Satanism is a term which inspires a wide variety of responses, from curiosity, to fear, to absolute repulsion.
In bygone times, accusations of various groups worshipping Satan have been made throughout much of Christian history. In its most common, contemporary form it refers to the Church of Satan, a religious organisation founded in 1966 by Anton Szandor LaVey. However, with the advent of the Internet and the ability to connect more easily with global audiences, the term has developed in new and different directions.
What follows is an account submitted to us by Alicen, an individual who, as a teenager, felt drawn to a version of Satanism through the medium of a recently discovered website. The horror of her experience is clear, and solidifies the moral behind her testimony: “If I had known then what I know now, I would have never, ever done any of this.” You have been warned.
Editor’s note: The following account has been edited for grammatical mistakes and increased clarity of information. Permission to perform these edits was granted by the eyewitness.
“It was something much older and more powerful than a simple ghost.”
Of all my encounters with the paranormal, this is still the hardest one for me to talk about.
Even thinking about it is taboo, as I’ve found that the subject of this story doesn’t like it when I tell others about him. I will endeavor to tell the whole tale here, though, as I want to have it written down. I also want this to serve as a cautionary tale to those who would dabble in darkness.
I was fourteen and at the height of my teenage rebellion phase. Several months before I had stumbled across a website for Satanists. As a rebel in an extremely Christian and rural town, I found the site’s messages of Lucifer’s devotion to his followers and the good teachings of the religion very intriguing. This version of Satanism wasn’t devil worshipping: it was revering the one true God whom Christians had vilified over the centuries. The site spoke of many different things, from different demons, their abilities, and how to summon them, to how to strengthen your psychic abilities through meditations.
I had always been quite sensitive to spirits and energies, and the idea of becoming even stronger was incredibly appealing. While I wasn’t entirely sure that this Satanism was a good idea, I thought that these meditations could do no harm. It was just relaxing and muttering the same sound over and over, after all.
I did the meditations every day as prescribed, and at the end my forehead would ache like I had just put it through the most intense workout. I must admit that over the next couple months my abilities seemed to increase. Innocuous though it may be, I was able to predict the next song on the radio before it aired. I could very often finish someone’s sentence, or even provide their next sentence for them. Was this because I listened to the radio station long enough I knew the loops? Perhaps. Was this because I was very skilled at reading body language and making inferences? Perhaps. It still happened with uncanny frequency.
Over time, I began to think that perhaps there was credence in this Satanism thing. The website said that if you emptied your mind like for meditations and reached out to Father Lucifer, you could talk to Him. He wasn’t like the Christian God, who never showed you his presence. I tried it, and was astonished to feel something on the other end. An energy old and eternal, stern yet warm. This solidified my belief in this religion, and I longed to complete the initiation ritual in which the devotee willfully pledges their mind and soul to Father Lucifer, but as a child under her parents’ watchful gaze I couldn’t procure the necessary items and therefore completed the pledge during meditation.
If I had known then what I know now, I would have never, ever done any of this. I will have to live with fear and uncertainty for the rest of my life now.
It was May and three months of summer vacation had just begun. I had been keeping my budding secret of Satanism from everyone for several months, knowing that they wouldn’t understand.
As I often did when I was bored, I took my bike for a ride down this half-mile dirt lane that connected our property to the neighbor’s. To the left of the lane were fields, and starting halfway down the lane on the right were woods inhabited by turkey and deer. The place where the woods started was called “The Junk Pile,” as it was where my great-grandparents had tossed old machinery and other things that couldn’t be burnt. I spent many an afternoon wandering around those woods, looking for marvels from days gone by. Old bottles, a wagon wheel that had been partially absorbed by an obstinate tree.
On that day as I neared the tree line I felt the prickle at the back of my neck that signalled a presence. By this point, I was so familiar with all the spirits on the grounds and their unique energies that I didn’t have to look up to know who had come to visit. But this was one I had never felt before. It was colder, and… odder. Normally I could focus on an energy and glean more information about them. Their gender, age, disposition, the decade in which they died. Perhaps I could even extrapolate an image of them even if they hadn’t made themselves visible to me. But this one was slippery. All I could tell was that it was vaguely masculine and ageless.
I stopped my bike before the start of the trees and peered in. There, a couple rows of trees in, stood a tall black shadow. It was easily over six feet tall and had no distinguishable features, but its blackness was so replete that it almost seemed to drain the color out of the surroundings.
“Who are you?” I demanded of it. “What do you want?”
It didn’t speak and it didn’t move, but I could feel its will in my mind. It pressed its feelings into my mind like one presses a dry cloth into a pond. There is a brief moment of resistance, a soft woosh, and then the cloth is totally submerged and one with the body of water. When the cloth is moved, currents and ripples are created, and this thing’s will felt like ripples that are not language as we understand it. It is hard to put its will into words here, as it has never spoken words in my head, yet I understand it to my core.
Come, it beckoned. Come into the trees.
“No,” I refused. “You come to me.”
It urged me to enter the trees once again, but I resisted. I knew that it wanted my presence, yet it refused to leave the refuge of the shadowy woods. The dirt lane I stood on with my bike was bathed in sunlight.
I was unnerved by this. Generally only negative entities shied away from the light like this one, and it was the first time I had seen it on our property. I told it I would be back tomorrow, rode my bike home, and called my friends to tell them about this new spirit. We spent a couple hours guessing what it could be.
The following day, I rode my bike to the Junk Pile once more. It was there again, almost like it was waiting for me.
I continued with the same line of questions as the previous day. “What are you? Where did you come from? Why are you here? What do you want?”
It never answered my questions; it only willed that I step into the shade of the woods. The part of me that was familiar with ghosts was alarmed by this thing that was so clearly not a ghost. Today its energy had become easier to grasp. I could feel that, whatever it was, it was not a human. Perhaps it had once been man many centuries ago, but now it was something much older and more powerful than a simple ghost. I positively burned to know more about this thing.
Unwittingly, as I continued repeating my queries I found myself stepping away from the safety of the sunny lane and nearer to the murky woods where it seemed to teleport from tree to tree. Finally my toes were mere inches from the boundary of light and shadow, and the moment I took this final step the shadow vanished from the trees.
But this was no vanishing act like with a skittish ghost. Rather, its presence was tenfold, beating down upon my back like a hail of ice. I swirled around and could hardly breathe.
This shadow, billowing up to well over seven feet, was standing between me and my bicycle. It had no arms or legs or a face. It radiated a cold strength so oppressive my knees trembled, as if it had been concealing its true aura until now.
Until this point, I had thought that it was bound to the shadows and as such it wouldn’t be able to follow me. I thought I had had a modicum of safety.
I was wrong.
I ran. Forgetting the bike, I ran with everything I had. I could feel it behind me, not gliding or running but sort of teleporting from place to place behind me. It could close the distance between us in the time it took me to blink, but it chose not to.
It liked the chase – liked my terror and the fact that it was the cause.
I shot into the house like a bullet and headed into my bedroom where I drew the curtains tight and curled up under my blankets as I shivered. I couldn’t tell my family, as they didn’t like it when I talked about my experiences. I ate dinner casting furtive glances out the living room window but saw nothing. I hoped that it had given up and returned to the woods. I vowed never to go there again. Unable to sense its presence nearby, I went to sleep that night hopeful that it was gone.
In the middle of the night I awoke thirsty so I headed to the kitchen to grab a drink. There are two windows in the kitchen, and the moment I stepped into the room and happened to glance out the window and into the night my blood stilled.
It was there, just on the other side of the glass, blacker even than the night itself except for a crazed, white grin that looked like it had been cut out with razors. To this day that is still the most chilling image I have ever seen. It is burned into my mind. Nearly as chilling as its jagged grin was the fact that my house was slightly elevated and that window was nearly ten feet off the ground.
I completely forgot my thirst and ran back into my room where I hid under the blankets until sunrise.
From that night forward, it followed me everywhere. It towered in the corner of whatever room I was in, watching me as though I were the most amusing mouse this cat had ever seen. Its oppressive and dark energy was nearly overwhelming to me, yet I seemed to be the only one to sense it. The dog didn’t react to it. However, around this time, the dog developed a vicious temperament only towards me. He would snarl and try to bite me if I got too close to him, and he would growl if I maintained eye contact with him for more than a few seconds. He was a very sweet dog to everyone else, and we had been close for several years until this time. The cat’s attitude towards me also changed, it began avoiding rooms I was in, but, like the dog, seemed not to notice the actual shadow.
I didn’t know what to do. I was a practicing Satanist, and I had read that true followers who had completed the ritual were given a “guardian” to watch over them. But, I hadn’t actually done the ritual, and how could this malevolent, shadowy entity be called a guardian? I could feel its joy as I tossed and turned at night. Over a few weeks, the terror I felt receded and I began to understand that this being – whatever it was – was here to stay with me. That yes, it loved to see me in fear, but not just me. It wanted to evoke fear and hatred in everyone and everything.
To this day, I don’t have a label for this being. I don’t think I ever will.