A summer or two into college, I began working for IBM as a computer operator. I had a kindly supervisor and a fine manager. It was a very good job to have had. My supervisor, Rick, was going through a tough time in life, but did not bring it to work. Now and then, we headed out after work to unwind with a beer (or four!).
One evening still dressed in our IBM standard three-piece suits, sans ties, we sat at table eating hamburgers listening to a band with a steel guitar and getting an occasional glance from some of the other patrons almost all of whom wore pointed-toe boots, plaid shirts, and jeans. In those days, you knew everyone's name because it was printed on the back of their belts.
The story is short and the significance is in that he thought perhaps it was related to the series of troubling events that kept cropping up in his life. This is what he told me had happened a year or so before I met him.
"One night, my wife wakes me up in the middle of the night. She was upset about something, and I'm thinking that there might be an intruder in the house. She whispers, 'What is that?' so I'm listening , but she whispers, 'Sit up and look.' I sat up and she pointed in the darkness over to a corner in our bedroom. I tell you, Crews, I have never seen anything like this.
"Right where she is pointing, I see this dark thing. It was a little like a dark cloud right there in the room. I was trying to get my eyes to adjust, but could not make out any real shape. It seemed to change shapes, but never looking like like anything specific. It is so dark in the room, but this thing is darker. I cannot decide if it is a shadow, or a mist, or what it is.
"We sat there watching it and whispering to each other to make sure we were seeing the same thing. She told me she had watched it for about fifteen minutes before she convinced herself it was real and then woke me up. Sometimes it seems to disappear or maybe go through the bedroom wall and out into the hallway. The bedroom door is closed. But it comes back, sometimes in a different place. Then it starts to get closer to the bed, going from the foot of the bed to the side closest to me; and it gets very close to me, and I have never been so scared in my life.
"Just as it gets close enough to me that I think I could reach out and touch it-- and I have no desire to touch it-- the phone rings. So we are sitting up in bed watching this thing and, at two o'clock in the morning, the phone rings. Can you imagine?
"My wife and I go to this church and we have this old pastor that that she and I really like. That is who is on the phone. He says, 'Rick?'
'Are you all right?'
'I don't know.'
'Is there something there in the house?'
'I'm looking right at it.'
'You and your wife pray, and hold up the phone at what you are seeing.'
"I say to my wife that its our pastor and he wants us to pray. We prayed, and we can hear him praying even though I'm holding the phone away from me-- aiming it at this thing. I couldn't hear all of it but he was yelling and demanding it to leave in the name of Christ and I guess was doing an exorcism, over the phone. It worked. That thing started backing away as soon as I held the phone out and it went over to the side of the room where there was wall to the outside, and went straight through that wall.
"I still have trouble believing that it happened, but it did happen.
The Pastor said that he had been praying and got a strong sense that we were in trouble. He simply knew that he had to call us."