A skeptical non believing man deals with paranormal activity
I heard it said that a single phone could change the course of your life, and that is exactly what occurred that day. There was no way of knowing then my cell phone rang at 2 o'clock Saturday afternoon, my life would take a very mysterious turn and end up in a place where I would have to question everything I believed about this world. I didn't recognize the number displayed on my cell, I just said" hello", holding the phone between my shoulder and ear, while I continuing to work using both hands. It began with Laura. I never saw her face. She spoke calmly, friendly, concerned, reminding me of a Doctor going over test results. "It's Laura, with the Center for Shamanic Healing". It took a moment to place the outfit, scanning my memory for some recollection of the name. Then placed the caller being with this Native American Organization I had contacted on line after coming across their website. I was searching for someone who could direct me to a "Shaman". A term I had heard before but had no concept of what it meant. My best guess was to imagine a person similar to a medicine man. The website contained a great deal of information on the subject. I explained my situation and the events that had taken place over the past few months in a descriptive email and waited for a response. It had been a rough summer. There were times when I questioned if I would ever leave this building alive. The dogs were suffering as well and Layla appeared to becoming deathly ill. A few days later I received a response to my letter, they sympathized with my dilemma and went on to describe their services and fees. That was the last communication we had until this phone call. Laura spoke in measured tones asking if I was ready to begin the remote Spiritual healing at my property. Then advised, she had assembled a group of practitioners into a healing circle and were now prepared to assist me in a spiritual cleansing. She must have sensed something in my voice as she informed me, there would be no charge for their services, and it was purely a response for help that had resonated with those members reading my email. I felt very grateful for their interest, assuring Laura of my full cooperation. It was worth a try, "what have I got to lose", thinking to myself, while a sarcastic voice laughed, "Only your life little man!" I knew for certain I had to do something, my life had become so difficult there could be no more doubting the source, no more questioning the danger that lurked in the shadows inside that door. Laura asked if I was at the location now, I told her I was just moments away already tossing ladders and tools into the back of my pickup truck. I raced the few blocks back to the shop. She was still holding on the line as I pulled up to the building parking across the driveway at the front door. I let her know I had arrived. The street was quiet for a Saturday afternoon, the only sound the persistent mocking of crows that seemed to be following me. As I stood on the sidewalk looking at the front door entrance, for a moment drifted into nostalgia as a parade of images passed through my memory. For so many years I walked thru that door each morning, saying the same words, "Have no Fear!" There Sam sat at his desk with a wide smile that made is eyes squint. In that brief moment I watched as the years rolled by, watched as we grew older, how we changed. And felt the pain that comes with letting go. Now only I was left. But the nostalgia quickly faded away, as I prepared to enter the building, lately it had taken on an entire different personality. Foreboding, ominous, evil. Whether you believed or not made no difference, the results were the same. Bad luck, conflict, ill heath, injury, tormented dreams, fear and death. The words of the paranormal investigators kept playing in my ears, "The land your property sits on is possessed by a demonic force, what you need a Shaman". I remembered my reaction, "What kind of bullshit is that?" Laura spoke bringing me present. "You should get as much Sunlight in the space as possible!" First unlocking the iron security gate and next the old wooden door, surveyed the dimly lit warehouse. I stood briefly in the doorway before entering. It was silent, empty. A chill crept across my neck, and rang in my ears. I drew a deep breath, reminding myself of the message I was given, "Believe in Yourself". I stepped into the warehouse, my eyes adjusted to the dark, as shadows took form. The electrical meters with glass covers reflecting light, mound of dirt, pick and shovel lay beside it. The white door of the restroom with black letters "Office" painted above it. "Sunlight?" of course, it seemed so basic, sunlight never entered this place for as long as I could remember. I was now on a mission. I could to what I was best at, action! Behind me six tall vertical windows glowed a dull yellowish color as daylight tried to pass though several coats of paint. The frames holding the panels in place where rotting and easily removed. Using a shovel broke away the frames until the glass panels became free one by one stacked them on the concrete floor. It was a beautiful sight, sunlight blazed through the open windows as solid beams of light hitting the concrete surface. Transfixed by the sight, I stood there feeling pleased with myself. Suddenly I became aware of how bizarre the scene would appear to my neighbors, took a quick look around to find the houses and sidewalk unaware of any activity. I pulled my cell phone from a back pocket, placed it on speaker and called for Laura's attention. "Ok,,, it's bright in here, what next?"
6 MONTHS EARIER
The Sign shop was closing. The building which I had worked and lived for the past 20 years had been sold. It was not a surprise, the sale sign had been on the old building for over a year. I was still operating the shop that I sort of inherited from my partner Ken who had just recently retired. I needed to relocate and soon. The challenges ahead were tough, juggling work still coming in, finding a shop as well as home for myself and two dogs. I had enjoyed the luxury of low rent for many years, However Oakland was rapidly changing. There was a huge influx of people from San Francisco, trying to escape the escalading rental costs and Oakland was becoming very desirable alternative .Apartment complexes rose up overnight, changing the landscape of my old familiar town. Small businesses were among the casualties. Shoe shine shops, magazine newsstands, thrift stores and the corner dinners all disappeared. I was one of the last holdouts in the neighborhood. The other tenants, a neighbor selling vinyl records and a high school radio station had just shut down and vacated. I wasn't far behind, but had the privilege of remaining till the sale was final as the only tenant and care keeper for the building. This bought me a few more months of operating and the badly needed income I needed to relocate. I condensed the shop down to a small section of the building that I had converted into a living space some years ago. There was a convenient entrance at 18th st, which became my office. Upon entering you could have stepped back in time to 1940. Walls covered with old theatre posters, many hand painted or screen printed in the shop 50 years ago. Banners and show cards ads. Sam's collection of pin-up girls from the fifties. I found customers enjoyed the museum like atmosphere, amused at the variety of old signs, some featuring items like soup and sandwich, twenty five cents, Sport collectables dating to the thirties, literature, brochures, and cards that now seemed humorously out of date. Like the fluorescent orange signs that once were mounted on the back of Oakland Police vehicles warning drivers not to drive drunk or be sure to lock your car. There was are collection of hand lettered classics signs, fingers pointing direction to restrooms. Brightly colored show cards featuring nightly lounge entertainment. Car ads selling the latest Model 1954 Chevy. Black and white illustrations of the popular fashions of 1950, men in suits, top hats, women in long dresses with square shoulders. Screen printed patriotic ads pleading the war effort, selling bonds. I saved a lot of Sam's work, keeping it in good condition and on display. Sam was a true sign artist. His layouts and hand lettering were masterful. I would often watch him at his easel lettering show cards, sable haired brushes dipping into cups filled of brightly colored tempera paints. I adopted a lot of his style combining his old school charm, with my more contemporary designs. Over the years, the jobs poured in, and we enjoyed a good measure of success.
The single story building on the corner of Jefferson and 18th was simple in design, large verticals windows reminiscent of art deco design popular in the forties. It stood alone on the block with 2 fenced in parking lots one in back the other followed the property line to the north side of the building. On Jefferson St. There were 3 retail spaces, one of which I lived , on 18th St. Was the entrance to the old sign shop that used two thirds of building space. It consisted of a large warehouse that was divided into individual work areas. The front and back was used for wood working and screen printing. Office and computer rooms, dry walled off to prevent dust entering, and two large painting rooms paneled off with walls rising to the to the twenty foot ceiling of redwood rafters. We often used these walls to mount banners and wooden signs while painting or to create paper layouts by projecting images on the wall and tracing the outlines. Light had to be blocked out in order to clearly see the projected art in daylight, so most of the shop was dark without fluorescent lighting. Over the years hundreds of colors spotted, stripped and patterned the walls creating a kind of abstract art. The opposite wall divided the Sign shop and the other two retail spaces. This is where I spent most of my time here when I wasn't out in the field. As I arrived to work each day, walking through the door saying the same thing, "Have no fear!" Letting Sam know who it was, and issuing my assurance we could overcome any challenges the day may present. Sam hired me in 1982. The same year my son was born. Fresh out of apprenticeship school, eager to become the best sign painter in town. I grew to have a deep respect and love for Sam as both an artist and human being. He had a way of letting the stress of the day roll off his back. Sam would never stay angry long and seemed to keep things in perspective. As if he saw the big picture, life was just temporary and not to be taken too seriously. I listened to every story he told more than once. Never reminding him I heard it before. HIs experiences were fascinating to me, especially his World War 2 stories. His childhood selling newspapers on the corner during the depression, watching Babe Ruth at bat, in the old Emeryville field where Pixar now resides. How he had plans to buy up half the real estate in Oakland. We were great as a team and joked between the two of us had over a hundred years of experience but still made mistakes. Ronald Regan was president when I went to work for Sam. There were six of us in the shop at the time. Sam, Ken his son who worked the carpentry department, Terry a master Showcard artist, Jay the screen printer, Mike was the journeyman painter who I would eventually replace, and myself. Looking back Mike wasn't exactly thrilled with my arrival. He had set a pace for work long ago, and I came in guns blazing with something to prove. Although Mike and I were trade comrades and enjoyed talking, he seemed unhappy and troubled to me. Mike mentioned something to me one afternoon that always remembered .He said he was under "psychic attack". I didn't quite know how to respond to the statement. I sympathized with him, but privately thought," He's losing it". A month or two later Mike suffered a stroke and never returned to work.
I enjoyed working for Sam and as the years passed me never considered leaving the shop, although there were opportunities along the way. In the Nineties the business began to change. And it became clear the days of the Sign Painter were ending. I managed to get an opportunity to learn the new technology that was replacing my job. I became a repair tech and traded in my brushes for a tool kit. But Sam and I remained close friends and I would often visit the shop.'
A time for Change
. The old shop was to be cleared out and not to be occupied while in escrow. On instructions of the owner, we began tearing out the partitions in the warehouse. In a single morning a crew of guys including myself demolished the old sign shop. Wood scrap, dry wall and debits piled high in the corner exposing a single large square room. Only six tall redwood beams stood supporting the huge redwood Joyce's on the roof. After the other workers left Dave and I stood there dust heavy in the air, floor covered with busted wood, dry wall chalk and bent nails, wondering at the logic of sending these guys in to demolish the shop then just leave. We began the huge task of cleaning up the mess.
After a week the sign shop was nearly vacant and the walls that once divided the space gone. It was about this time I began to notice a change in the building. Or how I perceived the space. It seemed to have grown cold unpleasant. Perhaps it was on account of it being vacant. But I couldn't shake the feeling it was angry for being dismantled and stripped. I would not have given it much more thought, but these feelings were being validated by number of folks who had occasion to enter the building. These reactions I would observe ranged from mild discomfort, to an outright fear of entering. Another troubling aspect being how common the experience seemed to be to such a wide variety of people.
I was acting as caretaker of the property that was owned by my partner and longtime friend,'' ''Ken and Sister Wendy. It was sad to think the shop would soon be demolished and all our time here soon forgotten. But Downtown was growing fast and the value of the land for development had become very desirable. An investor purchased the property with the intention of erecting a 69 unit apartment complex on the site.
Over the years we had a lot of good times here. Being just a block away from the night clubs and restaurants on Telegraph Ave. Over the past 10 years Downtown and the East Bay had transformed its ugly reputation into a popular destination for many young people. Some came for the Pot dispensaries, some for the thriving art community and in the evening hours for the nightlife along Telegraph Ave. It was my friend Peter Van Kleef, who had the foresight and imagination to invest into a rundown Cafand bar, bring music and art to center of Downtown, and nurture it into one of the hottest nightclubs in the Bay Area. His success caught the attention of entrepreneurs all around the Bay Area. Investment money poured into the city, as one bar after another opened up along the Ave. The newly renovated Fox Theatre with its huge neon marque featured top name entertainment bringing hundreds of out of Towner's to the city for the first time. Being the Shop was a short walk from Peters Caf friends felt free to drop in, park in my lot and often hang out. There was always an empty bed for anyone who partied too much, and shouldn't drive. Overtime my living room/ office became an after hour's hangout. I enjoyed the company, and made an effort to create a comfortable living room that doubled as an office during business hours. I did this by covering the 15 foot walls, with a combination of retro signs and art work, into a visual feast for the eye. Peter added to the atmosphere buy donating a number of statues, antiques and collectables, I displayed on shelves and tables around the room. During the day the office looked like a museum of signs. Evening's the counter where I greeted customers, became a wet bar, while strings of blue and red lighting created the appearance of a lounge.
Yet there was a dark element to the shop. Aside from being in a tough high crime area of downtown, the building itself seemed to inspire uncomfortable feelings in many people. Especially the old sign shop. It was very rare that anyone was worked past 5pm in the evening so it was always vacant during the night time. I had occasions to enter the shop late at night, but stayed no longer than necessary. After the shop closed we used the large warehouse as a parking garage, bringing in my vehicles nightly. With the ritual locking of the entrances and the door opening to my living space I had been told by at least a dozen people, the place was haunted. I had heard it so many times over the years I just laughed it off, telling people I personally was not a believer it ghosts, figuring there was a scientific explanation for everything. Never giving it much more thought. I was aware the dark atmosphere of the shop, combined with the fact we had never remodeled the place sense the fifties, inspired a kind of spooky feeling. I considered these folks be supertiscious fearful of the dark. However I had to admit, it was an odd coincidence that so many people, completely unrelated, expressed similar experiences. It was after Patti's experience I began to question things.
Patti and I had been dating for a few months. We enjoyed having dinner and wine after work in my living room. That now doubled as my office for the sign shop. It was comfortable eating at the counter that greeted customers during working hours. My computer sat on my desk so we often watched videos or played music while dining in the front room. We sat on tall bar stools across from one another in the spacious office. At night I turned off the bright fluorescent lights, preferring the subtle glow of blue and red neon sign lights mounted to the walls, covered with old signs, photographs and artwork. I'd cook in my tiny kitchen, Patti brought wine and dessert, and we would enjoy a relaxing meal at the end of the day. One evening while sharing our work day, I noticed Patti looking over my shoulder into the back room though an open doorway. I could see by the look on her face she was surprised and at a loss for words. I turned around quickly in the direction of her stare expecting to see something or somebody, but there was nothing. What is it? I questioned, she then described to me seeing a man walk across the room exiting though the wall. Though the wall? I asked. Yes though the wall! I settled down believing here was a simple case of over active imagination and perhaps a little too much wine. But it was almost insulting to suggest she had imagined the apparition. So I asked what he looked like. Patti then described a man in his forties or fifties dressed in cloths from an earlier era. I was amazed at such a detailed hallucination and had to accept her experience as true to her. I tried to remember if a person fitting her description ever worked in the shop. And yes there may have been in the past. Another odd coincidence. A couple of days later while having dinner at my counter in the same place, Patti once again nearly choking on her food pointed over my shoulder in shock. I turned quickly to see a huge rat running frantically towards the back door. We laughed like hell. That night I secured the door and filled some holes in the wall.
Patti stayed the night weekends and occasionally during the week. We slept in my bedroom loft, along with one of my dogs while the other stayed downstairs on a couch. It was comfortable in my king size bed. At the foot or the bed a large screen television. Electric heating keeping the loft comfortable in winter and an overhead skylight that opened serving as a vent for air in summer as well as roof access. The walls covered with personal art work and vintage posters. A window overlooked the shop below and though windows the street outside. It had a safe homey feeling although only a few yards from dark city sidewalk that never sleeps. And that was the issue that took some getting used to in the loft. Sounds from the street echoed in, giving the illusion they seemed in the room. Voices, garbage trucks, people collecting cans and bottles pushing carts. Patti would hear these sounds waking startled. I would comfort her that these things were outside. But there were times when I really had no explanation for the rumblings coming from the roof. Footsteps walking above us, sound of creaking wood, vibrations in the walls, sudden banging. Still I assured her they were nothing to worry about .Though I often slept with one eye open, imagining someone was trying to break in. The warehouse area was empty so I stored my truck, ladders and equipment in the space. I would also have Patti park her car there overnight, being it was safer there than outside. She had a fear of going to her car alone, especially at night. I made fun her at times for being so scared.
Krista was a glamorous kind of gal. Always dressed very nice no matter where she as going. Long blond hair, red lipstick. Krista ran a music school on Broadway, I made signs for her business. We would on occasion, meet socially for cocktails, usually at CafVan Kleef, my favorite bar on Telegraph. Krista also parked her car, a red Charger, in my Shop on days the streets were crowded. She was also interested in the newly vacated spaces that had come available. I explained the building was sold and the rental units were to remain vacant, but she insisted on a tour. Instead of entering though the front door I simply cut away a section of dry wall that separated the space from the warehouse. We entered through the hole. Krista looked around briefly at the remnants of the former radio station, all the windows had been covered with insulation and heavy plywood, preventing sound or light from entering the space. I found a switch that powered the overhead ceiling fans and lights. A stench of decay and mold filled the air. In each corner there were sound booths constructed, enclosed rooms with a small opening cut out of the drywall for ventilation. The walls and ceiling inside covered with carpet. They gave the appearance of being holding cells or perhaps torture chambers it seemed to me. The entire space was painted pink with dull green trim and doors. On The floor, old asbestos tile alternating a black and white pattern. This being the first time I had saw the space as well. Krista and I stood silently for a moment taking in the sight, then Krista rushed to exit holding a hand to her face. I followed her back into the warehouse. The color had drained from her face, her eyes wide with fear, she waved her hands trying to catch her breath. After a moment she spoke, while I calmed her down. "That place is so creepy, I nearly threw up". "Yeah I know it smells bad" I said nodding in agreement. "No it's really bad, like evil, voodoo cursed. ". As Krista drove off, I returned to the space, looking carefully though each room. Shut off the fans and lights, then placed a sheet of plywood against the opening I had cut and walked back to my shop 50 feet away.
The following days where business as usual, with the exception of paying a little more attention to slamming doors and peculiar sounds coming from the shop. I made certain that the door that separated the old shop from my living space was closed and bolted. It was shortly after the Krista incident my dogs began to act strange. Lilly and Layla my two dogs had been raised sense pups in the building. They were both pets, and protection. The dogs had the run of the building being able to access all the entrances and exits, I felt secure no one would or could enter the building. In the evenings I locked the back parking lot surrounded by a six foot tall cyclone fence, at let the dogs exercise and do their business. 6pm you could find us in the back parking lot playing tennis against the wall. I hit the balls they chased them. They had always felt secure in my space and guarded each entrance. Now I was noticing the dogs rarely entered the shop warehouse. They preferred to wait at the door when I entered. Layla had become visibly fearful of the place in general and was only happy when outdoors. Lilly barked a lot at something I couldn't identify, something she rarely did in the past. I didn't think too much about it, figuring they probably were hearing sounds on the street and the constant parade that is until one afternoon while working in my office heard Lilly barking in the warehouse. I had to stop because she was so loud. Went to investigate, the door was open to the warehouse. Lilly was standing near the west wall her head looking upwards toward the rafters on the roof. Watching for a moment she followed something moving around warehouse. I didn't see anything, I looked for bugs, a bird, but there was nothing there. It was very strange, I could think of no explanation. But what bothered me the most was how she was barking. Anyone who has very had a dog knows the difference in the sound a dog makes. A bark when happy, a bark for alert. Lilly's bark was something between an intruder and a friend.
Jenifer showed up one evening and welcomed her in as I had for past ten years. We met while I was living in Aviso, where I lived in a flat over the Marina Seafood Bar and Grill. We became friends and stayed in contact over the years. She traveled around living from State to State never settling down. She always managed to find me and my hospitality like a safe place in a storm. I recognized early on Jenifer possessed an unusual gift. Psychic abilities. She we continued clearing out the shop and the other spaces that had been vacated. I was also actively seeking another building to lease. To my surprise the cost of rentals had skyrocketed, and time was growing short. I struggled to continue doing the work that came in and relocate at the same time .It wasn't helping matters I was distracted by these bizarre occurrences. I tried to focus on the challenges ahead. Then once again it was in my face. In a very unusual graphic manifestation. The walls of my loft are decorated with artwork, some my original drawings and a few old movie posters. One poster in particular is mounted on the wall directly across from my bed. I've had it for years, a large marquise original from the film the Godfather. I have looked at it nightly for about 10 years. This one particular evening as I was lying down I studied the picture which was so familiar to me. Something was wrong, in the upper portion of the wall size print there had appeared a stain. Looking closer it appeared it had been water damaged. Although I had never noticed the discoloration before that moment. I removed the print placing it on a flat well lite surface, carefully examining the damage. I was sad to see that despite of my efforts to protect the poster. It had been ruined and stained, by some means that eluded me. I considered the sun light but it was in a shaded area, moisture? Yet there no leaks and the wall was dry. I placed the print on a wall downstairs. It was Jen who brought it to my attention after studying the poster a while, "There is a clear image present here"! Mapping out the area with a finger. "Oh you mean like the time you saw Jesus in a bowl of soup" I laughed. She was determined to that I share her observation, so I humored her by watching as she outlined her hallucination. From the faded brown area the poster itself was printed on a material once used for back lighting, a kind of acetate like film positive. There was no doubt there was a visible clear image in the discoloration that occurred. Careful not suggest anything I asked my friend Jen what she saw. She answered by prefacing "I know this is weird, but it looks like a flying ghost holding a dagger!" I would have described it more like the character used in legend to depict death. The grim reaper. In flight, grasping in a boney hand a sickle. I showed picture to a number of volunteers when the situation was right. There was one thing all agreed, it was odd and very creepy. I rolled up the poster placed in storage.
I was looking for a building to lease, there was some good news, Wendy my friend and trustee of the building, offered to help with a down payment on new location for the shop. That week I looked at several possible spaces, but nothing I was sold on. My helper Dave and I filled a couple of huge dumpsters and the place was nearly empty. Only my living area remained intact. I was holding on as long as possible to complete the jobs I had already taken. Patti and I still met for dinner and wine after work. On weekends we go for cocktails and socialize with friends at our favorite place CafVan Kleef. Then spend the night in my loft watching television. The bumps and bangs, voices and footsteps continued. We had gotten so used to racket we'd make jokes about them, acting as if the where another resident who was being a pain in the ass. But often while Patti slept. I lay awake listening to bizarre sounds, convinced at times a burglar was in the warehouse. I always assured her it was nothing, but I didn't sleep well.
Wendy gave me a deadline to keep. The new owners were to take possession in six weeks. A had an agent helping to find a suitable shop but so far not much. I was holding out for something like a live, work space but wasn't having much luck. I toured and inspected a dozen possible spaces, either they were too expensive or too small. We continued packing away all that wasn't needed.
As it was on my mind that day, it seemed a shame the building would be demolished before the mystery here could be solved. It then occurred to me someone might be interested in checking out the building for ghosts. Although I was not a believer in such things, my friends would like that. It was now or never. The thought was amusing, but I was really curious what a professional would have to say. I searched the internet looking for key words, paranormal activity, and ghost hunters. To my surprise there are a great many organizations dedicated to this subject. A local group based out of Sacramento seemed to fit the bill. They seemed legitimate, and asked no fees. I emailed the group with my contact information and waited in anticipation. A week later I received a phone call from the group. A nice gal asked me explain my situation. She seemed interested but dubious, I assured her I was a business man and didn't intend to waste her valuable time. She seemed interested, and would get back to me after meeting with colleagues .The next day she called back. This time to set a date for a preliminary investigation. We agreed on the following Saturday in April to meet.'
I was out in the field installing a sign when my phone rang. Just then I remembered the two o'clock appointment we made. They had already arrived so I hurried back to the shop getting there pretty much on time. I was greeted by a couple in their forties, a woman brown hair, no makeup dressed casually and her partner, a tall thin gentleman short black hair, sports coat holding few hand held devices I didn't recognize .I thanked them for having an interest and invited them into the warehouse. I was feeling a bit sheepish .It happened to be a bright sunny day at the height of the afternoon, what could they possibly find now. I explained again the odd experiences my friends had expressed to me. Let them examine the godfather poster. The lead them into the warehouse and let them wander on their own Then walked through the door entering my backroom and began preparing lunch in my kitchen. About ten minutes passed when I realized they may come looking for me and be lost among the maze of rooms.
Opening my door and found them talking in the center of the shop. They looked up so I blurted out, "so did you find anything?" The pair walked towards me with a look I took as pleased. I remember thinking that was odd. They both started to speak at once until the tall gentleman deferred to his female partner. "Yes, yes we did!" she said twice. I was surprised, the only words that came to me were "really? "I wanted to ask what they found, but they were too busy shaking my hand and thanking me for the opportunity. They advised me the next step in the investigation would take place the following week. They would accompanied by a team of experts and psychics. I agreed and thanked them again. Well this was exciting news, I couldn't wait to tell my friends of this development, having visions of television crews staked out in the dark documenting real live paranormal activity in my place. Who knows this could be big.
After all I did remember the strange coincidence that happened the night Sam passed away. Sam owned the sign shop since the forties. He hired me as his journeyman painter, shortly after I moved to Oakland from Seattle. I was just a kid then thirty years old and set on being the greatest sign artist in the Bay Area. We became very close over the years, he was my mentor and surrogate father. Sam sat at his desk everyday till the day he passed at ninety two years old. At the end he was deathly ill and we knew the news would come soon. It was a Sunday evening at ten o'clock Layla my dog, then just a pup at the time, began barking furiously at the back door leading to the shop. I was alarmed, she had never acted that way before. Convinced that a break in had occurred, I armed myself with a garden tool and unlocked the door swinging it open. The shop was dark, Layla ran in, before I could stop her. From the sound of it had someone or something trapped? I turned on the lights expecting to see someone, but nothing. I looked at the dog clearly angry with her, she looked at me as if to say, there was some here, really! I forgot about the incident until the following morning when ken arrived at work and told me Sam passed last night at ten o'clock. I never mentioned the story to anyone. Strange coincident I convinced myself.
We continued packing and throwing out the years of accumulated stuff. The week passed and I was finding it more and more difficult to concentrate on work. The following Saturday I received a call from the paranormal group. She apologized but had to miss our appointment due to illness. We rescheduled the following Saturday. '
The strange tale of Jonathon
During the work week my helper Dave and I were busy in the field, installing signs and painting walls. We were working downtown at a pizza caf We took turns climbing a forty foot ladder scrapping letters of an old Plexiglas sign face. A fella introduced himself to us asking for work. I handed the young fella on a skateboard my phone number and address, told him to show up tomorrow. The next day Johnathan arrived early, before Dave. I put him to work sweeping up the warehouse and reclaiming some used lumber. He was quick to tell his life story, were he came from, family history and such. I listened politely.at the end of the day I paid him his wages, took him out to lunch. He was very enthusiastic about working, .so agreed to him coming back in the morning working another eight hours. Dave was a little put off thinking this guy was moving in on his gig, but I assured it was temporary help. The next morning Johnathan knocked on my office door, holding his skateboard in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. He was and thin with huge loops in his earlobes. I could see he had a long night by his red eyes and slummed shoulders. He volunteered an explanation for his mood. He lived with a couple of friends who all recently traveled to California from New York. Early this morning he found one of these roommates, in the kitchen making coffee. Johnathan inquired why he was up so early. His buddy related the following disturbing dream, he was trying to shake from his mind. We were all in a building somewhere, the walls a poke pink color. Suddenly someone said there are no doors in this place. Frantically searching for an exit, there were no windows either, only drapes covering walls. Then we turned and saw a large banquet table. Food of all sorts with drinks. We all drew up a chair and began to eat. But the food was rotten, filled with maggots. Everyone was spiting and gaging. I suddenly realized someone at this table is a Demon. I felt a gun in my hand. I raised it pointing across the table at you! Pulled the trigger. It was loud, the bullet smashed through your head, blood splatted all over the pink walls. But I was wrong, it wasn't you. I turned and aimed at the person sitting next to you, again, bang the shot ringing in my ears blood everywhere. It was not him either. I shot each one at the table. Until all were dead. Then I realized in horror, it was me! I was the demon. I placed the gun to my temple...thank God I woke up.
After hearing this story I was left wondering, how it was possible for someone indirectly associated with the building, describe in such vivid detail in interior rooms, and its invisible occupants.
Believe it? Or not?
Saturday arrived I was doing some book work in the office not wanting to miss our appointment with the paranormal society. They were late, I checked outside in my parking lot every few minutes hoping to meet them. My shop phone rang around three o'clock. I recognized the area code from Sacramento as the group id been waiting for. Mr. Peretti? Yes, were sorry to say we have to break our appointment sir, in fact we won't be coming at all. What? Are you scared? Why? "No sir, not frightened, you see unknown to you, and a group of us caravanned down to your building Friday. Among the volunteers were three psychics, myself and another investigator. People who I trust and have worked on previous investigations and hauntings. We parked and toured the area outside of your shop. It wasn't necessary to enter. It was unanimous, all three psychics agreed, this is not a haunting, there is a Demonic entity present. It is not safe to enter the building". I didn't quite know how to react to such a statement, you got to be kidding me. I heard myself say, I live here what about me? "Mr. Peretti you have a relationship with. It!" "What does that mean?" I got the feeling she didn't want our conversation to continue any longer, so I tried to squeeze in final questions, "What should do?" "The entity is attached to the land, when the building is demolished it will still be there. Perhaps a shaman can help." I was about to ask for a referral when she hung up. "What the hell is a shaman?"
: I tried to put all this nonsense out of my head, focusing on the challenge ahead. Wendy had me sign documents assuring her I had no intentions of staying longer than a couple of months. She set aside in further rent payments in exchange for my services as property management. Still I couldn't help thinking about the conversation on the phone Saturday afternoon. I was curious to know more. Sitting at my computer during a lunch break, I googled up a couple of key words, "demon, attached to land, Shaman." I was amazed at number of references it pulled up. I began researching the subjects. I read for hours till my eyes couldn't focus. Lying down on the couch exhausted, reviewing what I had learned. Demons exist in all cultures, they are entities, spirits which live in hidden dimensions. They often interfere with the lives of humans. Often with the intention of creating havoc, luring people to do evil. At times for one reason or another take up residence in a particular location, and stay there. They are beings that may or may not have had a body, which is one time walked the earth. Western European demons are thought to exist on a hierarchy, much like a military command. With legends of minor soldiers and officers all under the command of the Devil himself. Native Americans knew of these forces as well. Having a great many stories told of their interactions with people and other animals. They gave these beings names and respected their powers. Believing they enter into human beings though holes in an individual's aura
It wasn't helping me sleep much so I put it out of mind. And went back to the comfort of believing it was all bullshit, disappointed in myself for being sucked into these fairytales. Every time Patti would bring up the subject I would quickly reprimand her, for entertaining such childish thoughts.
During the week around dinner time, I was paid an unexpected visit by a dear friend. William along with a lady friend showed up. William had a habit of showing up at the most random time. But it was always a pleasure to see him and he was always welcome. A flamboyant dresser, infectious laughter, unending knowledge made one see life a little different. He among many other accomplishments had been the first black police officer on the San Jose police department. But now had opted for a bohemian life style which he embraced with conviction. I uncorked a bottle of cabaret, passed my friends glasses enjoying a catch up conversation. William was sad to here I was moving soon. I told him I had no regrets and mentioned how difficult life had become recently. I explained a little more in detail over the events of late. He seemed have a good deal of experience in matters of the supernatural. And offered his help, eagerly wanting to engage my demon. I did agree to William inspecting the warehouse along with his friend magenta, to determine if they had sense of spirits about. Holding wine glasses the three of us entered cautiously into the old shop. William went right to bringing into all of his senses. He sniffed the air, tongue playing on his lips, in deep concentration. Magenta preferred to stand motionless at the center warehouse. William muttered a few words, shook his head as if coming out of a trance. We returned to my living room office without a word. Then William spoke first, "What's the history on this building?" To my knowledge it was built in the forties, for most of past years been a sign shop. The other retail spaces have been leased to a number of different business over the years. William spoke again, "I definitely feel the presence of evil in that room. But old, older than building". Magenta agreed nodding her head. What do you think it is? I asked. "Get the feeling something really bad happened there. ". Magenta added, something possibly involving children, abuse perhaps?" Interesting I said. We finished our drinks and I thanked them both for their insights.
Fridays and Saturday nights were a welcome break. Down the street just a block away, is Fox Theatre, a popular music venue. Show nights were exciting around my place, friends would show up and help me out parking cars for concert goers. We'd make a party of it. I put out plates of food, turn up the music, collect a small parking fee and watch the people come and go. My niece Lorien usually sat in front of my office door attracting parkers and collecting cash. The streets were full of folks walking around having a good time. It was quite a change from five years ago when these streets were vacant at night and downtown had a bad reputation. Now a six story apartment complex sat across the street, restaurants, bars followed. My old neighborhood had become very desirable especially to a huge influx of young folks who seem to be coming from corners of the Earth.
A Turning Point
Although I tried as hard as possible, I found myself preoccupied thinking about the building and its supernatural occupants. There could only be one thing that would settle my mind now, to either disprove these ridicules claims, or find some logical explanation that would put an end to this drama. I was out a job when I happened to pass a Goodwill Store on San Pablo Ave. Pulled into the parking lot and just enjoyed browsing around the store. On the counter full of miscellaneous toys and sports accessories, spotted a box labeled "spycam". The printed graphics showed a small camera device claiming it could take a photo each second as it scanned the room 360 degrees. This was perfect! If there were anything at all present, certainly I would catch it on this remote cam. I purchased it and hurried home.
It was late afternoon when I placed the camera on the floor in the center of shop warehouse, pushed the button to begin recording and walked away leaving it there for about 15 min. I retrieved it then went back to my office, plugged it into my computers USB port, loaded the software that came with the device and became familiar with the viewing options. It was possible to view each frame as a still photo or play as a video. There were also a variety of angles that were available. I watched as the camera played back images of the empty warehouse trying to observe anything unusual. It didn't take long for me to spot some interesting objects. First I noticed as the camera lens traveled in a circular movement around the room at a certain position I was in the scene, apparently I as was leaving. In each frame in the background behind me appeared a large sphere of light. I stopped the frame to examine the light. My first reaction was to believe the lens itself had produced the illusion, but it didn't seem consistent with a stationary camera, being it stayed behind me as I moved out of the picture. I wasn't too concerned with this aspect, it was what I observed next that really puzzled me. As the cam traveled around and around again I noticed a blueish colored light which appeared to be coming from a distant window. I rolled across the floor where it ended abruptly in the center of the warehouse. I stopped the frame and zoomed in on the glowing light. I viewed it at several different magnifications, I was certain the source of the light was not the window in the distance, but it appeared to be coming from the ground itself. And even more astounding as I zoomed in I could swear there were faces, awful distorted faces, flowing in the creeping mist of light.
Although I hardly considered the photos to be proof positive of supernatural entities, I had to admit there was reason for further investigation. Trained on the street and doorways were security cameras which I could view on a monitor mounted in my loft. It occurred to me to place one of these infrared cams in the warehouse. Somewhere I remembered hearing heat sensitive lenses were capable of filming ghostly images .The wires extended long enough to reach a few feet though the back door into the warehouse. That night I placed the camera it on a make shift table, directing the lens across the dark empty room. After about an hour I paused recording and reviewed the video. The tape was black and white in the low light but perfectly clear, I saw nothing unusual and began to become bored with entire adventure. On the way down to retrieve the camera, thought I'd give it one more chance, as I picked up the device and aimed it in a different area. Once again recorded the shop in darkness. I fell asleep sitting up on my bed. I woke to a knock on the door, threw myself together and worked till noon. At lunch I took a few moments to sit at my desk and play back the recording from last night. Dave and I picked up sandwiches and drinks and were enjoying a much deserved break. It didn't take long at all to spot something suspicious. The tape began as I entered the shop. I walked directly towards the camera as I had last night, picked up the camera panning across the room and placing it back on the table. What was fascinating, was the moment I entered the room, several balls of light appeared out of nowhere, and seemed to follow me as I exited the shop though the back door. We watched it several times. Freezing the frames, attempting to isolate the glowing orbs of light which I counted at least fifty. They looked similar to soap bubbles in a variety of sizes. Dave tried to convince me we were seeing flies, simply illuminated by the infrared lens. We argued for a moment as I suggested that was the stupidest explanation anyone could come up with. "Dam Dave, have you ever saw a fly, let alone fifty flies, travel a straight line directly to a piece a of shit, without buzzing all around your ass first?" "What the hell you think is then? Dave he shot back, popping a beer still in a paper bag. I stared at the monitor again, without speaking. I know what I felt, what my senses were perceiving. These balls of light were attracted to me. It felt creepy and wrong, I kept hearing those words, "You have a relationship with it". "This cannot be real? Right?" I found myself worked up to the point of being angry, this had to be resolved for my piece of mind and health. The stress was getting to me, in a final attempt to, either debunk this ghost, or bring it into the open. I issued the bastard a challenge. It was after midnight when I entered the old warehouse alone. Spycam ready In hand. Drawing a deep breath, appearing as threatening as possible, in my best assertive voice, demanded the demon to show itself! I called it everything in the book in at least five languages. Satisfied I had issued a challenge that could not be ignored, carefully placed the Spycam on the warehouse floor, walked out without looking back. Closing the door behind me...