specter, spectre, ghost, apparition, spirit

Witchery: The Dark Specter

The house I grew up in was small for the number of people it housed. When my parents moved us to the small town of Saginaw, Texas, in the early 60s, my eldest brother was three months from thirteen, my eldest sister almost twelve and a half, the middle brother almost ten, middle sister almost 9, my youngest brother was a few months from six and I was a whooping two months old. As such, with only three bedrooms, I lived in my parents’ room for a time before being lumped in with the rest of the girls.

As we were growing up, many things happened in the house that should not have occurred. I blame much of it on the dark specter that resided in the room set aside for my brothers. He seemed to be able to affect the males much more than most of the girls, from what I could tell at that age and from the stories, I heard after growing up. My brothers fought a lot between themselves and with the older sisters. As the “baby”, I was mostly left on my own. When I say fight, I mean “ball up your fist and slug them in the face,” type fighting, not the type of fighting my sons do, where snippy tone of voice and rude comments occasionally come into play. In my family, there was a lot of violence and abuse behind closed doors.

My parents did not have a happy marriage to begin with, due in great part to the alcoholism my dad spoke of suffering during the first two decades of marriage. However, even after the alcohol was gone, his violent outbursts toward the elder children and my mother remained. My mom hid from life inside her books, soap operas, and puzzles. She did not want to “get involved” with the problems. As such, neither parent really paid much attention to what went on between the children, themselves.

In today’s society we would have been removed from the home, but back them, we thought what we were going through was normal, so none of us ever bothered to talk about it to anyone. It was not until I was in my mid twenties that something happened to trigger a discussion with most of us kids. We got together and compared notes. I guess as the baby of the family I was spared from most of what went on, I had few horror stories of my own comparatively, and the ones I had infuriated my eldest sister as she blamed herself for going off to college and leaving me “alone” in the house. “Unprotected” was the way she phrased it as she cried, but I reminded her that both of my parents were in the house and responsible for bringing me to this life, while she was absolutely not responsible.

The specter lived in the room that the boys shared from the earliest time I can remember to the day I left the house after I turned 18 and left high school. I could see it, and worse, feel it every time I went into the room. It scared me to think about going into the room. I never wanted to unless someone else was in there to protect me. Sadly, on occasion, that did not work as well as intended. Instead, the specter sometimes used the other person against me, physically, instead. It seemed drawn to my father, one brother, and one sister in particular, though I could feel that it wanted to use us all.

It was not until I was 9 ½ years old, that I got to live in a room without other people being there. That summer, my middle brother and middle sister were graduating from high school and they both had weddings planned about one month apart. My sister married her high school sweetheart first and went to live with her new husband in the house he picked out for them, several blocks up the street in the same small town. My brother was marrying a high school sweetheart, whose own abusive parents had thrown her away and she ended up moving into the house with us for a couple of years or so prior. That last month it was just her and me in the “girls” bedroom. She kept telling me that she and my brother were moving out soon, too.

It seemed exciting, though I knew I was really going to miss my brother. I was never that close to my sisters, the eldest had been more like a mom, but moved out when I was graduated first grade, so she could to go to college. The middle sister was the one affected by the specter, along with our eldest brother, so I was never too comfortable around her. As the specter affected her, she told others that I was “too young” to remember things she did, but I was not. I have always remembered. That left my two younger brothers. The youngest was my closest friend while growing up. The elder, who lives with me now, was always my hero; (in many ways he still is today) so losing him was going to be devastating. However, I was going to get a whole room to myself, he kept explaining, so I should be happy. I was a little bit happy, until the day of the marriage when I found out that my youngest elder brother wanted the room that I thought was going to be mine, and I was going to have the “specter” room.

The day came and I was inconsolable. Not only was my hero leaving, but also my bed had been moved to my “new” room. The specter room. I remember lying in bed that night and crying, begging my bigger brother to not leave me there, to take me with him. He was so gentle and wonderful, telling me I could come and visit him as much as I liked in his new place, which was only a few blocks and around a corner from the sister who had just married.

It started immediately, I could feel the specter pushing and taunting. I never wanted to enter the room, but was always being sent to my room as my parents believed strongly in the old adage that “children should be seen and not heard” and enforced that rule all the time. As such, over the years I grew accustomed to the specter. I became used to the feeling of being watched constantly and poked at mentally. This was when my lifelong fight with insomnia began. Sometimes I listened to him talking in my head, but most often, I tried to tune him out. I was not always successful.

When I was around 11 or 12 years old, I got my first hand-me-down stereo and discovered that if I used my parents’ old headphones and kept the music loud enough, I could feel him watching me, but he could not get into my head to poke at me anymore. After that, I still dreaded entering my room when I got home from school, but once I was in there and had the music going at full blast, I did not mind him so much. I still felt him watching me and I could feel the tightness in my head, but I learned to sleep with the headphones on and that helped. I kept this up all through high school and through my first job until I had enough money saved up to move in with my first roommate.

To this day, I do not know whose specter was in the house or why he was there. I do not know if he was there when we moved in, followed us from the city I was born it, or joined the family at some point after we had moved in. All I know is that he was there by the time I became aware of other people around the age of three or four. I can recall seeing it for years before my eldest brother joined the Navy in the late 60s. Its handiwork had already been abusing us, by then.

I researched in my preteens and early teens and discovered what it was, but never whom. I think its presence in my family’s life is one of the things that drew me to study witchcraft and the occult. I needed to understand what was affecting my family and only in studying witches, the occult, and specters did I find the answers I needed.

He was not present when I returned in my mid-thirties with my own three small children for 10 weeks while I searched for a job and a house after Az crossed over unexpectedly. Only one spirit was in the house with us at that point and that one was one I needed. For that, I am thankful, as I never wanted my children to meet him, ever! I do not know if he was trapped in the rebuilding after the tornado, or perhaps, knowing I was now a full grown witch and knew enough about him to send him away, he left voluntarily, or involuntarily. I only know that he was mercifully, absent when this witch returned with her “spawn” to the house and for that, I am grateful!