A rough draft of a recollection
|When I was seven I went to big school. To be precise it was a Church of England junior school in England in 1984. Being a CofE school Christianity suddenly became a higher priority than singing "Cucumber Mi'Lord" or wearing a tea towel on my head and wondering where to put my hands as Donna waved a dolly around and pretended to have given birth to Jesus. It wasn't heavy handed at all, but the subject was actually discussed and I, (having been raised by a man from a muslim background who didn't believe and a woman from a christian background who felt likewise that I should make my own mind up) thought that I should give this whole thing some thought, and so I decided to give christianity a try. This ended up being a little stranger that I might have expected.
One evening in 1984 I had been packed off to bed despite not being even slightly tired. An insane injustice which would not be allowed to ever happen again when I ruled the world because it was stupid.
I lay there, annoyed, bored and not at all tired in my room. I'd been allowed to pick from a selection of things for my room and it was off-white with lots and lots of red and dark blue curtains with Superman all over them. Nothing happens with any of that, but it seems as well to set the scene.
After roughly three hundred years of lying there in the worst torment I could imagine I began to think about ghosts and the paranormal. I'd picked up stories and seen pictures and was fascinated by the whole thing. Obviously it was all true. Everything was, including Doctor Who, Star Trek and the A-Team. We were being visited by aliens. Ghosts were real and there were dinosaurs in Loch Ness. Everything was true unless proven otherwise.
Except God which was the opposite but I'd decided to give that a go too and now considered myself a Christian.
While I was thinking about all of this I began to creep myself out. It got worse and worse until I was was truly terrified and at then my Superman curtains were blown back and a nearly blinding blue/white light blasted straight at me. There was no sound, but the sensation of a howling gale and papers and comics were blown around as if the sound should be deafening.
I squinted into the heart of the storm, terrified, but forcing myself to look. It had to be aliens. In the centre of the light just beyond my window I saw a robed figure, colours washed out by the brilliance of the light. He was tall (as everyone was to me then) and radiated menace and authority. He wore a large crucifix around his neck and carried a huge old book under one arm. His other arm was raised in a sign of benediction. (I had no idea what it was called then.) His face... was where it all turned inside out. It was my cousin!
MY COUSIN! The impossibly cool definitely not religious teenager with high top Nikes decorated with his tag, the coolest person I'd ever met! I stared in... I have no idea how to describe how I felt. I think it may be unique.
Then it was over. I wanted to talk to my parents but they hadn't arrived during the whole thing and that meant that they'd somehow not noticed any of this and would just say I was asleep and dreaming. So would everyone! The story was really good apart from the identity bit.
The next day it occurred to me that my cousin may have died and I might have seen his ghost calling out from heaven, but luckily nobody was upset and it soon became clear that he was very much alive. This was a huge relief but left me with no explanation for any of this insanity. I couldn't even tell anybody about it without lying because everyone would laugh it off. I was in a bizarre place of being both awestruck and disgusted and disappointed that it couldn't have been something like a spaceship or alien or some lights so I could tell people!
So there it is. The following year I was horribly ill and was sent out of morning assembly to wait to be taken home. I was in the school library looking at a model of Noah's ark with all the cute animals with the sound of hymns in the background and it just hit me that every other animal other than those drowned and so did all the people and at that point my Christianity died. God might be real but if he was I didn't like him and aliens were real and I had a mystery of my own. I began to mouth the words of prayers and read everything I could lay my hands on about UFOs, the paranormal, mythology, magic, the occult in a search for some explanation.
Obviously, my life went on but that's the start of my relationship with the paranormal.