March 18, 2010

A Haunting In Thessaloniki

The Creature in My Lucid Dreams

Elena M. - Thessaloniki, Greece - 1993

These events happened when I was a student, living with my parents and younger sister in an apartment building, built in 1980, of which we were the first owners. Thessaloniki is a very old town, it took its name from Alexander the Great's sister who was named 'Thessaloniki' by her father, Philip the Great, after his victory against the Thessalians (some other Greeks in the central plains of the peninsula). There are neolithic remains a couple of miles from where my parents' place is. The city has been attacked by Romans, raided by crusaders, rebuilt by Byzantines, occupied by Bulgarians, Turks, Germans, you name it. There also used to be a significant Jewish community there before the war, but almost all of them were taken to concentration camps. So there's lots of history, wars, and many many violent deaths in that town. So naturally I have heard many stories of 'encounters,' and quite a few of my more imaginative friends have claimed to have experienced stuff, and/or to be psychic. I never had the slightest indication of anything paranormal, so I always thought of such talk as tall tales, and I'd make fun of them, "You should give up drugs, man, they're not for you," that sort of thing. I still do that. What I mean to say is that I'm still not entirely convinced that what happened was not entirely in my head. Any ideas would be welcome.

Anyway, at the time when this weird stuff started I was mostly partying a lot, attending classes whenever, and partying some more. So I'd usually be back home at 3 or 4 in the morning. The apartment is shaped like an H, the two vertical lines being the front and back facade. My room was at the front. I was sleeping on a couch -- didn't like beds -- along the left side of the room. The door was behind me, the wall to the right was covered with book shelves, below those were my stereo and records, opposite was a large sliding double glass door leading to a small balcony. The first time it happened, I had just fallen asleep and had what appeared to be a very lucid dream. I had the sensation that I was awake. I was lying in bed and could see the room around me as it appeared normally, dark, except for the bluish light coming through the balcony door. I also knew that there was something looking at me from the other side of the room to my right, where the shelves and the stereo were. This part was completely in the shadows, so I could only see the small red light of the sound equipment. I tried to stand up and turn on the light but my legs and arms felt heavy, like rubber and they wouldn't obey me. I was sliding on the couch arm, and the floor, and the armchair, in a vain effort to reach the switch... And then I woke up, and the room looked exactly as before, only in more sharp detail? I literally flew to the light switch and kept it on until my parents woke up hours later and I could see sunlight and hear people around the house. I dismissed the whole thing as a bad dream and forgot about it. Until next night.

Same story but worse: the moment I fell asleep I woke up again and had more blurred version of my room, the thing -- whatever it was -- was there again, on the other side of the room, looking at me. This time I knew I was dreaming so I didn't try to stand up and go for the light switch. Instead, I tried to wake up. And at first it seemed that it worked, but no, the thing was still there, everything still looked this unreal bluish color... I couldn't wake up, so I panicked and started calling for help. I finally managed to wake up for real and stayed up again with the lights on until sunrise. I was not looking forward to another night of that sort so I stayed at a friend's house the following evening. I slept like a log. No disturbances, no odd stuff happening, nada. But I still was convinced that this was a coincidence, something heavy that I ate perhaps -- although we were not really into eating at such late hours. So the fourth night I went back home to sleep. And yes, surely enough, the same thing happened all over again. It was a very strange state, the one I was in when that "dream" came. Although my movement seemed very sluggish, and everything was bathed in that eerie grey-blue light, for the rest I felt as if I were completely awake. This time my curiosity got the best of me and I did not flip out trying frantically to wake up or to reach the light switch, I just stayed where I was waiting to see what would happen. I felt the thing that was watching me come very slowly close, to the end of the couch, and get hold of my ankles. It did not feel exactly like hands with fingers were closing around my ankles, no, but something in the shadows was dragging my body slowly out of the couch, taking the covers with me as I was sliding, feet first, toward the balcony door. My plan was to let whatever was pulling me out the couch think I was still asleep, then the moment I reached the balcony door to jump on the creature and scare it away (well, all that bravery was in a dream). The moment I jumped it, I woke up. I was still lying on my couch but in the opposite direction, like, my feet were on my pillow. For that to happen I would have to stand up and lie down the other direction, since that couch was a fairly narrow one. But, as far as I know, I have never sleepwalked in my life. The following days I slept at a friend's houses whenever I could, because every time I slept at home the thing would be there. I had no idea what to do about it or what it was so I asked these friends of mine, three guys who were roommates and were into New Age stuff and I Ching and selling jewelry from their frequent trips to India (recharging their spiritual batteries, humm). I thought, at least all that could be useful for a change. And they really jumped on the occasion to help me. One of them, we call him "Captain" because he used to be in the marines, was particularly eager to help, pronounced it immediately as a haunting and offered to come and whatsamacallit? exorcise the place? Yeah. That. Of course this was out of the question, showing up at my parents' house with some hippy chanting and burning joss sticks in my room (okay, he was not a hippy, but still).

So the three of them went into discussion on what could be done if an on-the-spot "treatment" was out of the question. The Captain insisted that before it was sent away, I had to seize the opportunity to study the thing. No way, I wanted it gone and banished. The other two were asking me if I had any old stuff in my room, like vintage jewelry and such. Well, the only thing that was old and acquired before the weird stuff started happening was actually a Chinese teapot, a very pretty one, which I had bought quite cheap in an antiques store in France and brought it home from there. But, what the hell? A haunted teapot?! It sounded ridiculous. However, the said teapot was on the shelf right above the stereo, where I first felt the thing looking at me from. Meanwhile, I tried sleeping at home with the lights on, but that turned out to be a bad idea because I got to see what the thing looked like. Not pretty. As soon as I "woke up" in my dream, the room was no longer in that grey-bluish light, but fully lit by the bedside lamp as it was in reality. The thing, a kind of shriveled up old lady or guy -- not easy to tell gender -- no more than three feet tall, and wrapped up like a bundle in black rags fell from the ceiling on the couch's back next to my head, I rolled over to avoid it jumping on my face and it grabbed my pillow and started hitting me with it on the head! We were hitting each other and I woke up again for real by falling off the couch. At that point I really had enough so I asked my friends for straight advice how to get rid of it pronto. While Captain was obviously enjoying himself a lot experimenting with all that -- he wasn't the one losing his sleep and peace -- he told me to try making the sign of the cross or a pentagram when the thing appears to see how it will react to these holy signs. If nothing else, the conscious effort would wake me up. So I did the sign of the cross when I felt it moving toward the couch (the lights were off again this time) and a huge bang, like an explosion was heard and I woke up. Captain said that it didn't like it. So next step he gave me a long chant to read while I burned incense (I was desperate at that point to get rid of it by whatever means...) at the four corners of the room. The chant/prayer was addressed to the four archangels. Just in case, I also moved the teapot to a closed display case in the salon, as far away as I could from my room. And that was it. Well, the one or the other, it doesn't matter, what matters is that the thing never showed up again, the strange lucid dreams stopped, and I was immensely happy about it.