Guest post by Merry Freer.
Drew Collins, in “Special Levels of Earthly Hell” (An Atheist’s Experience with Demonic Possession”) describes his dilemma to his mentor in the following manner:
“I understand that in Judeo-Christian belief it might be thought of as a demon, a devil sent to defy their God. But I’m not a believer, so how do I name it? How do I label something I don’t understand? I can’t give it a name that identifies it as a specific entity to Christians. I’m not a Christian. I don’t believe in God and so I don’t believe in the devil or demons. I had an experience. That’s how I identify it.”
So what is demonic possession? More specifically, what is a demon? In Judeo-Christian belief it might be thought of as an evil presence or a devil sent to defy their God. But demons can be viewed from the perspective of various religions, using them as an outline of sorts and taking demon-defying methods that have been used throughout history. There are common threads that run through most religions, though the most pious in some of them might deny it.
A belief in demons does not have to be confined to the beliefs of one religion. A demon can be viewed through the eye of a scientist, for example. Perhaps a person who appears to be possessed by a demon is experiencing something very real that has yet to be defined or labeled by science. It wasn’t that long ago that a rainbow was seen only as an exhibition of the color spectrum. What couldn’t be seen was that the energy wave that produced the color red existed infinitely beyond man’s visibility as infra-red and the color violet did the same as ultra-violet. Did man’s inability to see them with the naked eye keep them from existing? Did man only begin to ‘believe’ in infra-red and ultra-violet once their existence was proved? Maybe, but they were there all the time nevertheless – there was just no label for them, though their effects could be seen. Perhaps demons are no different. People have been struggling with demons since the beginning of recorded time.
In “Special Levels of Earthly Hell,” Drew laments about his experience from the perspective of an atheist: “As a nonbeliever, the energy it takes to balance my disbelief in God with my paranormal experience is monumental…What is a nonbeliever supposed to do with personal experience, first hand personal experience, that shatters those beliefs? I can only tell you that I am a man who is based in reality and my reality has become something I can’t explain. My inability to understand or name these experiences doesn’t make them any less real. And yet the fact that they are occurring does not change my core beliefs. It’s the ultimate paradox.”
His mentor assures him that of course his experience is based in reality, as that’s the only place that all of us live, despite the fact that it can be a confusing place to navigate. Why isn’t it possible to believe that there are other dimensions that exist, but can’t be seen from our three-dimensional world? It’s all a question of how a person perceives his experience. Perhaps it is, after all, like the rainbow – a scientific phenomenon the scientific purists have yet to investigate and explain.
An Atheist’s Experience with Demonic Possession
Genre: Paranormal, Occult,
Horror, True crime
Date of Publication: July 3, 2015
Number of pages: 244
Word Count: 82,000
Cover Artist: Kalen O’Donnell
Drew Collins is an atheist who experiences the world in black and white. As an educated man of science, he rejects belief in the paranormal and the existence of demons. Until an energy he calls “The Beast” takes possession of his wife.
What he witnesses at night in his own bedroom cannot be reconciled with science. And yet he sees it with his own eyes, feels its presence, ominous and evil, with his entire being.
Against every instinct, Drew reaches out for help. It is not just his marriage that’s at stake. The evil force has permeated his wife’s family, tearing them apart and culminating in bloodshed and murder. Drew must face a stark choice: sacrifice his beliefs and fight an entity he doesn’t understand and is reluctant to label, or abandon his wife and her family.
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The most difficult battle is with an enemy you can’t identify.
“This is what I’ve learned about The Beast,” Laura said. “It doesn’t exist in our plane of existence. It has no physical form. Use that fact to your advantage. It gains power from negative energy. Remove your negative energy and replace it with positive energy. Be its opposite. It’s the only way to fight evil.”
Spending his lunch hours receiving an intense and personalized lesson on the finer points of demonic shielding, as well as an education on the various cultural ideologies of good and evil, was the last place Drew Collins expected to find himself in his five-year plan. His plan was loose and flexible, but he was certain it included love. He even had a vision about it before he left on his dream adventure, traveling through Mexico after he graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a degree in Bio-Psychology. He dreamed he was destined to go to Mexico to bring something back. What he returned with was better than his wildest dream and worse than his most horrific nightmare.
Yet here he was, spending his lunch breaks with his boss, Laura, on the grass at the Self-Realization Temple. Today he was learning to control his personal energy. Laura studied with two shaman from different indigenous tribes. One was the Hopi, a small tribe within the Navajo nation. The other was from the Yaqui Indians, who lived in the Sonoran Desert in Mexico, south of Arizona, the same tribe associated with the mentor of Carlos Castaneda, a trained shaman and American author who held a Ph.D. in Anthropology. Castaneda claimed to have learned his craft from a Yaqui named Don Juan Matus, whom he claimed was personally trained by a Diablero, or devil, though some say his mentor never existed. Under ordinary circumstances, Drew would have considered the teachings of shamans to be fascinating fodder for an excellent conversation. Today, he considered them to be a necessary component in the lessons he agreed to pursue – the lessons he hoped would help him save his wife. Drew was a self-proclaimed atheist, a man whose beliefs were based in science, a godless man, to put it bluntly, who was in the peculiar position of being married to a woman who appeared to be possessed by a demonic presence.
A reasonable person might ask themselves how this could be so. How could a godless man, an atheist, believe his wife was possessed? Aren’t demons, the kind that possess humans, take over their bodies and voices to spread a vile message, associated with religious belief? Certainly the Catholic religion makes this connection. His wife was Catholic and he’d seen The Exorcist. For Drew though, The Beast was secular. It existed as an evil energy, separate and independent from the confines of religion. It had to. He didn’t believe in God, so he couldn’t accept The Beast as His antithesis, as a religious man might do. Religious belief as an explanation for his experience was discarded. He believed in science. But The Beast was an entity unidentified by scientific study. The Beast. Science.
Drew recognized with an awareness that shook the foundation of his being that they could not be reconciled. In the science he had studied there was no place for demons. And yet he knew they existed. He had seen The Beast for himself. In his own home.
About the Author:
Merry Freer is an author of memoir and fact-based fiction. She is a native of San Diego, where she lives surrounded by a large, eclectic family and a treasured handful of truly close friends. While “Doctor, Doctor” is her debut novel, she has been a writer and editor for many years, including work with the San Diego Chargers and the San Diego Hall of Champions. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from San Diego State University and has been a featured speaker for classes dealing with medical ethics.
Her controversial memoir, “Doctor, Doctor,” topped the Best Seller List in True Crime/White Collar Crime for 10 months and received a “Best Books of 2014” award from “Suspense Magazine.”