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Hope you enjoy reading Part 3 of Rick's story!
Lance & Jennifer
A Desert Haunt, Part 3
With the consensus reached that we were dealing with something (or things) paranormal, Sheri and I decided we had to take action. The only problem was what action could we take?
For my part, I went to my go-to solution for anything I didn't understand: research. I used my standard internet search engine to read up on what to do if your house is haunted. That got some really interesting results. But I went through the list like I was weeding a flower bed. I tried to evaluate the sources and throw out the advice that didn't pass my gut check and spent my time on those that seemed more credible.
I have to say it wasn't an easy task. It wasn't an exact science, either. I went with what made sense to me or resonated with my own experiences. I wasn't wanting mystical, religious, or ritualistic solutions. I wanted something that would work once for all. I was naïve. I know now it doesn't work that way, but that was my starting point on this journey.
For Sheri's part, she was depending on me to come up with a strategy while she was dealing with the strange activity on a near daily basis. She was in the midst of the fight, so to speak, and had no time to develop tactics. Thankfully, she was open to ideas and, like anyone in a fight, quick to grasp anything that might give her the advantage.
My online research soon shifted to television and the massive amount of programming about the paranormal. It had been several years since I had watched Ghost Hunters and I was amazed at how the genre had just exploded. The show I was most drawn to was The Dead Files, because of Amy Allan. To me, she was sincere, gifted, and was working with people dealing with things in their homes like Sheri and me. Steve DiSchiavi's investigations added the validation to Amy's walks. It didn't take long for me to learn from her that every solution was unique and they also took time. I watched every episode I could. Sheri watched with me, sometimes we got more than a little freaked out about the things Amy would see. I'm sure Sheri thought I was becoming obsessed with watching the show. I guess I was. Finding an answer to our problem kind of drove me to it. We even talked about trying see if she would come to our home.
So what was our problem? I described most of the activity in Part 2, but I wouldn't actually call that the problem. That was just weird stuff that happened. Things to talk about. Stories to tell. To me, the real problem was how living in our home was affecting each of us. Things that are not easily described or measured but the real mental toll it was taking as time went on.
I was dealing with some serious mood issues. I am not normally a moody person, let alone downright angry. But I am here…it's something I struggle with to this day. We had certainly gone through a serious life change after my leaving the military (a part of my identity that was stripped away and now gone). That's a story in itself and anyone having gone through the separation process will know what I mean. I'll just sum it up this way: One day you're a 24/7 contributing member of something that, once it's done with you, revokes your membership, replaces it with papers that show you once belonged, and sends you on your way by moving you one final time to where you want to go. Oh, and thank you for your service. Yeah, it was hard for me after 30 years, 6 months, and 15 days. Maybe that explained my mood changes.
Accompanying the moodiness was the unease. I guess some might argue they are the same, but not me. I do agree they complement one another, like peas and carrots, to borrow from Forrest Gump. Both of us were on eggshells, not from worrying about what kind of mood the other might be in, but from whatever was happening in the house. What would "it" do next; would we do something to set "it" off?
A month into my research and I had got some sage and started cleansing our home about once a week using a combination of techniques I'd read about that seemed appropriate for our situation. I had no idea what I was doing, but intent seemed to be a common theme from what I was reading. So I went with what felt right to me and the intent for spirits to have a one-way path to leave but not come back. Having been raised in a Christian home I also returned to prayer and began meditating to envision God's positive energy surrounding our home and pushing out the negative. This seemed to reduce the activity, but I needed to repeat the sage weekly along with constant prayer and meditation to keep things semi-quiet.
Buddy was my early warning device that activity was ramping back up. He would start avoiding certain areas and keep watch on them. His interest at these times was mostly centered around the heating vents in the floors. The kitchen was not a happy place for Buddy. He would growl low and quiet at it from the entryway, back up and cautiously approach again like he was trying to make sense of something that required extreme caution. Another early warning was the smell of cigarette smoke. That's when I knew it was time to sage and send up prayers again. We would go through every room wafting the smoke into every corner and repeating out loud that this was our home and only for the living. Anything else had to follow the smoke out of our home and off the property.
At least it felt like we were doing something. I think now that we were likely amusing our unseen roommates but they were willing to play along and tone it down for a while.
While this was going on I was bombarded with dreams. Dreams I can't remember other than that I had them and how I felt afterward. The impressions were raw and vivid. I tried keeping a dream journal for a while but gave up after not being able to remember them or put into words the impressions they left on me. These were hazy, confusing feelings of impending doom, of running and hiding from something. I would usually wake myself up from trying to yell or confront whatever was in my dream, but my voice wouldn't work. I would then pray and try to surround our house with my vision of white light descending through the home and pushing the darkness out every window, vent, and pipe until I fell back asleep.
Sheri suffered through this period too. Sometimes my attempts to yell would awaken her and then she would wake me up saying I was having a bad dream. Needless to say I wasn't getting much rest and neither was she. While my fellow commuters slept on the bus to and from work, I used my time to read and watch the paranormal shows, seeking an answer to our predicament.
Sheri was affected more physically than me. Not only was her sleep disturbed because of my dreams, she started having health issues. She began getting terrible migraines and unexplained pinpoint pains throughout her body. Bruises appeared on her legs and arms without any explanation or recollection of bumping into anything. Strange rashes appeared in odd areas and disappeared. Every so often she would have the sensation of being touched. In April 2019 she had a sudden debilitating pain in her abdomen that resulted in an ambulance trip to the emergency room and the urgent removal of her gallbladder. The medical promise of a quick recovery from what was considered a routine procedure took over a year for the pain to subside even though the surgery part healed quickly and without infection. Three years later and that area will sometimes become sensitive to the slightest pressure, resulting in sharp pain.
As things were spiraling downward in 2019, her moods changed too, although not to the extent of mine. It was just enough for our combined moodiness to create conflict, resulting in our snapping at one another over the smallest issue. We would retreat into our own thoughts or activities, not feeling like talking to each other for a while. These were the times to leave the property and go out to dinner or shopping. Once away from the place, we would almost immediately return to our (previously) normal symbiotic selves with normal conversations and laughter and enjoying each other's company again.
Sheri also saw shapes floating around which would leave her questioning her own eyes. Once while standing by the refrigerator she saw something that looked like a solid black sheet of construction paper appear in the kitchen and float into the utility room and disappear in the wall. Another time she saw something white through the slats of the wood fence that gave the impression of someone coming up the driveway. The horses noticed too, but when the object should have reached the end of the fence and continued in plain sight up the drive, nothing ever emerged. She also saw a gray rectangular shape appear in the desert while riding near the house. It floated across the ground like a magic carpet and then disappeared. The horse was watching it too with pricked ears. At other times, something would slap the bottom of her stirrup hard enough to feel and make a sound. It also spooked the horse. There were no sticks or shrubs high enough to reach the stirrup, which would have hit the horse's chest anyway. If not for the reaction of the animals to these things, Sheri would have thought she was hallucinating.
Speaking of the animals, we believe they were being affected too. They reacted to things seen and unseen. Buddy didn’t have any health issues, but he was reacting to things inside the house we couldn't see. The same cannot be said for the horses. We arrived here in 2018 with two healthy horses and in March 2019 we added a third mare. The first indication was when the horses became unusually lethargic. In June, Sheri took the youngest of the two original mares, Maggie, to the vet who ran a series of tests. The surprising result was she had a heart murmur and beginning stages of heart failure. A condition the vet said was very unusual in horses, especially Arabians. She was given medicine and told to bring Maggie back for a checkup in a few weeks.
Because of that diagnosis, Sheri took the other two mares for a checkup. Our oldest horse, Samantha, was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Again, the vet said this was unusual because thyroid issues in horses usually accompany other health problems that Samantha did not have. The vet called it a standalone thyroid condition and prescribed her a medication to treat it. Our newest and youngest horse, Summer, basically received a clean bill of health.
Over the next couple of weeks Maggie's health continued to worsen. On July 30, 2019, Sheri made the heartbreaking decision to have our sweet mare euthanized. Our last day at home with her was a tearful day outside in our little backyard patch of grass letting her graze while giving her favorite treats of watermelon, cantaloupe, and grapes. I still tear up remembering that day with her.
Shortly after, Summer was found in her corral laying down and unable to get up. She had foundered overnight and her front feet were too sore for her to stand. Sheri worked with her and was able to get her back on her feet for short periods of time. We thought we were going to lose her also. Thankfully, Summer recovered enough to stand and eventually make a partial recovery but she still has bouts of lameness and sore feet.
Samantha has been on the thyroid medicine for three years now. The levels have never returned to normal, so the medicine is the only way we have of controlling it. Other than that, she seems fine and is a great trail and lesson horse for children. Our trusty paint mare is pushing 30 according to vets, a pretty old age for a horse.
Throughout all this, sage-ing, prayer, and meditation were a continual part of our lives. Somewhere during that time, an episode of The Dead Files aired featuring a place from my home state of Missouri. This was my first introduction to the Eberhardts, although I didn't know at the time how important their story would become to us.
This Memorial Day weekend is especially significant because of two events that happened on the same weekend in 2019. They started us on the path to turning our situation around. It's funny how the intersection of these two important events were lost on me until going through my notes to write this. But there they were, staring right in my face. You don't always recognize the importance of something right away.
The first event was an unexpected Saturday visitor from a young lady who lived in this house several years ago as a child. The second was an innocuous one-word reply from Amy Allan's Twitter to a Tweet by Lance about his blog…this blog. Following that link opened a connection to their complete story.
I left the page open in my web browser for 2 or 3 weeks before joining the Eberhardt's on their paranormal journey from the beginning. It took me a while, but I finished reading everything in September. Their story hit me in a way I could never have imagined. After reading that last entry, I posted a comment to Lance and mentioned our current situation. One small part of Lance's reply set me on the path to dealing with our home. He said, "My only suggestion would be to handle it now; head on & without fear."
That short sentence in the midst of Lance's reply had an enormous impact. It said I could handle it. I needed to face it. I did not need to be afraid. Time was not on my side.