by Meaghen Couvillon
My story begins at age 13. I had always been a very superstitious child, but before this time, I’d never had any reason to (unless you count a 7-year-old’s fear of noises an old house makes that sound uncannily like footsteps). It began with a dream. I even remember the night; it was the last year I took dancing lessons, and it was the night of the dress rehearsal for the yearly recital. That night I dreamed that I’d walked out of my bedroom into the hallway in my house, and it was very dark. Suddenly, all around me, I heard a noise, a very loud, deafening noise. I always referred to it thereafter as either the banshees, my howling, or, jokingly, my voices. It was a combination of wind, a scream (not the harsh, bloodcurdling kind, almost as though someone were hitting a high note at the end of a song- but still the most terrifying scream I’d ever heard), and the sound one would hear when blowing into a soft drink bottle… only much higher pitched and definitely louder. The second I heard this sound, I felt my body temperature surge upwards in fear in that cold/hot feeling, and I tried to scream, but, though I could feel the air rushing from my throat, no sound came. In retrospect, that disturbed me more than the howling, because I’d never felt anything in a dream before.I walked into the living room where my mother was standing; just looking at me and the phone rang. I ran into her room to pick it up, and a sinister, maybe demonic, voice on the other end said that if I told anyone what had happened, «…I’ll come after you.»
So, naturally, being the motor mouth I am, I told everyone about my dream the next day at school. I discovered at 4 o’clock that afternoon what a bad idea this had been when, wide awake, putting away my costumes from the dress rehearsal the night before, I heard the howling again. My poor mother didn’t know what to do with me when I made it from my bedroom to the kitchen in no time flat; screaming like my life depended on it. I told her the house was haunted and she didn’t believe me since we’d built it two years before. I didn’t even bring up that it could have come with the property we built on, especially considering there was a plantation house at the end of our street. I told her about my dream, and she said she was wondering why I looked so pale that morning.
For the next two months, I continued hearing this howling. No one else heard it, even if they were in the house, and it only happened at home. I eventually began to grit my teeth and bear it when I heard it, and it eventually stopped. I’ve only heard it twice since then. I remember the second to last time I heard it, two years ago; I was in my bedroom (I was in a different bedroom by this time), and it sounded as though whatever was making the noise was in the hallway… so I knew it wasn’t in my head; the door muffled it slightly. Before it stopped when I was 13, I’d heard it in the kitchen and my bedroom as well. The last time I heard it was very faint. Ever since then, the sound of wind, whistling, or howling has terrified me. In 11th grade, I was in a play about a banshee, and we couldn’t find a banshee cry to use that didn’t make me go pale and start shaking.
Since then, it’s been different sounds. Last summer, the whispers and scratching began. One night, I was in bed, and I heard the sound of a million whispered conversations around me. I couldn’t make out what they were saying. I also heard scratching, like something was trying to claw its way into my bedroom. Or like a lot of some things were trying to, and the only thing they didn’t claw was the door. I had this horrible feeling that if I walked out into the hallway, I would encounter something that I did not want to tangle with. These noises have happened several times since, though not as strongly.
I’d told my father about these sounds and for years, he shrugged it off, saying if the voices weren’t telling me to kill anyone, then ignore them. Finally, my skeptical, practical father informed me that I am, in fact, a natural witch. He said my great grandmother was a witch; she was a healer, worked with herbs, and had premonitions. The way she was described, she almost sounded like a gris-gris (a Cajun folk healer, occasionally still consulted here in Louisiana). My father is always asking me to read his cards, and has even tried to talk me into healing before. I never have because I don’t think I could. Shortly before he left for Operation Iraqi Freedom, I bought him his own deck.
A little over a year ago, a friend taught me to use tarot cards, while we were visiting New Orleans, and I picked it up within half an hour. The next morning, walking around Jackson’s Square, one of the psychics/tarot readers there called out to me, asking what happened when I was 13, and, once I got over the initial surprise, he began telling me about it.
Some of my friends have speculated, and one is convinced, that I’m some sort of warp. Both a portal and an energy warp. Not only do strange entities seem attracted to me, but magic almost never works around me. Anytime I’ve done anything with friends, aside from tarot, there’s either been a strange side effect, it goes awry, or it doesn’t work. Once, when someone was healing a slipped tendon in my left foot with chi, I went blind for 10 minutes. One friend is convinced I have a barrier that keeps other people from using magic to harm me, and he thinks I’ve had it since birth. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to keep nonhuman things away.
My father only informed me of my being a witch about a year ago. I’ve been rather angry with him about it ever since, because I believe that if I’d had proper training as a child, I could control the environment around me and keep these things that intrude on me away. My friend who thinks I’m blocked is convinced I couldn’t learn to use my gifts properly now because I’d go insane, which is precisely what I’m afraid of. My great grandmother spent much of her life in and out of mental homes, and her husband (my great grandfather) died having sex with her. Granted, it’s a big joke in my family, but it makes me very suspicious of how easy or difficult it may be to control myself. I never knew the woman, but I know I don’t want to live her life. My cousin, who I wish lived closer, sees things instead of hearing them as I do. We’ve speculated that it manifested this way in me because I’m a trained singer, and thus more closely attuned with sound than she is. Which is fine by me; I would prefer to hear these things than to actually see them. Her mother, my aunt, used to be Wiccan (she’s now Southern Baptist), and my cousin is now a Druid. I personally wish I could learn to control myself without having to believe in a particular religion, so I’ve not looked into either, especially considering there aren’t many pagans in Baton Rouge. Those who are tend to be in it for the attention and novelty.
My cousin and I have speculated on which of our other cousins could grow to be like us (she and I are the two oldest), and, sadly, the only two who could have had any talent have more or less had it suppressed, either with magic or with how they were reared by my aunts (their mothers).
The only true breakthrough I think I’ve ever had was the night I saw things for the first time, about half a year ago. I saw a pair of green glowing eyes in my room and I saw these traces of what looked like a whispy mist appear and disappear, both in my room. Neither one lasted for very long. After shaking myself, I became angry. For the first time, I shared the indignation several people I know have found with whatever these things are that scared me. For the first time, I looked up and thought, «They are invading my privacy. They are scaring me, and they don’t have a right to. How dare they?» I sat cross-legged on my bed and, speaking aloud, informed whatever was in my room that it was in fact my room, not theirs, and that I wanted it to get off my turf. I was polite, but firm. I’ve been without incident since, but I seriously doubt nothing strange will ever happen again.
All of these instances are few and far between. I don’t believe that ghosts are making the sounds I hear. They could be imps, demons, I don’t know, but they’re not human, and they never were. Many people have told me that the howling does in fact come from demons that I would identify with banshees. So I’ve more or less been trying to sleep since I was thirteen with the sound of death itself yelling in my ear whenever it feels like it. I’ve also been told it’s the most terrifying sound a person can hear, so considering I’m still sane (according to my doctor, who also knows about the howling), I’d say I’ve done relatively well. I was told by someone else that the scratching is the sound of a demon seeking a host, which worries me more, but since it’s become fainter and stopped, I’m not terribly concerned about it any more.
This is where my story ends, for the most part. Other things have happened to me that are more readily explained by ghosts, though I’ve never seen one. In my search for truth and for myself, I’ve been led down at least one destructive path. I was offered a chance to learn sorcery by a man who is much older than me and made to swear oaths that weren’t specific about what I would be doing. I broke my oaths because I decided I owed nothing to someone who wouldn’t inform me before I take an oath that I would have to perform sexually, not for him, but on other people. It never reached that point, I stopped first, but I still bear the psychological scars from it. As a result, I can also no longer be hypnotized, because my trust has been broken for those who could do so to me. I am not, nor have I ever been averse to sex, but the problem arose when I gave the final word in what I did with my body over to another individual. Ever since, I have been very cautious about those who would ‘teach’ me.
As I stand right now, I am waiting for the next thing to happen. I don’t know when, but I do know it will come. I don’t know if I will ever learn to control and utilize my gifts, but, for the moment, provided I can keep my self control, I don’t really mind sort of being tossed on the supernatural wind, encountering things by chance or because they seek me.
On a final note, supposedly, I’m an important figure. I’ve had several different people, most of whom don’t know each other and none who knew anyone else said so, tell me that one day I’ll be pivotal in something, and it’s something to do with magic. This is evidenced by a dream that everyone I’ve told of it refuses to interpret it for me. I don’t remember my dreams often, so when I do, I take note. Many strangely symbolic things happened in this dream, but the most important was when I heard a voice whispering about me, «She’s the Queen of Black and White, the Queen of Light and Dark.»
I tell my story for insight. If any readers have advice or insight, by all means feel free to contact me: email@example.com
*To The Mystica, thank you for this opportunity to share.