It was November 23rd, 1993, the day before Thanksgiving. I was spending the night at my best friend Lexy's. I was enjoying the simple luxury of being allowed this time with her, because until a few months before, I had lived with my mother and had grown up in a Steven King novel of physical and physiological torture. But now I was living with my grandmother who, while seeming to resent having me in her house, was completely dismissive of who and where I spent my time allowing me freedom for the first time in my life.
Lexy and I were laughing over something silly when her older sister Ann walked in with the cordless phone. She was simpering over the person she was talking to.
"Oh that's so amazing" she squealed, "I can't believe you could see that!" This went on for some time until she handed the phone to Lexy. After a few seconds, to my great irritation, Lexy was making the same gushing sounds.
Lexy handed me the phone, "You have to try this! He's physic, he'll tell you things that'll blow you away!"
"Yea, no thanks" I pushed the phone back at her. I wasn't going to let some fraud turn me into a giddy idiot.
"Come on" she begged, with her sister chiming in.
Finally grumbling, I took the phone and said through clenched teeth "Go ahead, tell me all about myself!" I was going to carve him up like a turkey and pass back the phone.
There was a pause, and a bemused young man said "I don't know, I know you're scary!'
Very satisfied with his answer I handed back the phone. It really set me on edge that anyone who had psychic abilities could treat them so casually. I had a degree of them myself, and had ruthlessly turned them as off as much I could. I couldn't fathom being at ease. It was a war I had been fighting with myself for a great deal of my life. My mother had almost convinced me anything along those lines was the work of the devil, as she herself had been indoctrinated. I wavered between the fear of the things I could see and complete denial.
The phone made it's way back to Ann while Lexy laughed at how rude I had been." Eric's a really nice guy" she was saying, "you'd like him if you gave him a chance."
I shrugged it off. "Not into his little parlor tricks."
Much to my surprise, Ann kept trying to pass back the phone. "He wants to talk to you" she persisted. Finally I took it and made nice for a few minutes rather then be rude to Lexy and her sister. I was relieved when Ann took it back as soon as she could and left.
"Apparently he likes you" Lexy teased.
"He's nice, you were right, but I think he just gets a kick out of me. I was the only one who wasn't blown away by him." Privately I was wondering how Eric would have felt if I had turned the tables on him and started digging around in HIS head. Surface reads are the easiest things to do. But, since he had respected my space and didn't try to dig, I would extend the same courtesy. I was kind of surprised and amused with myself, that over the next half hour my mind kept drifting back to him.
Ann returned with the phone, "he wants to talk to you" she said flatly, handing it to me. She turned on her heel and walked back upstairs to her room.
I looked at the phone, and Lexy "She into him? I don't want to step on any toes."
Lexy shook her head, "I don't think so, I think she's into his friend Kenny."
"Oh, well do you mind if I talk to him for a little bit? I don't want to be rude to you."
She waved it off, "don't worry, enjoy yourself." she grinned, "I'll be here all night."
So I took the phone, and to my utter amazement 5 hours passed in the blink of an eye. After a couple of hours Lexy had gone to bed, and I spent the night getting to know one of the most vital and electric people I would ever meet.
I feel I should stop here and explain a little bit about Eric. His energy is intense, he's like chaos. When he decides he wants something, it's happened before you even knew it was on the table. Suffice it to say I was his girlfriend by the end of the night and a month later we were engaged. At 16 I can only say I was dazzled by his attention and fell for him very quickly.
With his encouragement I soon started seeing my abilities in a different light. Within weeks I could describe events that took place in area's we would drive or walk through, see spirits, hazy images of the future, people's true natures with hidden thoughts and images and found my true gift of seeing into the past. Often key events that took place in someones life that molded them into who they are. Eric's strength was looking into the future, channeling, seeing the same aspects of peoples hidden selves as I (hence his little session that night with Lexy and Ann) and receiving visions. It was a whole new world for me, once the door was cracked, it banged open.
With my new sight I became more afraid of my grandmother's house which was almost 200 years old and had mirrors from the civil war era that would show me frightening almost fun house versions of myself when they weren't hazy with orbs. There was a clock from the same period that would chime at weird times or start and stop when I came home. There was also shadow people who would follow me from room to room. Many was the time I would call Eric scared to death, demanding he tell me how to turn it off. "There's no going back" he would tell me, "you can't walk through life with your eyes closed." He had confidence I would get my bearings eventually and learn how to deal with it.
In the meantime, Eric's best friend Kenny and Ann who I had grown much closer to due to Kenny's obsession with her, had formed a tightly knit group. That's when things really started to happen. Ann would see shadow people walking through the walls of her house, moving up the stairs and gathering at the chandelier in the dining room. She would also feel people touching her and sometimes calling her name. Kenny would see the same shadowy people, and feel the air around him move as though there was a strong breeze in a tightly closed room. Crosses would appear in the wooden grains of his bedroom door. Things would be moved around his house, his cats would hiss and snarl at things unseen, and he had horrible nightmares of seeing his face in a mirror with blood running down the glass. For all of us, electric clocks and lights and appliances would short out or have surges. To this day I have problems with electricity. I blow out watches, lights, streetlights, etc.
Lexy and I drifted during this point, I was so busy with Eric and this unworldly experience that Ann and Kenny were also going through with us, that I turned more towards them. I was also struggling to go through the process of becoming fully emancipated as I coped with my mother's increasing viciousness, so I didn't have much to give Lexy at that point. As far as my mother was concerned, Eric noticed as I suffered through her visits and phone call rants, that she paralleled the activity going on around us. When the supernatural activity was really strong, she would get even more ugly, even threatening my life. When things were calmer, she was also.
One day during the thick of it I was sitting on the steps leading down to the basement where I watched Eric pacing. He was showing me where this all started for him.
"I was in high school, and my one friend Becky asked me to talk to her friend Heather. She was scared for her. Heather had recently lost her aunt Susan, who had been like a mother to her. She had started dabbling with some pretty dark shit. She had been messing with an Ouija board trying to talk to her aunt and she got in over her head. She started talking to this spirit named David, he seemed OK, he was a little boy who had drowned. He was nice enough to her, but soon another entity started coming through. He used to terrorize her."
"Why did Becky ask you to help?"
"Because everyone knew I was very religious."
"Doesn't being very religious, studying the Bible, and having an open mind to things like the occult, contradict each other?" To me it was all confusing. I had had it drilled into me that God was little different then this evil tyrant who sat brooding up in the clouds, eagerly watching his creations for the tiniest infraction so he could gleefully cast them into a fiery hell.
"You can't study the Bible and not figure out there's so much more out there then we can even begin to figure out. There's no way to scratch the surface in one lifetime. That's why I don't rule out anything. These things are real, to ignore them because you cherry pick which passages to study would be ignorant and blind."
"Maybe even in our case, dangerous" I observed.
He nodded, "So she would sit here, and we would be talking, and she would go into this trance and this being would come through. He would talk about things, in riddles sometimes. He would give predictions, like their being one world currency, politics, things that would happen in my life. He even told me that someday I would meet the Parish."
I looked at him stunned, "do you think he meant me?" my last name was Parrish.
He again nodded, "Oh yea, he said, you think you're something? Just wait until you meet the Parish! I had thought he meant a church, but now I know better."
I sat there in stunned silence for awhile, with this eerie feeling that I had been watched my entire life by something evil.
"There was many things in riddles, things I've never figured out. Couldn't even remember them all now, he just enjoyed playing games with us. As time went on he got more cryptic and taunting. He told us through Heather that in life his name had been Henry Bisby Kane. That he had been a preacher in the 1800's in Arizona. He had taken his congregation out to a cave and sealed them in by making everyone believe it was the end of the world. He never let them go. Even now he preys on lost souls and draws them in. He's full of rage, very cunning and extremely dangerous. Heather had made a deal with him to let her see her aunt one last time. She was down here-"
Suddenly I could feel my blood run cold.
"Shannon? Shannon what is it?"
I heard him from a great distance. I was almost in a faint. I saw a figure walk from the wall a few feet away from Eric had been standing. It was slender, in a stained white dress, brittle hair and the flesh melting from the bones. As I looked on in horror, it ascended the steps in an odd jerky gait and passed through me to disappear through the door at my back. The feeling of it moving through me was like nothing I can even begin to explain. The horror of it, the understanding that death itself had just scraped through me, I couldn't breath. I was shaking so hard I felt my teeth rattling and gasping. My heart raced so hard I though I might just die on the spot. I couldn't even speak. Eric was frantic. Finally I managed to draw in a full breath and burst into tears. "He showed her" I sobbed, "He showed her what her aunt looked like, NOW, DEAD, A CORPSE!!! The f**king thing walked right up these stairs, right through me!"
The next hour is a haze in my memory, I know it took him a long time to calm me down, and for me to stop shuddering.
When I was able to hear the rest of it, he explained to me that I had just described what she had seen, right down to the dress.
"Are we safe from this? Every day now Ann or Kenny are freaking out about something they've seen, we're seeing things all the time, can this hurt us? And what happened to Heather?"
"She's OK now" he said reassuringly. "The last time she channeled him I went toe to toe with him, begged God to save her, quoted scripture and banished him from her in Jesus' name. I'm not trying to say we did an exorcism, but we made it uncomfortable enough he seemed to have moved on. She straightened out after that, grades went back up, she stopped wearing all black, stopped having nightmares and channeling. The really interesting thing is she doesn't remember much of it all. She remembers hanging out down here, but not the channeling or seeing her poor aunt, or the nightmares or anything. No idea of why unless it's her way of subconsciously protecting herself by blocking it out."
"Have you tried to talk to her about it since" I wondered out loud.
"She just shuts down, she wants nothing to do with it, it's like talking to a wall."
"Defense mechanism" I agreed.
"Yea, most likely."
Later that night after I fielded a frantic call from Ann who thought something tried to grab her arm when she was walking down the stairs of her parents house, I was walking down the hall by Eric's room. I thought I heard something drop. Forcing myself to be brave, I walked into the dark room, and as I was reaching for the light I saw a hand come towards me. All bravado fled and I screamed the house down until Eric came running in.
"This has got to stop" I said grimly, "We need to do something, we can't just sit around waiting for it to screw with us!"
"I could try to channel" he offered quietly.
He had on a few occasions channeled this one spirit, who was kind and very dear to me. It had explained to me it had been with Eric always and was one of his guardians.
"How do you know that if you trance out, Kane won't come in?"
"We don't" he replied uneasily.
I looked at his broad shoulders and took careful note of the way he out massed me by over 50 pounds and towered over me by almost a foot, and asked him what would happen then. "Would he kill me? Go after your parents? Burn this place down?"
He shook his head, "he can only use my voice, my body is protected. He would never be able to cross that threshold."
"How do you know?'
"Heather would have tried to kill me wouldn't she?"
"Alright" I firmed up my failing courage and managed to sound much calmer then I felt, "let's just do this, either way, I need some answers."
We closed and locked his bedroom door after leaving word with his mom we were going to be watching a movie. I turned the ringer off his phone and pager, and perched on the side of his bed. I held his hand and watched for any sign of fluttering of his eyelashes. He always closed his eyes when he went into a trance, and the only thing that changed was his eyes would slowly open when he had made the connection. He squeezed my hand reassuringly and I sensed him leave. I can't explain it more then that, I just felt him leave. I gently laid his hand back down by his side and waited for his eyes to open. It took much longer then usual. First I noticed the side of his mouth draw up in a smirk. His cheek twitched. The head turned ever so slightly towards me, then his eyes slowly opened. I watched them slowly sweep the room before they settled on me. They were no longer green, they were muddy and dark. They're not his eyes I thought frantically. Even when he had channeled his dear guardian, his eyes had only become slightly more clear and emerald, these were not the same eyes.
"You" he whispered.
The smirk remained. I knew precisely who I was dealing with. "So we finally meet" I said calmly. "I had wondered if you would come."
The smirk grew. "You called me."
"How did we do that?"
"You keep visiting me."
I stayed silent for a moment, waiting for him to tell me what he had come for. Eric's body twitched, his hand spasmed. I laid my hand soothingly on his. The being didn't even notice.
"Yes" he said after a moment. "You're wondering who I am. I am the keeper of souls."
""So what do you want with Eric and I? Our souls don't belong to you."
"They will" he sighed.
"Never" I assured him.
"You don't love him" he turned Eric's brilliant gaze on me. "You never did, and he knows it."
"I wouldn't expect you to understand love."
"I know all about you" he continued raspily. "I know everything your mother did to you, I was there when she broke the chair over you."
I gasped, I had never even told Eric about that. He knew I had been physically abused, but he didn't know how bad it was. "She has split personalities, are you trying to tell me you were one of them?"
"So weak" he smirked.
"You're calling me weak now?"
"No, her. But you were always meant of be one of mine."
The eyes drifted closed and Eric's hand started spasming again, and a moment later he moaned and started thrashing.
"Eric? Baby! Wake up, come back! Eric, honey please!" I pulled him up in my arms and rocked him.
He dropped his head on my shoulder, "It was him."
"Oh yea, got to say I'm not fond of all of your friends."
He raised his head and smiled tiredly. I was happy to see his eyes were once again a dark green.
"What does he want?"
"I think he really wants us both."
"What else did he say?"
I repeated it, right down to him affecting my mother. "That would make sense" he nodded, "if she has a fractured personality, and her depression keeps her down, she's very easy prey for something like him."
"But why would he bother with me? Did he know I was going to grow up and be with you someday?"
"I think he targets anyone like us, who are strong and spiritual, maybe having strong physic abilities make us more vulnerable, because we're linked to the other world and more open to them. I think he must target us young because it might be easier to break us then."
It wasn't long after Eric went to bed, channeling sessions always exhausted him. Since I had been staying with his family for the past few months, I went into his mom's room and watched TV with her until she turned in for the night. I however lay awake all night trying not to jump at every shadow that danced on the walls or every little sound.
After that things became worse for the four of us, Ann was convinced things were after her whenever she was in the house, Kenny was seeing things and my mother was making my life a living hell. Even going so far as to taunt Eric that if she ever managed to get me back in her house, I would never make it out. To say it escalated is somewhat of an understatement. I was exhausted, as was Eric. Dreading what I knew had to be done, I held off as long as I could.
Finally after a few more weeks, we decided to try to channel one last time. I was going to try to find out how to get rid of Kane in our lives once and for all. I was nervous, I didn't know the scripture like Eric, I had no idea of what I could actually do, but I knew my own strength.
I wish I could relate the conversation that took place between Kane and I when Eric reluctantly managed to push himself under, but to be perfectly honest, much of it is gone from my memory. I remember him telling me he has always been there, and wasn't the only one. We were of special interest to him, because of our strength and ability's, and I remember passionately arguing, but I couldn't tell you about what. I have a sense at one time he started challenging me and revealing things I wasn't allowed to keep the knowledge of, but they're far gone. I think this session took place for almost an hour. It went on and on until finally those squinting muddy brown eyes rolled up and Eric seemed to pass out. I was so exhausted, feeling as though all of my energy, even some of my life force had been drained away, I just stretched out and put my head on his shoulder. I knew sooner or later Eric would swim back up. I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I knew I woke with a start to see Eric's brilliant green eyes.
"Hey you, I think we did it." He passed a hand tiredly over his face and sat up.
I got up and began to slowly pace. I couldn't stay still.
"He left, I think he he might be banished or at least gone for good. I don't feel him anymore."
I know we talked at length about what had been said between Kane and I, but as I said before, I don't remember too much of it. I can say things did calm down, Ann stopped seeing things, as did Kenny. Eric and I hadn't told them about his channeling, so they didn't know we believed the source of this nightmare was gone. The fact that they stopped experiencing things as soon as this took place, was proof enough for Eric and I.
Now at this point I would like to wind this all up with a quick happily ever after spin, but in fact Eric and I didn't stay together much longer. We started fighting too much, and he became obsessively controlling and I became defiant and withdrew completely. At 16 and 19 I don't think we had the life skills to balance two A type personalities. But the interesting thing about the aftermath of this all, (and I'm the only one of the group who believes this) is what happened to each of us. Eric's control issues went to an even darker place, and he started having issues with drinking. Ann who had been this "good Girl" became very loose, and most of her friends lost all respect for her. Kenny who was the most social person I had ever known, who lived for his friends, became dark and bitter and pushed most of us out of his life. I didn't go back to my mother's, but was able to get my own place and go out on my own. I spent the next 5 years in an abusive relationship, where as a stripper, the drinking and drugs almost finished me off. It really seems like we each became the manifestation of our dark side. The impulses that we might have been able to balance and resist before, destroyed everything in each of our lives that had meant the most to us. I find this to be an eerie coincidence.
I'm happy to report Eric and I found our way back to being friends, each married and doing much better. Our lives have returned to being back under control, Kenny has recently followed suit. Ann is still caught up in it from all accounts. Still playing fast and loose. It's also interesting to me that the two stronger ones (Eric and I) pulled back from this first. I think when you open the door to this kind of thing, the consequences can last a lifetime. Another modern example that quickly springs to mind is Mel Gibson, and the downward spiral his life took after he made "The Passion."
Now if you're thinking this all sounds just like the Poltergeist film series, you couldn't be more accurate. It really seems like the writers of the films had first hand experience with this entity. Almost everything about the Kane we came to know from personal experience is relayed in this series. In the opinions of Eric and I, it's completely based on the real entity and his story. You can find references to Kane the stealer of souls in popular fiction, such as Nora Robert's Key Trilogy series. You can find little towns in Arizona named Bisbey, or places where there's references to that fateful expedition. I believe we're not the only ones who have had experiences with him.
Frankly, it never feels over, when Eric, Kenny and I get together weird things start happening. It feels like a live wire that still hums with power.
So, anyway, that's my weird story. Not a ghost story exactly, but every bit of it is the truth, and had a huge impact on the lives of 4 kids who opened Pandora's Box.
Many thanks to Shannon!
On the Other Side: A True Story