When confronting the supernatural, one must stay on guard while keeping an open mind.
It is possible to do both at the same time.
Last Friday, I entered a 60-something woman’s Federal Way apartment knowing only that she wanted to talk about paranormal activities. A wood-framed console TV hummed soft static while broadcasting a religious ad. Christian knick-knacks peppered a coffee table that sat on weathered industrial carpet, blotched in shades of wear and tear, and pocked with a few fabric-fraying rips.
The carpet was one place the ghosts marked their territory in this woman’s apartment. Armed with praises for Jesus and a stack of Polaroids, the woman pointed to the ghosts’ footprints. Another photo caught a ghost’s reflection in the broken TV that sat atop its bigger brother. Smudges on the apartment’s off-white walls and discolored countertops were in fact ghost fingerprints that accumulated over time, she said.
In the bathroom, we saw more “fingerprints” on the shower walls and bathtub, a frequent site of the woman’s sexual encounters with these ghosts.
At this moment I realize: This is the ghost sex lady.
In April, The Mirror’s police blotter contained an entry about two women who reported a ghost was having sex with them. The item sparked a small buzz online and in the media.
The issue has now risen from the dead, at least for today’s newspaper. The victim’s name is being withheld to protect her privacy and dignity.
Every day for the past 27 months, three ghosts have tormented this woman, both spiritually and sexually. It began through witchcraft associated with former roommates, she said. The ghosts lurk within her apartment’s electronics and circuit breaker. The ghosts rash up her skin. They make her stutter. They rape her constantly.
To demonstrate the ghosts’ grip on her body, the woman reaches out to squeeze a wadded-up wet towel tucked between the wall and metal rack. Her body begins to rock with the same slight wobble as a bobblehead doll jarred by footsteps.When she lets go of the towel, the shaking ends.
Two other times during my 90-minute visit, the wobbles returned. It is the ghosts’ way of punishing her for writing about these experiences, she said, holding a stack of typed testimonials that detail the abuse as well as her unwavering faith in protection from a higher power.
She even caught the ghosts on tape, in the form of answering machine messages. She played a message from a man who identified himself as a credit collector — and even sounded like one.
All of her explanations were as sincere as a death-bed prayer.
Her neighbor from a nearby apartment, who visited for a few minutes, said that life became complicated since meeting this woman. His electronic gadgets now break, cars almost hit him, and the cracks near his door and sidewalk mirror those found near the woman’s apartment. “I wonder if I’m nuts sometimes,” he said.
The woman, who prays all the time for relief, wonders if people think the same of her.
I stared hard at those Polaroids, trying to see the same ghosts she saw.
Even if her signals are crossed, is she crazy? No. Misguided? Perhaps. Lonely and in need of someone to listen? Likely. Confused? Definitely. But crazy, as in insane? No.
However, some forces that spook people are beyond an individual’s control. As humans, we choose whether to let our minds make up movies that paralyze life or distort reality. To win this eternal game, it takes a little faith in rational thought.
Mirror editor Andy Hobbs: email@example.com