I met my friend Gregg F. in 1976, while we were both still in elementary school. Having a mutual interest in music, we formed a rock band in 1979, our last year in junior high school. It was around this time that we met Devin D. Devin played guitar and shared our interest in the same kind of music. The three of us became close friends and remained so even after graduating from junior high school and attending separate high schools.
Apparitional Experiences and Other Unusual Phenomena
My fascination with the survival question was deepened by my mother’s account of an apparitional experience of my deceased grandfather in our house, a few days before my grandmother died in the summer of 1979. While sitting under a hairdryer in the kitchen, with my dad but a few feet away from her in the living room, my mother suddenly noticed someone standing to her right, in the doorway to the kitchen, about eight feet away from where she was seated. After she quickly turned her head, she saw what we later described to me as my grandfather, dressed and looking as he did while alive. He initially appeared as solid as a physical body. He said nothing, though she sensed he was trying to communicate with her telepathically, telling her that everything would be all right. The entire experience lasted only about 15 seconds, at which time he dematerialized in front of her, in a way resembling the partial dematerialization of persons in the transporter machine in the original Star Trek series.
In the summer of 1981, now in our sophomore year in high school, Gregg, Devin, and I began holding séance sessions. While most teenagers dabble in this sort of thing out of boredom, our approach was more seriously motivated. We had a growing curiosity about psychical phenomena (what we called “the supernatural”) and the survival of death. While Greg had a mild curiosity about these issues, Devin had a more intense interest, speaking frequently of reincarnation, telepathy, and discarnate personalities. My interest was personally motivated. My grandmother, who died two years prior, had told me often that she would attempt to make contact with me after she died, to tell me about the afterlife. Nearly two years had passed since her death and I had not heard from her. I formulated a tentative hypothesis that if she had indeed survived death perhaps communicating with the living wasn’t as easy as she had assumed it would be and that I should try to lend her some assistance by trying to make contact with her.
We ended our session and tried to find some information about Asmostis in my father’s large collection of encyclopedia of the supernatural. The nearest match we could find was Asmodeus, the demon of lust and power (associated with Assyria, coincidentally or not, the land of my ancestors), also regarded as an agent responsible for the breakup of relationships. When we returned we asked whether Asmostis was Asmodeus. The answer was yes.
I had a string of similar experiences, from scratching, knocks, and raps in the walls to the sound of doors and cabinets shutting, glasses rattling, and plates moving about in the kitchen, though no one else was home. I never saw any anomalous movement of these objects, though I had inferred in several instances that doors had indeed shut and objects had been displaced. During this time, my parents were becoming increasingly agitated about personal items suddenly missing and later turning up in strange places. Electrical equipment was also malfunctioning. There were also times when I woke up in the middle of the night and believed I saw a dark apparitional figure in my room, either in the corner or hovering near the ceiling. Devin and Gregg were both witnesses to some of these anomalous events at my house. At one point, Gregg refused to visit me at my house since he found the events quite disconcerting.
I would not experience any systematic and frequent anomalous phenomena again until 2002, when as an adult I purchased an historic home in Windsor, Connecticut and experienced – along with my wife – events that exceeded in intensity the incidents during the summer of 1981. But sufficient for the day are the recollections thereof.