Mark Shea asks on his blog for readers to share their encounters with the superantural. He doesn’t specify whether he means encounters with good or evil, but I’ve had both. Live in Salem, Massachusetts, and you can’t help but encounter stories of the occult in action.
First, a personal story. When I was in college, I shared an apartment for a time with my friend, Kevin. (He’s a former New York stockbroker who is now a priest. He had an amazing and miraculous conversion that’s too long to share right now.) One morning, I was sleeping in, laying on my bed in that half-awake state when you’re not quite ready to get up, but you’re not exactly unconscious. As sometimes happens to young men, I believe I was fading in and out of a dream about, let’s say, young women. Don’t worry, this isn’t racy. Anyway, I suddenly had an image of myself in my mind, but from the perspective of being on the ceiling. I could see myself lying face down on the bed and right next to me—in this image—was a small creature.
As I later recounted the story to Kevin, I told him it was about three or four feet tall, had reddish-brown skin, big, steer-like horns, and … I struggled to describe the face although I could see it in my mind. Kevin interrupted, saying: “It had a piggish-doggish face?” That described it perfectly! Now, it seemed to be awfuly coincidental that Kevin could pull that description out of mid-air. It wasn’t.
“I saw the same thing a few months ago,” he told me. “I was laying on my couch”—Kevin didn’t own a bed; he slept on a couch in his bedroom a la Fox Mulder—“when I was having a similar kind of dream. Suddenly I could see myself lying there and the same kind of creature was standing next to me, staring at my head intensely as if he were shooting those thoughts into my head.”
Coincidence? Maybe. Perhaps we both imagined something different and supplied the same image from a show or movie we had both seen in the past. But I don’t think so. It was too convenient—we were both half-asleep, we both were having the same kind of “dream,” we both saw ourselves from outside, we both saw the same creature and described him the exact same way, and we never discussed the incident until we had both experienced it separately. I know one thing though: It scared the hell out of me.
Maybe later I’ll recount some experiences of supernatural good that I’ve had and others have told me. Like living in Salem, if you live at Franciscan University of Steubenville for any length of time, you’ll hear your fair share of miraculous stories, only the good kind predominates.