catholic. My father at the same time decided that he was done for good with the Roman Catholic religion as it was filled with liars and not nice people who shouldn’t be entrusted with any children let alone young boys!

I grew up between the ages of 5 and 9 being very confused with religion, did l believe in God? No, l didn’t, but then l couldn’t prove that IT did or did not exist – l just personally didn’t believe that IT could. BUT my father was convinced IT didn’t, and my mother was convinced that HE did! I didn’t give two hoots; l was just tiring of going to church or Sunday School and taking prayer in something l logically could not get my head around. There were other problems l was having to deal with between those ages …. like a mother who kept on sticking pins into a doll that was my father. The amah’s kept on looking at my mother and when they saw her, walked the other way…. to say it was an odd time, truly is an understatement!

Anyway … l digressed, of sorts … in 1976 – religion was a very controversial subject both at home and at school for me. I was always getting into trouble at school for my religious beliefs or lack of them – because l simply refused to play along with one focused ideology. Why were we being taught this way, and that way – when we should have been taught of the way of many? I was frequently caned at school for questioning the Faith and so l started to really, not like religion at all and considered it one of the worst lessons and a serious waste of my brain time – which l didn’t hesitate to tell the teachers.

This caused me problems at home, because of my father’s hatred for religion and my mother’s wacked out sense of belief!! Then the real irony started, my parents would argue about my religion and l would then get spanked by my father for not believing despite the fact that he didn’t believe, but because it was easier to spank me because it got his wife off his back! I soon started to also hate religion!

So when in 1979 a Catholic priest criticised me for my religious beliefs and l struck him, and shoved him out of my room and kicked him down the stairs … not only was l considered evil, but l was then branded a lover of the Devil!

In the very later months of 1976, we were as a family preparing to leave Australia with the firm knowledge that we were never going to return. The house was being packed up. A good 90% of my books were burned in the back garden which did cause some resentment with me, especially as they were not bad books, but mostly works of study and ghost stories and so on. I had all the original books written by the likes of Erich von Daniken which l found thoroughly fascinating and Dennis Wheatley and Peter Straub and many others. It upset me bitterly – but it didn’t ultimately matter, for in the next 18 months not that l knew then, but l would replace them all and some.

They – my parents – defended this act by saying that the books were bad for my health combined with they were not allowed to take books back to the UK with them! Plus, l was going to the 11th Australian Scout Jamboree in December, so l had that to look forward to ………. l know what you are thinking, probably the same as me …… so? What has that got to do with burning books?

What was really causing the most problems however, was the ‘stuff and the weird shit that was happening daily’, that didn’t include the strange dreams l was having or the fact that suddenly l started sleep walking – something l had never done – or finally the fact that l started speaking very strangely indeed to the walls in the house or to the chairs in the dining room!

Things went missing in the house, things moved, windows broke, windows opened, doors slammed, doors creaked open, strange smells, cold spells on really hot days, things were seen, people were seen that weren’t there by not just me, or my family, but neighbours saw people in the house when we were not home, screams in the middle of the night which woke the entire household, Jasmine the family cat was constantly freaked out. Crockery moved, water appeared in puddles on the floor, baths over ran despite knowing no one running a bath …………… if that wasn’t enough, then the voices became a real problem.

By the end of 1976, the house had been sold and we as a family moved out of what my parents were fully convinced was a house that had suddenly become haunted … for no reason. For the remaining couple of weeks my parents rented a small flat close to the port where the Australis would take us to England on the 26th January 1977.

It was believed that whatever was in 4 Margaret’s Avenue, Seaford, Victoria – stayed there ….

.... It was believed that whatever was in 4 Margaret’s Avenue, Seaford, Victoria – stayed there ….

WHO LET THE GEIST IN? PART 6

I don’t know exactly what year it was when l started saying ‘What else could go wrong?” But l have a sneaking suspicion, it may have started in 1977 on the cruise back to England, having left Australia in our wake. I might be wrong … but l don’t think l am. It’s taken me all these years on to where l type today in 2020 to finally, stop saying it. This year was the official year l did stop using that term … because every time l have uttered those 5 words in that string … disaster strikes!

The cruise was fascinating, after we left Melbourne, we berthed at Sydney, then Auckland, followed by Tahiti, we then travelled through the Panama Canal, then onward to Curacao, then it was Puerto Rico, with Vigo to follow and our final destination was to be Southampton.

From Melbourne all the way through to the Panama Canal literally was plain sailing – there was a small incident in Auckland involving my mother who upset some of the local Māori people, she never told me what it was, but her actions confused my father who had to try and soothe things down a bit. He brushed it off with ‘she’ was apparently looking for something ‘special’, BUT whatever that meant, it had upset the locals? My mother, despite causing the ruckus, explained nothing nor her actions to anyone.

However, we still managed to carry out the usual touristy visit, saw a few the attractions, went on a tour of Māori culture, which is where the incident occurred. we were only in Auckland for 6 hours or so, and for 2 of those, my father had to use his experience as a copper, a policeman to negotiate with the New Zealand forces, whilst my sister and l sat in the back of a taxi wondering if we were going to get back to the ship before it departed? But we did .. there was a couple of conflictive spats on the way back between my parents and another argument back in the cabins before going up for dinner in the restaurant.

However, from the time we left Auckland and then arrived in Tahiti, things between my parents had calmed and were more relaxed, and whatever it was in New Zealand was forgotten about. I wasn’t that bad, l still was experiencing very strange dreams, very unusually odd dreams really – involving a lot of darkness, willowy dark figures and when l awoke during the night in a sweat my mother was seemingly always there .. asking … what l had dreamed about, did l recognise any of the figures?

To say it was a little spooky would be the understatement of the year …. l just found it odd, that she was always there! I remember once during the time between Auckland and Tahiti, asking her if she experienced any bad dreams or nightmares herself? Why did she never discuss that night back in Australia? Why did she lie about the events of that dreadful night? She never answered with anything solid, but cryptic statements … “One day you’ll understand my actions Rory, one day!!”

I can tell you now, that those words didn’t help me one iota back then, they didn’t calm my dreams, nor the occasioned sleepwalking incident. All the trips we had, the sightseeing tours in Sydney, Auckland, Tahiti were great, life on the ship was great – excluding the occasional parental argument – l felt that as bad as my father was back then, he would never have been able to please that woman even if he had of been a good man. My mother was an exceedingly difficult person to please. She was simply NEVER happy.

Travelling through the Panama Canal in the later 70’s was an incredible experience – it was still being constructed, and it comprised of the Australis liner passing through a series of canal locks and l had never seen anything of the kind before where a ship of such a huge size could be bobbed up and down like an apple in a barrel and is lifted 85 feet above sea level with extraordinarily little disturbance! 40 years ago, it took all day and some to pass between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean along the canal, but it slices time and thousands of miles off vessels that otherwise would have had to travel more dangerous waters. These days it can still take between 8 – 10 hours which is still a long time but still beats the 20+ hours it took our ship to pass through the locks in 1977.

I was awake for most of the journey and taking lots of photographs – my mother decided to stay in the cabin for most of the day … l remember it was a grey day weatherwise and her mood was the same. But, my sister and my father ignored her and stayed on deck for most of it until daylight forced us to return to the cabins and prepare for dinner.

Once through the Canal, we were informed we were on our way to a strange placed called Curacao and to follow that was to be San Juan, Puerto Rico and it was around this time, that my mother started to become very strange indeed and throwing darkened looks at me and muttering ….. do you know how very strange that reads today as l type? Well try and imagine that as a 13 year old boy struggling with odd parents, a bizarre mother and dreams that had escalated into horrific nightmares immediately after leaving the Canal and then you might start to appreciate my overall discomfort with life!

Well try and imagine that as a 13 year old boy struggling with odd parents, a bizarre mother and dreams that had escalated into horrific nightmares immediately after leaving the Canal and then you might start to appreciate my overall discomfort with life!

WHO LET THE GEIST IN? PART 7

I received an email last night concerning this ‘mini-series’ and asking what this had to do with me becoming a Ghost Hunter? Fair question – l emailed back and said it is covered in Part 1 however, with regards ghostly phenomena, strange practices, the occults, dark and black magics and generally things that screech and go bump in the night – l hold a very different view to what some come to expect from stereotypical ghost hunters. There’s more to things than meets the eye in most cases.

There are many sceptics and cynics and so on, who will quickly pooh pooh ‘ghosts and or poltergeists or activity or such’, because they choose to not believe in such things because ‘science’ says it’s rubbish and therefore it must be. As l always say there is usually no smoke without fire and yet on occasion sometimes things can just combust including people … but there’s always a reason behind mysteriousness – even the most mysterious has a reason to be so.

The worst thing about sceptics is that they completely close their minds to external possibilities denying any chance that something or some things simply can’t be explained away with science.

Do l believe in ghosts? Yes, but not the normal way as others might believe.

Do l believe in poltergeist activities …………. oh yes l do, having experienced it … but what this particular series is highlighting is that manifestations can occur for a number of different reasons and not just ‘spooky oooh creepy‘, but many environmental factors need to be addressed, sanctuary and state of mind, mental health, expectations and beliefs, incidentals, backstories, introductions, weather conditions, physical health, troubles in relationships, coming of age, puberty, the genuine love to be scared, playing with the unknown unknowingly and knowingly, the power of suggestion, toxic moulds, low frequency sounds and so on.

All the above are critical in an investigation of the paranormal – but above everything is common sense and logic are your first go to …. but so too is to keep an open mind to all possibilities. If you have convinced yourself – ghosts do not exist in any way shape or form – then ghosts do not exist to you in any way, shape or form and your mind will always find ways to explain the unexplained away. That’s not a bad way of looking at things …. but it’s not the only way. There are simply things that science cannot explain … science cannot say with hand on heart that X, Y, and Z don’t exist … because the biggest question of all would be a counter strike of verify what is real in the first place?

I have a passion also for cryptozoology and the beasties within and whilst many again will pooh pooh this notion, the strangest irony is that roughly 49% of the global population believe in ghost like apparitions and incidence and yet, oddly enough many more people are willing to believe in monsters over ghosts and poltergeist activity.

Do you know why?

Because most people want to believe in something other than nothing and in most cases logic aside, they can’t stop their brains from performing in the belief function! People who don’t believe in monsters, or ghosts, or occult phenomena or aliens will believe in God – and there is no evidence to support that either and or any more than things l have mentioned here already and yet … people believe. Why?

I don’t believe in God, but and yet l believe in other things … why, well simply put .. because l have seen things l can’t explain away easily. No, l don’t believe and yet others do passionately, l can’t deny the power of belief in people and what they are willing to believe in … a message to the closed mind is open it up and even if you don’t believe yourself – ask why and what is it that people are believing in so willingly and unreservedly and why?

I have become involved in things l should not have both accidentally and intentionally and or like this miniseries introducing my readership to my years as a ghost hunter – l was introduced to this with a deliberation by another party and without my actual consent.

I had to clear a mess up that someone else made, that began in 1976 and ended … ish in 1993 horribly.

However, soon you’ll see that mess which started in Australia by my mother and what l consider a crazy Italian lady in 1976 was soon to take a different direction in early February 1977 when the Australis berthed in Curacao and my mother sought out Caribbean magic with deadly purpose?

But you know, you don’t have to believe what l write, you weren’t there, and l was – treat it just as a story and believe whatever you wish to …. it matters not, l know the truth.

However, soon you’ll see that mess which started in Australia by my mother and what l consider a crazy Italian lady in 1976 was soon to take a different direction in early February 1977 when the Australis berthed in Curacao and my mother sought out Caribbean magic with deadly purpose?

WHO LET THE GEIST IN? PART 8

In the early days of February 1977, when the Australis was berthing in Curacao – whilst l might have conceded to someone asking – did l think my mother was mentally unstable – with a no, had they asked if l thought she was slightly crazy, l would have answered a with a stern YES with a cherry on top. I had always suspected that she was a bit crazy, but she always blamed my father for her insanity or bouts of madness.

He was to blame for everything going … that included rain and cold weather – next on the blame list was my sister. Did l consider my sister crazy? No, not in the slightest — a manipulator as far as dad was concerned and a tricky one to watch out for … crazy no, aware of the situation more than she let on? Oh yeah!!

My sister learned how to play two parents off against each other at a very young age and ultimately caused equally as many arguments between two supposedly wise adults than any one – person l have ever known. My sister continued this behaviour long into her teenager years, long into being a young adult and basically the only time my father started to catch onto her was when he was in his later 70’s, divorced and living by himself. My sister had managed to ease her way into his life, his love life and his wallet with great smoothness and no moral grace!

My father often, too often berated and belittled me – his son at any opportunity he could when l started to become a teenager – l was never any good for him, there was always something wrong and yet my sister was supposedly angelic in his eyes, but my mother actually detested her – she would categorically deny that today – unless you know her and what she says today is “I never understood my daughter, but l knew her to be manipulative!” Which l always considered rich coming from someone who was also a manipulator! The problem was and is, you can’t really have two manipulators in the same room as it always becomes very Highlanderish as in …. there can be only one! Someone’s head must roll!

Was my father crazy? No, he was violent, narcissistic and a prime liar – but was he crazy? No, sadly he was just the way he was through his own creation … he was a God in his eyes, an Atlas – a gift to all women, and would happily have bedded all women if he could on the premise – that he was MAN and therefore superior – women in his eyes had very few purposes – notably – kitchen, house, and bed and mostly in that order! He was also an incorrigible flirt, something which l have also been accused of over the years … not entirely true – l prefer to chat, don’t misunderstand l do enjoy flirting, but if l am in a relationship – l don’t flirt, l chat – if no relationship – then l flirt.

But so too was my mother – something which she also seemingly forgets these days .. she was extremely flirtatious and when she flirted with men, she wanted to have them fawn and fall over her and maybe bed her, but she just preferred to have men make my father jealous. When my father flirted his target was to bed women and make my mother jealous. Yet they maintained they loved each other – my mother would often say – she ‘worshipped the ground’ my father trod. She denied ever saying that by 1981 .. then she maintained she simply hated him and would love to see him ……. gone, from her eyesight, from the house, from the planet and from the world

I would say my parents hated being with each other for most of the years they were together and married .. they never understood each other and they never really tried to .. l will never defend my father’s use of violence towards my mother – that was unacceptable, no man should ever strike a woman. But he struck her, he beat her … she should have divorced him, she never did … he wanted to divorce her, but maintained she begged him not to or he would never see the children again and yet, my father wasn’t a true father . he was my maker, his sperm created me .. although he for many years maintained l wasn’t his – but couldn’t really divorce on the grounds of his Catholic upbringing.

Catholics and their beliefs and convictions have a lot to answer for as far as l was concerned as a young boy growing up in a supposedly religious family …. they weren’t allowed to do or perform a, b, c or d, but it was perfectly acceptable to not only do so frequently when suited as well as engage and thoroughly enjoy, e, f, g and bloody H too! But our house wasn’t religious – religion was used as a weapon against my mother from my father, from my mother towards my father and aimed at us by both!

Was l crazy in 1977? No, l was terrified and just wanted some peace and quiet and normalcy from my parents and family life … l wouldn’t see that at any stage when living at home – but then, l was considered mentally and physically unsound by both of my parents for various reasons from the age of 7 anyway … no one knew much about autism back then, let alone hidden Asperger’s and certainly nothing about bipolar or Munchausen by proxy which my mother would be diagnosed with both in the 80’s and l would receive a diagnosis of mild bipolar in the early years of the millennium – later confirmed to only be’ cyclothymic disorder and yet that was also disputed once the diagnosis of Asperger’s was confirmed in 2008 … but was l crazy in 1977?

No more than you …

Whilst we awaited the docking procedure to commence from the ship to the port in Willemstad, my parents were having a discussion that soon escalated into an argument about the cabin Steward who attended to our needs during the voyage and my father was yelling at my mother to stop her flirting with him! But more importantly – to “at least try and act sane around the children’ and to not do anything crazy when in Curacao!”

At that, l distinctly remember that both my sister and l exchanged looks of apprehension and we sort of grimaced at each other and smiled at the same time. “Do you think she will do anything silly again?” My sister asked of me…. “Who knows, l just want to get off this ship!”

An hour later when we were standing on the quay looking at the ship with our mother, waiting on my father to find a taxi to take us into the city on account of the small fact that mum didn’t want to go on ‘another’ scheduled excursion organised by the ship. I was thinking how hot it was, and wondering what was on the list that my mother kept on looking at every time we arrived somewhere new that she just produced from her purse, and WHY did she keep muttering to herself in a language l had never heard her use before??

I was thinking how hot it was, and wondering what was on the list that my mother kept on looking at every time we arrived somewhere new that she just produced from her purse, and WHY did she keep muttering to herself in a language l had never heard her use before??

WHO LET THE GEIST IN PART 9

Dad managed to find a taxi within twenty minutes of him departing, he had some difficulty admittedly – most of the taxi rank was further in town away from the port itself, but he got one. I can’t deny he was angry with my mother, we sort of all were … why couldn’t we just not have taken the ship’s scheduled tour? That was easier, it was booked, and you were guaranteed of seeing the tourist landmarks, the ‘sights’.

Thinking back to 1977 the city of Curacao didn’t have that many interesting sights in my eyes, but it was a colourful city with even more colourful architecture and seemingly friendly, despite what the cabin staff on the ship had told us … ‘don’t walk off the path’, ‘don’t walk into strange areas, that don’t seem to be ‘tourist orientated’, don’t not think you are a target for some pickpockets because you will be’, ‘don’t drink the local water including ice-creams’ … basically just enjoy the city as best as you can and lastly make sure you are back before the ship is due to leave by a good hour! The other thing was how was l to know if the sights were going to be interesting anyway? Mum had decided that she wanted us as a ‘family’ to tour the city by ourselves!

According to dad though, we had missed out on seeing monuments, some parliamentary houses to do with dead Presidents, the liqueur distillery of Chobolobo and the Jewish cemetery, Beth Haim, which admittedly l would have liked to have seen and a museum. Dad was pretty annoyed about all of this .. missed photography moments in his eyes as well as , missed social moments. Dad had been flirting with quite a few of the other travellers but then mum wasn’t that coy, just not as obvious as dad. It was causing a few arguments with them both. Mum was bored with the trip and just wanted to be in England and dad’s counter argument was he wasn’t the ‘bloody captain of the bloody ship, he didn’t control the speed!’ We would arrive in Southampton later in the month!

At the start of the cruise back to England it hadn’t been that bad for arguments, but after New Zealand and the troubles there and the slight problems in Tahiti dad was a little baffled with his wife’s behaviour, and so were we too as her kids. She had just started acting a little bit odd or even more odder than her normal odd. But dad wasn’t easy to live with, he was great when he got his own way, but not when he didn’t. So, when mum decided to not go on the ship’s tour, a tour that had been paid for, dad was livid to boot! Most of the time, mum and dad did their own thing on the ship when we were not berthed. The only real time we were together as a family was in the evenings or for lunch in the restaurants.

The irony of everything that day was that we visited everything we would have visited had we been on the scheduled tour, but we did it by taxi and l would be lying if l said my father was impressed … because he was ready to go on a murderous rampage .. you could see it in his eyes. Every time he spoke to my mother or they spoke to each other – the tensions were so thick they could have been cut with a blunt wooden knife! It made the day very awkward and at times horribly unbearable – so once the touristy landmarks were done and the taxi dropped us off in the town, we were ALL overjoyed to finally be able to just enjoy the small part of the afternoon we had left in the city itself.

The heat was different to both Australian and Malaysian heat and it was hot that time we were there in February, hot and sticky under our collars and hot and dangerous moods swing wise between two adults. The moment the taxi had gone, dad wanted to just storm off in any direction. we were not that far from the port and although we had a couple of hours left before we were due to be back, he’d had enough of being in mum’s company and ours l think. We each were tiring of the other just as quickly. However, whilst dad was still with us, he was marching ahead of us as was his way, always looking for something or even someone better to be with than his family ….

I remember mum stopping my sister and myself abruptly by a vegetable stall in the marketplace, on the premise of looking at the produce, and she allowed dad to disappear into the distant throng of people till he was swallowed up by them all. Once he had gone from our eyes, she quickly scurried behind the stalls and started searching for something on the other stalls and had produced this little list of hers again, which she kept showing to the stall holders who looked at her in a baffled manner and kept shaking their heads. we must have seen six or seven stalls, before a man who sold shoes took the list from my mother and smiled at her broadly and l remember thinking that he was the first man l had ever seen with a mouth filled with gold teeth!

He nodded at my mother and asked her to follow him …. without hesitation, my mother did just that and so we three were suddenly walked out of the busy marketplace and were now walking through strange dirty and darkened streets and alley ways, far away from the hustle bustle of the town’s market space. Gone were the many people, gone was the noise of the day and nowhere to be seen was my father. I felt sure we were all going to be horribly murdered and dismembered and fed to the seas and after what seemed like an hour of walking, although what was probably only 15 minutes. The man stopped, smiled at my mother, then at us and pointed to a little shop on the corner of the street, then walked off back the way we had come.

I looked at the dirty shop windows, this wasn’t a tourist shop, there were no bright colours, no vibrant scarfs or shirts, no knickknack things … instead it was filled with strange things like masks, and bangles and necklaces and wooden carvings and colourful small heads and skulls, and strange dark pictures and paintings. Mum told us to stay put and not move and said we couldn’t come into the shop with her, that she had something to get that Mrs Rossi, that crazy Italian woman, said would help lift the problems that started from that night before we left Margaret Avenue.

I stared hard at my mother, she was now finally acknowledging that something had happened that ‘night’, but before l could say anything, my sister and l were left on the threshold of the store and my mother had vanished into the shop itself .. the door opened and what seemed like a strange huge gust of acrid smoke bellowed out … l recognised it from Malaysia and the gardener – he used to smoke it when he worked, he had even sold me a joint that my father had said was bad ganja.

My sister was whinging, where was ‘daddy’, what was mum doing? What were we doing here anyway? What happened if we missed the ship and it sailed without us? Not all of her questions were bad .. l was wondering about a few of them … like where was dad? When would he realise his family weren’t with him? What ‘would’ happen if we missed the sailing, would the ship leave without us, when would they notice us missing??

Suddenly, the shop door opened, and mum had reappeared and stepped out and ushered us along at a briskish pace, in her hand a small brown bag and a small woven ‘dolly’, the latter was thrust into my sister’s hands with the remark of, ‘”I saw this and thought of you!” My sister looked at the gift, not the usual thing her mum got for her, but her whinging stopped. i recognised it though, l had seen one when we lived in Malaysia! Then mum looked at me, my curious eyes questioning her motives for this? “Not now Rory, soon, soon, you’ll understand, however … now we must get back to the marketplace before your father calls out the military …….. and Rory?”

“Yes?” I answered already knowing what was coming.

“Not a word of this to your father okay? It’s a surprise and l don’t want it spoiled alright? That includes you as well…” She said looking at my sister. Who simply nodded, with the comment of ‘Daddy likes surprises! He will be pleased.” As we walked off the way we had come and back towards the marketplace, l heard my mother mutter, “He may not like this one, if it goes right!”

We got back to almost the same stall we had left not long back and suddenly my father was there as if by some magic or voodoo of his own, “Just been looking for you, it was like you all had vanished or something? Couldn’t see you anywhere … oh that’s unusual, where did that come from?” He asked of my sister holding the strange dolly. “Mummy got it for me.”

“Well, we have to get back to the ship now, did you find anything of any interest, anything you wanted?” he asked my mother not really that bothered by my sister’s response or the strange doll. “Oh one or two things, l spoke with a lady who said l might find what l am looking for in San Juan.” She answered. “Right, more of this mysteriousness then eh? All l get from you, is it’ll be a surprise … mm, well at least we didn’t get lost and we’ll not be late back for the sailing, so all’s well.”

We walked back to the port, it didn’t take us long and it wasn’t long after that, we were back in our cabin on the ship. I had bought a few postcards and added them to my ever-increasing collection and watched my mother. Her behaviour was calmer, she seemed more relaxed, whatever she needed in that shop, she had found it, but now she wanted something else from our next stop … Puerto Rico. Everything was now becoming even more confusing and more worrying.

My nightmares and sleep walking were still a problem though … and l still didn’t know what was in that brown bag … and more importantly, what did ‘it’ have to do with me and that night and the crazy Italian lady??

My nightmares and sleep walking were still a problem though … and l still didn’t know what was in that brown bag … and more importantly, what did ‘it’ have to do with me and that night and the crazy Italian lady??

WHO LET THE GEIST IN? PART 10
Wednesday 16th February 1977 – Arrival Midday – Departure Midnight.
To be back on board the ship for 10.00pm.

We arrived in Puerto Rico the following day and it was around lunchtime when the Australis was completely docked into the Port of San Juan – Curacao had been an eye opener of sorts, l had seen my mother in very strange circumstance behave as if the surroundings were her own instead of being a first time visitor to the island. But although in the little shop she had acquired some items, she said her ‘shopping list’ was not yet complete … but she wouldn’t elaborate any further on what that meant.

It was stiflingly hot that afternoon when we stepped off the ramp and walked onto the quayside in San Juan. Everything we were wearing was short and lightweight, and despite that we still sweated hard. The arranged tours were not minibuses like previous ports of call – for Puerto Rico, there was a convoy of yellow cabs waiting for the passengers who were to take the tour of the city. Not many of the passengers wanted to walk the streets … they said it was dangerous, that we would be mugged and robbed and if we wandered, we might not be seen again. That didn’t dissuade my father! He paid for the tours and so therefore he was going to take it … Afterall , he was a former policeman – he knew what was safe and what wasn’t … he assured us, everything would be fine.

But then he had no real reason to be concerned .. sure, he was slightly worried about his wife’s strange behaviour so far, but he didn’t ask too many questions about Curacao and my mother avoided any difficult scenarios arising the morning we saw Puerto Rico on the horizon. My sister and l were sent to the top of the ship to attend a class or something … it was for my sister, and l was to make sure she was okay … but l knew what that meant! My mother was allowing my father to have sex with her so she sent us kids packing … sex was the answer to everything for dad. Give the man sex and he stopped asking questions!

So, by the time we were sitting in the back of the arranged taxi ready for the city tour, my father was happy as a sandboy and he had no reason to suspect that his wife and our mother would go missing … for a total of three hours in the city itself.

I thoroughly enjoyed the tour of San Juan, l loved the ambience of Puerto Rico – l loved the city, l felt easy there, right at home. l was sad at the thought of leaving it. it was colourful and vibrant and alive and as we walked and explored and discovered l felt voices calling to me from every corner, everywhere … it was a very strange feeling … l could see life, but death too and yet … l wasn’t worried. My sister hated it, she found so many things alien to her and longed to be back on the ship. My father – well he and the taxi driver hit it off and were almost like long lost buddies … and as to my mother, she just kept looking at me knowingly and smiling a crooked smile and nodding her head as if she was having a conversation with someone else. It was surreal and spooky at the same time. But she was there for the tour … she despite her strangeness seemed to be enjoying it as well. Posing for photographs, laughing, and generally joining in with us all.

We visited all the landmarks – the fortress of Castillo San Felipe del Morro or as we were informed ‘El Morro’ by Luis our driver, San José Church in the old city of San Juan, the various Colonial administration buildings, the walls, chapels, the City Hall, the Governor’s House – everywhere which was an official photography sight or postcard and souvenirs stall for tourists we were taken to by Luis.

Why would he not do so? He was getting paid for the tour by the ship line and he would receive a tip from my father and we also bought him an evening meal as a thank you for being our driver for the day before he was to drive us back to the ship, at a delightful restaurant that he not only knew well but it belonged to his cousin Gabriel.

Back in those days l could eat anything, l had hollow legs .. plus l was very adventurous with my food and would try and trial everything new to my palate – l loved food, these days of course things are very different – my stomach would run a mile with the spices and assorted herbs and heats … but thankfully back then, l was younger and was able to cope with more than most………which is just as well really, because my mother chose this restaurant as her launch pad to go wandering in the old city by herself….

She had excused herself around 6.00 to use the ladies’ room, but by 6.20 she had not come back. I had tried telling my dad after she was gone for ten minutes, but he did the usual and shrugged me off … he was drinking with his new buddy Luis. But at 6.30, l could not stand it any longer and simply said “Dad, mum is missing!!”

He took note of that and after a cursory glance over the tables and looking at the concerned faces of my sister and myself performed a thorough search of the restaurant and the surrounding areas outside with Luis and Gabriel both and after a half hour more conceded to the fact that his wife, our mother had vanished! No one had seen her go, but they weren’t looking, and the restaurant was busy – why should they notice someone who was determined to disappear and not been seen doing so?

It was Luis who called the police, he had a brother in the force and so by around half 7 there was a huge party of people looking for my mother … my father was looking frantic, my sister looked like she was in shock … but l had a niggling feeling inside of me that this was a very deliberate action of my mother’s … and my mind went back to that list … she wasn’t missing, she was shopping!

I was caught between a rock and a hard place … she had very specifically told me to NOT say anything to my father, but my father kept on at me to try and remember what she had said before taking herself off to the ladies and that anything l knew or could remember could give us an idea of her whereabouts. Did l tell my father about the list and risk the wrath of my mother or did l lie to him and risk his fury if he found out the truth? I did the only thing l could think of to save my skin and grace … l sort of told a half truth. “I think she said she was just nipping out to get a few gifts for your family when we get back into England, she had a shopping list.”

“Not that bloody list again? That thing has been with her ever since New Zealand, she doesn’t show me anything on it, so l can’t even help her with any of it … have you seen it then Rory?” He asked of me. “No, she doesn’t show it to me either … but l think she might be shopping dad!” I answered.

Well dad cussed her a few times for just ‘Bloody going on Walkabout like a bloody local!” He then made the decision to return to the ship and asked Luis to drive us to the quayside. The police were already there, speaking to the port authorities and the management of the Australis – ‘Had she been seen or been checked back on board?’ No, as of yet she hadn’t checked back in .. it was 9.05pm, we were supposed to be back on board by 10pm and we were due to sail at midnight. Whereever she was, mum was cutting it fine, very fine indeed.

It was an understatement to say my father was annoyed, he was beyond vexed he was furious – and l could tell he was raging but he wasn’t allowing his true temper to be seen by anyone else and to those who didn’t know my father, they would simply interpret as frustration and genuine worry .. but my sister and l knew it as violent fury … he wasn’t far short of exploding.…

… and almost as if that was a signal, suddenly a jeep pulled up by the side of the ship’s ramp where we were all standing. Two soldiers stepped out and helped my mother down from the back with her bags and what not, and she smiled and laughed and did what my mother did very well – she flirted to her assistants and very visibly in front of my father.

“Sorry, l just popped out from the restaurant to get some things from that stall outside, and then l saw something else and then before l knew it, l think l was lost… l had lots of little bags with me and l found a policeman and well, here l am. Were you worried? Well if it is of any consolation, the shopping list l have been working with is now no more – l have everything that was required, so when we arrive in Vigo apart from maybe a few postcards and small gifts, l am good!” She explained to my father, gave him a kiss on the cheek, turned around and waved to the soldiers in the jeep, walked up the ramp, apologised to the crew at the top and walked off into the distance on her way back to the cabin with no other words to any of us.

My father thanked everyone involved for their help, he waved goodbye to Luis and Gabrielle as they drove off in their cab and walked my sister and myself up the ramp into the ship itself, and once at the top we all walked back to our cabin. When there, my mother looked slightly flushed as if she had been running around hiding what she had bought … which she had been doing. But no words were exchanged between either of my parents that night. Although my father switched beds with my sister … she slept in my parent’s bed that night and he slept on the bottom bunk.

My mother didn’t say a word to me about anything, she didn’t even wish me good night … l never knew where she had gone, what she had bought and what happened to the list – but l never saw it again and l would never hear about it again until 1981. I had a terrible night’s sleep, nightmares were dark and wild and disturbing and filled with blood, voices laughed and cackled, and l awoke a few times terrified that there was a presence in the cabin with me.

There was only one more port to stop at before we arrived in England, that was Vigo in Spain on the 23rd, that meant we now had a week with no stops crossing the Atlantic Ocean – rough seas we were told by our cabin steward … l wondered how rough the atmosphere was going to become between my parents and worried more about that considering everything that had just happened, never mind the climate conditions of the sea.

 l wondered how rough the atmosphere was going to become between my parents and worried more about that considering everything that had just happened, never mind the climate conditions of the sea.

WHO LET THE GEIST IN? PART 11
17th February 1977 – 23rd February 1977 – 26th February 1977 – San Juan – Puerto Rico to Vigo – Spain – Southampton – England.
Crossing the North Atlantic Ocean

You know, if you are reading this and have followed this first season – The Introduction – and think there might be a grand finale – you are going to be disappointed – the reason this first part was written was to literally ‘introduce to you’ a set of circumstances that were surreal, eerie and spooky on occasion, strange phenomena in others but principally it was to show to you, the reader – the style in which my life was being lived and events which couldn’t be explained at the time. If you had questions before, this will leave you with even more, you’ll become like me …. always looking for the answers. But sometimes also … there aren’t answers to everything … these events were real, they were life – they weren’t Hollywood. My life for many years was one long nightmare ……… but all ghost stories start somewhere.

Why did l become a Ghost Hunter?

Because of these events. Because of the happenings around this time that caused a huge spiritual awakening within me, l awoke to many different thoughts as a youngster… l experimented with things l should not have and l tampered with the unknown in ways no one really ever should, l questioned and challenged and observed everything.

But not when l was travelling back to England after departing Australia – at that time l was very scared about many things. I lived in fear of my father and l was very concerned about my mother’s mental health, her state of mind – no one knew of her lurking Bipolar at the time. My sister seemingly was oblivious to almost all her surroundings and if she wasn’t she simply failed to see any change in the air, the environment or the nuances and hues that made our family as dysfunctional as it was. It was either that ………… or she didn’t care and just wanted to get from A – B – C in the quickest way possible.

I have done things with my life that because of the events when l was around the 13 – 14 years of age mark formed the very foundation of trying things – looking at things differently. Long before l knew of autism or my Asperger’s l thought differently, l saw things differently to peers and family alike. I was bullied and manipulated by both parents and subjected to mental cruelty and physical disciplining by both parents … of course as they aged they would have you believe that butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths and if you tried to discuss these events – it was either in your head only or you were informed they were not to blame, the other parent was.

From a young age, l had to be the ancient elder son and listener well beyond my years to my mother’s woes, angers and frustrations with regards my father, and l had to listen and suffer the beratings and belittlings of my mother from my father. It was hard being the son to my parents at times as it was like being a priest and listening to confessions. I have tried to be a good son ….. they would view my attempts as failings. I can only answer with l did what l could do with what and who l had to work with.

I did decide during this time as a young confused boy and son that l would NOT LIVE an unexciting life and l would make sure that as often as l could l would try to dig out answers for mysteries and the strangeness the world had to offer … l would NOT become my father and l would NOT become my mother – but if l survived this voyage, if l survived this journey and trek, then l would adventure wherever my heart desired – in and out of risk and dangers.

Travelling back to England aboard the Australis after San Juan, was neither eventful or exciting in so far as my parents … they argued and argued and argued … they were unaware of their children many a time we were to be seen but not heard nor listened to. When they were not arguing, they were not talking to each other. My sister and my father formed a closer bond and my mother remained aloof and l remained an observer to the goings on, the non-goings on and my own inner troubles. I suffered terribly with nightmares and sleepwalking problems during the final stretch of the sailing.

We arrived in Vigo and my mother was ‘normal’, her behaviour was like that of someone who had not displayed bizarre traits and attributes in any of the previous ports. She was a mother – but if you watched her closely – she was thinking, she was biding her time .. she was plotting something and l think she was also very very unahppy with her life – she wanted out of it … one way or another.

Spain was interesting – colourful, but the day was wet and miserable – my father took us to see a bullfight and l became seriously distressed at the cruelty and sobbed for most of the time – l vowed l would never attend one of these ever again and that l would never be so cruel to any animal in my life. I walked around like a zombie but my mother was simply doing her usual, smiling and laughing but just not with any real mirth …. she was wearing a mask.

But so too equally was l, l had a heavy mask on – l was distracted … l was hearing voices that were not my own, l was dreaming when not caught in slumbering madness of things that didn’t make sense. I was seeing things that couldn’t be seen by others … l saw shadows and dark shapes just out of my line of vision or …. not. But standing there in front of me, faceless people, darkened and in the corner. I smelled things that were unpleasant and other times ran a fever when l should have been cold. I was changing.

We were all changing … we may have been a family unit, but we were four strangers and about as far from being a functional loving family as a functional loving family could ever be, I started to fear arriving in England … the start of a new life, my father would say. Each day that we got closer to England, my parents seemed to become both lighter and darker in thoughts – let me explain. My father looked happier, my mother l knew not where her mind danced, my sister frightened as she knew nothing of England.

As to me ……… l suddenly knew l was being haunted – l just didn’t know by what, or by who … but England held the keys to my future … l also never knew just how bad my life was really going to become …….

As to me ……… l suddenly knew l was being haunted – l just didn’t know by what, or by who … but England held the keys to my future … l also never knew just how bad my life was really going to become …….

WHO LET THE GEIST IN? – PART 12
March 1977 – Southampton to Faversham Kent

I knew quickly, in fact not long after we arrived in Southampton in England that life was going to be very different from Australia, which l had considered my real home despite being born in the UK – it was so bloody cold for starters and so damn wet – as far as first impressions went, l was not overly impressed.

My parents had been giving it all ‘this, that and the other’ during the times they weren’t arguing on the ship about how ‘lovely England really was’ … and how my sister and l would fall in love with the greenery and the ancientness of it all, how, which, why, what and everything was so grand ………. except, as far as l was concerned, it wasn’t and they had lied terribly .. but then my sister and l were only their children, it’s not like we had any grand say in the matter … it was simply put as such ‘Kids we are moving back to England … you’ll love it or you’ll not, and if you don’t, tough luck!” That was considered a healthy discussion back in 1976 with my family! You were never allowed to say anything because decisions were always made anyway – it mattered not if you liked them or not.

My mother had wanted to return to England, 95% of all her arguments in Australia were only about two things – my father and how much of an asshole he was and how she missed her beloved England!

We had been back in ‘Good ol’ Blighty’ for less than a week and in those few days, all my parents had done was argue and argue and yeah, argue some more! This time my mother wasn’t happy about the fact that we had given up our house in Australia to move back to England where her husband didn’t have a job and we didn’t have a house to live in and how she was sick to the back teeth of the wet and cold of this ‘damn country’.

I remember sitting in the back of the hire car – thinking ‘what on earth is going on?’ She wanted to bloody well come back to this damn country – her – HER!! My sister didn’t, my father didn’t and l certainly didn’t … NO, she did, my mother did! Yet, now all she was doing was complaining about how wet and cold it is and blah, moan, blah, and more moan! I had finally stopped being bullied in Australia, started to fit in and now l was left my home, and come back to a country where l had to start all over again … making matters worse, was my bloody mother was STILL not happy!

The reality was simple … my mother would be unhappy in the happiest place on earth, she could never be happy … she would never be able to be happy, whilst she was married to my dad, my father, her husband – and he could never be happy being married to her. They had grown so far apart a continent could fit into the space that was once their love! Now they just existed under the same roof – one always complaining and worse and the other always aggressive and worse and my sister and l – stuck in the bloody middle of two volcanic eruptions!

All l had known for many of my younger years was violence, domestic abuse, arguments, harsh disciplines and severe reprimands and fear – not just from my father, but also my mother. I loved them both – that was at times good enough for both, but not always … my father was jealous of my love for my mother and my mother hated the fact that l tried to please my father as his son. there was no balance, no even grounds and never any equilibrium – it was a day by day survival game.

The problem with that lack of positive ambience in my life growing up was that it manifested in dangerous levels of nervous and negative energy. I had ferocious temper outbursts that were frightening to behold to those who were not aware of my levels of aggression mentality. I had been diagnosed as mentally hyperactive, what would be classed as a form of ADHD today, was only considered ‘naughty and hyperactive in the 70’s’. I was volatile, and sometimes more so than my father …. that energy alone could create consequences of peril for those who caused me serious stress.

I could travel from 0 – 100 in a matter of seconds in so far as heated anger and vexation and once that was reached, l was uncontrollable and would often black out. Of course, these days – the professionals would say – that it was the lingering and hidden Asperger’s raging inside my autistic mind and living in a confrontational and hostile environment fed into the emotion daily.

By the time 1977 had arrived – l was in a different country, with two explosive parents, with no way of calming myself down, all my ‘escape into another world’ books had been burned in Australia, there too much uncertainty and way too much stress ………. l was a ticking bomb waiting to go off …………

.………. and l did, in those early days back … l was so overwhelmed with stress and emotion that l blew up daily and was then torn to pieces by both parents … my mother using me as a weapon against my father mentally and my father physically lashing out at me to stop hyperventilating or stimming erratically – it was NOT a good time. I was still not sleeping properly and having the darkest of nightmares. my skin was suddenly horribly sensitive, and l developed rashes that were incredibly painful, and no amount of Calamine lotion was soothing or ‘calming’ and l became more explosive and more of a problem for my parents.

The four of us were for the first week mostly cramped into small hotel rooms and the hire car ‘sightseeing’ …. looking back l can laugh … of sorts, but it wasn’t funny it was like a Carry on Horror combined with a Hammer House Horror – it was frightening! My father decided to try and stabilise the family unit and cut short the sightseeing and the plan was to drive to Kent where his sister lived and stay there for a few days, then to drive to North Wales where his brother lived and where our ‘house rental was. This was a huge mistake, it was never going to be easy, none of it ……. for starters we were too close to each other for any kind of comfort – emotionally or physically, we loved each other’ but in many ways, we really didn’t, we tolerated each other at best.

We arrived at my father’s sister’s house late on Wednesday 9th March, the plan was to stay till Sunday 13th and then dad would drive us up to Trefriw in North Wales. There were many reasons this was a huge mistake … not just for us and the cramped conditions … but because my mother and my father’s sister hated each other. I didn’t really know my aunt and uncle as l had never met them, but l did know that my mother and my aunt were bitter enemies … oh joys, this could only mean more stress. The stress didn’t disappoint ……… but no one saw the entity coming, not my parents, my sister, my cousins, my aunt and uncle and most assuredly not me, l did not see the manifestation ……… and l should have done maybe, afterall, l created it with my mind – l wished it would happen – l warned them all to stop their arguing, l pleaded with them to stop arguing ……… but of course, l am just a child, no one ever really listened to me.

It was then, l realised, l had a major problem….. the geist was loose!

The stress didn’t disappoint ……… but no one saw the entity coming, not my parents, my sister, my cousins, my aunt and uncle and most assuredly not me, l did not see the manifestation ……… and l should have done maybe, afterall, l created it with my mind – l wished it would happen – l warned them all to stop their arguing, l pleaded with them to stop arguing ……… but of course, l am just a child, no one ever really listened to me.

It was then, l realised, l had a major problem….. the geist was loose!

Who Let The Geist In? – Part 13

My father had an explosive temper, as did my sister and mother too – and l was no exception … all our tempers were fuelled by different emotions, feelings, events, moments, people and so on . it is a known fact that autism has explosive tempers, tantrums, burnouts, rages and overwhelms .. part and parcel of autism sadly, but also … bipolar too. Our family, not that any of us knew back then had a strong presence of autism and bipolar disorders functioning and dysfunctional at the same time. All four of us were on one spectrum or another at that time in our lives.

What produces anger? Well, stress, change in routines, fear, overwhelm and sensory overload and also being ignored and or not listened to or understood properly. I had a slow burner temper – l still do, much slower than the other three members of my family. Who would flare up almost instantly , snap, attack, punch, kick, lash out .. they were volatile and their triggers were extremely sensitive.

Mine, was slower to trigger, l found by stepping back from conflicts l could control it more, but if l was goaded into action, despite my step backs my fuse normally quite long would suddenly shorten and shrink to virtually nothing. My family despised me losing my temper .. it would build up over time and l would try and not vent it, but if it did explode .. it was nuclear … it was actually more explosive than my fathers which was a terrible sight to behold – but my mother and father and sister when they exploded they lashed out at others … but l exploded, l didn’t strike out, l imploded – so all the pent up stress, overwhelm, anger, emotional upset l would direct back at me.

I would punish myself for losing my temper and those punishments were usually self harm. I would punch walls, l would smash glass, l would go on a rampage of destruction and even though other people were in danger if they stepped into my path as in goaded me further or tried to control the rage, l had gone well past red mist stage and entered what l know as the darkness .. an extremely volcanic rage that cannot be stopped by gentleness … l either have to be knocked out or l had to pass out. usually when a rage occurred of this level, l would pass out within five minutes of raging and l would then be in an instant downtime where upon l was subdued for anything upwards of day.

When l was younger my parents [both] labelled me as insane and unstable because of these rages, when they were amicable towards each other and when they weren’t my mother would blame my father and my father vice versa. My father enjoyed goading me further when l was like this and if he also exploded at the same time there were serious problems afoot in the house because whereas l was punishing myself, he would then physically abuse me – by punching, throwing me to the ground, slapping me and mentally verbalising me. I took this on as further guilt and then l would start to slash and cut and stab at myself. I would bash my head against brick walls and scream in pain from the noises and voices in my head as well as feeling guilty for the damage l was creating to my body.

If father and son blew at the same time it was almost Wrath of the Titans – and the only time l would think of lashing out against someone else was when l suddenly felt threatened and was looking for escape mode … with my father mentally abusing me and pushing and shoving, if he performed then when l had gone past the red misting rage and entered the darkness, then l became violent to my aggressor.

In my household, growing up was like a warzone and l struggled most days with stress and overwhelm, l would constantly rage … and a full-on red mist eruption was guaranteed once or twice a week, whilst a darkness rage was maybe only once or twice a month. These moments in my life were present at the severest from the ages of around five to maybe seventeen. From the ages of 18 – 40 were my quietest times, but even long before my Asperger’s diagnosis, l was very aware of my limitations and so l steered clear of troubles and conflicts. The most volatile time of red mist and darkness rages were when l was going through my marriage and towards the end of that time when the autism had not yet been recognised or identified or diagnoses BUT was causing the most confusion in my life.

These days l no longer experience darkness rage where l black out, but l am older and able to control it more, and l don’t often see red mist rages, but l can still be volatile with a temper that people really don’t like meeting. However, l do manage to keep it under control for 98% of the time. I still get angry and can become vexed but not like l used to be when younger ……. thankfully.

When younger the other issue with my anger was that it could easily cause things to happen that were not expected. I found l could manifest things unwittingly – l could conjure and motivate negative energy to work on my behalf. I could focus my temper at times into things and they moved. I could cause trouble before my temper went nuclear……… but l couldn’t control it. Once things were unleashed, like my temper and myself, they would only cease to be when my temper ceased to live inside me.

I had accidentally discovered this before we left Australia. I had very few reasons to lose my rage when we were on the ship because l was able to control it and bottle my stresses … but once were in England, controlling these tempers were much harder because the stress was continuous again between my parents.

I had a rage yell, that my parents called my ‘Battle Cry’ – it was the moment l had lost control of my ability to keep my temper at bay and the pain in my head was so violent just prior to explosion, that l would yell and instantly erupt into a ball of fired up negative energy. It was frightening for others to witness, but it was also frightening for me too.

Many years later l would see a video of one of my rages in a hospital in Surrey – the Abraham Cowley Unit in St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey. I was 27 and the year was 1990 and l was experiencing my first full mental and physical breakdown. When l exploded and collapsed the doctors said l was discussing and voicing the issues of my youth … the time the ‘haunting’ began. The hospital cameras had caught my breakdown explosion and darkness rage and l could see myself in a room, where security guards had quickly ushered out my mother who had been with me waiting when the rage struck and called for emergency procedures from the medical staff. I saw myself on film, just ‘go mad’, and even writing this today, l remember the pain and the terror my mind was going through. The rage l describe now, l never remembered … l do remember watching the video.

I can see a young man in pain, clutching his head and then suddenly hurling himself at full speed against the walls, breaking glass cabinets and picking up a hospital gurney and lifting it to shoulder height and throwing it against a wall. I saw that man; l knew it was me and l was appalled at how my adrenaline had kicked in with the rage and l developed superhuman strength. What the camera also caught on screen before four burly guys came crashing in with a medical team was a strange, darkened entity like a shadow that kept in stride and step with me and it was almost if it was egging me on. That figure stayed by my side till l was thrown to the ground, strapped, and injected with whatever. It can be seen floating above me then sliding back into my still body.

A complete burnout rage would quite often leave me quite injured, bruised and bloody and with very little memory of what had happened ……

We arrived at my father’s sister’s house late on Wednesday 9th March, the plan was to stay till Sunday 13th and then dad would drive us up to Trefriw in North Wales. There were many reasons this was a huge mistake … not just for us and the cramped conditions … but because my mother and my father’s sister hated each other. I didn’t really know my aunt and uncle as l had never met them, but l did know that my mother and my aunt were bitter enemies … oh joys, this could only mean more stress. The stress didn’t disappoint ……… but no one saw the entity coming, not my parents, my sister, my cousins, my aunt and uncle and most assuredly not me, l did not see the manifestation ……… and l should have done maybe, afterall, l created it with my mind – l wished it would happen – l warned them all to stop their arguing, l pleaded with them to stop arguing ……… but of course, l am just a child, no one ever really listened to me.

It was then, l realised, l had a major problem….. the geist was loose!

Who Let The Geist In? – Part 13

I don’t recall much of what happened that night at my aunt’s house. I do remember all four adults arguing over one thing or another, l remember the bitterness between my mother and my aunt and l remember how tired l was and how unwell l felt, and l remember seeing strange shadows in the house and hearing the voices, and the strange smell that accompanied the darkness arriving. I remember seeing the fear in my sister’s eyes and those of my cousins. I remember someone saying “Someone!! Quick, Rory is having a fit, he is shaking!!” I remember seeing things fall from cupboards, l remember someone screaming, l remember ……… nothing more.

What l remember next is being in the car, both of my parents shouting at each other, my sister looking at me with wide eyes and telling my parents l was awake. I remember my mother looking at me and yelling, your father is now having to drive us to his brother’s in Wales because of your behaviour, you should be ashamed of yourself! I remember my father telling me he would be taking the belt to me because of the damage l had caused once we were in Trefriw and how he would teach me a lesson! How dare l embarrass him in front of his sister! I remember feeling pain, lots of pain in my head and wanting to throw up and l remember the voice telling me, that what happened that night, would not be the last time it happened.

I wouldn’t find out what had happened until we arrived in North Wales and when l finally did, l struggled to believe it … but it wouldn’t be too long before l would have no trouble at all understanding what it was.

What l remember next is being in the car, both of my parents shouting at each other, my sister looking at me with wide eyes and telling my parents l was awake. I remember my mother looking at me and yelling, your father is now having to drive us to his brothers in Wales because of your behaviour, you should be ashamed of yourself! I remember my father telling me he would be taking the belt to me because of the damage l had caused once we were in Trefriw and how he would teach me a lesson! How dare l embarrass him in front of his sister! I remember feeling pain, lots of pain in my head and wanting to throw up and l remember the voice telling me, that what happened that night, would not be the last time it happened.

WHO LET THE GEIST IN? – PART 14

These days l would be hard pushed to get my mother to talk about the days in North Wales in 1977 objectively and not just because we are in 2021 and that is now 44 years ago and that is apparently hard for her memory to pull up … but more so because my mother doesn’t understand the term objectively and she understands it even less if my father is being discussed in the same paragraph. I am not saying, nor will you ever catch me writing that my father was a saint, because he was far from it – but he was not always the absolute devil.

My father was a man who liked to lie, gamble, was a heavy drinker, a drunk, an adulterer, a boaster and extremely vain as well as being most assuredly an extreme narcissist and mentally and physically lash out and the latter was awarded to his wife and his two children. Although he would holler at my sister it was only his wife and son that he used to physically abuse with mental cruelty and way, way worse. With what l understand now, l would add to those traits and attributes the very high probability of him being somewhere on the spectrum of autism to boot. Making matters worse was that he was an extremely aggressive and violent drunk who believed he was superior to everyone else! He wasn’t just a father – in his eyes he was an absolute divine deity!

He was a handsome man who had also a case of Jekyll and Hyde about his personality and he suffered with anger management problems …. on an average day to day basis out of 100% my father was 70% hard bastard and 30% kind soul, but he was also a clever strategist and knew how to manipulate, coerce and humiliate people in one move! If such a thing existed … my father believed he was the perfect male.

He never wanted kids not really – he had them to get his parents off his back, he only ever wanted to be in the RAF from a young man, the ideal life for him was being a pilot. He didn’t really want to be married and yet he was, again to get his parents off his back – to show them, he was normal … l can understand that .. l made the same mistakes … and why? To please my parents …. to please my father.

I could write a book and fill 50% of it with chapters of my father – however, despite all his many flaws … he was married to a woman … WHO would tell you today that even though her ex husband [my father] has been dead since 2018 and prior to that date they had been divorced since 1988 – so for thirty years they had been divorced when my father died and yet not once did my mother move on from any of those years.

For me, when my father died, l shed a few tears for him, but l cried mostly with relief. I cried more when l lost my dogs who l considered my very best friends … but more importantly – when he died in 2018 – the reign of terror was over for me .. finally l could start to live my life as me, my own man. It’s rare these days if l suffer from nightmares … not completely, but prior to 2018, l would have nightmares almost weekly, for a few reasons, but mostly my father haunted me. His actions and behaviours over the years and especially from a young boy, to a teenager to a young man … l was never good enough for him … despite being the first born, and his son, much of the time he accused my mother of being an adulterer and l was NOT his son.

When he died, l was there a couple of days earlier and he failed to recognise me, his daughter who he adored and doted upon was there for his final breaths and he knew who she was … but even a few months previous to his death, upon one of my visits to him, he didn’t recognise me … some things still hurt … but l have moved on. My mother sadly has not, and now all of these additional years on, so 33 this year, she still hates him with a passion and blames him for absolutely everything that went wrong in her life when she was with him and 1 – 32 years after they divorced …… she is a very bitter woman.

She cannot talk about him objectively, she cannot talk about anything anymore without simply blaming her now dead ex husband…. her long term memory is sadly lacking and selective … but l know my mother and l know her well and way better than she credits me with …… she forgets nothing! Neither of my parents forgot anything they did to themselves , to each other or to their children and us all as a family. I can forget what l did at times in the morning, l wake up some days today and not even know my name or what day it is …. but my long term memory is actually phenomenal and l remember some things like they are tattooed onto my skin. I carry some memories like the scars l carry from self harming …… they never go away.

When younger, and by this l make reference to not just my teenager years in England and Wales, but also my years in Australia – not so much Malaysia as l was young then as in really young – 1967 – 1970 or 4 – 7, not then. But when we got back to Australia after my father’s tour with the RAAF in Butterworth and Penang … my mother started to use me as an excuse to get attention to her demands for her own attention, that she didn’t receive from my father – back then it was called Munchausen by proxy whereas today it is called Factitious Disorder. There are many reasons behind the reasons why parents go down this route. But my mother has always suffered from being a hypochondriac – she was always convinced she was not just ill, but seriously ill and when my father refused to acknowledge her pleas for hospital attention to her many mysterious ailments … she started to use her son as a weapon. This caused a lot of damage between the two of us and for me personally a lifelong fear of being in a hospital – even if just for a visit.

My mother although she had her own biological parents as in a mother and father – they put her into foster homes from a young age, because they couldn’t afford to keep her … she was bounced backwards and forwards between foster homes and her parents and she craved being loved and affection and receiving attention and she would do anything to get that attention .. anything. from being ill, or making out someone else was ill to outrageous flirting and flirtatious behaviours.

She was an extremely attractive woman … she could ultimately get away with murder with a lot of people … but my father saw through it … the fact is, both of my parents whether they liked to admit to it or not … were very similar. They both had suffered as youngsters from their parents and both suffered with various forms of stress and emotional traumas of their own … they both craved something from each other, but as they grew together as a couple, they also grew apart. My mother wanted children desperately and my father did not, he wanted an eye candy wife – but didn’t know how to love the woman she was and had become and my mother wanted a knight in shining armour as well as an excuse to escape her horrible life with her own parents … my parents were ticking bombs for each other as a couple, and they never understood how to better their situation … they brought children into the world, thinking it would resolve their issues and not realising that if anything, it worsened their own situation.

So, both, were extremely unhappy with each other very early on into their relationship … my father’s unhappiness was meted out to his wife in drunkenness and abusive physical violence and mental cruelty … and these caused further chain reactions which then started to scar their children … the cycle of life just continued from my parents backgrounds to their own children…… and …. if l had ever thought my parents had serious issues prior to those early days in North Wales when we lived as a family in Australia, l was wrong …… for l now firmly believe that the years prior to 1977 were merely a trial to evil …… for my mother was about to unleash a new breed of hell onto us all and that would inflict the deepest scars of all.

“and …. if l had ever thought my parents had serious issues prior to those early days in North Wales when we lived as a family in Australia, l was wrong …… for l now firmly believe that the years prior to 1977 were merely a trial to evil …… for my mother was about to unleash a new breed of hell onto us all and that would inflict the deepest scars of all.”

WHO LET THE GEIST IN? – PART 15

I think it would be fair to say that neither of my parents had a good upbringing from their own parents – always makes me think of the phrase ‘just because you can have kids doesn’t mean automatically you always should’. But a brief synopsis first …

My mother was pushed from pillar to post in the foster care system because neither her mother or her father could sustain her childhood years living at home with them both and also, more importantly, neither of them really wanted her. Her father l met only twice and l didn’t really like him .. he was a chain-smoking WW1 veteran who had been mustard gassed in the trenches in France by the Germans. He never stopped talking about it .. and l am thankful that l met him only a couple of times. He stank of cigarettes. My grandmother, who l really didn’t like at all – was an overbearingly large woman who also smoked and smelled of cat wee all the time. My mother’s parents house was untidy – actually dirty and very small, cramped and smoke filled. It was awful sitting in there.

My mother was scarred by her parent’s behaviour and for the rest of her days she was a very clingy woman who was always sick or so she believed. She could NEVER have or get enough attention and had to feel wanted every day.

But the distinct feeling l left with on both occasions was that neither of my mother’s parents cared for their daughter emotionally, and neither of them had any favourable opinions of my father either – as far as they were concerned, he was just another Paddy from across the waters who continually pretended he was English and was not and above everything else he was nothing much short of a ‘grand “uphisownarsekindoffella!’

My father came from an extremely Irish family – his father was a large pipe smoking guy who despite everything he maintained, didn’t actually wear the trousers in the home and his mother was a devoutly orientated Catholic woman who was aggressively bossy and did wear the damn trousers! My father grew up in a very Catholic homestead and he was considered weird by both his parents and his siblings. He was the eldest of four, two sisters after him and a younger brother bringing up the rear.

My father couldn’t wait to leave Northern Ireland to work in London as a Metropolitan police officer or Met officer as they were called. He was treated badly as a child as he was ‘somewhere’ on the spectrum, but he had very strange views of homelife and was often living in a daydream, he was also a very bitter man even then and because of his upbringing, he had very strange views on the role of women in relationships and marriages. He was a bully who basically disliked women.

His mother used to lock him under the stairs if he ever experienced a burnout or a sense of overwhelm and he was classed as the child of the devil. His father would whack his arse with his slipper, then he was pushed under the stairs without any supper and was forced to spend the night there and would not be let out till morning. This scarred him …. but he learned nothing from it.

When my parents married, ‘yes’ they loved each other …. l am sure they believed that was true .. but they married for the wrong reasons .. they married to escape their parents, they married to escape their lives and yet, they had a child together, a son in 1963 and then they emigrated to Australia in 1965 to escape the blandness of England and hoped for a better life.

They returned 12 years later, no longer in love, no longer truly friendly towards each other, with two children in tow and a family cat in quarantine … they left Australia looking for a better way of life in England and ”missing”’ their families …. or that’s what we were told – my sister and l, by our mother. My father didn’t miss his parents or his family, and neither myself or my sister were that bothered either – we didn’t know them. But my mother insisted she missed her mother and father and ‘my father had forced her to live in Australia and Malaysia’ against her will all those years ago …

In 1977, it was the second time l met by mother’s parents in Essex, not long after we ‘off’ the boat and not long before we were getting ready to visit my father’s sister in Faversham in Kent and they were not bothered about her returning to England. The first visit had been in 1970, when we as a family had a month holiday in England away from Malaysia, and even though l was only seven then, l remember all too well when we arrived that we were not welcome, as we were [my sister and l] considered bastards of a Paddy! That was my mother’s parents attitude in a nutshell of her relationship with my father and of her children.

My father had started to hit my mother as his wife as early back as 1960, they’d only been married for a couple of years then and he placed it down to stress and pressures of living in England. I remember my mother explaining this to her own mother that day of the second visit in 1977 – my father hated his parent in laws and wasn’t visiting, but was waiting outside in the car … l remember clearly my grandmother saying to my mother “Well stop making it happen, be the good wife, it is a man’s right to hit his wife!” I remember thinking even then ‘oh l so don’t like these people, why on earth did we come back to this country and how is it okay for my father to hit my mother?’

I had seen my father strike my mother on several occasions during my younger years all the way to my teenager and young adult years. As a fifteen year old l had begged my mother to leave my father .. she refused, l don’t know why. I remember not long before l left home at 19 my father and l getting into a fight where upon l had defensively punched him and cracked the cartilage in his nose because he was going to beat my mother up. I had no option but to leave home not long after because he swore he would kill me as l slept if l stayed in the house and l had no reason to disbelieve him, so l tended to work later all the time and quite often stayed in my office at work after banquet functions. My mother maintained she stayed for my sister and yet my sister couldn’t stand my mother.

I was 19 in 1982, and at that time my sister was 14, l left home in early 1983 not long before my twentieth and my sister left home not long after she turned 17 – she hated me for the fact that l left home and left her there with my parents. My parents divorced in 1989 and had seperated in 1988 .… it was difficult growing up in that environment for many reasons, but mostly because of the scarring it caused everyone.

My mother and father disliked each other already in 1977 when we returned to England and by 1988 they hated each other … this was a hatred that would last 30 + years for my mother and father both. The damage that had been the real catalyst to 1988 and leading up to it had started in the later 70’s when we found ourselves living in a small village by the name of Trefriw in Conwy County, North Wales where my father’s brother and his wife and her mother lived.

The mother owned the woollen mill there …… a beautifully tranquil location which lay on the edge of Snowdonia not far from Llanrwst and the picturesque village of Betws-y-coed. It sat in the valleys of Conwy and it was, very quiet, very very quiet – too quiet for my mother but it wasn’t long before she started to make a lot of noise. Noise that was heard by everyone in the village, the close knit community and not just us.

She didn’t care – as far as she was concerned she had something to say and she wanted everyone to know!

I will be 58 this year, next month in fact – in the last twelve years specifically l have written about aspects of my darker life in stories, poems, self published books and articles and as each year passes me by and l become older l am able to see my life from a different perspective than l was even those 12 years ago.

I have written about my life in lots of ways … but this story, whilst to some might appear to read as abstract and to others disjointed perhaps and why? Because it has never been written about before in this way, so candidly or so brutally. It is the very dark archives of parts of my life that l am not disguising with humour or foolish jester’ness – it isn’t a classic horror or ghost story and yet it is. It is when my own ghosts were born, when my inner haunting truly began.

Who let the geist in? I did. Who was the original geist? I was. Were there other geists? Yes. But they were true poltergeists. What was my geist? Dark rage. My pent up and volatile anger. Were there ghosts? Yes, but not as others might perceive them to be. Was there a haunting? Sadly yes, the stuff that Hollywood filmmakers would love to write manuscripts on. Was there a visible or hidden horror? Yes. Where was it? It was always present, but became more of an issue when l became a teen at 13. How long did the haunting stay? Till l was 30 – l walked with it daily from 13 years of age. What stopped it? I had to die, so I did, l took my own life and died. Did that stop it? Not entirely … but l learned the hard way, that is life.

There are some things outside of the laws of human understanding.

We try as people, as believers and non-believers alike to comprehend things we don’t understand, and yet we cannot always make make sense or head or tail of everything. We therefore prefer to have a directness of choice – it is easier to say something is either left or right, black or white but not middle or grey. You don’t JUST have to be on the spectrum to get confused with things that are not straight forward. We all fall victim to it … life at times moves faster than we do, concepts change, philosophies change, sexualities change – we can’t keep up with everything at once because we become overwhelmed so it’s easier for many to say A, B and C are correct and everything else is not!

My parents didn’t like the fact that l wasn’t prepared when younger to take the right path of agreeance with them on everything. I questioned everything and had questions about everything as well and this upset everyone. My father beat me to the point that l conceded and agreed with him rather than face more beatings or disciplinings on what he thought was correct.

When younger, l wasn’t allowed to be me, to think like me, to believe in me .. when younger l was a lesser person, l was an unimportant person in my own family. We were a family not meant to be. We should not have been a family .. we should not have been related to each other, but we were. As they say, you can pick your friends, but you cannot pick your family.

As a youngster, l saw things l didn’t want to see, l saw things l never wanted to remember ….. but things seen never go away, they can’t be unseen and they can’t be unremembered. These are the things that made my life as a teenager filled with horror.

The biggest problem with this story is that it isn’t a fiction story … it’s real life – or l should say, it is and was my real life back then, all those years ago.

Why did l want to become a ghost hunter in 1980?

Because l was fascinated in the horror stories of other people’s lives and l could see their own ghosts all too clearly and by then l had a lot of experience in inner hauntings of the soul.

We arrived in Trefriw in the very early hours of Thursday 10th March. I had slept for some of the journey, but it was hard because my parents were arguing .. again, it was becoming more of an every hour thing over that of an everyday thing … but this time, they were arguing about me. My father wanted me to be taken into hospital and to be locked up with the key thrown away. He was adamant that l was not his son. Because he would not have a son that would be like anything that was asleep on the back seat! My mother was reminding him of his own volatile temper and she assured him, that l was his son … “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!” I remember her saying.

“Well, l want that little bastard looked at by a bloody head doctor when we get to Trefriw, because he is sick in the head!!” My father shouted.

My mother argued that toss, and answered with, “Well l think it’s a priest he needs to see, the boy is possessed! Did you not see what happened??!”

My father eyed the interior mirror and told my mother to be quiet as ‘he’ was awake. Neither of them looked at me.

I didn’t speak or say anything to them either, l just looked out the window at the darkness and the rain and wondered, what it was l had done? Why did l need a doctor or a priest? I couldn’t remember anything specific, just that l had felt something welling up inside me, that l had heard voices in my head or maybe outside l don’t really know and l had seen that strange shadow standing in the kitchen between all four of the adults … what or who was that? I remember seeing things falling from cupboards, then the world went blank.

Even in the car, sleep was hard, l kept seeing things that couldn’t be there with me and my sister, sitting between us, just looking at me and sneering but if l fell asleep, l was abruptly woken but not, but l woke up in strange dark places with screaming noises and l would realise that l was still asleep, but only thinking l was awake. Maybe l was ill, maybe l did need to see a ‘head doctor?

My father got lost on the way to the village and he had to stop at a telephone box in a town called Llanrwst and ask his brother to come and meet them so that he could follow him back. He was angry when he was told that he wasn’t that far from the village where he was and to just follow the road with the sign marked Trefriw … but my father was angry, and his brother decided it was easier to just come and meet him.

We were all awake at that point, sitting next to the train station in the small car park in the pouring rain with my father huffing and puffing and my mother telling him to shut up that soon we would be where we were supposed to be. My sister asked the time. To be told it was 4.30am. Perhaps twenty minutes later, my uncle turned up in a sporty little car, with my father huffing again and cursing his brother’s good luck at marrying into money and not having kids!

My sister and l just sat there in silence and looked at each other and sighed, once more we were not welcome in our father’s life … he was always at times ‘so woe is me’, my mother sat there and eyed him with hatred. I could see the glint in her eyes to know how she was looking at him, he caught that look and laughed and said he was only joking, and that soon we would all be able to sleep in warm comfy beds. I remember thinking it was cold, the car was packed to within an inch of its steel life and we sat there shivering and just wanting to be somewhere else, anywhere but sat in this car with two parents eyeballing each other with disdain!

Uncle Liam was a lot younger than dad, by a good twenty years or something like that l think he had said once. In 1977, dad was nearly forty, so l guessed his brother was in his twenty’s. He was according to my sister ‘groovy’ and hip and ‘cute’ and yet to me, he looked a lot like my father but with much longer hair. It was halfway down his back which instantly annoyed my father, he couldn’t stand long hair on men and he teased his brother for it and called him a lazy hippy which even in the darkness of the car l could see had hurt his brother a little. But that was just typical of my father – he didn’t care if he hurt those who loved or cared for him, it was almost like a signature behaviour with him.

Liam idolised his older brother and saw him as a hero for some reason … even then l use to think, ‘You so don’t know him!’ But the hurt look on his face was momentary and he smiled, and simply said ‘You look tired bro, in fact you all do. We can catch up in the week, but for now, let’s get you back to the house. Sadly, Margaret couldn’t get the beds made, her mother was busy in the mill and needed her help there all day. But there is linen piles on the beds, and they just need to be made up or alternatively just sleep in your clothes with the covers on top and you’ll be fine until the morning.”

My father’s brother’s accent was so Irish, l had never heard anything like it before, my father spent much of his time changing the way he spoke that l had never heard his true accent before, but my father again always the polite one was quick to snap and laugh “Are you putting that voice on to impress the kids Liam? Speak normally, you sound like a bloody terrorist!”

“This is my accent, you’ve been a long – time away bro, living down under with too many kangaroos!” he snapped back.

I would learn in time, that Liam at that point wasn’t being humorous, he was being sarcastic, he loved his brother, and as much as he saw him a hero, he also was very wary of him too!

Liam was back in his own car and driving off slowly and my father followed him just as slowly through the winding roads from the town of Llanrwst to the sleepy village of Trefriw – because back then, it was quiet, way quieter than today. All the way from the town to the village my mother complained about Liam’s wife NOT having the beds ready, that would mean, that instead of being able to simply get into a bed, she would have to make the beds, and what would be the point at this time of the day in going to bed. The house would probably be filthy and that she would have to clean the house before any of us could sleep!

Liam, drove us up the small hill to the house, it was quite a steep hill as well, l would discover most of the roads and lanes in Trefriw were steep and slippy and dangerous when dry let alone wet!

It’s strange as l write this for l am remembering the cottage and to be double sure, l checked it up on Google Maps and although it has been renovated – it’s still basically the same house all these years on. I remember it because l fancied the girl who lived directly opposite my bedroom and ended up going out with her best friend for a while, as l was considered a ‘Novelty Ozzie’ when l first arrived.

It was a ‘quaint house’, l remember thinking the first time l stepped into it, but l remember something else … my shadow seemed to be there before l was? It was waiting for me when l stepped through the door, l found that very strange, almost as strange as the rotting smell ….

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