On the Subject of Demons, I Have a Story to Tell.
I have posted the full story on a FB site. So my apologies to anyone who's already read it. Some of what I've written is what was told to me by my father. Here's the intro:
On 6 July 1946, 2 soon-to be-famous persons and 1 very ordinary fella arrived in the world. They were:
George W Bush
Snugglebunny - moi!
My place of birth was the County of Lancashire in England.
I was the number 2 son. I’d had an elder brother who died just a few days after his birth in 1944. I mention this because this sad occurrence led to a series of events that were to have a major effect on my own upbringing.
My parents were simply Mum & Dad.(We say Mum, not Mom!)
Dad was 25 when I arrived, Mum was 24.
Dad had been in the RAF during the war. He’d joined up in 1940 and assigned to Bomber Command. He became a bomb-aimer and altogether flew on 43 bombing sorties over Germany.
When I arrived Dad was still in the RAF, so my earliest years were spent in mainly female company, my mother and both sets of grandmothers eager to take part in my development.
We had lots of relatives living within walking distance. Grandparents, great-grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, most all of our extended family were within a mile or two. So there were frequent family get-togethers, particularly at Christmas.
Life was good. I was at school at age 5 where our seating position in our class was dictated by how clever we were deemed to be. I sat at the “top table” and quickly learned how to read. In 1953, when I was 6, all the children at school were presented with gifts to celebrate the crowning of Queen Elizabeth the Second.
My home life was good too. Both my parents were ardent football (soccer) supporters, so, every other week of the football season, I would be farmed out to one relative or another so that they could watch the game while I played happily with my cousins.
My parents partied a good deal. Dad’s RAF pals were always visiting us so there was loud music late into the night while Dad would perform his favourite party trick of drinking all the water out of the flower vases.
Eventually Dad was demobbed from the RAF, but not before they had re-trained him in the difficult and demanding job of an air-traffic controller.
Meanwhile, Dad would make model aeroplanes, ships, windmills, cranes and trains – would you believe it, supposedly all for me! I never got to touch them much either.
Yep, I was a happy child, although my mother had a heavy right hand which she wasn’t averse to using on me whenever I transgressed.
Then one memorable day, my Mum and Dad sat me down and told me that my dad’s new occupation meant that we would soon be moving house. We were going to leave the North of England and move “down south”.
So we moved south to London.
Actually it was a London suburb. Close to London Heathrow Airport, my Dad needed only to hop on the 116 bus, change to the 90B in Hounslow and he was there in less than 30 minutes.
The inevitable change of school brought me many problems, not least being my own broad Lancashire accent. Also, the school was a good 12 months ahead of the one that I had left, so I was quickly demoted from bright star to bottom-of-the-class dunce.
Mum was also very stressed. She missed Lancashire, the family too, and also found the southerners of England damned unfriendly.
I was later to learn that the death of my elder brother in 1944 had a lot to do with her unhappiness.
When my brother had died years previously, my Dad had been granted 48 hours compassionate leave by the RAF.
That first night, in 1944, when the Lancaster flew on another bombing run over Germany without my Dad on board, the plane had been shot down.
The crew were listed as Missing, presumed killed.
My Dad had been distraught and also full of guilt.
My grandmother – his mother – had been dabbling in Spiritism and suggested that Dad saw a spirit medium with a view to getting in contact with his dead crew.
Eventually Dad complied, he agreed to see a spirit medium.
The spirit medium went into a trance and said that she was now in contact with the skipper of the shot-down Lancaster. She stunned my Dad when she said that his name was McKay. She described in detail how McKay had witnessed the death of himself and his crew.
The whole thing shook Dad up considerably.
So now here we are, 9 years on in 1954. I’m almost 9 years old, Mum is highly stressed most of the time and Dad is working hard at London Heathrow.
Then, in late 1954, my Dad received a letter that had come from overseas.
The letter was from a chap called McKay and had been written just a few weeks previously.
Skipper Mc Kay hadn’t died in the crash of the Lancaster. He’d parachuted to safety and spent the rest of the war as a POW. He just wasn't dead - he was very much alive!
So now my Dad was really shaken up. He needed some answers.
But where to start looking?
So my Dad has been kept off a doomed Lancaster bomber by the death of my elder brother and has also spoken to the “dead” skipper whom he now finds to be very much alive. Spooky!
That winter was a real chiller. Our water froze solid, cars were unstartable, the airport was closed temporarily.
My Mum took solace in the Playhouse cinema in Feltham and in the never ending consumption of mint imperials along with a deep addiction to cigarettes.
One night, whilst she was at said cinema, there was a knock on the front door. I was sent to answer it. My dad was in the attic attempting to unfreeze the water pipes by means of a lighted gas-poker attached to the garden hose which was in turn attached to the kitchen stove.
I opened the door to be confronted by a tall, hook-nosed man (in retrospect he looked like Abe Lincoln) who wanted to speak to one of my parents. Oh God I thought, he must have come to complain about me.
Well, no. I heard Dad say, whoever you are, come inside, it’s far too cold to talk on the doorstep.
At which point I lost all interest and went back to reading my comic books. The witnesses had entered our home and I was to remain blissfully unaware until...
...Until several weeks later when my dad announced that we were going to “a meeting” and that I was going too and I had better practice sitting still for a whole hour! Oh crikey, this was terrible!
Years later I learned what had happened that icy evening when the witnesses first called. My Dad had said to the witness, Leslie, that if he could answer just 1 question satisfactorily, he would look further into this strange religion.
So, Dad had told Leslie all about Mckay and the spirit medium and how McKay was dead then suddenly alive and living in Canada.
And Leslie had the answer...
Because demons were wicked they were also imperfect and because they were imperfect they often made mistakes and because this particular demon who was impersonating McKay hadn’t done his homework properly, he had made a fundamental error in not checking up that McKay was definitely dead. Silly demon.
My Dad bought it 100%.
We were part of a religion and from here on in, nothing was ever going to be the same again.
Great story! Thanks.
thanks for sharing!
phenomenal. and as stuck said well written. I long to hear more.
They should make a movie out of this. Brilliant!
Fascinating... But how do YOU feel sb about what the medium told your father?
I am interested because my belief in Jwism was partly supported through my family experience with spiritualism as it is popularly known.
I stopped believing in the supernatural after reading Derren Brown's Tricks Of The Mind. There's always an explanation for this sort of thing and people jump to bizarre conclusions like ghosts, demons or boogymen.
Continuation of my opening post:
So, I'm now 9 years old.. Now my dad became totally obsessive about all things JW. He got hold of Rutherfords old books and old records. The hissy American voice boomed continuously out of our old radiogram. Dad took me to one side and explained that if I was a good boy I would live forever. He began to criticise my reading of comic books. He berated me daily for not reading the day’s text. He criticised my friends for what they were and worst of all he hated the way I used to kick up about being forced to attend meetings. He was totally, totally obsessed with the witnesses. It dominated everything. Mentally, it was like having a bucked of cold water thrown over me every day. He talked about absolutely nothing else.
One day, when Leslie called to take us to yet another public talk and this time the Watchtower study too – 2 bloody hours!!– I raised merry hell. This time Leslie fixed me with a stare and said:
“Satan is working through that child”
My mother was devastated. She’d been gradually brain-washed by dubbism but her interest was way lower than Dads. I hadn’t a clue who Satan was so I wasn’t troubled overmuch. Mother was still smoking furiously, Dad was puffing his pipe and smoking cigarettes too as well as spending more and more time with witnesses drinking beer in the Load of Hay public house.
Eventually, the time came for us to attend our first circuit assembly at Epsom Baths. My Dad had decided to be baptised at the assembly on the Saturday morning. Mum had decided to attend the Friday night session with just me as Dad was at work. This being our first assembly, Mum didn’t know the ropes and thought it would be OK to smoke.
Dad was duly baptised and immediately asked for a cigarette. He continued to smoke for over a year afterwards although Mum gave it up immediately after her own baptism at Twickenham in 1955. It was no big deal back then, smoking was something mature persons didn’t do, but Dad hung grimly onto his pipe.
Meanwhile, Dad’s obsession with dubbism got worse and worse. I loathed the whole damn thing with a passion, but now, at 10 years old I was finally beginning to accept the idea that it was me who was at fault and that if Armageddon came anytime soon I wasn’t going to make it. I was going down. I accepted the religion as the truth but loathed it too. All the drip drip drip from my Dad and the 5 meetings a week were slowly writing on the blank canvass of my brain. I was no good.
Eventually Dad gave up smoking and qualified as a Ministerial servant. He was then part of the threesome that then formed a judicial committee. Within 3 years -1958 - he would become a PO of his own congregation. The Feltham congregation of Jehovah's witnesses!
And little old me was meanwhile struggling with early adolescent issues and feeling like a total worm amidst all the goodness that was around me.
Maybe I should get baptised..
It’s now 1957 and things are happening fast!
My mum has now adopted the JW religion as her sole raison d’etre and has become quite militant. Bombastic in fact. Now she’s the one who adopts judgementalism and walks around with the hoity-toity air of a dedicated servant of “The Most High God”(her words). Quite frankly, she becomes a total pain in the neck and passes judgemental comments and criticisms of everyone and everything that isn’t connected to dubbism. She also becomes very, very prissy.
Next, my grandmother joins up! She’s considered as a weak sister because she still enjoys the godspot on TV with all of the hymn singing and all. However around this time it’s announced that there’s going to be an International Assembly at Yankee Stadium New York and grandma wants to go there. What’s more she’s intends to take me along too! On a ship to New York!
Hmm..maybe there is some fun in this religion after all..
Autumn 1957, and we have a family meeting. The 3 of us. Jehovah has blessed Mum & Dad with a gift. A baby is on the way. A new brother or sister for yours truly!
So now as well as a trip to America I’m going to be elder brother to a sibling. I’m delighted.
I’m now out of my primary school and attending Longford Secondary school having flunked my 11+ exam. I’m still A-streamed, much to my astonishment, but a couple of our teachers seem to be ex-military psycho drop-outs so I’m caned on a regular basis for cheek and talking when I should be listening. Caned on the hand, not on my derriere. The teachers know that I’m of JW stock so use this fact to demand that I behave in a more suitable fashion. Very embarrassing.
Now my Dad becomes the PO of Feltham congregation and our house becomes the hub of JW activity. No telephone yet, so folk drop in with their problems whenever they feel like it. It’s the group centre and focal point for the ministry work, something that I hate to take part in, but I know that I have to go door-knocking in order to survive the big A. I remember knocking on one door with my Watchtower in hand and finding it being answered by a class mate. That was good for my street cred!
So many conflicts...I’m a social and lively animal that’s being stifled with this religion. I start to have nightmares, and begin ripping at my finger nails. It’s abuse of the worst sort and my parents haven’t got a clue. If I’m unhappy it’s because I’m not doing enough for the religion!
And then...I have a baby brother, Timothy. He’s a bonny little kid and when he yells at meetings I get to take him out from the meetings in his pram – freedom!
As well as being a bouncing baby, Tim is also a Gift From Jehovah, a Reward For Faithfulness and, just like Abraham, My Dad’s very own Joseph, A Child Granted in Old Age (Dad was only 38 but already painfully patriarchal).
So now I’ve got a brother at last and am looking forward to going to America in just a few weeks.
How fitting it would be if I was to be baptised at The Divine Will Assembly in America!
July 15, 1958. Grandma and I take the train to Southampton. There we board the TS Arosa Star and set off for the USA. Although the ship has been chartered by the WTBTS, my grandma has paid extra for a first-class cabin for us both.
The ship is full of JW’s, half of them Brits, the other half German. Many of the Britwits seem very poor, their cabin conditions are appalling and some of the kids seem to have mental health issues. I guess that the ship was just a microcosm of witnesses generally. No matter, I enjoy the voyage hugely and am highly amused by the German brother who takes the days text in the ships lounge while puffing on a cigarette.
Once in New York, we are driven to our accommodation in the heart of the Bronx. The whole place seems to be in a state of disrepair. Grandma has £500 stitched into a secret pocket in her corsets - we were only allowed to take £50 sterling out of the UK back then - and generally spoils me rotten. We attend the assembly for 6 of the 8 days. I’m baptised at Orchard Beach and then grandma whisks me off to Coney Island for an afternoon of fun. That part was great!
Now, at age 13, I’m back in England and back at school. I have a general sense of unease which is compounded by a 14 year old girl in our congregation getting a public reprimand for fornication. My dad actually read out her misdoings while the girl just sat and sobbed. Later my dad told me that he knew something was wrong in the congregation because meeting attendance had slipped, a sure sign that Jehovah’s blessing was being restricted because of wrongdoing.
So now I sit at the meetings noting the attendance in case my own fascination with my developing body was also restricting Jehovah’s blessing and affecting the numbers. Oh dear, such guilt to have heaped on a 13 year old kid!
Now I started to confess to anything I could think of that might be restricting the spirit so as I could receive absolution. I confessed to breaking a fence, putting a cricket ball though a window, driving a motor-scooter under-age and a hundred and one things, just to make sure that I am clean and free from Jehovah’s condemnation. Looking back now I can see how this sort of obsessiveness gets implanted into the psyche of young witnesses and might get so entrenched that it can affect them for the rest of their lives.
My dad became frustrated with my anxiety and started to reprimand me for being anxious! Then he went to the pharmacy and bought me Sanatogen nerve tonic, this, BTW, had also been prescribed to my mother in an attempt to calm her down too.
At age 14 I’m a total mess. I’m preparing all my meetings thoroughly, going out in the ministry twice a week, conducting a home Bible study and taking an active roll in the ministry school. I just can’t be happy with myself no matter what I do.
If only this religion wasn’t The Truth.
Then a few things occur that actually raise my self esteem considerably. I discover a penchant for carpentry and shine brightly in our weekly woodwork day at school. My maths teacher, Mr Hawkes, also takes me under his wing and quickly fills in all the blank spots that I missed 7 years earlier when we first moved to London. I also find that I understand trigonometry with ease. Plus, I’m given permission by our art master Mr. Dyson to take the GCE exam in art at 14 instead of 15 because they think that I’m good enough. I pass!
So now I’m 15, 6 feet 1inch tall and extremely interested in girls. I’ve decided to stay on at school – I could have started work then – and become a fifth-former, studying carpentry, physics and French. My mind is so busy that I don’t experience the profound depression that I endured at 14.
Now things get quite weird. I have a JW friend, Brian, who is nuts about motorcycles and I catch the bug too. Then the 2 of us meet up with a couple of girls in the local chip shop and get invited back to their house. It’s all very innocent. Later we discover that the girls are Pentecostals, so I get cold feet but Brian hangs in there!
As my first term as a fifth-former comes to an end, Dad says that he’s been chatting to "brother" Darnell who is a section leader in a local engineering firm, Elliotts. So says dad, armageddon’s just around the corner, no point in furthering my education, why not go to work and have bro Darnell as my boss? Added to which, every worker in bro Darnell’s section is also a JW, and guess what? They spend their break time studying the day’s Bible text!
So, in January, following many protestations from my school teachers who are concerned about me not completing my education, I start full time work for which I receive the princely sum of five pounds two shillings and sixpence per week. I give my parents £3 per week and keep the rest.
I get to 16 and I’m now allowed to stay out until 9:30. After much nagging I finally convince my parents that I must have a motorcycle and purchase an old BSA 500. I’m still best mates with Brian and we go to the meetings together on our bikes and then sometimes ride out to The Old Manor in Camberley. It was like we switched hats every few hours from JW’s to young desperados. By this time I’ve kissed a few girls –old world girls!–and thrive on the intrigue and romance. Most non-meeting nights we hang out around Bedfont Green chatting to the likes of Terry Bryant whom we envied for his BSA Road Rocket..
But there’s a cloud on the horizon. Dad’s restless, he’s looking for something else and decides we need to move “where the need is great” as a sort of UK missionary and thus please the mighty Jehovah who looked down and saw everything.. Oh dear here we go again..
So. He gives up being Presiding Minister of the Feltham Congregation. Then he resigns as an air-traffic controller and gives up any rights to a pension in return for a 1-off payment of 1 years salary. We are going to live in Yeovil, Somerset in a caravan, on a trailer park!!! Oh boy.
The move was a disaster. It was awful. We were cold, broke, friendless and unemployed much of the time. Mum was ratty as hell, Timothy got ill and the local congregation were like a bunch of territorial savages. I’ve turned 17 and JFK has just been shot. Then, within a few months, Dad receives enlightenment!
We were unhappy because the Watchtower society had originally wanted us to move to Weston super Mare but my parents had preferred the trailer park in Yeovil. We’d not done as Jehovah had wanted and that’s why it wasn’t working out in Yeovil.
So, we were now going to move to Weston super Mare to put things right!
The next weekend we drove up to WSM to check the place out. Mum loved it and so did I. Dad liked it too, so we decided to stay a little longer and visit the local congregation in time for the Watchtower study.
It was the biggest Kingdom hall that I had ever been in and the congregation was almost 200 strong. I sat down with my parents and tried to put on a suitably spiritual air. I glanced to the left of me across the centre aisle and found myself looking into the eyes of the most beautiful girl that I had ever seen in my life..gosh - a real Claudia Cardinale type. Absolutely stunning. Oh boy was she ever going to be trouble...........
I've never seen or experienced anything demonic, but I still can't work out what moves a ouja board.