Holy hell, it’s been a weekend. I went down to the beach in southern Virginia to visit my family, ostensibly to help my mother sift through (read: throw away) my late grandmother’s belongings and rearrange the (excessive) furniture in her (overcrowded) condo. That I did, but I also had fun besides. However, between clubbing, hanging out with a good friend, taking my mother out to dinner, getting new bits of jewelry for my piercings, exploring a haunted road with a friend, and fixing a demonic possession issue that happened to said friend, today would’ve been the perfect sick day to take off. It’s that last bit I want to talk about.
Now, I happened to grow up in and have friends from a very old part of the country filled with battle sites from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and plenty of other old places besides. My friend and I were hanging out late on Friday night, and and we decided to make a drive around the place to Yorktown, VA, noted for being the last battle of the Revolutionary War and having a fancy little riverside beach. Right nearby is a road well-known for its negative energy called Crawford Road; neither of us knew anything else besides it being a bad place. Being young and adventurous, and being both interested in the supernatural (me a magician, him a life-long reluctant psychic and spiritist), we decided to venture out and drive down Crawford Road. At midnight. In the dark. On a rural, no-lane-marking, no-streetlamps forest haunted road.
To be brief, I didn’t like the feel of the place at all. It was like a throbbing malignance, being watched at, sorrow and anger all at once on all sides. I sensed, however, one main presence sort of hovering over us as we drove down the road; I was saying prayers of light and kept my brights on, which I knew irritated the spirit because Light versus Dark, Q.E.Duh. I was also seeing outlines of forms in the road, human figures that seemed to be hovering above the ground a few feet but limply, as if they’re being suspended. My friend hears and sees a lot more than me about what’s going on, and is talking to the main spirit of the place. We end up driving underneath this small early 1900s bridge, which is nasty as hell: covered in grime, lichen, and graffiti, but spiritually I just saw an abysmal abyss, a sheer drop surrounded by streams of…something. We kept driving, but not knowing where the road would end up, we turned around and went back. The spirit of the place wanted us to stop, turn off the lights, and get out of the car, saying it wanted to show us something. To this, we both replied “HELL NO” loudly and often. We left, and didn’t think much more of it, but I did suggest my friend do some sort of cleansing after that little joy(less) ride. I was feeling fine and had taken care of whatever grime stuck to me automatically, but my friend although psychic and spiritually sensitive, doesn’t do as much active work as I do.
Turns out that he didn’t do anything at all to cleanse himself, and ended up bringing a bit of the spirit back with him. His mother promptly freaked out, flushed his medication down the toilet, assaulted him, and kicked him out; while dealing with that stress, he let what little guard he had left down, which gave the spirit of the place a barn-sized opening to attack. From this, my friend had been feeling off all day, still in control but definitely struggling with something fucking with him. From getting so close to the spirit, he found out that it was a woman who had hung herself from the bridge on her wedding day. From Internet research later on, after the whole experience, the whole place is known for the ghosts of hanged slaves (the limp forms suspended above the road covered by trees).
We decided to meet up at a local club, to dance and burn off whatever energy we could in throngs of shirtless men in an overwhelmingly humid and overheated dance floor, leave, and deal with the problem then. As we left the club, I bought an extra bottle of water and asked for it unopened so I could say some prayers over it to bless it and use it for cleansing and banishing afterwards. I was ready to go full-out guns-blazing karcist on this spirit, because it had been going on long enough for me and him as it was.
Now, being a ceremonial magician, I’m not only enabled and learned enough but also increasingly given authority to perform exorcisms, cleansings, and banishings of people and places. I have the tools, workings, rites, and words to get rid of shit and get spirits to do what I want, either for myself or for the continued order and functioning of the Cosmos in the name of the Almighty. I’m filled with Light, loved by the First Father, and loved by my Holy Guardian Angel. So I did what any self-respecting, empowered, protective, and angry ceremonial magician would do.
I asked for forgiveness from the spirit for having trespassed into her home. I took a dumb joyride through the place, started antagonizing and pissing off further an already pained spirit, started making threats, and generally made the hell the spirit found itself in worse for the hell of it. I thought of myself as better, stronger, and more forceful than the spirit, and had the audacity to think I could kick her ass for getting back at us when she more or less had the right to. I regretted my decision and learned my lesson, and swore that I wouldn’t enter again into her domain without her permission, if not an outright invitation.
I apologized because ceremonial magic has gotten a bad rep for being heavy-handed, and even though I was prepared to curbstomp the spirit out of my and my friend’s lives, and even though I’m newly empowered with a fuckton of Light coming from my Work, I found that I didn’t really want to. I couldn’t get my friend, who was extremely moody and angsty by this point, to completely give me his full permission to do so, and thinking about the spirit, I didn’t want to add more injury to insult to injury by backhanding her after she already made her own hell. I apologized and asked forgiveness because we were the ones in the wrong, not her. Honestly, it felt like the Geburah/Mars issue of Promethea, where she and Barbara wind up in the qlippoth of Geburah into Asmodeus’ domain, and fix their issues by doing the same thing I did.
Of course, all this was in my head in the car as we were driving to a Waffle House on the way to my friend’s home. The spirit and I continued to talk over biscuits and gravy, and though I could still sense an overwhelmingly standoffish, huffy note in her voice, I was pleasantly surprised to see that she accepted my apology. Sensing that I could achieve success this way, I asked the spirit if an apology from both of us would suffice to have her leave us be, and she agreed to it; I strongly suggested my friend to apologize as well. This would’ve worked, except my now-moody friend adamantly opposed this, saying that the spirit was a bitch, didn’t deserve compassion or pity and much less an apology, and would just continue to linger around anyway and not listen to him. I told him to go back to his waffle as I continued talking with the spirit, figuring out if some compromise could be worked out. At least we both agreed that my friend was being emotionally vindictive, though I called out the spirit for not helping matters any with a guy who was already going through plenty of problems outside this case of demonic obsession.
The spirit and I agreed that I should go back to Crawford Road and make a formal apology and offering; it being already 3 a.m., I wasn’t thrilled at this, but I was happy to do it all the same to lay the matter to rest. In exchange, the spirit would leave us alone. The spirit wanted me to go back to the bridge itself and make the offering, but I drew the line at the entrance to the road, refusing to go further and tempt fate any more than I already had. As it turned out, my friend noticed that as I was talking to the spirit like this, the spirit stopped bothering him as much, and by the time I dropped him off, he seemed quieter and less anguished, and I didn’t see the spirit hanging around him anymore.
So, I make my way back to Crawford Road. It’s 4 in the morning on a Saturday night, so all the stores are closed at this point, but it turns out I still had that unopened bottle of water I was gonna use to bless and exorcise ourselves; I decided to offer that. Crawford Road dead-ends on road, so I parked my car near the three-way intersection (Hekate, anyone?) and left my lights on to make the offering (because I don’t want to get hit or mauled by anything). Of course, I forgot that my new car has lights that shut off automatically, just as soon as I got to the intersection. Fantastic. However, the light of the last quarter moon helped out just enough to see what was what, I announced myself, made an offering of the water, asked for forgiveness and forebearance, swore to never return without permission from the place, and left. (Also, I’m hoping that the tradition of not looking back after making an offering like that doesn’t apply to rear-view mirrors when driving.) I haven’t interacted with the spirit since, and neither has my friend, from what I hear.
I feel like I fixed the problem in the right way here. It was a problem we brought upon ourselves, and didn’t need a heavy hand to fix. It’s been a learning experience for me, and one I was glad to learn from.