The Horror: A Monstrous Spirit of Place

Pardon the sensationalism of the post title. Pardon the Lovecraftian prose. But this is a story, and the story is about me and a monster, and it all really happened to me in real life.  A true life monster story. So—

May 2011. This happened when I was living alone in the mountains. I did visit home near Chapel Hill quite often to continue to haul forgotten things back with me to the mountains and to visit my children. It was about a five and a half hour trip one way, so I’d stay the night in Chapel Hill, which also gave me more time with my kids. —Nothing unusual this time: I returned to my little rebuilt, reinforced, tornado-proof trailer in the hills and got out of my ugly blue truck — I hadn’t come out to myself as trans yet, that would hit me about two months later, after I had totaled my beloved truck because I was driving with a migraine — carrying my keys and an armload of necessities and useless junk. I entered the front door, put the stuff down and for some forgotten reason I picked up the hagstone that I kept on the table where I practiced magic.

Instantly my hand burned as if dipped in acid. I put the stone down fast. The burning sensation persisted and did not abate at all for about ten minutes. It hurt bad, and with no logical explanation. My hand was not red at all, and the stone had been cool to the touch. Then I held my hand under running cold water for a couple of minutes and the burning feeling started to pass. —I now interpret this as a warning, perhaps from the stone itself, or from a friendly spirit. It was almost sundown.

I slept when I wished, rose when I wished back then. Around dark I thought I’d take a nap. I lay down on the bed and I was struck with an utterly overwhelming feeling of fear, panic, pure horror. A pure psychic blast of … just horror, terror, fear of the unknown and the unknowable hit me  like an atomic shock wave. —My years of meditating saved me. Part of my mind was detached, observing the feeling, the horror. More importantly observing the directionality of the horror. It had a source, it was pouring through the wall, the one that faced the steep slope of the little hill my trailer was built on. I laid my hand on the paneling. An unstoppable flow of fear and loathsomeness was pouring through that wall: I could half see, half feel it, oozing like a river of rancid oil from a direction that pointed straight back to the stony center of the ancient hill (the Appalachians are the oldest mountain range in the world, I believe). I didn’t know what to do. I went the main room, where the assault of fear felt less strong and sat on the couch in half lotus and meditated most of the night. I think I slept a little toward dawn because I remember being surprised by the sunshine.  And then I noticed something. —The ferocious attack, as I then considered it, had completely subsided. I went into my bedroom and touched the wall. Psychometry revealed nothing but pine paneling.

I lived this way for about two weeks. I kept careful track of the exact minutes of sunset and sunrise, adding and subtracting a couple of minutes for the last shard of the Sun to disappear and reappear beneath or above the horizon, for that was the exact moment when the attacks would begin and end. I don’t know how I survived the first few nights. I fortunately discovered that a Zone Rite (more commonly known as a “banishing”, only more versatile) taught in Jason Miller’s Strategic Sorcery course called the Temple of Fire could keep out most of the oozing gush of fear emanating from the center of the hill. I would generate the Temple around my bed, it would destroy the intrusion as it flowed in but it flowed strong and a little always got to me, all night long, before that little bit was utterly annihilated. And the hideous oily flow of the most primal fear would continue, though I was mostly shielded from it, till the sun rose. At least I could sleep. —I never did figure out why the horror only flowed when the sun was below the horizon…

I didn’t keep notes or a journal during these weeks, so I don’t remember the sequence of events too well. At last I found something that helped, at least temporarily. I knew that many spirits are fond of spirits, so to speak, so I went to the liquor store and bought the cheapest, biggest bottle of vodka I could find. I’m sure I bought something for myself as well: the cheap vodka wasn’t for me, it was for the spirit that I was now convinced lived in the center of the hill on which my home perched. I had a tiny back deck, not really big enough to deserve the name. Each night I would take the vodka out of the freezer, take it out to the back deck, and address the spirit. I told it (I was inspired I suppose) that I knew it didn’t want to hurt me, but that it was hurting me unintentionally simply by coming too near me, and that I wanted to be its friend nevertheless and despite all. I even gave it a name: the Horror, of course, or just Horror, when I was speaking directly to it. I would fill my mouth with the vodka till my cheeks bulged and I would spray the hillside — so close I could touch it — with the atomized liquor. One, two or three times. This helped, but the calmative effect on the Horror lasted only a few hours. I slowly became convinced that the spirit — the spirit of place, genius loci, and/or perhaps ward or guardian of the tiny mountain — was not evil. It was only alien. Absolutely alien to all that’s human, thus creating the sensation or, better perhaps, the illusion of horror. I had come to think I had roused it from some kind of slumber, and that the Horror was merely … curious. Perhaps even lonely. It seemed as if it responded well to my offers of friendship, augmented by lots of vodka given as a peace offering. And quite frankly to make it drunk and sleepy if possible. It works with ghosts, I thought, so maybe it will work with this thing. But even though it would withdraw somewhat after such offerings, the atmosphere in the trailer was one of, well, you know what of by now, of horror. Just not nearly as bad. Then, in the middle of the night, It would return with its probing, oozing, amoeba-like touch. But I was protected, for the most part, inside my astral construct, my Temple of Fire.

Flashback. One of the key practices of Strategic Sorcery is that of general offerings to the spirits — all of them, or any who want to show up —, a concrete form of thankfulness, prayer and peace-making. The more advanced nighttime offering involves taking on a wrathful godform, and carefully and powerfully building up on the Astral plane a feast of oceans of blood and mountains of bones, and inviting the most terrifying denizens of the Nightside. It’s good to live in peace with all the inhabitants of the place where one dwells, and compassion should know no limits — even when one must curse or bind it can and should be done in a spirit of compassion. And another purpose of the Nightside offering is to avert possible necessary wrathful action against the darker denizens near one’s home. The spirit world of the night is very different from that of the day. But — I have an inkling that it was that same wrathful godform I would generate for my Nightside offerings that slowly awakened the Horror. After my overnight trip and my return, it was fully alert and probably simply curious. What the hell was that? it probably wondered. So I guessed and surmised at the time, and it still makes sense to me. Not much sense, but more than any other version of events that I can come up with.

Still, I could not abide this forever. I’d become nervous, jumpy and drastically underslept. Fortunately most days I did a general offering, the one straight out of Mr. Miller’s book The Sorcerer’s Secrets. No godforms required. —I recommend this book, by the way: you need this book if you practice magic. After inviting and addressing the guests, the spirits who’ve come to partake of your incense or water or food or whatever, there comes a period when you invite communion. I thank the Gods for one special period of communion during an offering one evening…

I felt the now familiar prickle of the chakras along the back of the neck. I invited whatever spirit this was to communicate with me in whatever  fashion would suit it best. It inserted pictures directly into my imagination. The imagination, after all, is a perceptive sense organ unto itself, among its many other functions and capabilities.

First the spirit showed me a picture: a dark sullen-red glow in the rocky center of the hill. It was an unpleasant color, almost infrared. This was the Horror I knew with certainty. —Then I was with this unfamiliar spirit, which looked a lot like a large man in a gilly suit, on top of the hill. The top of my hill was crowned with a small, private family graveyard. The spirit pointed toward the largest tombstones, toward one corner of that plot. It was exactly over the highest point of the tiny mountain, or almost. A sigil or seal had been drawn with cornmeal on the ground. I thought at the time it looked like an idealized drawing of the Sun, but I have no idea whether it was a Solar sigil or not. But there was a problem. The hilltop was directly visible from my landlady’s front windows, much higher on a mountainside across the road. At most any hour she might see me clearly, because at night I would need a flashlight to find the exact right spot. To remain nice, I’ll simply say my landlady was a nosy woman, always keeping her hawk eye on us renters. Also I could be seen from the road — by the openly hostile (to me at least) city police. I might get evicted or fined if I followed this new spirit’s instructions.

I negotiated. Will it be OK if I put the sigil on the border of the cemetery? A wild shaking of the head: No. And so on, No after No, till I asked Will it be OK if I wait till the next time it rains hard?Yes, the spirit nodded enthusiastically. I’ll do it then I promised. It nodded its head wildly and the vision disappeared.

It was two days before the next thunderstorm came, but it was a gullywasher as the old people called them in the mountains. I would get soaked but I would not be seen. I took my Tupperware cannister of cornmeal to the hilltop, the corner of the most prominent grave, and drew the sigil which the new spirit had shown me in the rain and mud.

That night. Oh that night. Triumph! Utter peace and quiet and solitude once more without  a tinge of fear mingled in. The unknown, unspeaking gilly-suited spirit had helped me in the most efficacious way possible — the problem of the Horror just instantly disappeared. Simply because I’d been nice to the local spirits with the practice of general offerings one had given me the answer to my intolerable burden.

—Needless to say I’m a fan of offerings, large, medium and small offerings, every day. I generally do one or two medium sized offerings per day, as I did that night in the mountains, and any number of quick and tiny ones. A quick gesture of offering to the “powers that be” or the universe itself, a stick of incense offered to the eight directions or to the four winds.

My weeks of preoccupation with the Horror were over. I lived in that trailer in peace and quiet, solitude and loneliness, till that September, when I moved back to Central NC. Because that little mountain town, which I don’t wish to slander, is no place for a transsexual.

Genius loci, plural genii locorum. Spirit of place, spirits of place. They are spirits to watch out for if you have any psychic ability at all, because they will check you out, they might come up and stand in your face and solve your worst problem, they might maliciously attack your mind for no good reason. There’s no telling. If you cannot See, there’s much less to worry about — I’ve heard other horror stories about genii locorum controlling the minds and vampirizing the weakest of the population of an area, but I’ve never seen such a thing for myself. Once I was psychically slammed by one while two … more mundane people noticed nothing. (Nota Bene: I did not call them muggles.) But if you can See you will be seen. Many genii locorum are actively agressive. They have reason to be, the way we’re changing and poisoning the environment, cutting down all the trees to make room for nasty-ass architectural perversions, etc., etc.

But now I’ve told my most monstrous, in the literal sense of the word, story. Now let’s leave the genii locorum in peace. Unless you’re a specialist (many witches are) then leaving them alone is the smart thing to do.

6 thoughts on “The Horror: A Monstrous Spirit of Place

  1. My gut feeling on reading this is that every graveyard has its own little Ghede, which is usually identified in Vodoun as the oldest male gravestone. Perhaps the anniversary of this person’s death was then. Perhaps this Ghede became an Exu fire form that burned your hand. Offering spirits is a good idea, but getting a spirit drunk on spirits is a new one to me, and something to keep in my repertoire, lol.

    • Rachel Izabella says:

      Those are some interesting thoughts. The first dead buried in a graveyard becomes the lord or lady of the dead there. The Mighty Dead are indeed very powerful. I confess I don’t know much about Vodoun, but what you say makes sense. The only dissonance I feel is the memory of the sheer alienness of the spirit, like nothing human at all. I just don’t know. My offers of friendship were the main thing, sealed as it were by the offerings of liquor. —The seal I was shown in my vision however during my daily offering looked Solar to me, and sufficed to put the spirit back to rest, which suggests you’re right.

      As for offering spirits to the spirits, I’ve actually lured a spirit — a much, much less powerful one — away from my home with this technique, offering liquor at increasing distances until I made a deal with it to stay away from my home if I gave it the whole bottle. It agreed. But that one wasn’t tied to place the way the one in the post was. A useful, but maybe foolhardy, technique. I could now deal with such a lesser spirit much more easily.

  2. *Kyle* says:

    Wow- that is one bad ass story!

    • Rachel Izabella says:

      It may make for an interesting story, but it wasn’t at all fun while it was happening! It’s a great illustration of the value of daily offerings to the spirits as taught by Jason Miller though. If a friendly spirit hadn’t appeared to me during my general offering I don’t know what I would have done. Miller’s The Sorcerer’s Secrets — highly recommended.

      Love, Rachel

  3. Lisa Smith says:

    I wanted to ask you about your experience – it’s (horrifyingly) similar to an experience I had many years ago – one that I still don’t completely understand.

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