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In A Pickle  

Finding religion after 'haunted' childhood

Haunted childhood home

Sometimes I gave myself the creeps.

The disgusting odour of an ice-breathing entity chased me up the basement stairs. I gasped for air while my heart tried to jump out of my chest. What was that evil presence that terrorized my younger self?

If I stayed, the crescendo of fear escalated into a feverish pitch until I bolted up the staircase and out the door. The backyard provided a refuge with scraggly bushes to hide in.

Hoping to evade the thing that pursued me, I held my breath and knelt perfectly still in the dirt, waiting for the presence to pass me by. Other times I’d hide in the bedroom closet, pulling clothes on top of me to take cover.

The monster suspiciously resembled a sibling, almost as sinister as the stinky thing. Maybe it only appeared as a farting older brother bully. This little girl got no peace either way.

At an early age, my sister and I watched TV shows such as The Twilight Zone. By today’s standards, that program seems pretty cheesy, but not to an adolescent’s impressionable mind.

By viewing those programs, I opened doors that couldn’t be closed again. Television lowers the brain waves into a semi-hypnotic state, wherein they bypass the frontal lobe of reasoning. Children only get alpha brain waves and absorb everything.

You are changed by what you behold (2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV.)

Even in my sleep, trouble awaited me. Once we had finished watching a horror movie that had babbling zombies, my sister and I sat up in the dark and chattered nonsensically to each other from our twin beds. My mother freaked out when she came to investigate the noise. She turned on the light and told us to be quiet and go back to sleep. When my mom quizzed us the next day, we didn’t remember the incident.

Occasionally, we made a blanket fort and, with a lit candle in the middle, we held a séance with our cousins and summoned the spirit of our grandfather. If Gramps could’ve, he would’ve kicked our butts.

Lucky for us, the dead know nothing and cannot harm the living. (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 NKJV.)

My friends and I also played with an Ouija board, asking the names of our future husbands, and the wooden planchette spun around from letter to letter. I believe the name was “Steve” for me. I dated no one by that name and hoped the entity wasn’t referring to (author) Stephen King. Although unnerved, that didn’t stop us from playing with fire.

Did our shenanigans unleash the entity in the basement, or was it already there? Those same buddies and I became blood sisters by pricking our fingers and mixing our blood together. We vowed to always stay close and committed. So much for the blood vow, we didn’t associate after the 10th grade.

We girls also wore mood rings and had rabbit’s foot key chains to accessorize. What a macabre practice, and who came up with the idea to sell the dried out amputated paws of those beautiful little animals? It's no wonder we were messed up.

Recently, I watched a re-run of an original Batman cartoon and couldn’t believe how sinister it was. The cartoon used to scare me as a kid, but now it appalls me.

Along with Batman, there were also the shows such as I Dream of Genie and Bewitched. Decades later, Harry Potter appeared on the scene. This glamorization of witchcraft isn’t without horrific consequences for those who dabble(d) in it, including me. But it was called natural religion to appear harmless. The boob tube is blatantly inundating us with sorcery today, making things far worse, especially for the youth.

I had no idea the enemy was infiltrating my life at every turn. I’d opened a portal that reached hellish proportions. My life became more terrifying than any horror movie. Years later, I finally cried out to the Lord, pleading for forgiveness and help. Human assistance was useless.

I’ve been a Christian ever since—nearly 20 years ago—set free by the power in His word.

(Romans 8:37-39 NKJV) 37. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

38. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,

39. neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



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About the Author

Doreen Zyderveld-Hagel writes about the humour in every-day life, and gets much of her inspiration from the late Erma Bombeck’s writing style. 

Doreen also has a serious side, shares her views on current events, human-interest stories and sometimes the downright bizarre. 

She can be reached at [email protected]



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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