Evil spirits are real. They move among us. Sometimes they are far away. Sometimes they are closer than we would care to have them.
The following are stories of encounters with evil spirits. They are true. I know. Because they happened to me. And to mine.
- It’s Close to Midnight, and Something Evil’s Lurking in the Dark
It is May of 1978. I am 18 and about to graduate high school. I am at the house of my friend, Bruce, a life-long member of the LDS Church. I am not yet a member, but am just beginning to develop an interest in Mormonism.
It is night time. Bruce and I are up on the roof of his two-story house because his big sister is in the middle of a messy break-up with some guy in the house below, and we don’t want to be part of that scene.
The discussion turns to things of a religious nature. I suspect now that Bruce did that intentionally. Bruce begins telling me about the premortal existence and the grand council in heaven. I have never heard anything like it before. I am enthralled. I feel a peaceful presence in the night air, seeming to make time stand still and the stars shine brighter.
The stars are framed by tall evergreens that encircle Bruce’s house so close as to overlap the roof top with their boughs. A loud cracking noise comes from the cedar not six feet from where we sit. We jump at the sound. The peaceful presence vanishes and is replaced with a feeling of dread. We peer into the shadows to see if we can make out what caused the sound. We see nothing. We try to guess what could have made that sound twenty-feet from the ground in the tree closest to where are sitting. We laugh it off, joking that it must have been a squirrel staying up way past bedtime to break a branch over his knee to scare us. The feeling of dread persists. We both decide it is time to leave the roof and go back inside the well-lit house.
It is months later that I see the Church film of “The First Vision.” When Joseph Smith is getting ready to pray in the sacred grove, the appearance of Satan is presaged by a large cracking noise. The sound was almost identical to the sound I had heard up on the roof. Joseph Smith is startled by the sound and jumps up to look around, seeing nothing. This part also seems eerily familiar to what I had experienced.
It was years later I discovered the loud cracking sound in the movie was not poetic license, but was taken from a lesser known account of the First Vision: “I heard the noise of someone walking towards me. I strove again to pray but could not. The noise of walking seemed to draw nearer. I sprang upon my feet and looked around, but saw no person, or thing that was calculated to produce the noise of walking.”
What Bruce and I heard on his roof sounded as if someone had stepped on a large dry branch and cracked it underfoot. What this sound was doing twenty-feet off the ground in the shadows of a nearby tree I have yet to figure out.
- Nine-Inch Nails
Within a month of the experience “up on the roof,” I was taking the missionary discussions at Bruce’s house. The missionaries taught me how one-third of the host of heaven followed Lucifer and were cast down from heaven to earth, where they circulate about as evil spirits.
That night, as if to cement the truth of this claim, I received a special visit.
I was at home in bed. The hour grew late. I was having trouble getting to sleep, now understanding that evil spirits were not a thing of the imagination, but were in fact realities.
I got up to go to the bathroom, which was just down the hall from my bedroom. Everyone else was asleep. The house was dark. While in the bathroom, I heard from down the hall three distinct sounds that seemed to come from the door of my room.
I opened the bathroom door seconds later to poke my head out to investigate. The hallway was empty. The door to my room was closed. I searched my mind for a logical explanation. I thought maybe it was the family dog, a toy Pekingese, who would sometimes scratch on doors to gain admittance. The door to my parents’ room was directly across from the door to my room at the end of the hall. That door was closed, too.
I wanted the noise to have been caused by the dog. The dog was the only thing I was aware of in the house with claws.
The dog had a favorite place to sleep—on the throw rug at the bottom of the stairs. I went down the hall away from my bedroom to the landing and looked down. There was the dog curled up and fast asleep at the bottom of the stairs.
So much for the dog-scratching-the-door theory. It was simply too much for me to believe that our dog had scratched three times on my door (or my folks’ door), raced past the bathroom without my hearing either the patter of his paws or the tinkle of his tags, zoomed around the landing and down the stairs, only to throw himself down on his mat and feign sleep in order to fool me when I looked down to find him there. (Less than a minute had passed from the time I heard the scratches to the time I saw the dog asleep at the bottom of the stairs.)
No. It was clear to me that, whatever caused the scratching sound on my door that night, it was not our dog.
What had caused the scratching sound, then? And why would something be scratching on my bedroom door? Was it scratching to get out? Or to get in? Or was it just sending a message? The possibilities were numerous and none of them comforting.
- Fasten Your Seatbelts. It’s Going to be a Bumpy Night.
Fast forward thirty-five years to a house on a hill. A house in the country. A house set apart from other houses. This is where I now live and where I and my wife raised our children.
About ten years ago, a friend of mine had a troubled young boy he needed to move out of his home for a time. We had a room available and volunteered to help. The boy lived in our house and stayed in that room for several months. But it seems we inadvertently invited something into our house other than the boy—something that decided to stay even after the boy had left.
It was Christmas-time of 2005. My wife, D and my youngest daughter, M, were at home alone working at the dining room table putting together an advent calendar as a project for M’s third-grade class. My wife heard a loud banging coming from the direction of the boy’s room. The boy’s room was next to the entryway, so it was possible the sound was of someone banging at the front door.
My wife went to answer the door, only to find there was no one there. She opened the door and looked up the long drive leading to our house. The driveway was vacant.
My wife went back to the dining room table and sat down with our daughter to continue working on the advent calendar. The banging noise resumed. My wife explored further and found nothing capable of making the sounds. She told out daughter to just ignore the noises, and my wife put on some Christmas music and turned up the volume to drown out the banging. Our daughter seemed to be serenely focused on the music, but my wife could hear for about an hour longer the banging noise beating out a devil’s tattoo below the music and behind the lyrics of peace and goodwill.
- From Ghoulies and Ghosties and Long-leggedy Beasties and Things that Go Bump in the Night, Good Lord, Deliver Us!
Our son, J, was a cadet at the Air Force Academy during this time period. When he would come home to visit, he would stay in the room previously occupied by the troubled youth, where J had encounters with evil spirits on several occasions.
The first of these was over Christmas break. J went to bed for the evening and the lights were out. He began to have disturbing feelings. He sensed an evil presence in the room. He looked over to the reclining chair and saw a dark figure standing beside it. The figure was darker than the darkness surrounding it.
The figure attacked J and began choking him. J could feel the fingers clamping around his throat. J began calling on the name of Jesus to make the figure leave. It had no effect. J continued to call on the name of Jesus until at last the figure retreated and disappeared.
J left the room and went to sleep on the floor of our bedroom. This was a young man who had been through basic training at the Air Force Academy. He was not scared of much. But this had him rattled.
- “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” (Jude 1:9)
These types of manifestations had been going on for some time. My wife, D, was getting fed up with them. Banging sounds are one thing, but attacking her children is something else. One night while my wife was alone in bed lying on her right side, she smelled something foul. It was not overwhelming, but it was distinct; enough to get her attention. My wife heard a low growl. Then she saw a dark mass next to her bed outlined against the wall. Instead of being terrified, my wife became angry. She was sick and tired of this thing.
My wife rose up on her elbow to confront the entity. She was not able to get any words out of her mouth before she was physically attacked. The pain was so great it made her gasp. She knew she needed to back off immediately and she started praying in the name of Jesus Christ for the thing to go away. She called upon God over and over again. Whatever it was didn’t want to go. Finally, after several minutes of calling on God, the entity vanished. But the physical pain from the attack lasted for several days.
- Approaching Hoof Beats
Out daughter, R, was a student at Washington State University with a double major in psychology and sociology, and had already earned a black-belt in karate before she graduated high school. R was home visiting during this time, and one night, my wife was having a long talk with our daughter, and telling her about the manifestations that had been plaguing us.
Their talk was interrupted by a low growling sound. Our daughter says it was the scariest sound she had ever heard. The growl was followed by loud banging on the walls of the room, which grew louder and louder and moved rapidly from place to place. My wife remembers it as if the sound were hoof beats running around the top of the walls near the ceiling. My daughter remembers it as if the pounding were going back and forth along the walls of the room.
Mother and daughter prayed for help, and eventually the sounds faded away. But the presence remained. They both agreed that whatever caused the sounds was still there. My daughter got a copy of the Book of Mormon and began reading out loud. After some period of time, the presence vanished and calm was restored.
- On this Home by Horror Haunted
As time went on, the manifestations decreased in frequency. The last one was just a few years ago. It was during a weekday and I was at work. My wife was at home and the banging sounds were breaking out again intermittently.
A neighbor from down the street dropped by to say hello. My wife greeted the neighbor at the front door. While they were talking, a loud bang came from the wall next to the entry way. There was nobody at home other than my wife and the neighbor.
The neighbor’s eyes got big. My wife told her apologetically, “We’re just having some problems right now.” The neighbor didn’t ask any questions and just let the matter alone.
After the neighbor left, my wife called me at work to tell me what had happened. I was excited by the fact that there was a potential witness who was not a member of the family. I got the phone number of the neighbor from my wife and called her immediately.
Taking care not to use leading questions, I asked the neighbor if she had been over to our house earlier and if anything unusual had happened. She told me that she had been talking to my wife at the front door when there was a loud banging sound from just off the entryway.
That was enough for me. I thanked her and hung up the phone. Now, not only had virtually every member of our family experienced these manifestations, but a neighbor from up the street had witnessed one, as well.
Since that day, the manifestations have dwindled away and not recurred. At least not yet. Time will tell whether the dredging up of these stories will cause them to begin again.
There does seem, after all, to be some truth to the adage, “Speak of the Devil and he appears.”
And the mere reading of these accounts may serve as an unwitting invitation of your own.
Best to keep the crucifix and garlic handy.
Just in case.
I would like to thank my wife for co-authoring this piece with me. Her assistance and proof-reading has been invaluable, especially when it came to whittling my prolix renditions down to manageable size, as well as filling in the details for those incidents that occurred when I was not present. She also contacted our son, J, to clarify and verify his accounts. Our son is currently stationed at an Air Force Base where he serves as a fighter pilot instructor. Additionally, she contacted our daughter, R, to clarify and verify her account. Our daughter is currently serving in the Border Patrol in Arizona. These phone calls were made the evening of October 12, 2014, and both our son and daughter gave permission to relate their experiences here. My wife is also to be credited with providing the spooky images for this post. Thanks, Honey! And Happy Halloween!