Voodoo has developed from the cultures of the African diaspora, namely those communities whose ancestors were displaced from the African continent. In present times, voodoo appears in various forms as a type of folk magic, and is practised in numerous locations across the globe, from Haiti to Brazil to southern states in the USA. Having been syncretised with other cultures, such as the conventions and beliefs of Catholicism, voodoo and the consultation of its practitioners, such as witch doctors, are part of the way of life for many communities. For good, and for bad.
The following account was submitted to us by TK, who has previously found sharing his experiences difficult because of the judgement which usually accompanies the paranormal.
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.
“I cannot explain the events that happened there, but I believe they are connected to my father’s visit to the witch doctor.”
I find that it’s hard to talk to people about the paranormal, especially in the African American community.
My first memory of the paranormal was waking up and seeing a ghostly woman beyond my bedroom door. I wasn’t scared, but was curious as to what she was looking at. She was staring at the wall, with a look of sadness. My brother and I shared a room and I tried to wake him but he wouldn’t budge. When I turned my lamp on she disappeared. That was one of the only time I have ever had a “peaceful” encounter with the paranormal.
After that, it felt like I was being targeted. Why I was, I still do not know.
At first, the activity in our house didn’t seem malevolent. If anything, I got the feeling that – whatever it was – was trying to get my attention.
Every night I my arm would be pulled, dragging me from my sleep. My Grandma told me that it was my Grandpa, whom I’ve never met, playing around. She said that if I was scared, I should tell him to stop. So, the next time it happened, I sat up in my bed and ask it to stop. Never was my arm grabbed again, and for a while I got some rest.
Before too long, the sleep paralysis began. I was helpless, and felt a darkness in my room each time it happened. I still shared a bedroom with my brother – he on the bottom bunk, me on the top – but I was never able to wake him during these experiences. Although I had never met my Grandpa, I wondered if he was truly capable of scaring me so. I wondered if the presence I felt most nights was even him at all.
At certain times of the year, sleeping on the top bunk, so near to the ceiling, became unbearable because of the heat. On those nights I’d go to the living room and sleep on the couch. Even there I’d be woken up, this time to the sounds of glass breaking in the kitchen and pans banging. When I turned on the kitchen lights, everything was fine. It felt like something was trying really hard to get my attention.
Still, I told myself I was going crazy, because nobody else heard the noise. My brother laughed at me and agreed that I was insane, but agreed to sleep with me in the living room one night anyway. The first night went off without a hitch, but the very next night – whilst I was deep in a much needed sleep – my brother woke me up in a panic. “Did you hear that?” he asked. There was banging and clashing in the kitchen. As usual, when I flicked the light switch on, the kitchen was spotless. I was glad that I finally had a witness, although my brother and I never spoke of this again.
We became busy teenagers and hardly stayed home. My brothers all graduated and moved on. Because of that, they didn’t get to witness the change our father was going through. But I did. He became alcoholic and verbally abusive towards me and my mother. He put dark trash bags over the windows to block out the sun, and yelled at us for having the lights on. The only light he tolerated was the glow of the TV. Often he would sit in complete darkness, smoking and drink beer.
Everything about him changed. Even the smell of him changed. He started to smell of sulphur.
I remember hating having my friends over after school, because they thought my parents never paid the electricity bill. They could not realise that was how my father liked to live. Many times I would walk to my grandmother’s house, which was only 50 yards from my own. There I could watch my favourite shows, and sometimes eat dinner, in a lit environment.
The change in my father occurred after he took a trip down south to see someone he called a “witch doctor”. He would often talk about it, retelling the story with the same details.
Supposedly, he and a few coworkers went down there because they had heard that the witch doctor had got another co-worker out of possible jail time for a crime he actually committed. To my knowledge, my dad never broke the law, so I am not sure why he went. He never told us that. The only point he was always clear to stress was that voodoo and witchcraft is very real, and that my brothers and I should stay away from it.
He said that on the way to the witch doctor they saw an anaconda in the middle of the road, and ran it over with his work truck. After they hit it, he and his co-workers heard a loud scream, but they kept on driving.
When they arrived at the witch doctor’s place, the man they encountered already knew who they were and why they had come. He told them that they would have to pay double for having run over his pet snake. My dad said he apologised and paid. He never said anything about what happened whilst they were there, however, he always ended his story the same way. On the drive back, there was a guy limping towards them in the middle of the road, forcing them to stop their truck. The guy was cursing at them, and my dad asked why he was so mad. The guy said, “I am mad because you ran over me earlier!” My dad told him there must have been a mistake, as they hit a snake earlier. He told me that after that the guy went quiet, and stared at them with malice. A coworker told my dad to drive away, and so they sped off.
It sounds ridiculous, I know. As a kid I laughed whenever my dad told us, and I still grin about it now thinking about it. But, dad never smiled when he told us. Not once.
Within a year of his visit to the witch doctor, all of his coworker friends who had gone with him were dead. All died in horrible ways.
It was during this time that I was awoken at night by my bed rattling. When I opened my eyes, I saw a massive werewolf-like figure at the foot of my bed. It had a massive torso, and its facial features kind of resembled my dad… I sat up both terrified and angry, and the entity fled in the direction of my parents’ room. Surely this had been a dream? Whatever the explanation, it had been the last straw for me. After that, I slept with friends and family members every chance I could. If I couldn’t, I stayed up all night at our house.
Nearly ten years passed. After college, like most graduates, I struggled to make a living and had a massive school loan. Recently my Grandma had passed away and her house was unoccupied. It was the house my mother had grown up in. When she married my father, my Grandma had a small house built on the property for my parents to settle down in. By the time I moved back, my mother had remarried. She still lived in my childhood home with her new husband.
Living in my Grandma’s house by myself was a pleasant experience. My Grandma had been a great human being, and I could feel the goodness of her energy in that building. When I moved in, there were times when I would wake up to the sound of her voice calling my name. There’d be a smell of flowers in various parts of the house that would come and go.
My niece, the great granddaughter my Grandma never met, would come to visit and make comments about “Gran Gran”. She would say that Gran Gran talked to her and would tell us things about how my Grandma loved the remodeling. My niece would walk around and point out things I had changed in the house, even though she hadn’t even yet been conceived when I had made those changes.
But, things did not stay like that forever. My oldest brother got out of the military and needed a place to live. He stayed with me for a bit, but we never had a great relationship, so my mom decided to let him move into our childhood home while she and my stepdad move in with me. I didn’t like the idea, as I had grown to appreciate my routines and way of privacy, but I had no choice, because the property was willed in her name.
The day moved in, the shift in atmosphere was like night and day. You know how every house has a smell and a feel? When they moved in, the house smelled different and tension filled the air.
I had lived like a bachelor, meaning I didn’t have pictures hanging, nor was I decorating every room. When my mom moved in, she put pictures and religious figurines in every room, even the bathroom. Yet, not once did that place feel homely to me again. The atmosphere was oppressive. Similar to before I had moved away and still lived with my dad, but, in some respects, worse.
I began having terrible nightmares in which I repeatedly witnessed the death of family members. Then, dreams became reality. I dreamed of a poisonous snake in my kitchen sink biting me, as I was pouring a glass of water after waking up, as I usually do. When I woke up from the nightmare, I went to the kitchen to get a glass, and was going to pour some water into it when something told me to turn on the lights. I did, and found a snake coiled up in my sink.
Next, I would hear scratching on the walls. The scent of flowers was replaced by the stench of mould and urination. I saw shadows everywhere, and constantly had the feeling of being watched. The house was infested with darkness.
Was this darkness attached to me? When I left for college, I had no paranormal experiences. This made me wonder if ‘it’ was attached to my mother. Had my father brought something into our house after visiting the witch doctor, which had now followed my mother?
Whatever the darkness was, it seemed to feed on male energy. My stepdad became depressed, and started acting similar to how my father had been when I was a child. He liked the dark. After about a year, he stopped sleeping in the same bed as my mother, because she always kept the lamp on. He slept in the dining room. The only light he tolerated was the TV – just like my father.
As for my childhood home, where my older brother now lived, the atmosphere there was as polluted as ever. He took on our dad’s personality. He liked the dark, and drank a lot. He had poor hygiene and was belligerent. My mom explained his behaviour as PTSD. Yet, I thought otherwise. It was the darkness, which now had a hold over both houses.
Living as we did, as I had done as a teenager, was burdensome. I could feel the darkness all the time. About a year after my mom and stepdad moved in, I went to California on vacation to get away from everything and everybody. I was in the hotel lobby using my laptop when an older lady tapped my shoulder and asked to chat with me. I didn’t know who she was, but said yes. Immediately she told me she was psychic, and began telling me things about my life that no stranger would know. She also told me that I had a dark aura surrounding me. She told me that someone I knew had put the darkness on me. She then took my hand and asked me to pray with her, and I admit that I did feel like a weight was lifted off my shoulders afterwards. But, at the same time, when I returned home it was like nothing had changed.
One night, I came home from work and went to unlock the front door to get inside. I could see the living room lamp on inside through the glass and the thin curtain on the other side of the door. As I unlocked the door and turned the knob, something turned it back in the opposite direction. I looked up again and saw the silhouette of my stepdad on the other side of the door, holding the knob. At first I thought he was playing around and laughed, but it went on longer than it should. I began to get irritated and went to the side door of the house. In doing so, I would passed by the window which looked into my parents’ room. Both my mom and stepdad were inside. He was asleep, and she on the phone. I went inside and asked her how long had he been asleep, and she told me for a few hours.
Soon after this event, my bedroom became a hot spot for strange occurrences. I’d wake up to freezing temperature during warm weather. Sleep paralysis returned and I would see figures move around my bed shape shifting. One night I was sleeping on my side when something tapped my head three times and growled in my ear. I could feel its cold breath and guttural voice in my ear. The three spots I was tapped on later turned into large boils that had to be removed surgically.
As time went by, my health declined and my nose bled all the time. My mother freaked out during one of my nose bleeds because I was on my fourth towel. The other three were soaked in my blood. She cried out that humans don’t have that much blood in them. However, when I went to the doctor I passed every test given to me. That same day, when I came back home, my step dad was working on his car in the front yard. As I approached the house he looked at me with confusion. I asked him what was wrong and he said that he thought I’d let someone borrow my car, because he thought I had been at home. He told me that he had seen me watching him from inside the house. He was 100% sure it had been me, because of its build and that it was wearing a hoodie.
That night while I dozed in and out of sleep, I was awaken once more. This time it was due to the feeling of electricity going through my chest. I was paralyzed, but felt the currents surge through my body. When my eyes focused on my surroundings I saw a large figure with a snake like body and small arms hovering above me. It had a skeletal face and no eyes. I am not a very religious person, even though I grew up southern baptist and I do believe in God. I don’t know who answered my prayers that night, but in my mind I called out to God, Jesus, my Grandmother, my guardian angels and spirit guide for help. In my room there is a window that faces towards me from the foot of my bed. From outside, a light the size of a basketball appeared. It shined bright, then muted to a slow blink. Around the seventh blink, the dark entity vanished, as did the light. After that, I wasn’t attacked again.
The final encounter in that house happened whilst I was watching my mom and stepdad argue in the kitchen. It was the nastiest argument I’ve heard in my life. They were saying stuff to each other that was malicious, with the intent to cause harm. Sometime during that fight, I knew their marriage ended. I didn’t need to step in because my mother was clearly the victor in this verbal battle. Even so, I kept close as I felt this was one of those arguments that could lead to physical assault. What happened, however, not even I could have anticipated. A kitchen cabinet flew off the wall, towards my stepdad, missing him by a few inches. The poor man screamed in fear and ran from the room. I was in shock, but my mom just laughed, saying it was Grandma protecting her house. Everyone who knew Grandma knew she wouldn’t hurt a fly, let alone tear a kitchen cupboard from the wall and throw it at someone. Afterwards I inspected the wall and saw how the other cabinets were firmly mounted. Isaac Newton told us the rule of gravity says what goes up must come down. That heavy cabinet should have just fallen down off the wall, but it had flown about three feet, as if someone behind the wall had pushed it. That was it for me. I was done with the property for good at that moment. I found an apartment and moved in two days later.
Today my mom and I still speak about the strange things that occurred while we lived there, like the horrible deaths of all our pets and how ravens would cover this one specific tree on the property and squawk at the house. I cannot explain the events that happened there, but I believe they are connected to my father’s visit to the witch doctor.
I once tried to put together a paranormal team and do an investigation at the property, but the new owner leveled everything down to the ground and turned it into a horse pasture. I never had the chance to go back there, but my mom recently told me the owner had to move the horses to another place due to them being uneasy and sick all the time. Nowadays I am much happier and healthier. I no longer have nightmares, and my random nosebleeds have stopped.
I refuse to go back to the property even though my mom wants me to see how it’s been converted into a beautiful horse farm. Perhaps someday I’ll drive by and take a look, but I will never step foot on that property again.
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