Breaking Silence, Careful to Stay an Apparition


A true story

From the point of view of science, a belief in demons would be the epitome of indulging in superstition, would get you laughed out of any serious conversation centered around science anywhere on the web. Called the Hostile Powers in my yoga to emphasize they are hostile to the divine manifestation and fight against it, they have almost as many names as there are cultures on earth, attesting to the belief in them being panhuman and as old as the belief in gods and angels.

But what happens when you encounter one to the extent that you can seriously question whether you experienced an hallucination or something ‘out there’ in objective reality, something common to all? Even if science doesn’t believe in it, in such an event your encounter has more the making of knowledge than of belief, knowledge, however, that I argue is now suppressed, since skepticism has taken the field in mainstream media, in the news and in the publishing of poetry and literature. That means that anything that gives credence to something that doesn’t reduce to material process, such as ‘spirits’, more often than not, either isn’t presented at all or has to be presented from the perspective of skepticism so to be published.

This story for example was written for High Existence, a think website leaning skeptically towards spirituality. They told me before I wrote it that it might not fit them because of their skepticism but asked in writing it if I could be genuine and skeptical at that same time, and I replied I’d try (the title winks at that) and wrote the story. Sometime later, a couple of months or so, I got a reply the article was on Google Docs for editing, and a co-founder would be editing it with me, but that was months ago. When I email to ask the status I’m told they’re too busy to edit guests articles. I have no idea what’s going on with them, but it was time for the article to be posted, and so you’re reading it. I can’t help but wonder though at the science of High Existence, putting this aside so readily, because it’s not your usual demon story, not Hollywood at all, more like how encounters with them are really like, whether or not it’s an hallucination or something we don’t yet understand, and there are facts here that could be checked.

With this story, that involves not only me and my friends but two university professors, the Houston Police Department, and an oddly powerful local business, a good investigative reporter can verify that the facts happened as I relate them and prove the story’s true. Whether or not demons exists would take many such stories to prove. If they are actually factual, then there’s a real demon in this story. And if there are such unembodied creatures among us, and I show it had been around me and my family since I was a baby, that would be knowledge we need to know however upsetting it would be to our belief systems, because of course the suggestion is there that they’re around many if not most of us perhaps from birth onwards. If that were true it would be revolutionary knowledge. This story gives more weight to that ‘if’ than most stories you hear of such things as spirits and their intervention in human life.



I was sitting in my small apartment stoned on some good grass, skunk from Spy Rock Mountain in Northern California, a location-specific weed that had been the trigger for a couple of other spiritual and metaphysical experiences I’d had before this one. Marijuana has long been associated with aiding in the ability to see the unseen, something that can easily be seized upon, in this story for example, and used as means to prove it was the effects of the grass I experienced and not a demon, but as I see it the grass, or whatever psychedelic, opens the doors of perception more, and you see what’s normally not seen. It’s doesn’t create the whole experience. So it’s a trigger, and it’s the triggers you look for to get a handle on  metaphysical experience, to be able to repeat it or something like it. This incident, experiment if you like, has multiple triggers and is quite complex in its makeup, having a myriad set of conditions that have to be seen so to see the incident itself and the impact it had not only upon me but my also upon immediate environment.

If you approach the exploration of consciousness with a scientific outlook, meaning you’re a stickler about everything and don’t believe anything until it’s met some basic criteria to be real, you have to also be skeptical about the apparent fact that matter is supreme, or some form of energy/matter, skeptical on both ends: that consciousness creates matter and that it’s a result of matter (it might be that it’s just a frozen type of consciousness when you get right down to it), else you’ll never master your will in manipulating consciousness. You have to use a type of will in inner exploration, in lucid dreaming and out of body experiences for example, that carries in it no doubt you can break the laws of matter. If you don’t believe it, chances are you won’t be able to do it, whether that’s go through a wall in a dream or leave your body and explore the outer world in the dreambody, or as a ‘spirit’.

So unless you believe, even in your reason, you won’t get very far in your inner exploration of consciousness, since so often it does appear that whatever you call it, consciousness, spirit, the subconscious even, can supersede the laws of matter, which is the crux of this story, investigating an incident in consciousness that would seem to have done that, the most seemingly superstition-based as far from science as you can get experiment, the conjuring of a demon.

Self Portrait in Spherical Mirror by M. C. Escher
Self Portrait in Spherical Mirror by M. C. Escher

Looking for the umpteenth time on my living room wall at “Self Portrait in Spherical Mirror”, a lithograph print by M. C. Escher, which was another trigger, I had an epiphany. Having a crystal ball about the same size he was holding in the print, mine sitting in arm’s reach on the coffee table, I’d done that very same thing a number of times, looked in mine as he was in his, but suddenly I had this strong feeling of what he was doing, looking into the spirit world, and though I’d done with mine what he was doing with his, looking at his reflection in it, I hadn’t yet made that connection to use it as a medium to ‘see’. In that surety of seeing I snatched mine up and got the reflection of myself the same he had of himself. It was that surety, not the ‘ritual’, the print, the glass crystal, or anything else that produced the result, and when that’s understood magic becomes more legible. It’s the same surety used in lucid dream to supersede dream material process, a knowing.

As I stared into it, looking at my reflection and the space behind me, it occurred to me that Carlos Castaneda is talking about doing what Escher and I were doing when he describes calling up an ‘ally’, a disembodied being that aids you if you’re a Toltec shaman, according to his books, and in one (The Fire From Within) the characters do that by holding a mirror a few inches under the water of a fast flowing stream and looking at their reflection in the mirror. The teacher insists it’s how you look into the mirror that’s important, that you look knowing beyond a shadow doubt you’re looking into another world, and the ally will notice someone from ‘here’ looking his way and come and check you out.


I knew that basically Castaneda had made it all up, and the story related in the books is fiction, but I also knew from his descriptions of manipulating consciousness in dreams and altered states, with the use of substances and without, that he more or less knew what he was talking about in terms of that manipulation. I was at that moment using some of his techniques to do the same, and getting similar results. Only I wasn’t at all interested in the allies he refers to throughout his books, believing them to be the epitome of superstition, as unscientific as you could get. I was just beginning what I thought would be graduate work in the History of Science, taking an undergraduate survey course in the subject from the professor who’d oversee my thesis, and so I hadn’t really even begun, but I believed in science, used as I said a scientific outlook to do inner exploration, skeptical though of reductionism as I was of the other extreme: spirits everywhere around, angels, demons, gods, goddesses, nature spirits, unembodied aliens, what have you.

Sitting on my couch so stoned though, I was more open to the possibility of spirits. It also helped that in my inner exploration I’d just gotten to where, with the aid of grass, I could lie down and consciously induce what’s nowadays called sleep paralysis and go out of my body and be on the physical plane entirely, not quasi-on it mixed with dream elements as is usual in OBEs, a mastery I was never to have again after I opened this spirit door. I got my bell rung. All inner exploration stopped for awhile after this experience. It scared me to death.

Within seconds the ball began to cloud inside, in one small patch near the top left, and the clouds began to whirl, and I knew something was about to appear, and the first to appear may have been the face of a goat, but it could’ve been a monkey, and then there was a donkey and a couple more animals, each one coming fully into view and having some smart ass expression on its face, expressions people make not animals. Then a further change came over the reflection in the crystal ball. I could see standing behind me a fully animated living breathing silver dog-dragon a little taller than I, with its furry front paw resting over my shoulder, it wearing a stupid exaggerated grin on its face like it was posing with me for a family portrait, it my father, uncle, god-father, proudly standing behind his beloved young man. It had burning all red eyes.

With a huge exclamation point in my consciousness, I remembered that was the same expression Chevy, my imaginary playmate, wore when he tricked me into the Void, a place in the inner world at the very bottom of everything that seems common to us all, when I was 4, and that was the last time I’d seen him. I’d always remembered Chevy, and that shit eating grin he wore as he slammed shut the storm door leaving me trapped in the Void, but I never really remembered what he looked like until that moment.

I also remembered, in that intense instant eye to eye with it, that on one occasion in the book don Genaro, or maybe it was don Juan, I don’t remember, warns that if you maintain eye contact with it when it comes to check you out you’ll bring it out of its reality into yours, and in another place he says that if you don’t make eye contact with it it’ll come out and kill you. Needless to say that was the parting of the ways for me and the Castaneda books. I realized he was as much a trickster as the allies he talks about. That realization didn’t help then though.

I broke the apparition’s gaze and stood up, which was hard because those red eyes were extremely difficult not to look into so strong a pull they held – calamity eyes. I was shaking from head to foot and could not stop shaking. I ran to the window, opened it, and frantically raised my arm to hurl the thing as far away from me as I could, but I knew I couldn’t just throw it away, as much as I wanted to be rid of it. It was an ‘object’ now, meaning it now had some metaphysical radioactivity to it, in my mind, that I couldn’t just throw away. So I sat back down and put it back on its stand on the coffee table, my world in earthquake.

Out of my head, panicking still, I got up again a couple of times to throw it out, like if I just got rid of it, it would be nothing more than I got a little too high and hallucinated, like I did once in a movie theater before the film watching the ads for popcorn and coke and all the skulls, penises and vaginas dancing in them, subliminally. I couldn’t just get rid of it though, like I said, neither the crystal ball nor the dread that I’d gone and done something serious, like I was a flagman and had realized, too late, I’d set the tracks wrong, and there was going to be train wreck.


I tried to compose myself because I had to be at work in an hour and had to drive downtown to get there, downtown Houston, and I lived in some rundown apartments out in Pasadena along Old Galveston Road close to Ellington Field, not all that far from NASA. I’d found the job in an ad on the University of Houston job bulletin board (the physical one: no virtual one at that time), which was to be a doorman/valet at Four Leaf Towers, a high rise condominium complex that’s composed of twin towers each 40 stories high, and prominent rich Houstonians live there, and I explain because it plays no small part in the story.

The job was beneath me I thought, as I had a college degree, but I figured I’d do me for a month or so until I could find better work, what you’re always looking for as a college student, but two weeks after getting the job this metaphysical accident happened, and I ended up staying there three years, though not as a doorman the whole time. I was too devastated to be able to do anything else for awhile other than open doors for people and carry their bags to the lobby. But it wasn’t seeing the apparition, or even recognizing my ole imaginary pal Chevy, that destroyed my world so, or rearranged it with demons, a destroying concept if you think about it. It was what that hallucination, that imaginary thing, did, things imagination on its own can’t do.

I hoped, as I drove into town on I-45 to 610 into the rich area near downtown known as Uptown, where the twin towers stood, that the grass high would be the end of it, and that I’d not seen anything real, since Chevy was after all imaginary. That hope, though, I couldn’t hold in my hands, or it didn’t hold water, depending on how you see hope. Driving up the small artificial hill at the entrance to the long winding driveway of the towers, the dread I felt was more than I thought I’d be able to bear, especially at work. I said earlier I was shaking, and my body was, but my reason was shaking also, and when that shakes you know you’re in trouble.


I’d unwittingly played Faust, that legendary literary character who sold his soul to the Devil for knowledge. In planning my thesis about the origin of atomic theory in Greek Science, what I was up to in college at that time, I was also seriously asking the question, based on things like the daemon of Socrates and other accounts in Greece of such guiding entities, did they have disembodied beings helping them discover the physical world, like shamans all over the world often claim they have? And so I’d done the seeing into the crystal sphere to find out, but spontaneously as I said, without any prior planning other than the intention.

Today’s science would say an emphatic no, say you’re a crackpot to even ask the question, but in the open place I was in both with my studies of the outer world, which was taking place in a science-based university, and in my study and exploration of my inner world, taking place in that rundown apartment next to the railroad tracks, on the other side as a matter of fact, ask it I did, a question considered stupid that I’m asking you now, not about ‘early Greek science’ and their daemons, but about whether or not my encounter with one can possibly be considered real, taking it as I report it, assuming there’s no lie or embellishment on my part, only the inaccuracies that inevitably come recalling to mind an event years after it happened.

Going downstairs to clock in, I was immediately told to go the office. That really added to the dread feeling. I went and was asked if I knew anything about Kevin, a coworker. I was told he’d taken his wife and baby hostage in the night, and the S.W.A.T. team had been called out to subdue him, and now he was in jail. Some hours before he ‘went off’ he’d called other employees in the towers and asked where he could buy some LSD.

“Do you know anything about that?” I was asked because we’d been best buddies in the two weeks I had worked there, he the 3 to 11 concierges for the east tower, I his doorman, and in that relationship there at Four Leaf that meant an intimate 8 hour shift together. We had not, however, done more than smoke pot together, and I really didn’t know what he was doing and why he wanted acid that night.

In our conversations at work, which mostly revolved around the army (we we both veterans) and my take on Castaneda’s books, he’d begun to think I was also a man of knowledge like don Juan, mainly because the practical knowledge I had of lucid dreams and OBEs, and that I could interpret Castaneda’s books in light of that knowledge, books he was also intently reading because he was having lucid dreams and was using those books to help him work with his inner consciousness. He was really still a kid, 22 I believe, and so he can be excused for being so credulous. I, right at 30, had no excuse for taking advantage of that, what, I reasoned, put him in the firing line of Chevy, his silly belief that I was some hidden master and the fear and awe that went with it.

On the night of our last shift together, the night before I looked in my crystal ball, I was standing out in the rain but close to the roof of the carport, standing in such a way the rain didn’t hit me because of the angle of everything, but it must’ve looked to him like I just wasn’t getting rained on, he looking at me like one would look at a don Juan using his consciousness to keep the rain off. Afterwards, upon hearing him asking me how I could do that, all sense of his disbelief swallowed up by his almost little boy’s admiration, I pretended I had because it fanned my ego’s flame to have this young man think of me as someone like that. Perhaps wanting my ego fed was an effect of being a doorman with a college degree. It would have such effects.

Despite there being any evidence Kevin went off like he did because of the apparition I’d seen, what would be in the practice of magic a classic example of conjuring a demon, I just knew somehow the two events were linked and that somehow conjuring it caused him to go off, because of our inner link at that moment, Kevin and I’s close friendship based on these things. Castaneda had said that, or had Don Juan say, the folklore of magic saying the same, that afterwards you can expect the apparition to have left you a little message. I felt here was mine, but it would be two weeks before it would be confirmed, when Kevin got out of jail and called me saying he was ready to be taught, but that wasn’t the only message the creature left.

It was early afternoon, and I was very surprised by his call, and a little suspicious. He explained that night, how he hadn’t really taken his family hostage as was reported on the news, but that he was just in a rage and was waving a shotgun around, and someone called the cops. When they arrived, he shot their windshield out, and so S.W.A.T. was called. He said they took him to jail, and as he lay on the bunk looking at a dirty wall made of tiles and so had a reflective surface, clouds started forming in a little patch on the wall, and then animal faces began to appear, and then he freaked out and began screaming, terrified something terrible was about to appear, whereupon he was taken to the psych ward for observation for a few days.

I just told him that after taking a shotgun and blowing out the windshield of a cop car, he wasn’t ready to study things like this, and that he needed to find a good psychologist and never call me again (he had of course been fired) because I wasn’t in very good shape either and needed a long time to assimilate all that had happened on my end.

Because of the nature of where I worked, a place obsessed with security that spied on its employees (Mr. Hendricks, the general manager, had been in Naval Intelligence during the Vietnam War), and Kevin being freed so soon after doing what he did, I couldn’t just believe him. That would be bad science any way you look at it. I’d told the story by that time to several people, people at work too, and though it seems slightly farfetched, it’s possible he was being led by the police or my job to call and lie about events so to get more information out of me about the incident. I did find out later that my last apartment in Houston was bugged, one in the Museum District, by my job most likely, since someone who worked in security lived next door and someone at work was playing mind games with me leaving little messages of things I’d said alone in my apartment on my desk when I slept and wasn’t supposed to be sleeping (by that time I was the east tower 7 to 11 concierge). So it’s not so out of line to suggest that my job was playing games here too, if not even the police.

4 Leaf had a close connection to the Houston Police Department, had off duty officers working for them, especially one in particular that seemed quite interested in the demon story, an officer from the Criminal Investigative Division, which, in the early 90s, when I worked at 4 leaf, was reported to be keeping tabs on 70,000 Houstonians who hadn’t committed a crime. So I couldn’t rule out that he’d been coached and hadn’t seen what I had, but it really wasn’t his part in the story that got my hair standing on end, or my best friend Randy Holt’s hair rather.


When I got home from work after seeing the apparition, at midnight, I saw my front door was partly open, and that unnerved me a little bit, but I went in turned the lights on, and just as I did the phone rang. It was Randy, who liked to come to my apartment in the evenings when I was at work and smoke grass and listen to my collection of weird music, which I had on cassette tapes.

He sounded very scared, and he told me he wouldn’t be coming to my house for awhile because he’d been there that evening while I was at work, as was his custom, playing my cassette recorder and listening to music, and suddenly he heard my voice on the tape very distressed. He said I sounded almost dead as a matter of fact, saying, “Randy, help me I’m trapped.”

He said he just smiled, thinking I was playing some prank, and he rewound the tape, but it wasn’t there the second time, and he said at that point, when he didn’t hear it after rewinding, all the hair on his body stood on end. He heard dogs barking nearby, the way they sound when they find the scent of something unknown and dangerous, like when they corner a monster in the movies, and he looked out the seocond story window, and he said every dog in the neighborhood was barking up at that window, an exaggeration of course, but you get the picture. At that point he said he just abandoned the apartment at a dead run, not bothering to even shut the door. When a grown man does that you know he’s scared out of his wits.

As he said, he didn’t want to come back anytime soon and didn’t for a couple of months, and his wife told me a month or so after that he woke up a couple of time seeming to speak in foreign languages. Later he confessed that he slept with a Bible for some weeks, and he was an avid atheist. That’s what makes any encounter with one of these funny fierce type of daemons (the word demon is just so apropos) seem so real, the abject animal terror you feel in their presence, and that gives the entity much more substantiality in your mind than a hallucination, gives you a feeling of instinct, and you remember these evil clowns, like you and they go way back, like Chevy was posturing to tell me in his apparition in the crystal ball.

At this point though, since it’s not unreasonable to gather that Randy experienced what he did, however much we may doubt Kevin did, we are dealing with a class three hallucination in terms of the science of psychology, meaning it’s one that other people experience too. That doesn’t explain it, but it does still keep it as a hallucination, an apparition, meaning you don’t believe it’s real however real it appeared, at which case, especially if it’s a bona fide class three hallucination experienced by many others or only by one other but strikingly so, you have to ask who is the more inflexible, those who don’t believe it’s real or those at least open to the possibility?

Instead of seeking a religious solution, like getting a Bible or going to a priest, I went to my Greek professor for help in dealing with the experience, who’d heard the S.W.A.T. incident on the local TV news, but it was taken off the air after a very short time because of the sensitivity with where Kevin worked, or so I was told when I asked why the story had been taken off the air. It was squelched because Interfin, the company that ran the high rise, didn’t want the important residents to know someone like that had been hired to work for them. Whatever the reason you have to wonder at the power of Interfin to have a news story off the air.

When that was added to the strange Faustian story I was telling her, Prof Dora Pozzi was a little taken back, even somewhat shocked, saying she was very concerned for me. She said she didn’t believe the entity was real, but she believed me, and she explained she was an agnostic, and that the best thing for me to do was not think about it and instead put my mind into my Greek studies so to ground myself, which I did and was able to gain my composure and ground myself as she’d suggested.

I couldn’t just put it out of my mind though, but I made the thinking dynamic (and therapeutic) by writing a description of the whole thing as my first paper for the survey science class I was taking. (Unfortunately I don’t have a copy of that paper.) I got a B- on it, a clear indication my professor wasn’t too happy with me his potential grad student, and so I dropped the undergrad science class and the idea to go for an advanced degree in the History of Science, and I just focused my mind on learning to translate Attic and Homeric Greek, which I got pretty good at, scoring in the top 10% of the U.S. on the standard university Greek competency exam, but that’s because my life depended on it.

I can go on with the story, since just the other night one of ‘those people’ was at the window, then again at the door, and I felt that fright, but it’s been years since one’s been able to get into my sleeping room. The question if they are real or not isn’t what you focus on when you have a long standing relationship with a disembodied spirit(s), or interdimensional beings as they’re called today. You concentrate on how you can protect yourself from them if they are the funny fierce variety that I encounter, which are among the most common type.

I had to protect myself from Chevy but at the same time know the details of his part in my game of life so I could play it better, no small balancing feat. That  phantom entity was either an individual hallucination or the manifestation of something that could shape-shift at will, showing a different form to different people in my family, though it was the same entity, who to my father was a crazy old witch at his bedroom doorway brandishing a butcher knife, to my mother an invisible phantom lover that she could physically feel have sex with her, to my sister a large hairy monster that would lie on her chest when she woke in the night in sleep paralysis, and to me a large grinning dog-dragon that, not unlike Castaneda’s allies, showed me how to take my first steps in lucid dreams and OBEs, all that so it could get me where it wanted, the eyeless Void.

The dog-dragon’s real form is more alien than we have yet captured with our creative imagination, but, looking in a mirror in lucid dream, an experience that happened years after this one, it looks like an ape but has a mouth like a long beak that at the end has a sort of mouth, a small beautifully blue swirling circle, something obviously made for sucking life-force. It has extremely greasy ugly fur and oddly no eyes. It walks on its knuckles, and many’s the dream I’ve done the same through my life. It lives on some alien world or dimension in an elaborate tree house with his family, what I saw during the time period I saw his true form, in another lucid dream where I was ‘inside’ him as he said goodbye to his family (knowing myself as the dreamer but able to see everything that the person you’re inside experiences, feeling, thought, and act). He climbed down to the ground and walked, on his knuckles, down the road, headed where he earned his livelihood, on earth eating me and probably others, our turbid life-force. I lost the dream before he got anywhere, and my walk as him only lasted a couple of minutes or so, but it helped explain a lifetime of shadow dancing with this imp. Many’s the dream I’ve had where I’ve walked on my knuckles. Now I knew why: a symbiotic relationship with an alien parasite.

My father later told me we left that house in Bacliff on Galveston Bay and moved to Houston to get away from demons when I was four. He said it in a whisper, and his eyes shining with fear, something I’d only seen shine those eyes show when there was really something to be scared about. The ancient Greeks called such an entity the family daemon, what we translate as the family curse, but to them they were actual entities, and in ancient times incidents with spirits was much more common than today, and you have to decide if that’s because we have progressed and are successful in getting rid of this age old superstition, at least among the mainstream intelegencia, or we’ve forgotten or are ignoring a key player in the game of life here on earth, not an ally at all but from the opposing team, a deadly foe.

In any event, something that is so widespread in humanity, especially when you consider that in the phenomenon of alien abduction we might be dealing with the same entities, you have something that needs taken seriously because it is so real to the people who experience it, which is a large enough percentage of us for the those who don’t to at least suspend disbelief and listen. The battle line of are they real or not isn’t what’s so important right now. What matters is we let in the stories, and then we can see to sort out if they are real or imagined – live or Memorex in this case, speaking of that cassette tape, what in this story, of all the elements, is the one that runs circles around matter the most and is unexplainable with our current science, since, after all, if that recording of my begging for help was only there for one play of that tape, not present in any subsequent playbacks, something far beyond our science made that happen, something that superseded nature as we now know it.


5 thoughts on “Breaking Silence, Careful to Stay an Apparition

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