Not too far in the distance was a large clearing, void of tombstones and trees. Within the clearing I counted a group of eleven people wearing hooded black robes standing in a large circle. Their faces were shrouded in darkness.
“We aren’t the only ones performing a ritual this night,” Sister Victoria whispered. A twelfth, cloaked individual stood behind a trapezoid shaped altar which was outside of, but close to the circle of eleven. Two long, thin candles on top of the altar gave enough light to make somewhat visible other items. There was a cup or chalice and a knife, more of a dagger.
The dark robed individuals continued to hum in unison. Karl brought out his phone from his inside jacket pocket and video recorded the scene. He stepped away from the mausoleum and behind a thick tree to our left to get a better shot of the ritual.
From farther off amongst the gravestones, two dark figures, one much taller than the other, marched toward the circle. The taller one’s hand was on the shorter one’s shoulder. When they came into the clearing it was clear that the taller one was wearing a large mask shaped like a goat’s head. The horns protruded high and it was covered in fur that draped over his shoulders. It looked like a real goat’s head.
“Baphomet,” Sister Victoria uttered under her breath. The circle of hooded individuals opened, allowing the two new figures inside. They stood in the center and faced altar, then the humming stopped.
From the outer edges of the circle four flames burst simultaneously, one in each corner forming a square. The fire belonged to spear-like torches erected in the earth that I didn’t see before in the darkness. The fire’s light made everything clearly visible in an orange-yellow glow that engulfed the area.
Sister Victoria and I immediately moved our heads behind the mausoleum wall in order not to be noticed. Karl did the same from his tree but held out his phone, continuing to video record, aiming it towards the scene, just enough for him not to be seen.
The shorter figure, next to the person wearing the goat mask, lowered the hood revealing her face. It was a young blonde girl, late teens, early twenties maybe. She dropped her cloak to the ground and stood there nude. Someone, a male, spoke. It sounded like the man wearing the mask, but I wasn’t sure, “Bringer of light, god of this world. Accept your newly committed child.” The voice said loudly.
The person behind the altar picked up the dagger and chalice, the circle of cloaked individuals opened again and let him in. He handed the items to the man in the mask. Unexpectedly and without hesitation he dug the dagger deep into the girl’s neck. She screamed then collapsed into the arm of the man who killed her. Blood poured from her neck and the goat man put the chalice to her throat filling it with blood.
He lifted the mask only revealing his mouth, then took a sip, blood trickling down his chin.
“Let the blood cover and protect,” the goat man said.
Sister Victoria cringed then whispered in disgust, “Cover and protect. Perversion of Christ’s sacrifice.
Although in awe of what was taking place, I noticed something out of the corner of my left eye near Karl, who continued recording from behind the tree. There was movement among gravestones, something black that went from behind a tree to tree.
“Karl,” I whispered loud enough for him to hear. He looked at me with unease. I pointed in the direction of where I saw movement.
Karl looked toward the gravestones on his left while chatter from the ritual in front of us took place. I looked back to ceremony, the man in the mask passed the cup of blood around the circle, each one taking a sip.
A dark figure near Karl moved quickly, a silent blur, from behind tree to tombstone to obelisk. I was positive I saw it and reached into my jacket for the gun. The three of us looked in the direction of the shadow.
The sound of many footsteps broke the silence, snapping twigs and rustling leaves throughout the graveyard, but no one could be seen. There was more than one person coming for us.
“Here, take this,” I said, tossing the shovel to Karl. He caught it, mid-air with his free hand while nervously dropping his phone. His back straight edged against the tree, he lifted the shovel, handle gripped with both hands like a baseball bat.
“Hail to the god of this world. Hail to the light bearer.” the cloaked group chanted, one person leading, and the rest following.
The noisy crunch of footsteps in dry leaves became louder. A solid black figure stepped out from behind a large tombstone a few feet from the mausoleum where Sister Victoria and I stood. Glowing, yellow eyes emanated from the darkness of his hooded face.
Three other men wearing black hooded robes emerged from the trees. The one nearest to Karl lunged toward him. Karl, dodging the attacker, struck him on the back of the neck with the shovel knocking him to the ground, unconscious.
The other two cloaked men charged at Victoria and I. Aiming the 9mm at one, I pulled the trigger and fired. I missed as he zig-zagged out of my line of fire. The loud gunshot unleashed an abrupt flare of light in the darkness.
The two men continued toward us with lightning speed. One of them gripped the wrist of my gun wielding hand and pointed it at Sister Victoria. I loosened my trigger finger as not to shoot her.
The other man lunged for Victoria, rushing her against the back wall of the mausoleum, his hands on her throat.
I wrestled with my attacker for the gun, I saw the rage in his face, even under the darkness of his hood, his upper lip curled into a snarl. During the struggle I lost grip of the gun and it fell somewhere on the grass. His strength was intense. Almost super-human. Instantly I brought up a left fist and it collided with his nose causing a muffled crunch. He let go of my wrist and grasped at his face, blood flowing from his nose down his mouth. With my right foot, I kicked him on the outer edge of his left knee, and he fell on the ground.
I went to help Victoria. The man had her pinned against the mausoleum wall, both hands around her throat, choking her. She released a barrage of knee strikes to the man’s groin. He let go of her, crouching in pain. She gave him a left hook, then a right cross and he fell to ground.
Sister Victoria lunged toward him as he got up from the grass. The man attacked her with a right haymaker punch. Sister Victoria dodged to the left, stepped behind him and grabbed the attacker from the rear, reaching her arm around his neck, putting him in a rear naked choke. He prodded at her eyes with his thumbs, but she turned her head, not allowing him to.
Sister Victoria squeezed harder against his throat, he groaned until he passed out. She threw him to the ground, his head collided with the sharp edge of a small gravestone on the way down with a thunk and collapsed in silence. Sister Victoria still gasped clutching her throat.
So much for my help.
Two arms gripped me from behind, pinning my arms against my body in a bear hug. The man whose nose I broke wasn’t finished. Hot, smelly breath came from his mouth next to my left ear. He squeezed with intense, almost super strength.
I bended forward, flipping him over my back, with an Ippon-Seoi-Nage, a Judo throw. He whaled as he flew over me, landing with his back on the grass causing a thump. Karl then bashed him on the back of the head with the shovel. I went to the grass to look for my gun among the fallen leaves. It was hard to find in the darkness.
“Is everybody alright?” Karl said.
The cloaked man with the yellow, glowing eyes shining from the darkness his hood ran at Karl.
“Behind you!” Sister Victoria screamed.
Karl turned around, brought up the shovel, and charged toward the man who held a glistening object in its right hand: a dagger.
“Karl, don’t!” I warned.
The blade punctured Karl’s stomach then the man jerked the dagger back and forth multiple times. Karl didn’t make a sound as blood spilled down his shirt and dropped the shovel to the ground.
More cloaked attackers ran toward us from where the ritual area. I found the gun on the ground among a cluster of dried leaves then aimed at the yellow-eyed man with the dagger. Karl, still alive, in front of the man, struggled, lifting the shovel again. The cloaked figure jammed the knife into the left side of Karl’s neck. Karl cried in pain, and fell to the ground, the dagger sticking out of his neck.
I aimed the gun at the cloaked man and pulled the trigger again, and again, loud blasts echoing in the night. I was sure I hit him in the chest, but bullets had no effect. He had to be wearing Kevlar.
Multiple cult members wearing cloaked robes ran toward Sister Victoria and I. Gunshots were heard as bullets whizzed past us, they had firearms too. I shot back in their direction, but it was too dark to get an accurate shot.
More of their gunshots zipped past us, striking gravestones. There were too many of them for Sister Victoria and I to handle and they were closing in. If we stayed to fight, we’d be dead. We had to get out of there.
“Run Sister!” I cried.
She dashed off ahead of me, zig zagging through the gravestones in the direction we came.
The cloaked man with the yellow eyes pulled away the bloody blade from Karl’s neck, who lay on the grass on his back. The shadowy figure then lowered his cloak, looking at me with a grin, eyes still glowing red. Even in the darkness I recognized him, he had lined skin, greasy, matted hair. It was the groundskeeper.
I unloaded the clip four more times at the groundskeeper before I ran after Sister Victoria. He fell back on the grass then got right back up, the dagger in his hand. He had to be wearing Kevlar. There was no way he could take those shots and get back up. It was too dark, and he moved too swiftly get a head shot. There was nothing we could do for Karl.
Swiftly, Sister Victoria darted through the cemetery retracing our steps. As I rapidly followed, the 9mm pointing down at the ground, I could see the silhouette of her slender frame running in the wrong direction. I didn’t want to call out to warn her not to lose her way and give away our position.
I increased my speed, catching up with her while sounds of multiple footsteps on dry leaves rustled in the distance far behind us. A fleeting glance to my rear revealed nothing but dark trees, and tombstones.
Sister Victoria began to breathe heavier, slowing her pace which allowed me to draw near. Once a few feet behind her I spoke.
“Victoria, slow down, you’re going the wrong way,” I said catching my breath. I grabbed her arm and led the way.
“Cole…” she said reducing her speed to a slow jog. “Where are they? Are they behind us?” she asked. I took another look at the rear and saw nothing.
“I don’t see anyone but I’m not sure,” I said. “Let’s keep moving.”
“That man killed Karl,” she said looking back.
We kept our pace and made it back on track towards the gate we entered through for what seemed an eternity. Finally, the chain linked fence came into sight.
I took another glance behind us and still no one was there but trees and tombstones. I holstered the gun as we advanced the gate and hid behind a tree, waiting for a few cars to pass by before walking out into the street.
“Look there,” Sister Victoria said, looking back into the cemetery. Far back near a large cross stood the dark robed figure, the same yellow, glowing eyes. It was the groundskeeper, watching.
“Get to your car and follow me,” I told Sister Victoria.
I hopped in my vehicle, Sister Victoria in hers and she trailed me. On the way I thought about if and how in the hell I would explain this to the authorities. We trespassed on the private property.
Did Karl have family? If Karl’s phone was still video recording, his own murder may be on his phone, evidence against who killed him.
We made it shortly to my house, Sister Victoria parked her blue Civic behind my car in the driveway. Once inside, we sat in the living room, discussing the severity of what happened. I sat, elbows on my knees, forehead in my palms. I felt responsible for Karl’s death.
“The police, we have to go to the police eventually,” I said.
“You’re right, Cole, we do… as you know, none of us were supposed to be there tonight. But I’m a witness and can’t allow you to go through this alone.”
“If the police did an investigation, they might find bullets to my 9mm on the scene. I could be facing some type of charges myself,” I said.
“I left the orphanage without authorization and might be considered an accessory of some sort. I would also be in a mess with my superiors.” Sister Victoria said.
We had to go to the authorities but not now. How would I explain why we were there in the first place? Burying crystal skulls in the cemetery?
“What was the deal with his glowing, yellow eyes? Special contact lenses or just all jacked up on evil juice?” I asked. “I’m not sure. I never saw anything like it,” Sister Victoria said.
“There’s no telling what they’re doing with his body,” I said. “We have to go back to the cemetery and see if we can find any evidence that might be left behind. Evidence that those weirdos were there, anything that could help prove that they murdered Karl.”
“Karl recorded everything on his phone, didn’t he?” Sister Victoria asked.
“Yeah. Last I saw, he had the phone in his hand when I threw him the shovel. I’m pretty sure he dropped it during the scuffle.”
“We have to go back and see if we could find his phone.” Sister Victoria said.
“If they haven’t found it already, but you’re right, we have to go back on the chance it’s still there,” I said.
I would have to explain this mess to Bill. He was the only other person who knew why we were in the cemetery. I explained to Sister Victoria who Bill was, Karl’s friend, and understood the dynamics of the supernatural and the occult. Trusting my judgment, she agreed with me to tell Bill what happened, so I called him.
“Bill, something happened. We better talk in person about it.” I said.
“My wife’s brother is visiting here so I won’t mind taking a trip to Ravensgate if you don’t mind.”
I agreed so I gave him the directions to my house. I asked Sister Victoria if she would wait around and meet him. She agreed and we waited for Bill.
During the thirty or so minutes it took for Bill to arrive, I explained to Victoria in detail about my search for Sandy and why I needed Elise’s orphanage records. She understood the supernatural circumstances of the situation clearly and offered to help in any way possible.
“So, I have a question, Sister Victoria. Where did you learn fight like that?” I asked.
“The nunnery dojo,” she wisecracked.
Shortly, Bill arrived, and I introduced the ex-occultist to the nun. We sat in my living room talking over coffee. I told him how we buried the crystal skulls in the cemetery and happened upon the occult blood ritual, and the death of the girl. The hardest part was telling him about Karl.
“They knew we were watching them from behind the mausoleum. Some of them confronted us, we fought them off the best we could. Karl took down one guy. He hit him with the shovel… but in all the conflict he was stabbed.” I said.
“Dammit. How bad?” Bill asked.
“He’s dead and I know who did it. I shot the guy six times and he got right back up. Six times. In the heart. He had to be wearing bullet proof material. I’m not sure exactly who he is, but we’ll find him.”
“Cole, it was dark, are you sure you saw Karl stabbed with a dagger?” Bill asked.
“Positive. I know it was dark, but I saw it. The knife was plunged into his stomach multiple times and then the neck. I the saw the blood, he fell to the ground and the knife was still sticking out of his neck,” I replied.
“Sister, what about you? Did you see it happen?” Bill asked calmly.
“Yes. All of it. Cole explained it right. By then the other members of the cult were heading after us. There were just too many of them. We had to find our way out of the cemetery.” she replied.
Bill switched back to me. “I don’t object to what you’re saying, Cole. I just want to make sure there is the possibility that Karl is still alive. If he is, we’ll find him. If Karl was murdered by this person, we need to find out who he is, he can lead us to this coven.”
“Of course. He was the groundskeeper of this property before I moved in. That’s how I recognized him.” I said.
“I want to see where the ritual took place and where Karl was stabbed. We need to know who we’re dealing with and maybe find Karl’s recording of the ritual on his phone. If it is what I think, going to the police might not be a good idea right now. I want to have a look at the crime scene. I might be able to spot some things that were inadvertently left behind by the coven.”
“You’re not suggesting at this very hour?” Sister Victoria jumped in. “They could all still be there. There could even be more of them.”
“Right. I was thinking about going early in the morning. 9:00, when the cemetery is open to the public. If you both have anything to do at that time, I suggest you cancel it and we all meet there.” Bill argued.
“Agreed,” Sister Victoria said.
I agreed as well, then briefly wondered how Sister Victoria could manage getting away from St. Mary’s at almost any hour. The Sister discussed with Bill the details of the ritual we encountered. The two of them used occult terms I’ve never heard of before. The word Baphomet came up more than once. Victoria mentioned that word while in the cemetery. They explained it to me the best they could. The word athame was also mentioned, which I learned was another word for dagger.
Sister Victoria and Bill were on a whole different level than I when it came to that stuff. It was a whole new world for me, one I was being immersed into rapidly.
After the events of the cemetery were discussed, the topic quickly changed to my Victorian home. I informed Bill about my search for Sandy as I gave my guests a quick tour of the house. I showed them the white, marble busts and the words that appeared on them, “DOOR” and “Feast”. How they were maybe related to the Sandy’s Disappearance.
Sister Victoria immediately recognized the crucifix she gave me hanging in the main hall. “I see you put it to good use,” she said approvingly.
We ended up back in the living room on the couch. I didn’t want to show them the basement, not yet, and I didn’t mention a word about the three dead women in the secret cavern beneath the house.
We went over our plan for the morning, Sister Victoria still had the map of the cemetery, so we looked it over. Suddenly her attention went elsewhere then she arose from the couch in the middle of the conversation and walked to the fireplace. “Quite interesting, Cole,” she said.
“Yeah, I know, it’s a painting of this house,” I said.
“Yeah, I noticed that,” Victoria said. “But that wasn’t what I was referring to.”
It left my seat and I joined her at the fireplace.
“This wasn’t here when we were n the living room earlier,” she said pointing to the bust of Judith Doyle on the fireplace mantle. “I’m sure of it.”
I looked to what she pointed at, a word that was scratched into the upper chest of the bust, underneath the clavicles. It was the word “midnight.”
“She’s right,” Bill said. “It wasn’t there before. It must have happened while you were showing us around. Are you sure we’re alone in the house?”
“Yeah, we’re alone, unless you count ghosts,” I answered.
“Any idea what it could all mean?” Sister Victoria asked. “Door, Feast, Midnight.”
“I don’t know,” I said. “But maybe each of the three women are trying to say something through their respective busts? The handwriting is different on each of them.”
Sister Victoria looked at her watch, “Sorry guys, it’s getting late. I need to go back to St. Mary’s. But I promise to be at the cemetery in the morning. Nine o’clock.”
“Let’s meet at the front gate,” I said.
Sister Victoria looked to Bill, “A pleasure to meet you,” she said. Concerned, she glanced to both of us. “I’m sorry about your friend Karl. Though I’ve just met him I know he was a good man.”
We thanked her and I escorted her to the front door, she got into her Civic and took off. Bill and I sat back to the living room. He stayed a short while longer and I learned little more about his background.
“My father and mother were involved in the occult since they were teenagers, rebellion against their Christian roots. They were more than just dabblers; it was a way of life. They were Neo-Druids first but that led them to many other types of practices.
I was brought up to follow in their footsteps, I even surpassed them as an adult. Even after obtaining high ranking in various circles, I was always learning, always gaining higher knowledge, attaining more ‘light’. Yet I was never truly fulfilled, just as scripture says: ‘Always learning and never coming to the knowledge of truth.’ I became involved in other occult practices and forms of witchcraft until I was in so deep, I was almost killed.”
“Isn’t it all of that white magic and nature worship?” I asked.
“Occultists worship deities and magic doesn’t come in colors,” Bill said. “They call it good or bad; the left or right-handed path, but it all leads to the same end. It’s the same power source. When I met my wife, she helped me turn my life to God, the true God. It wasn’t until then that I was released from the shackles of demonic influence.”
“So is it like Satanism, then” I asked.
“Some don’t believe in Satan also known as Lucifer, but they serve him unknowingly. Some believe he isn’t real, and some know he is. Either way he’s behind it all. He and his demonic constituents wear kinds of masks in the form of various deities.”
It was time for Bill to leave so I shook his hand and thanked him for coming out. I promised to see him in the morning at the cemetery. I almost went to the Lamplighter Motel that night but was too damn tired. I stayed at the house, expecting perhaps another sign from the other side. I went upstairs, set the alarm, and passed out on my bed.
Abruptly, the annoying beep-beep of the alarm clock woke me up hours later. I jerked my head from the pillow and turned in bed to silence the alarm. It was still dark, but the sun was just coming up. I took a quick shower, changed, had a cup of coffee for breakfast, then headed toward the cemetery in the cold of the morning. Fall was on its way.
After the short drive through Ravensgate, I located the front gates of the cemetery. The entrance and exit gates were both open. The entrance led into a small parking lot next to the small, brick office building. I looked in the windows and saw no one inside.
I parked in the lot and waited, within minutes the blue Honda Civic pulled in through the entrance gate, Sister Victoria was on time. She parked next to me and we got out of our cars.
“Good morning,” I said.
“Morning,” she said. “Sleep well?”
“Could use a bit more but I’m fine. Do you still have the map?”
“I do,” she said and pulled the folded piece of paper from her inner jacket pocket.
A silver Cadillac pulled in through the entrance gate and into the parking area. The head of white hair told me that it was Bill. He parked next to Sister Victoria’s vehicle, got out and walked to us.
“Good morning fine people,” he said as he adjusted his black rimmed glasses. Huddling around the map held by Sister Victoria, we found the quickest route to the Elk’s Rest. It was about the same distance from where we came through the side gate the previous night. From Elk’s Rest we could easily find where Karl was killed.
We took my car, Bill in the back and Sister Victoria in the passenger, holding the map giving directions. There was a different feel to the cemetery in the day. The eeriness was there but not as strong as it was after dark. It was relaxing, seeing the orange and yellow leaves on the ground and black squirrels scurry among tombstones.
“Make a left here…a right here,” Sister Victoria instructed as we approached each intersection of dirt road. I followed her directions through the winding paths that were just big enough for two vehicles side by side. We finally came to the fork in the road and the mausoleum between it. I stopped the car there and we exited the vehicle.
“This is where we buried the crystal skulls, they’re buried behind that mausoleum,” I told Bill pointing to the crypt
We headed up the small slope of grass toward the mausoleum and behind it. I showed Bill where we buried the skulls, the small area of patted dirt still there with Victoria’s grass seeds sprinkled on top.
“This way, it happened over here,” Sister Victoria said as she retraced her steps from the night before when she heard the humming. Bill and I followed side stepping gravestones. Sister Victoria stopped at the back of the other mausoleum that we hid behind as we watched the girl murdered.
“Yeah, this is it, this is the area where Karl was killed,” I said then explained the sequence of events; the fight that led to Karl’s murder.
“The fallen leaves are ruffled here,” Bill said as he squatted down touching the grass. “Very out of place from the pattern of leaves everywhere else. It shows some evidence of struggle “But no blood. Not a drop.”
I expected it to have been long since coagulated, much darker, a reddish-brown color, and harder to see among leaves or on grass. But I couldn’t find a single drop. I wasn’t a detective; my eye was untrained so perhaps there was some remnant of Karl’s blood but just couldn’t see it. Bill fared no better.
“Might be necessary to come back with luminol, it might show us blood spill we can’t detect with the naked eye,” Bill said.
“The shovel is gone,” Sister Victoria noticed as she searched the ground for any hint of what transpired the night before.” “You said the ritual took place near here right?” Bill asked.
“Over there,” I said, pointing to the open area of grass void of gravestones.
Sister Victoria led us onto the clearing where the ritual took place and we stopped on the very spot. I showed Bill where the altar was, where the circle of cloaked people stood and where the girl was killed. It looked as if nothing happened there at all. Again, not a single drop of blood was left as evidence; just scattered leaves. I was beginning to think Bill would doubt our story.
“I know it looks like we’re making it up Bill, but it happened.”
“No, I believe you. They’re quite good at covering their tracks. Trust me I know.”
“Any particular idea as to which group was responsible?” Sister Victoria asked Bill.
“No, I need more information, it could be any coven. New ones spring up all the time too. What’s interesting to me was how you said this man took six bullets. It’s not usual to wear bullet proof vests in a ritual. But if one has many demonic entities in him or her, it can give one great strength and durability. Karl was to do a paranormal investigation of your place, right?”
I nodded my head in agreement.
“That still needs to be done. Since Karl is no longer here to do the job, I volunteer to do it in his stead.”
“Thanks Bill, but whatever is going on got Karl killed. I don’t want any more casualties,” I said. “I’d rather it not be done.”
“It might give us some insight and I want to do it.” Bill answered. “For Karl. I know the risks.”
Sister Victoria stepped closer to Bill and me.
“If you need my help during the investigation of the house, count me in. When I became a nun and dedicated my life to Christ, I didn’t do it to just sit in an orphanage all day. Sometimes there are other missions we are called to do,” she said.
“Before we go, where was it you last saw Karl with his phone?” Bill asked.
“Over there, next to that tree when I threw the shovel to him.” I said.
We walked to the tree and searched through the dried leaves on the ground. After about five minutes of searching I saw something black and rectangular. I picked it up. A cell phone. It had to be Karl’s, but the battery was dead.
“Got it!” I said. “This should help a lot. I’ll charge it up and we can check any videos.”
“We might have the evidence we need, Cole.” Bill said. We decided to leave and as we headed back, I briefly looked at the face of mausoleum that directly faced the ritual ground, the one Victoria and I hid behind. It was bigger than many of the other mausoleums. It was more elaborately designed with a large gargoyle sitting on the roof above the door. In a large, Old English style print read the words: Alexander Pike.
Sister Victoria noticed the look on my face when I saw the name on the crypt.
“Someone you know?” Sister Victoria asked from behind me.
“No. But I know of him. He’s one of the founders of Ravensgate.”
I marched over to the mausoleum to get a closer look, leaving Victoria and Bill at the ritual site. It was as old, dirty and gray as the other crypts in the cemetery. Two locked doors on the front of the crypt had a pane of window in each. I put my palms to the sides of my face and peeked in seeing an empty space in the center. The wall to the left were where hidden coffin was kept.
The ritual was performed directly in front of Pikes’ crypt. I was compelled to look directly across the ritual site and noticed there were two large obelisks, almost as tall as trees on the other side. I walked across to each of the two monuments, Sister Victoria and Bill followed. The last names of the deceased buried at each monument also carried that last name Pike.
“This is a special plot for the Pike family,” Sister Victoria said.
The ritual took place directly in center of three Pike graves, in the shape of a triangle, one at each point. There was a connection to the three dead women positioned in the shape of a triangle underneath the house.
“Bill, is there any significance to the Pike graves and the occult ritual that took place last night?” I asked.
“Possibly. If the dead family members have an occult connection, it may intensify the energy link to the spirit realm. In fact, they are positioned in the shape of a triangle. Could be a triangle of manifestation, it’s something that should be looked into,” Bill answered.
“What would they be trying to manifest”, I asked.
“That remains to be seen,” Bill answered. “Cole, in case you’re not aware, Ravensgate is a hot spot for supernatural and unexplained phenomenon. Much like Point Pleasant, West Virginia.”
“Point Pleasant?” I asked.
“Yeah, Point Pleasant,” Sister Victoria interjected. “It has a reputation for UFO sightings, Men in Black and the infamous Mothman.
“Mothman?” I asked.
“A large humanoid figure with wings on its back that was seen flying before a tragedy took place in the town. It had large, circular, red, glowing eyes. Witnesses ended up with red, irritated skin and eyes after seeing it.” Sister Victoria said.
“The phenomenon is well documented,” Bill added.
“I don’t know how you guys know all this shit. But that would explain the UFOs I saw the night I met Karl.”
“You saw a UFO?” Bill asked.
“Yeah, the night I met Karl when he came to the house looking for Sandy. After he left there was one in the sky.”
“Not surprising,” Bill said.
There was nothing more to see so we headed to the car and I drove us back to the cemeteries exit. We agreed to figure out later when we could pick a day to do the paranormal investigation of the house and went our separate ways.
After I got back home, I found a phone charger that fit Karl’s phone and charged it. After it was charged, I reviewed the video of the ritual. It was visible due to the four flames of the ritual casting light. The murder of the girl was clear but in the distance.
I even saw myself throw the shovel to Karl with Sister Victoria standing next to me. The video went black, when Karl dropped the phone, and all that was heard was scuffle.
We had some proof of what happened that night in the cemetery on video, but Karl’s murder was not on it. At least there was evidence to corroborate our story. I sent the video to myself and then sent it to my personal email so that I would have multiple copies of the video.
The groundskeeper’s face was not on the video, but I needed more info on the bastard. Immediately afterward, I called Dale Ortman on his cell and surprisingly he answered.
“Hey Dale, when I spoke to you last, you couldn’t remember the name of the groundskeeper you hired to look after the house. He did a great job and I need some more work done around here. I was wondering if you’d happen to recall his name and number?” I asked.
“Jeez, I can’t think of it. Hold on, I wrote his name down around here somewhere.” He said as I heard shuffling on the phone.
“Sorry about that. Found it. His name is Arthur Faust. I don’t have his number plugged in my phone. After you bought the house, he just stopped coming around and I haven’t heard from him.” Dale said.
“Well, maybe he’ll turn up. Thanks Dale. I appreciate it.” I said and hung up.
Now I had a name and did an internet database search. I came across many people with the same name but no one in or near Ravensgate. What next? I’d have to ask around town, maybe someone else knew the name.
I thought for a minute. Sandy, Elise and Judy all had a connection to the house and the church. Both the house and the church had a crystal skull in it. Since Arthur Faust has a possible connection to the crystal skulls, an occult object, could he have put the skulls in both the house and the church? I needed to talk to Jeff Johnson for more information.
I looked up Jeff Johnson and the church he used to pastor on the web with no luck with the phone number that was listed. After an intense online database search, I learned that Johnson lived in Ravensgate on Huron street, not too far from his church where I met him.
I got dressed and headed for his house. I encountered his home shortly, it was a white two-story, trimmed in blue. A U-Haul was parked in the driveway and a for sale sign was planted in the middle of the front lawn represented by Stoker’s Realty. I parked in front and walked up the neatly trimmed sidewalk then on the porch.
The screen door was not locked so I opened it and knocked on the white wooden door. There was a small rectangular window on it with a shade pulled down from the inside. I heard shuffling on the other side then the shade moved revealing a pair of peering feminine brown eyes. The shade fell back into place and the door opened.
“Hello,” she said, “I’m sorry, but there are no viewings of the house today. But you can call the number on the sign and the agent can set up an appointment.”
“Oh, well, I’m not here about the house. My name’s Cole. I was wondering if I could speak to Jeff.”
“I’m Natalie. You’re the third visitor today, the two before you were interested in the house for sale. Jeff doesn’t live here anymore, but he might be at the church right now. What is it concerning?”
I happened to take a glance into the living room, it looked empty except for the stacks of boxes piled atop one another. The walls were bare, and not much furniture left in the house.
“I just wanted to ask if your husband is going to start a new church anywhere else.” I said.
I know, I assumed she was his wife, but I was digging for information.
“Ex-husband,” she said callously. “He won’t be pastoring anytime soon. Pastors who cheat on their wives with a woman of the congregation usually stop pastoring. In any case, he’s at the church packing the last few things before the keys are given back to the owner of the building. You might catch him over there.”
“Oh, okay. By the way, how long has the house been for sale?” I asked.
“For about a month already. The asking price is low when compared to the other houses on the block.”
“Gotcha. Thanks.” I said and Natalie closed the door.
The trip to the church took about ten minutes and I parked in the same spot I did the first time. The same yellow pickup truck was parked in the same place in front of it on the street.
The front door to the church was wide open, so I took it upon myself to walk in after knocking which echoed through the building. The long center hall was empty, on the end to the right, Johnson’s office door was shut.
From down at the end of the corridor Johnson stepped out from a room to the left. When he got a little closer, he waved, recognizing me.
“Hey there. Cole, right?” He said when he came into speaking distance.
“Yep. How are things?” I said and shook his hand.
“Good, just finishing up around here. How’s goes the search for your friend? You and the police making some ground?”
“Working on it,” I said. “The reason I’m here is because I was wondering if you knew of any local handymen or someone who can do yard work around a house. Anyone like that attend your church?” I asked.
“Yeah. I do actually. He cut the lawn and did other chores around the building. I can’t quite remember his name. Starts with an "A" I think.”
“Yeah, Arthur Faust.”
“Do you think you might have his contact information?”
A voice came from down the hall and one of the men I saw loading the pickup the other day came out of the room on the end.
“Need some help over here, Jeff.” the guy said.
The ex-pastor turned around, “Be right there.”
He then looked to me and continued, “You know, I don’t think I have that information anymore. He might work for other residents in town. He wouldn’t be working at any other churches; this was the last one in Ravensgate. Faith is becoming a thing of the past. Hope things work out for you.” He said and walked off toward the back of the building.
I went back home, sat at my desk in the study upstairs and pieced some things together.
Arthur Faust is a freak cult member and has a connection between Jeff Johnson’s church and Sandy’s house. It’s possible he was the one who brought both crystal skulls in the house and the church. He also murdered Karl Lansley.
Judith Doyle and Elise Hall went to the Jeff Johnson’s church. Sandy went there too and created busts of them (also the unknown, third girl).
The Pike burial ground is where the occult ritual took place in the cemetery. The book I found in the cavern beneath the house has the initials A.P. printed on the cover. The book is about the paranormal and occult rituals. Could Alexander Pike be the author? Manuel Hall’s name was written inside the books cover.
According to Tabitha, Claire’s Mom, Judith had evidence against Elise’s husband, Manuel which was hidden somewhere in the Ravensgate historical museum on Pike Island.
Is it possible that this evidence against Manuel Hall was the cause of Sandy’s disappearance as well as the other women?
I needed more information about Manuel Hall, and what he could have been involved in. That might open some doors. I also needed information on the third girl that Sandy created the bust of. If I found out who she was it could lead to more information on Sandy.
I Googled “Manuel Hall” along with “Ravensgate Historical Museum”. An old webpage came up that was dated over a year and a half ago and gave a brief history of the museum. Nothing else came up concerning Elise’s husband; the web was a dead end.
Sighing, I leaned back in my chair.
Slightly frustrated, I reached for my black book bag which sat on the floor next to me. Inside was the manilla folder that contained the adoption papers of Elsie Breyer. I took them out to have another look.
Elise was adopted by Dan and Carol Singleton, forty-two years ago. If they were still living, they might have information on Elise’s husband. The resident address given was on a street called Wabash in Ravensgate.
I typed in the public records of the address on Wabash and found the directions. The names Dan and Carol Singleton showed up in the database. Looks like they still lived there after all these years. I left the house again and took the trip.
Wabash was on the east side of Ravensgate where economically challenged folk lived. The houses weren’t in as good condition as those on the west. There were also vacant lots in between many of the homes.
I slowly drove down Wabash until I found the Singleton home, last beige house on the street. I parked my car directly in front, walked up to the porch and knocked on the door. Within moments the door was opened by a woman in her late sixties or seventies. Her hair was gray, pulled back in a ponytail and wore glasses.
“Hello,” she said.
“Hi,” I said. In that moment I wasn’t sure exactly what to say but explained as best I could.
“My name is Cole. Are you Carol Singleton wife of Dan?”
“That’s right,” she said.
“Great… I’m here concerning your daughter, Elise.”
“Oh. You know Elise?”
“Not quite…I was actually was more of a friend with Sandy, her sister.”
“Ah… you know Sandy? From where?”
I sensed a bit of distrust on her part.
“From my childhood, I’ve known her all my life. I actually live in the house Sandy used to live in, here in Ravensgate, the one that your daughter and her husband lived in before her,” I said as I showed her the picture of the bust of Elise on my phone. “Sandy made this.”
The woman’s eyes widened.
“Oh my God,” she said covering her mouth. “She finished it. Yes… Sandy said she was creating a sculpture of Elise. Did you say your name was Cole?”
“Mendoza,” I said, gently correcting her.
“Yes, Yes, Mendoza. Sandy mentioned you once or twice. Come in, come in.”
Her voice was music to my ears. Carol widened the door for me to enter and led me into her neatly decorated living room.
“Have a seat,” she said. “My husband would be pleased to meet you, “I’ll go fetch him, wait right here.”
I nodded with a smile as she left through a broad archway and down a hall. I looked around the living room, the television was off and there were pictures of Elise as a child all around. There was a high school graduation picture of her in a green cap and gown.
Moments later I heard shuffling from the hall. Emerging from it was a man sitting in a wheelchair, Carol behind him, wheeling him into the living room. He looked much older than Carol, with thin whips of white hair, age spots on his face, and folds of skin beneath his chin. He wore a red robe and his head was tilted down as he stared at the floor.
“This is Dan,” Carol said, “Elise’s father...adoptive father.”
“Hello, Sir,” I said. No response.
Carol rolled Dan next to the love seat. Carol sat down on it and made herself comfortable. Dan’s lifeless gaze was only on the floor.
“Dan has Alzheimer’s,” Carol said. “He’s been unwell for a while, doesn’t talk much anymore, but I’m sure he hears and understands everything we say.”
Carol turned to her husband. “Dan, this is Cole.” She lifted her hand toward me. “He’s a friend of Sandy’s. Remember? Sandy said he was the first visitor to her house after she bought it… the house Elise used to live in.”
Dan kept silent, a blank expression on his face. Carol frowned, a tiny glimpse of lost hope. She turned back to me, with a reinforced smile.
“Yes, Sandy told us about you. We visited her the very same day you did. Right after you left, you just missed us.”
I remembered I saw a white Lincoln turn into Sandy’s driveway as I drove away from the house.
“So, what is the motivation of your visit today? I presume it’s the situation with Sandy, the fact that she is gone missing…just like my daughter.”
“That’s right, that’s why I’m here,” I replied. “You know the case is still open and the police don’t seem to be moving forward.”
“Yes, I know. So, you bought the house? Whatever possessed you to buy the thing?”
“I thought if I moved to Ravensgate I could try to find Sandy, maybe pick up pieces the police might have missed.”
“Have you learned anything?”
“I’m still working on that. That’s why I’m here today.”
“I think you should know, Cole, Sandy paid us a visit a week before she went missing. She said she came to Ravensgate to investigate the disappearance of her sister Elise and now you’ve come looking for Sandy. In fact, Sandy even came to us for help and now so have you. Something bad is happening and if we can help, we will.” Carol said.
“Thanks,” I replied. “What did Sandy say? What did she come to you about?”
Carol’s eyes glistened; she paused to clear her throat then continued.
“Well…I don’t know whether you believe in the metaphysical, but Sandy said she believed the house was haunted, filled with spirits, and it had something to do with what Elise was involved in. She thinks Elise was murdered.”
“Was Elise involved in the occult?” I asked.
“In a manner of speaking. More like a victim of it.”
“Did Sandy know that this was going on?
“Elise told Sandy some details but not everything. When Elise and Manuel left, so the rumor goes, Sandy started having tormenting dreams but wouldn’t describe them. She said they were too horrible to repeat. The dreams are what brought her to Ravensgate. She wanted to find out herself what happened. Just like you.”
“What did Sandy learn after coming to Ravensgate? Did she say?”
“She learned that there’s a group of powerful people in Ravensgate. They’ve been destroying the town’s churches, one by one.” “Destroying the churches? Was Elise’s husband, Manuel, involved in this?”
“We’re not sure, but we think so. Elise didn’t trust her husband. According to Sandy, he was a part of the group, the secret society.” “Did you ever go to the police with this information?”
“Elsie told us not to, some of the police in Ravensgate were good but some of them couldn’t be trusted. The secret society have infiltrated the police department.”
“That would explain their lack of success in these missing person’s cases. Do you know Judith Doyle?” I asked as I showed her Sandy’s bust of Judith on my phone.
“Wow, Sandy made one Judy too. Looks exactly her,” Carol said. “Yes, she was curator of the historical museum. In fact, Judy was also one of the victims of this group, mentally and physically abused, poor thing. Elise asked us to take Judy in for a few days when she needed a place to stay. We couldn’t turn Judy away.”
I finally showed Mrs. Singleton the last bust of the unknown girl.
“Does this girl look familiar?” I asked.
“No, I don’t know who she is. Hopefully not another victim.”
“What about Tabitha Kensington, are you familiar with her?”
“No, sorry, I don’t know that name.”
“She’s an artist from Ravensgate and knew Elise and Judith. She said that Judith might have some sort of evidence against Manuel that she hid in the historical museum. It might be able to shed light on things. Sandy might have been looking for that information. Did Sandy or Judy say anything about that?” I asked.
“Sandy or Judy never said anything about evidence hidden in the historical museum. But wait, I’ll be right back,” Carol said, then sprang from the couch and hurried off down the hall to another room.
Mr. Singleton sat in his wheelchair, but something was different. He breathed heavier, more rapidly.
“Are you ok, Mr. Singleton?” I asked. He remained silent.
Mrs. Singleton came bounding back down the hall toward the living room, carrying a set of keys.
“I forgot all about this. Judy left this here when she stayed with us and never came back to get it. These keys belong to the Ravensgate historical museum. Each one is labeled. Maybe one of them belongs to a safe or file cabinet that the evidence may be contained in. You can have them.”
“You’re an angel, Carol. Thank you,” I said.
“If you can use the keys to help expose what’s been happening in Ravensgate, then do it. But Cole, be careful.” “I have help and I’ll do what I can. I promise.”
At that moment a low mumble, came from Dan. He trembled slightly in his wheelchair, gripping tightly the chair’s arms. “Dan?” Carol asked. “Are you alright?”
He grumbled again, louder this time, struggling to speak, his eyes glued to floor. He opened his mouth muttering incoherent noises.
“Dan,” Carol said, strengthening her tone. She left her seat and went to her husband’s side. Mr. Singleton was trying to talk, but it was jibberish. His body shook, and he spoke what sounded like audible words, although slurred.
“Behind…” he said, “Behind…”
“Say it Dan,” Carol encouraged, “Talk…you can do it.”
“House,” Dan said. “Behind…House.”
Mr. Singleton breathed heavily then sighed.
“Behind house,” he said once more then became silent and slipped back into his statue-like state. Carol dropped to her knees at her husband’s side.
“You spoke,” Carol said, eyes watering. “I’m sorry Cole, Dan needs to rest.”
“I understand,” I responded.
I thanked them both. I knew Dan could hear me. As I left the house, I saw the white Lincoln parked right in front of the house across the street. The same one I saw the day I left Sandy’s house when I visited her. I didn’t notice it before when I parked.
I was satisfied with what I acquired from the Singletons yet worried what I would face. I just needed more information on the unknown girl, maybe she’s a big key to all of this.
On my ride home, I took out the cell phone to dial Bill, but it rang in my hand. It was him calling me.
“Bill,” I said. “Just the person I wanted to talk to. I have information that might be useful to us.”
“I’d be glad to hear it but I’ve some news for you first, if you haven’t heard already.”
“The police pulled Karl’s body from the river near Ravensgate Park.”
“How long ago?” I asked.
“About an hour or so, the media got on it pretty quickly.”
“What did they say?”
“They’ve identified him, and an investigation is being conducted, that’s all they said.”
“Bill, we have to do something. We know who did it, just can’t prove it.”
“Is there anything else you might remember the night of Karl’s murder? Anything that might help identify this groundskeeper?” Bill asked.
“That’s what I wanted to tell you. I’ve got a little more information.”
I explained to Bill about the groundskeeper working for Jeff Johnson’s church as well as Dale Ortman. That the crystal skulls appeared in both places and so did the groundskeeper, he could be the one that put them there.
I told him everything I learned from Carol Singleton and the secret society involved in ritual abuse, the related church closings, my having the keys to the museum, and what Dan Singleton struggled so hard to say: behind house.
“Bill, there is something else…something about the house I think you should know. Not too long after moving in I found something disturbing and I’ve yet to go to the authorities on the matter.”
“What is it?”
“I didn’t bring it up before because I didn’t quite know how to. I need to tell someone, and you and Sister Victoria are the best persons to tell.”
“That bad huh?”
“I can’t go over it over the phone, but I think Beverly might need to take a look at it when we do the investigation.”
“No problem, Cole. Beverly will keep things in the strictness of confidence,” Bill said. “Do you think it possible that we conduct the paranormal research of your house tomorrow night?”
“The sooner, the better,” I said.
The date was set, we hung up and I got back to the house. I texted Sister Victoria to tell her the paranormal investigation would be held the next night. I didn’t mention Karl’s body being found in the river. I wanted no texts about that.
I then retrieved the book, The Hidden Doctrine, from the book bag and went int Sandy’s bedroom, lay on the bed to finish where I left off. Her bed was much more comfortable then mine.
A.P., the author, claimed the many cultures around the globe, such as the early Native Americans, the Celtics, and the Egyptians believed supernatural occurrences are sometimes related to dimensional windows from one plane of existence to another.
These windows are located at specific locations on earth. Some such sites were marked with large stones called megaliths. Sometimes smaller stones or other objects or edifices were used.
These cultures also claim that our dimension could be penetrated by intelligent entities from other realms through these windows. At times horrifying things came through.
A. P. believed these dimensional windows have something to do with the earth’s electric magnetic field which create a huge energy source:
“Some portal locations have a high magnetically charged area or pulse. By intentionally generating such an electromagnetic pulse and adjusting its frequency, it is possible to cause a dimensional window to open. Occult magic increases this magnetic energy.”
The author goes as far as to claim that moving lights in the sky are related to the dimensional windows, as these strange objects are often seen near or on such charged locations. He states that these lights are inter-dimensional travelers visiting this realm. The author claimed that two specific energy spots were in Ravensgate, Michigan. One portal is located in the woods, the other was on a small island not too far from the mainland:
Local tribes on the land before Ravensgate was built steered clear of these two places. In these two locations horses would not tread lest they become agitated and run off. It was near here where “skin walkers” or “night travelers” roamed, other names for wicked shamans. The natives also believed that the two portals were linked to one another. A complete history of what transpired is recorded in a much sought after document called the Ravensgate Chronicles.
The writer asserted that on specific dates that coincide with certain occult holidays, the barrier between earth’s realm and other realms are thin. If ritual magic is conducted on these special dates, the already high energy on these special spots is intensified, and the opening of portals can be strengthened which alters time and space. The windows can be opened wider and for longer duration of time. Below are some of the dates listed:
Feburary 2nd: Candlemas March 21st: Vernal Equinox May 1st: Beltaine June 22nd: Midsummer’s Eve (solstice) July 29th –Aug 1st: Lammas Sept 7th Feast of the Beast Sept 20th The Host of Midnight Sept 22nd: Harvest Home (Equinox) Oct 31st: Samhain (Halloween) Dec 23rd: Yule (solstice)
September seventh was a holiday called the Feast of the Beast. Could this be what the spirit of the unknown girl was referencing with the word “Feast” written on her bust? What about September twentieth; The Host of Midnight? Could that have anything with the word “midnight” written on Judith’s bust?
The narrative was fascinating. Maybe the Ravensgate Chronicles did exist and gave greater insight into the town’s past. Sister Victoria then texted me back and said she would make paranormal investigation at the house at the allotted time that night.
I still didn’t completely know what I was involved in and the potential danger. I thought it imperative to record everything, document what I’ve experienced in the house and in Ravensgate. The text is product that what you are reading now.
As I write, I don’t know the outcome of this ordeal, whether Sandy will be found or if I will complete this memoir. I can only pray. I lay in the bed thinking about the holidays listed in the book. Three of the holidays occurred during September, the current month: Feast of the Beast on the 7th, TheHost of Midnight on the 20th, and Harvest Home on the 22nd.
Disturbing the stillness of the house was an extremely loud Bang on the wall which separated Sandy’s bedroom and the study.
I closed The Hidden Doctrine, left it on the bed and rushed into the study to see where the sound came from. The books were in disarray on the bookshelf that was at my eye level. They lay atop of one another as if something knocked them over. Some of the books fell to the floor.
Did I intensify the strength of the entities by reading the book? A tremor began to shake the floor and walls, like a small earthquake. The flat computer screen on the desk trembled, and the chair rolled across the floor by itself bumping into my hip. More books flew violently off the shelf.
I ran back into the master bedroom to get The Hidden Doctrine and leave in case the entities got worse. The book was laying on the bed open and the pages were slowly moving by themselves, one after the other.
In the corner for my eye I saw movement in the bureau mirror across from the bed. A girl sat on the bed who could only be seen in the mirror, she was a white mist in bodily form, but her face was clear as day and her hair short. She was the unknown girl whose bust was in the dining room.
I looked back at the bed and couldn’t see her. I only saw the pages of the book, moving by themselves. I looked back in the mirror; she looked at me in the reflection then skimmed through the pages with more intensity and speed. Finally, she stopped, and the moving pages halted. She looked at me one more time dead in the eyes in mirror then was gone.
The book stopped on pages 237- 238. The paragraphs had been circled previously in red marker. The first paragraph on page 237 read:
An energy field cannot be weakened per se, once the ritual is complete. The field will eventually weaken or die after the ritual is finished. However, during an open portal, one may nullify it if need be.
If an object which has been energized magically, finds itself in the ritualistic area, it may decrease or nullify the energized ritual space. Another way to invalidate ritual energy is to re-route the energy that sustains the portal. When the ritual area is shielded or blocked with a material that will conduct the energy better the energy will move along said material instead of the ritual area. It has now been cloaked.
Similarly, this is how one may render himself invisible. A special cloud can be manifested by the moistness of one’s own eyes. When this cloud is condensed and surrounds one’s entire body, light is absorbed by this cloud. The light will not reflect off the person within the cloud because the cloud has thus absorbed the light. When light does not strike an object it cannot be seen. The Rosicrucians taught this practice.
The page was dog-eared and had a familiar scent to the page. Sandy’s perfume. Had she been reading the book and marked the page? Was she down in the cavern beneath the house when she lost the book?
Loud voices came from the attic. I stopped reading and looked at the ceiling. It sounded like lot’s people upstairs in the attic in conversation. The voices increased until it sounded like there was a party up there. The talking then became laughter, then the laughter became maniacal like a thousand lunatics in a psyche ward.
I ran for my gun which was in the guest bedroom and planned to leave the house. Coming out of the bedroom, I saw the dark figure of a man walk right through the locked attic door, into the hall.
I instinctively aimed the gun at it and the figure disappeared in the darkness of the hall. It wasn’t there. The house was driving me mad.
The back of my neck became cold as ice and the hair on it rose. I turned around and there stood the demonic figure. It was the black thing I saw in the cavern and in the park. Its face was as dark as charcoal, it’s eyes bright yellow, and horns protruded from above the eyebrows upward.
“Sandy’s in hell,” it said in a low, creaking voice. I blacked out.
The next day, I awoke on the floor in the hall. The Glock lay on the floor next to me. I groggily got up, grabbed the gun, unlocked the attic door and ran upstairs. Everything was as I had left it.
I had to get myself together. Sister Victoria, Bill, and Beverly were coming by later to do the paranormal investigation. I locked the attic door, took a shower then ran into town. I grabbed breakfast at Colombo’s then spent most of the day at the library. I had to get away until the others came to do the investigation.
When I got home later, I went into the study, the mess was as I left it, books all over the floor, the chair tipped on its side from the tremors the night before.
5:00 p.m. that afternoon Bill was the first to arrive. We sat in the living room and he gave me a bit of paranormal investigations 101. He brought with him black, leather bags containing equipment. Cameras with tripods, digital recorders and small machines called EMF readers. He handed me an EMF.
“This little device detects the level of the electric magnetic field in the area it’s in. It is believed that when a spirit is present, it causes an increase in the electric magnetic field, resulting in a spike on the readout,” Bill said.
Attached to machine was a small cord with a piece of plastic on the tip which did the detecting. By holding the plastic tip and putting it near places and objects in the house, one could measure the level of the electric field on the meter’s face.
“Put it near a wall outlet,” Bill instructed.
I went to the nearest one near on living room wall near the floor. Squatting down, I put the plastic tip of the cord next to the outlet. The plastic tip began to glow a bright red and the meter moved. When I moved it away from the outlet, the spike went back down, and the glowing stopped.
Rapid knocking on the front door interrupted the experiment. I answered it and Sister Victoria stood there, hands clasped, wearing a black dress, her habit covering her brown hair and a crucifix around her neck. I invited her into the living room to sit.
“Bill was showing me how this EMF works,” I said.
Bill re-explained to Sister Victoria the significance of the machine. He then showed us his camera as he opened the bags.
“I used to use digital and film cameras during my investigations but when taking the photograph there’s a slight pause before it takes the picture. You might miss something in that moment. With film cameras you don’t have that problem. We’ll also be using video cameras in different rooms.” Bill said.
Video cameras on tripods were set up in the living room facing the main hall where Judith appeared near the bottom of the stairs. Another camera was set in the hall upstairs, where I saw the full apparition of Elise and in the master bedroom where I saw the girl sitting on the bed.
Sister Victoria offered to carry the video camera throughout the session, I took the EMF reader, and Bill would hold a digital audio recorder and a film camera around his neck.
While setting up upstairs there was a knock at the front door. I ran down, answered it and found Beverly standing on the porch. She wore a conservative teal dress and her, black, thick framed glasses. She smiled with those perfect teeth then greeted me with a hug as if I’ve known her for years.
“Bill told me about Karl,” she said. “I want to do all that I can to help.”
“Is that Bev?” Bill’s said looking downstairs at us from the landing. Beverly walked into the main hall. Bill and Sister Victoria came downstairs to become acquainted in the living room.
“Bill! It’s been a long time!” Beverly, said as Bill descended the stairs.
“Good to see you, Bev. Yeah, it’s been a while.” Bill said.
They embraced and we entered the living room.
“Is this your first investigation, Sister?” Beverly asked, while sitting on the couch, her knees firmly together and hands on her lap.
“Yes, it is, this is all new to me,” Victoria said.
After the review of the equipment, I informed the team of the results of my latest detective work. I told them what I learned from Mrs. Singleton about the cult in town and how Sandy came to Ravensgate to look for her sister Elise. That Elise and Judith, the curator of the Ravensgate historical museum, were both victims of the cult.
I mentioned the alleged evidence that Judith may have had against Manuel Hall, which was supposedly kept hidden in the museum. I especially mentioned how Mr. Singleton, determined to speak despite his Alzheimer’s, uttered the words: “Behind House.”
“Then maybe we should investigate the backyard as well?” Sister Victoria suggested.
“That’s what we’ll do,” Bill said.
I informed my guests about the book I found in the basement and my experience with the demon the night before. I mentioned that according to the book, the house could be sitting on an inter-dimensional energy source as suggested by the rocks encircling the house, and that the other portal is on Pike Island.
I mentioned my meeting with Natalie, Jeff Johnson’s ex-wife and how she told me Jeff had an affair with a member of his congregation. And how the cult that murdered Karl in the cemetery may be the same one’s responsible for the church closings in town.
“When I was involved in the occult that’s what we used to do,” Bill said. “We would join a church, pretend to be believers, spread negative rumors and cause dissention until the whole thing collapsed. Tempting the pastor with an affair is quite common. If the Pastor didn’t take the bait, then multiple false accusations would do the trick.
If a demonically possessed object, like a small crystal skull, was planted in his church then that would cause even more negativity. This group is getting rid of all the churches because they’re preparing for something big.”
Nervously, Beverly looked about the living room. “I’m feeling it already,” she said, sighing. “They know what we’re about to do.”
“They?” Bill asked.
“They,” they’re annoyed,” Beverly responded.
“Beverly,” I said. “If you think this might be dangerous, stop whenever you like.”
“No. I’m in this for Karl.”
“Before we start,” I said “I want to tell you that I found something strange. Soon after I moved into this house, I saw the spirit of Elise Hall. She guided me down into the basement and I found a secret door that led to a hidden room, what’s inside is disturbing.”
Bill looked to each of us. “Well, ok then. We’ll check the basement too. Let’s begin.”
The plan was to start on the first floor on our way up to the attic, then into the backyard to see if Beverly could pick up something relevant to Dan Singletons’ words “Behind House.” The basement would be last.
With video cameras strategically placed throughout the house and rolling, we started in the living room. Beverly walked up to the fireplace and looked at the painting of my red Victorian house above it. Her eyes moved toward the white bust and touched it.
“This woman,” Beverly said. “She’s connected to something big in Ravensgate. She wrote the word ‘midnight’ on this bust. She…was murdered.”
Beverly walked around the living room, then into the hallway and stopped near the stairway. Her voice cracked when she spoke out loud.
“If there is anyone here who’d like to make themselves known, rap on the walls, make a noise, or cause the meter to spike. We’d like to hear from you,” she said.
We stood together in silence and the meter’s readout did not change.
“There are three women in the house, among other things,” Beverly said.
“Other things?” Sister Victoria asked.
“Non-human things?” Bill asked.
“Yes, hundreds of them.”
“Hundreds?” Bill, Sister Victoria and I said Simultaneously.
“I feel heavy, the weight is heavy,” Beverly said.
Beverly led the group down the main hall toward the back of the house. Floorboards creaked under our weight as it shifted. She looked at all the paintings on the walls as he walked.
I trailed behind Beverly with the EMF in hand, no activity on it whatsoever. Sister Victoria walked by my side as she video recorded everything, I spotted her giving me an affectionate side glance. She looked away when I caught her looking.
Bill walked behind us, carrying the digital audio recorder and the snapshot film camera around his neck. He warned us not to whisper so it wouldn’t be mistaken for an EVP when the audio was reviewed later.
We entered the sanctuary at the back of the house and stood amongst green jungle of Sandy’s plants. “Sandra loved this room,” Beverly said. “It was a place for her to unwind.”
Beverly halted in the center of the room and stared intently at the bust of Elise on the table next to grandfather clock. Beverly put her palm on her forehead, tilting her head down.
“Are you alright?” Bill asked.
“I’m fine,” Beverly said, dropping her arms and picking her head up. She walked to the bust and touched it. “This woman too, murdered. She is also the one who wrote ‘DOOR’ on her bust.”
“What does it mean?” I asked.
“I’m not quite sure,” Beverly said.
“If any spirit would like to contact us, rap on the walls or the floor. Let us know you’re here,” Bill asked. Again, no response.
“There is something odd about this clock. I can’t quite put my finger on it. I’ll have to come back to it later.” Beverly said.
From the sanctuary we went into the bathroom and Beverly ran her fingers along the old fashioned, four-legged bathtub, then the sink and mirror. Nothing there.
The kitchen was next. Beverly walked to the refrigerator, the table and the sink. She looked up at the cabinets with the glass door and touched them.
“Beverly,” I asked. “Are you getting anything about what happened to Sandy? Where she is?”
“No. Nothing like that right now. I’m sorry, Cole. It doesn’t mean I won’t yet.”
Bill randomly snapped shots as Beverly walked into the dining room from the kitchen as she turned on the light switch on the wall. The glass chandelier brightly illuminated the room. She brushed her thin fingers along the glass of the dining table then immediately her eyes went to the bust on the table against the wall.
“Cole, the busts of these women, they are directly related to the house. Their spirits are here and cannot leave the premises. Beverly walked to bust on the table and touched it.
“This one is young, seventeen, eighteen maybe. She wrote the word ‘Feast’ on the bust.” Beverly said. “There’s a feast coming. It’s connected to ‘DOOR’ and ‘midnight’ all on the same day.”
“Maybe a feast will be held at midnight soon?” Sister Victoria said.
“Perhaps. Still not quite sure which door is being referred to,” Bill said.
“I’m feeling pain from my chest down to my stomach,” Beverly interjected, her voice trembling. “A severing pain as if I’m being cut open.”
She paused then sat at the dining room table to rest, her eyes watery.
“That’s how this young girl died; she was cut open alive while tied down.” Beverly said.
“Talk to us. We’re listening. Did you die in this house?” Bill said.
“I’ve got movement on the meter,” I said as the plastic tip of the meter glowed bright red, the dial jumping to the right.
The light of the chandelier began to flicker. Bill took pictures the chandelier, the bust, and other areas of the dining room.
Beverly walked from the dining room and back into the main hall, then up the stairway to the second floor. The rest of us trailed behind her, stairs creaking all the way up.
Sister Victoria and I continued together up the stairs, side by side. I looked at her beautiful profile. She gave me another side glance and smiled. There was an unmentioned attraction that we each had for other since we met. We both knew it but said nothing about it. I lost my train of thought for a second.
Beverly’s voice snapped me out of it.
“Who are you?” Beverly asked as she ascended the second set of stairs from the landing into the hall on the second floor. “Is there anyone here that used to live in this house?”
The meter spiked again and the tip glowed red, Sister Victoria continued to steadily record everything. We followed Beverly into the study, the meter still spiked and glowing red.
“This is where the walls shook yesterday, the books fell and chair rolled across the floor into my side,” I said, pointing to the mess. Sandy spent much time in this room too,” Beverly said and immediately walked to the bookshelf against the wall. She then led the group into the master bedroom. I showed them where the unknown girl’s spirit sat on the bed, flipping through the pages of The Hidden Doctrine until she stopped on the page that she wanted me to read.
Bright flashes from Bill’s camera lit up the room as he took pictures of the bed and the mirror that I saw her in.
“What did the pages say?” Bill asked. I explained that it described how to stop the energy field or dimensional portal.
Beverly asked to see the rest of the second floor, the bathroom next. She called out to the spirits but was met with no response.
The meter went dead. We entered the guest bedroom after that. The meter spiked again and the plastic tip of the EMF glowed red.
“There’s someone here: a woman. She’s tormented by sadness,” Beverly said.
“Who?” I asked.
“Someone who died in the house, at some point she slept in this room. It brings her comfort to come in here, hide from the controlling entities that dominate this house.” Beverly said as she put her hand in the middle of the air. “Feel here.”
I put my hand in the empty space, it was cold. A heavy creak was heard on the ceiling above, simultaneously we looked up.
“That sounds like an invitation,” Sister Victoria said.
“Shall we move upstairs?” Bill suggested.
I led the group into the hall, unlocked the attic door with the skeleton key, flicked the light switch on. We all went up, Beverly insisting on going first, behind me was Sister Victoria, and lastly Bill, gripping the audio recorder.
The attic was freezing cold, our breath turned into mist. The furniture looked like twisted forms underneath dusty white sheets. “The battery is dying on this thing,” Sister Victoria said.
“So is the EMF battery,” I responded.
““The entities are draining the energy from the batteries. They’re powerful up here.” Bill said.
A loud crash disturbed the attic’s stillness. A vase fell from one of the furniture pieces in protest at our presence and shards of red, white and green glass scattered all over the wooden floor. The room grew colder, and wind from nowhere began to blow. Our hair moved around from the currents of air. Sister Victoria video all of it.
Beverly put one hand on her chest, the other on her head.
“The three women are here…trying to communicate with us but it won’t let them.” Beverly said with glossy eyes as she walked to the closet. When she opened the door, it slammed against the wall, pushed by strong gusts of air. The sound of the wind almost covered Beverly’s voice when she spoke.
“She was tortured, beaten, and kept in this closet for days, barely fed.”
“Who, Beverly? Who was kept in the closet?” Sister Victoria asked.
“The woman of the house, Elise.”
“She was tied up in this closet after rituals,” Beverly said, her voice trembling. “I have to go inside.”
“Wait!” I yelled, as I recalled the hand that reached for me from within the closet. But the wind covered my voice and she took a step into the small dark space. Immediately she fell backward onto the floor, pushed by an unseen force. The three of us ran to her aid and lifted her up by the shoulders.
“Are you alright?” Bill asked.
“It doesn’t want us in there, it’s hiding something,” Beverly said dusting herself off, wind through her hair.
“Then we go in,” Sister Victoria said in defiance as she set down the video camera on the floor and ventured into the closet. She held out the crucifix that hung from her neck.
“In the name of Jesus Christ, leave this space,” Sister Victoria said.
She repeated the phrase two more times, each one louder than the last, her voice wrestling with the winds. She side stepped the pink mannequin torso which sat in the floor center of the closet. Bill, Beverly, and I followed suit.
A loud shriek of a woman screaming filled the closet. We covered our ears with our palms, except for Sister Victoria, who held out her cross, shouting commands.
The screech and the winds subsided suddenly leaving the entire attic silent. We stood in darkness of the closet, save for the red light of the EMF which gave a crimson glow to our faces.
I moved the mannequin torso to the closet corner out of Beverly’s way. She glided her fingertips on the walls, leading them up to the low-level ceiling.
“There’s something up there, hidden in the ceiling,” Beverly said.
“I’ll be right back,” I said, handing the EMF to Bill and ran downstairs and onto the enclosed back porch where I kept tools. I grabbed a hammer then ran back up to the attic within minutes.
“Look,” Bill said, “These pieces of wood are different from the rest, the grain goes in a different direction.” He saw the hammer in my hand. “There,” he said pointing to the head of a nail that poked out from one of the boards.
I used the back end of the hammer to pry the nail from its place. I pried another, then another until I was able to pull off a wooden plank from the ceiling and tossed it to the floor.
Nothing was revealed but a pitch, black hole in the ceiling. There was a large empty space up there. I then removed the next plank in the same manner. I took off three more until we were able to see it pushed back in the space.
A foul, dry odor came from the hole in the ceiling as a decomposed human face was visible in the darkness. It peered at us with rotted eyes.
Beverly gasped and Sister Victoria said something in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit then made the sign of the cross. The skin on the face was rotted and gray as little bugs crawled all over it. The black, straight hair on the head still intact. The rest of the body remained hidden behind the wooden planks of the ceiling.
“Who is it?” I asked, looking away from the corpse.
Beverly responded, “It’s Manuel Hall.”
The dead body had been hidden in the ceiling of the attic closet all the time I had been in the house, yet no smell until I removed the wood. The liquids of the decomposing body did not seep into and soak the wooden boards of the ceiling. This, and the fact the stench was not incredibly pungent, told me he was killed and placed in different location for a time long before he was put up in the ceiling of the closet. How long had it been up there?
I contemplated what to do. We covered the hole, nailing the beams back in place then I set the hammer on the floor. There was so much going with everything that I though it better to leave the body there until everything was figured out.
We exited the closet and Sister Victoria grabbed the video camera from the floor. We all headed downstairs when a loud smash caused Beverly to shout. A small statue of a horse that was set on a table whizzed through the air and hit the wall nearly striking Sister Victoria in the head.
“Quick! Downstairs!” Bill shouted as small porcelain knick-knacks zoomed through the air from a shelf, striking our bodies.
A small table covered in a white sheet slid across the floor separating me from the group. A vase flew across the room barely missing Beverly and hit the wall, shattering into pieces.
My companions managed to make it down the steps as I pushed the table out of my path to follow them safely down. Once on the second floor, I locked the attic door.
“I love it!” Bill said excitedly. “What a sparkling display of paranormal activity! Did you get that Sister Victoria?!” Bill asked.
“I did.” she said.
“The past is unraveling, and secrets are coming to light,” Beverly said.
“Are you sure you can go on with the rest of the house?” I asked.
“I can and I will.” Beverly responded.
We headed downstairs to the first floor with disturbing thoughts of what was discovered in the attic.
“Manuel had been murdered of course,” Beverly said as we sat down for a quick break in the living room.
“Could it have been by the same group of people in the cemetery who murdered Karl?” I asked.
“Elise killed him, for what Manuel had been doing. She put him up there in closet.”
“And how did Elise die then?” asked Sister Victoria?
“That remains to be seen.”
We discussed the significance of the gruesome find in the attic and when the proper authorities would be notified. We needed to go to the right people at the right time.
Bill said he knew of a private detective out of Arlington, a city not too far from Ravensgate who ran a diner by day and paranormal detective agency by night. Stiffens had a cop friend named Fargo who could be trusted.
“Harvey Stiffens has plenty of experience with the occult and keeping cases low profile. If it comes down to it, we may have to hire him.”
“Stiffens?” I asked.
“Yep. Harvey always said it was hard growing up with that name. And there are rumors that Fargo is a man of a different breed. “Well, okay then…well let’s continue the investigation,” I said.
We headed back to the kitchen, walked through the back door, entering the enclosed back porch and then out onto the green lawn of the backyard.
Beverly gathered her strength as we ventured behind the house carrying our equipment. The red, brick garage sat at the back of the yard and behind it, trees of the forest’s edge that surrounded the property.
The sky was dark and the air cool. The EMF glowed, but not strong. I showed everyone the black, jagged rocks which jettisoned out of the earth and surrounded the entire house and garage.
Beverly walked to the edge of the yard next to the garage, bent down to touch the protruding stones, paused and closed her eyes.
“These rocks are a marker but have formed naturally.” Beverly opened her eyes. “Is there are anyone who still resides on this land? Natives that used to live here?” No response but the sound of crickets.
“I’m getting a strong impression by touching the stones,” Beverly replied. She breathed heavily releasing quick spurts of air from her mouth. “Through the decades, hideous and repulsive acts have been performed on the very ground that your house is built,” Beverly said as she looked at me.
“What about the garage, could there be anything of significance in there?” I asked Beverly.
“Let’s find out,” she said.
I unlocked the door to the garage and turned on the light. It was empty except for a tool stand and odds and ends. The glow of the reader went dead.
“I don’t sense any paranormal activity in here at all. The activity is in the house,” Beverly said.
“Is there any significance to the outside of the house at all? Besides the stones marking the ground? Mr. Singleton wanted me to know that there was something behind the house.” I said.
“Well, the stones are not just behind the house, but surround the whole house, so I don’t think Mr. Singleton meant the rocks.
Other than the stones telling me that the land has a horrible history, I feel nothing. Sorry, Cole.”
We went back inside. I was disappointed because there was nothing behind the house as Mr. Singleton conveyed. Perhaps he meant another house, maybe his house.
From the back porch I retrieved two flashlights that sat on the window ledge, handed one to Bill then locked the backdoor.
“Now, for the basement,” I said once we were all in the kitchen. I took the keys from my pocket then walked into the hall next to the basement door. I unlocked the padlock, opened the door, turned on the basement light and we all started down the steps. I led the team to room at the far end of the basement, the wooden door still shut and fastened with the other padlock.
“This is Sandy’s art studio, she kept her supplies and artwork in here,” I said unlocking the door; then opened it.
I turned on the light and almost everything was how I left it; the kiln in the far-left corner, Sandy’s artwork and supplies still on the shelf on the far wall. One thing was different: the large wooden table that I shoved against the brick wall, the door to the passage, had been moved.
I remembered distinctly pushing the long side of the table firmly against the wall evenly. This time, one corner of the table was not against the wall. Someone tried to push open the wall from the other side and moved the table a bit.
“This table wasn’t like this when I left it last, it’s been moved. It’s not against the brick wall evenly. Before we all go in, I’ll tell you, this passage leads to a large room and what’s inside is disturbing,” I said.
Everyone agreed to go in. Bill and I set the flashlights and ghost hunter equipment on the large table, he grabbed one end of it and I the other. We moved the table out of the way then I grabbed the special nail in the upper rafter. I twisted it counter-clockwise, the wall moved revealing the dark passage.
“Wow,” Beverly said.
The EMF sat on the table, the light the brightest I’ve seen it, then it went out. The batteries to all of the equipment stopped working, finally drained. They were useless. Fortunately, the batteries to the flashlights still worked, not yet dead.
No need to bring the equipment with us, so we left all of it there on the table. Bill held one flashlight and I took the other. I stepped into the darkness of the passage, looked at the team.
“Follow Me,” I said.
Rats. I had forgotten about the rats the crept along the rocky floor of the passageway. Beverly gasped at the sight of them while Sister Victoria was unfettered. We kicked vermin out of the way making a clear path down the tunnel. Beverly wrapped her arms around herself in response to the cold breeze and musty atmosphere.
The beams of our flashlights illuminated the tunnel allowing us to see the rocky walls on both sides. We traveled down the path and descended lower into the earth.
“Ahead is a sharp right turn,” I said, motioning the others to follow as the floor leveled out. There it was; the dark room with its high ceilings and hanging stalagmites.
“This place is reeks of evil.” Beverly said, her arms still clinging to herself. She hadn’t even seen what the cavern contained in its darkness.
“Can anyone tell me what the hell this is?” I said as I walked ahead of the group. I stepped around and in front of the glass case as I entered the triangle, flashing the beam against it to view it from the front.
There she was; her dingy black hair hung down over her skull-like face and bony shoulders. Her protruding ribcage, and hip bones were visible within the range of my beam.
The rest of the team stepped into the triangle next to me, looking up at the corpse. Sister Victoria said a short prayer under her breath making the sign of the cross.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. Why would this woman be encased, standing in a glass box?” I asked the group.
“Maybe she’s a trophy,” Sister Victoria suggested.
“There are two more,” I said, as I turned around and moved the beam toward the glass case to the left, then to the glass case to the right revealing the other female carcasses. They stood perfectly erect, hands to the side, and feet close together.
The others turned around to look. Beverly covered her mouth in shock. Her eyes began to water as she turned around again to look at the first case next to us.
“Each one died horribly. They were tortured, mentally, sexually, and physically.” Beverly said as she stepped up to the glass case in front of us containing the woman with shoulder length black hair. She touched the dusty glass. This is Elise.
Beverly pulled away from the glass case, turned around once more and walked to the left about fifty feet, her footsteps echoing in the chamber. We followed. She reached the second glass case which housed the rotted corpse of the woman with the stringy auburn hair.
“This is Judith,” Beverly said, touching the dirty glass.
Finally, Beverly turned right and walked to the third case containing corpse of the girl with short blonde hair.
“And this is Christina. So much pain…all of them. Finally, a name for the unknown girl.
I was relieved to know that Sandy was not among them but felt for the three women.
“The energy down here is powerful. These women, they were traumatized during many rituals. They were put in coffins filled with dead fetuses and lowered into graves in a cemetery. They were drugged, beaten, forced to mutilate puppies, kittens and newborns.” Beverly said.
Beverly went into gruesome detail of the experiences of the three dead women. They each were used to carry out the work of those that did this to them through their multiple personalities that were created through trauma. They were eventually murdered then placed in the cases in the form of a triangle, one at each point.
“The energy is so strong when these three women are together. That, coupled with the fact that this land is ripe with natural energy, makes this house is an incredible conduit.” Beverly said.
“Looks like a Triangle of Manifestation, just like in the cemetery.” Bill said.
“Something big is planned to happen down here,” Beverly said. “A ritual. They are just waiting for the right time, when all the churches were shut down in Ravensgate.”
“When will the ritual take place, Beverly?” Sister Victoria asked.
“That I don’t know. I do know that the souls of these women dwell in house above. They can’t leave the circle of stones surrounding the house. A strong demonic spirit is here watching over them. The collective suffering of the women creates a negative energy that evil thrives on. Sandra always had a psychic ability, but it was latent. She never realized her full potential until she came to this house. It energized a weak battery cell within her into a powerhouse.” Beverly said.
“Do you think you might know what happened to Sandy? I asked.
“She came down here. The spirits of the women showed her this place, like they showed you, Cole. Sandy learned that this triangle is of great power that was to be used for a wicked ceremony. She tried to stop it before the ritual even took place. And she…disappeared.”
“How, disappeared?” Sister Victoria asked. “Abducted?”
“No. Disappeared. That’s all I’m getting.” Beverly said.
A thick tension filled the cavern, one we all felt.
“It’s getting hot,” Beverly said. “Do you feel it or is it just me?”
I wasn’t hot at all, in fact, the cavern was cold. Sister Victoria walked up to Beverly and put the back of her on her forehead. “You’re burning up,” Sister Victoria said.
“He’s here! And he’s strong in this cavern!” Beverly screamed.
“Who’s here?” Bill asked.
“The one who holds them prisoner in the house. The demon who has been following you, Cole.” “We better leave then,” I proposed.
Beverly clutched her temples with both hands.
“It’s trying to channel through me!” Beverly screamed as her voice echoed through the cavern, bouncing off the glass of the cases. Bill, Sister Victoria, and I rushed to her side. Bill and I grabbed a hold of her, he one shoulder and I the other.
“Bev!” Bill said. She didn’t respond, closed her eyes and let out a deep, guttural, growl.
“Beverly! Wake up!” I said.
She opened her eyes, they had rolled back in her head, only revealing the whites. Beverly wasn’t there, it was something else. Sister Victoria clenched the crucifix around her neck and brought it to Beverly’s face.
“In the name of the Father, the Son, and…” Before Sister Victoria could finish, Beverly struck Sister Victoria in the face with an open right palm. Victoria let go of the crucifix and stumbled back a few feet.
“Don’t touch!” She said in a deep and raspy voice.
Beverly’s facial expression changed and gave Sister Victoria a threatening stare. Whatever was trying to channel through her got in. “Hold her!” Bill said as he and I both gripped Beverly’s shoulders.
She turned her head toward me and sank her teeth into my left hand, drawing blood. Her long fingernails dug into Bill’s face leaving four bloodied scratch marks on his left cheek. Bill and I let go instinctively.
Beverly quickly jerked away, grabbing a rock from the floor of the cavern, slightly larger than a softball. She raised her arm to strike me with it. Before she made contact with me, I dropped the flashlight and ducked, wrapping both arms around Beverly’s body in a bear hug and forced her aside.
I tried my best to control her. She let out an animal-like growl as I wrestled with her while losing my grip. Bill and Sister Victoria came to my aid and grabbed a hold of her too.
“Lay her down on the ground. On her back,” Sister Victoria said. “Hold her steady! Don’t give her room to move!”
We shifted our body weight and brought Beverly to the dirt floor, trying our best not to hurt her. She lay on the ground restrained, Bill and I holding her arms and legs. Sister Victoria took the cross from around her neck and laid it on Beverly’s forehead.
“What is your name, demon?” Sister Victoria said.
The entity growled like a dog.
“I said what’s your name?!”
There was a pause, then it spoke.
“…Keeper,” the thing said in a low, creaking voice.
“Keeper? Sister Victoria asked.
“Yesss… I am the Keeperrr, the guardian.”
“Keeper. Is Jesus Christ Lord?”
“Keeper. Is Jesus Christ Lord?!”
“Out of this woman! You are commanded to leave this vessel in the name of Christ!” Sister Victoria ordered.
The Keeper shrieked, echoing throughout the cave. Beverly’s eyes rolled back down into place.
“Help me!” Beverly cried, in her own voice.
Her eyes rolled back into her head, showing the whites again then she turned her face toward me and spoke.
“You, like Sandy, will burn…in the fiery pits of hell.”
“Out of the way, Keeper!” Sister Victoria said. “I want Beverly back!”
The demon laughed a sinister laugh and Sister Victoria continued to pray, commanding the spirit to leave in name of Christ. Beverly’s eyes closed and she lay on the floor breathing heavily, her body limp. The three of us knelt, huddling around her.
“Out of this woman! You are no longer the keeper! In the name of your creator and Lord, Jesus Christ!”
The demon screamed in a deep, raspy, tormented howl. Beverly lay there, eyes closed as Sister Victoria gently shook her shoulders calling her name. Within minutes Beverly opened her eyes, tears streaming down her face.
“We have to get out of this cavern,” I said.
“Are you alright, Bev?” Bill asked.
“Yes, I think so.” Beverly said. “I’ll be fine. Thank you, Sister.”
Sister Victoria smiled. We lifted Beverly off the ground until she was able to regain her balance. We grabbed our flashlights then headed back up the slope of the dark passage back to the basement. Beverly paused.
“While the entity possessed me, I learned something that it knew.” Beverly said. “This satanic group in Ravensgate wanted all four women together because the energy is strongest due to their bond.”
“Their bond?” I asked. “Yes. Sandy, Elise, Judith and Christina are all blood related.”