My First Demon Encounter
Witness: Michael Harris
Location: Weirton, West Virginia
Date of Encounter: August 1967
When I was six, I had my first experience with ghosts and demons. This has led me to a life that many people would fear, and others would not even believe. These experiences have changed me in many ways. My summer of 1967 was just a normal, hot, and fun time for a five-year-old; running and playing, not having a care in the world. I would not have dreamed that things could go the way they did.
It started like any other summer — me and my friends riding bikes and playing chase. We were just happy to have a dollar to ride to the store for candy. My best friend, Pat would wake me up every day at sunrise it seemed to just go down to the creek to watch trains go by or to play ball in the field with everyone in the neighborhood. We had a great life back then, in a rather small steel mill town in West Virginia. The times and economy were great. You will need to understand this was a time in America when the only worry a family had was what to have for dinner or what color is the new car is going to be. My biggest worry everyday was if my bike had a flat tire. That summer went by rather slowly. I was waiting for August because that's when the carnival came to town; this was the biggest event every year back then. I collected pop bottles for deposit refund and cut grass all summer long as well as my paper route to have money for this. While delivering papers I came to know almost every family in town and they would always watch over me. This came to be a big part of my first encounter with the supernatural.
I should give the layout of the town and who lived where for more understanding. I lived on the only main highway back then between two mill towns in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. So there was a lot of traffic and some danger for a young boy. At one end of the road that was facing town was the lower income, rather run-down part of town where the mill itself was and where many of the rougher people in town lived. My school was at the edge of this area of town as well as the newspaper office. At the other end of the road was a new complex they had just built for families that needed help to have a place to live, such as lower income or disabilities families. In the middle between them is where I lived in an old house on the hillside, also there was a retirement high-rise building eight houses down from me. I had papers to deliver in all these areas and buildings. I would start at the paper office and work my way by my house for lunch then finish at the new complex. At the end of August I had to stop the paper route because school was starting and my mom did not think I would be able to get them done before dark after school. While I was collecting money for papers on the 3rd Saturday that month I also was telling every customer I would be quitting for school. I got a lot of tips and gifts from them from money to clothes and even a saving bond from one of the ladies in the retirement building. She was the nicest lady on my route and would give me a can of pop everyday and on Saturday collecting she always had cookies or candy for me. On this last Saturday she gave me the bond and hugged me, whispering in my ear, "Mike you are more special than anyone knows and always be aware the angels are watching you." This made me think she was a little funny in the head but she was always nice so I thanked her and said I'd be around anyway, after all, we are all still in the same neighborhood. She said, "That may or may not be, Mike, but please be safe."
When I finished my route that day in the new complex and stopped by my aunt May who lived there for a drink of pop and to call my mom for a ride home because it had started raining. My aunt May ask me to take an umbrella and run over to Miss Faye's apartment to give her a pack of cigarettes, so off I went on a run to Miss Faye. She opened the door with big smile and said, "Come in out of the rain." I gave her the cigarettes and she thanked me.
Her son and his roommate were playing rock music very loud in his room, she told me he was a pain but was laughing when she said it. His name was Mike also, I had seen him around town a few times and he was the doper type with beads and long, dirty hair. I had never really bothered to talk to him. So Miss Faye gave me $2 dollars to give back to my aunt and I started out the door. As I picked up the umbrella something came over me. It seemed like something was watching me and I did not know where from. I looked over my shoulder and all I saw was Miss Faye. She ask me if something was wrong. I said, no and walked out the door. As the door was shutting I heard a voice say, "Don't come back." I turned and asked Miss Faye, "Why? Did I do something wrong?" She had a funny look on her face and said, "Did you hear that?" I said yes.
At this point she turn pale white and started crying. I ask if I could help, she said, "No, just please don't tell anyone you heard anything." I said ok.
I went back to my Aunt's and my mom was there. After a little time talking we went home. That night I told my mom and dad about this and they just said, "You imagined it," and that she's just old and that was all there was to it.
Well, a couple of weeks went by and school started for me I was not really all that excited about it, but I had to start. The first day went good. I met the teacher and a lot of new kids from different parts of town and the outer areas around town that I had never seen. This first day went good; I lived within walking distance so I had to walk to and from school. I had walked home that day wanting to get out and play with friends and talk about school. My mom asked me to run down the stairs and get the mail. We had 34 steps to go down to get to the road. I complained that I didn't want to run down the steps then back up and back down again. She told me if I want to play it wouldn't hurt me to run up and down the steps, after all you're young. So I went and got the mail, brought it to her, and I was off to play. I ran down the steps and stopped to look at traffic. The rule was always looking both ways at least twice before crossing road. So I looked to my right then left and back right and stepped out without that second look at the left and sure enough there was a car coming and I got hit by the car.
I don't remember much about this. The last thing I remembered was looking down the road; I woke up in the hospital. My mom and dad where there and told me what had happened. I started to look all over myself but everything was fine, just a lot of bruises and cuts. The doctor came in and said I had couple of broken ribs and that was about it. I spent six days in the hospital.
The young girl who hit me came by every day. She was nice, and we all could tell she was so very sorry for what had happened. She told me the last day, "Mike, you have something watching over you. I heard a voice just moments before I hit you saying, 'Slow down.'" She also said she had told my parents this and they told her to tell me. One other thing about this event was that every night when I went to sleep there was this male nurse who came in to say hi and give me a pat on the head. What makes this important is that I found out many years later that there were no male nurses working at the hospital back then.
A few months go by and in November we were at my Aunt May's house for the evening. I was playing with her kids while my parents and she talked. I overheard them talking about Miss Faye's son's roommate killing himself in the apartment. I had also heard this around town but it didn't stick with me at the time. They said she was upset and she just didn't know what to do with her son, Mike. She was afraid he might do the same thing to himself with all the drugs he was using. She also was afraid because things had been happening in the apartment that shouldn't be. This got my dad's attention, so he said lets walk over and talk to her. So my parents and I, and Aunt May walked over to talk. Miss Faye invited us in and offered the adults coffee and me a Coke. Aunt May started asking her about her son and the weird things that have been happening in the apartment. She said she really didn't like talking about this but needed to tell someone if to just keep from going crazy. So she proceeded to tell us what has become a lifelong thing for me. She had been hearing voices and sounds from the room that the friend had committed suicide in ever since they had moved into the apartment, about a year ago when the building was finished. She also had problems keeping the curtains on the window in that room, they seemed to fall off the hooks right after she put them up. My dad asked her if she had been in the room today and she answered no. He stood up and said, "Well, let's put those curtains up and see." He walked into the room with my mom, Miss Faye, and Aunt May standing in hall watching. I was standing by the door of the room watching my dad. He picked the curtains up off the floor hung them on the hooks and stood back to look. Nothing happened, so he turned around and walked to me saying in a whisper, "I think she's just getting old and losing it." He turned to them and started to walk down the hall. I was looking right at the curtains and they lifted and fell to the floor. I turned and yelled, "Dad, they fell!" He turned, looked at me, and said, "What?" I just pointed at them and he returned and saw they were on the floor. He asked me what had happen I said they just lifted up and fell. He hung them again and this time when he turned they hit him in the back. I was watching this all but had not entered the room. This became a fight between whatever this was and my dad. He then nailed the curtains up and again they pulled the nails out and they flew across the room. Then he used two railroad spikes to hold them. He drove these into the wall and again they pulled out and curtains flew all over the room. My dad turned, stood in the middle of the room, and yelled, "What are you and what do you want!?"
Now this is where things go somewhat bad. Something grabbed dad's arm, turned him around, and on the wall in fiery letters was the name "GARTH." It then threw him out the door. This was over 40 years ago and my dad still has a print of the hand on his arm of what grabbed him. It then yelled, "Get out!" We all ran back to the living room and were scared and shaking. Dad called his sister, my aunt Hanna, to ask her what to do. She had converted to the Catholic Church and he was hoping a priest would know what to do. She said she would be right over and about 30 minutes later she was there. We had all calmed down a little by then. They told her what had happened so she went to the door way and looked into the room. There was nothing going on, just the messed-up curtains laying on the floor and bed in the room. She walked in and in a matter of seconds started to cry and ran out. Dad ask her what had happened, but she wouldn't tell him. I found out years later it had called her a follower of that "damn Jew." She just asked for a phone to call Father Moore, her priest. He said he would be happy to come up if someone would come and get him, so my aunt was out the door and on her way. About 45 minutes later they returned. He greeted everyone and patted me on the head. (Side note I was not Catholic, but me and Father Moore had been friends for a long time. The father's church was across from the community center swimming pool, so he was always outside talking to the kids.) He got the whole story from everyone and asked if he could bless the room, which might help. Miss Faye said please do.
Father Moore got out of his bag a Bible and a bottle of holy water and walked into the room. As he started to pray and open the bottle of water, noises like screaming voices and breaking glass started happening immediately. This caused him to stop for a minute, but then he started again the voices got louder. One voice told him, "Priest, get out! This is not your territory. That Jew you follow cannot help you here." Father Moore answered by saying, "God compels you to leave." It then started laughing saying, "Your god is not with you, your faith is not strong enough." Then it grabbed him and spun him around and around. When it stopped, he ran out of the room. He ran to the living room, picked up the phone, and called a policeman to come and get him. He then stood outside and would not come back in or talk to any of us. Years later he told me it had scared him so bad that in his mind it made him doubt his calling.
After this my aunt Hanna left also and never stepped foot in that apartment ever again. My parents asked Miss Faye if she needed a place to stay, but she said she'd be fine, and that it had never came out of the room, so she would be fine in her bedroom and the rest of the apartment. But she didn't go into that room ever again. Her son was not at home so we left for the night.
A week went by and the next Saturday we all went to see her. She said there had been some noises in the room but nothing big. My dad asked where her son was, she said, "He came home, went to his room, packed his stuff, and left telling her he was going to California to live." Dad and I walked to the room. He told me to stay outside and he went in. As I watched, the bed lifted into the air about a foot again the voice said, "Get out!" My dad asked it what its name was. It said, "You do not need to know, just get out." At this point my dad left the room and told me to come to the living room. They all talked as I watched TV. About half an hour later I had to use the restroom which was across from this room. As I walked into the hall the door of the room closed. When I finished and opened the bathroom door, I noticed the door of the room closing again. As I walked into the living room it opened a little. I told my dad this and he said, "Let's check something out. Come with me." My mom said, "Be careful." We walked to the room and the door was open just a little. Dad said, "I thought you said it closed when you came by." I told him it did. He looked at me and said to stand there for a minute. he walked to the living room and as soon as he turned the corner, the door of this room closed in my face. He came back and it cracked open. Then dad asked me if I had been in that room yet, I told him no. He asked if I would be scared to go in and I answered no. So he said to go in if I wanted, but that he was staying right there. I walked into the room. At the point I crossed the doorway all the noises stopped and there on the bed was a little girl with her mom combing her hair. I heard them talking. The mother said, "Darling your father will be home from the mill soon, we have to make you pretty for him." The little girl answered, "Why, Mommy? He doesn't love us, he's mean." The mother said, "He is a busy man and has a lot on his mind, so you have to understand about his anger and problems; his life is hard with running the mill and shipping company." The little girl looked at her mom and smiled then they disappeared right in front of me. Nothing else happened for about 15 minutes, so I went back to the living room and told everyone what I had seen. My dad asked me if they looked familiar. I told him no. From the dresses they were wearing it looked like they were in the 1900's movies I saw on TV. He just looked at me and shook his head. My mother asked if they scared me or if I thought they might hurt me. I told her no, not in any way. Miss Faye asked if they said their names. I told her no, it seemed they didn't even know I was there.
We went to dinner and took Miss Faye with us. After dinner we returned to the apartment and the noises started again in the room. (Side note: the sounds were never heard outside the room, not even standing outside the window of the room.) Dad went to the room telling me to stay in the living room. When he entered the room the noises got louder and the voice was there again saying, "Get out!" My dad came back and asked if I wanted to go into the room again, and I said yes.
When I entered the hallway the door slammed closed on the room. When I opened the door I could smell flowers and the woman was alone and setting on the bed combing her hair. She was singing a song that at that time I didn't know, but later I found that out it was an Irish love long. I walked to the bed and stood next to her. She didn't stop me then I asked her, "What is your name?" She jumped and turned to me saying, "Who thee be, and how thee get into my bed chamber?"
"Ma'am, may I ask your name? This is the apartment of a nice lady who is very scared of all of you," I said. Her eyes got big and she looked hard at me then said, "Be thee alive or dead?"
"Alive," I said. "Ma'am, you are dead I think." She told me she knows this and she has been unable to leave along with her daughter and husband. I asked why they could not leave, she said, "Such a nice young gentleman should not hear such things". I said, Maybe I can help, Ma'am." Her reply was that no one can help them. Then she said, "He's coming, leave, please leave!" Then she disappeared. I was amazed by the whole thing.
When I went into the living room I asked if they had heard, and everyone said they heard nothing, so I explained what had happened and again mom asked me if it had scared me and again I said no. At this point we left and went home. Almost five weeks passed before they would take me back. This was the only thing on my mind. My school work was not really anything back then in first grade, and my home life was about as normal as possible then. Five weeks later after the holidays, we all went to see Miss Faye's and not to our surprise she was moving. We had been expecting it since her son had left. So my parents helped her move everything into the truck, and when they asked about the room she said she didn't want anything in the room, not even the bed. When the apartment was empty dad asked her to keep the key until the end of the month as she was paid up and she agreed.
The next Saturday I begged him to take me back and he finally gave in so we went. When I first entered the apartment I could smell something at that time I didn't know but later found out that it was brimstone. I entered the room and all three of the "ghosts" were there. The husband was standing yelling at the mother and little girl; they were hugging on the bed and crying. He began to beat the mother and knocked the little girl to the floor. I yelled when he did and they all stopped and turned to me. He said, "Boy why has thee come into my realm, I am lord and master here and if thee don't want a beating, then thee should leave now!" I looked back out the door and heard my dad in the living room talking to my aunt May who had walked over. I turned back to him and said, "You do not scare me, and you can't touch me." He began to laugh and the woman got a terrified look on her face and the little girl started crying and yelling, "Run away please!"
I said I was not afraid of him and he can't hurt me. He mumbled something under his voice and the demon appeared behind him. The demon laughed and smelled awful. The man told the demon to kill me or throw me out, one or the other. The demon then started toward me and at this point the most wonderful thing to ever happen to me started. This beautiful soft loving voice came from behind me sayingm "Demon, thee has no power or dominion over this one, thee must give thee name!" The demon replied, "I am Garth, the demon of power and greed." I tried to turn around to see who was behind me, but his hands were on my shoulders stopping me and in that wonderful voice he said to me, "Mike, thee is fine and safe under my guard, do not worry." The demon roared in anger and started to cuss and yell things I had never heard before, and the man began to scream in anger also and for the first time ever I saw the little girl stand and smile in pure happiness. She looked at me and said, "thank you." Again that wonderful voice came, "Demon of hell, free these spirits and be gone."
This made the demon scream louder and then the man disappeared as did the demon, the woman, and little girl were there standing next to the bed smiling at me. Again the girl said, "Thank you, I wish we could have been friends," and the mother said, "Thank you, you have no idea how you have helped us both." She looked up at the thing behind me and said, "Keep him safe, please." And they were gone. I still felt the hands on my shoulders and again I asked, "Who are you?" He whispered in my ear, "You are my name sake and the lord himself sent me to you," I was amazed and asked "Are you an angel?"
The voice replied, "Yes, Mike, I am a messenger of the Lord and only God."
"Can I see you?" I asked.
He replied, "Not at this time, the time will come when you will need me again and you will see me when the Lord deems it's time." His last words to me were, "Never come back to this room as a child for the demon is not gone forever but is just away," and the angel was gone.
I ran out to my dad thinking that many minutes had passed, but he said, "Nothing happening?" I said a lot. I was in there for long time; he replied, "It's only been about three minutes." I began to tell him what happened, then at home had to tell my mom, and many others over the next few weeks. After about five years people forgot about this, but to this day if I go by that building I can see the eyes of the demon in the window.
Last note on this: they have converted these apartments into condos except for this one. It is still empty to this day and they have tried to tear the building down many times. It seems the equipment fails when it gets close to the building and small accidents happen to the workers that enter the apartment.
At the age of 16 I did more research on this and found that the land had belonged to man who owned the lumber mill and a shipping company. Many rumors had floated around in the early 1900's that he had been in league with the devil, why this is known it even made the papers back then. He was a greedy angry man who had more or less bought the daughter of another landowner for a wife, and from what I had found treated her like a piece of property, not a wife. He wanted a son from her but she only had one child, a young girl. This angered him to the point that one day he killed them and disappeared himself. Some people in the town political circle even made note in town journals about thinking he had been taken to hell. The land was sold to the town. I found some old papers with stories about hunting and farm accidents on the property and many years later it was divided into land sites for building. In the 1920s three houses were built around this lot but nothing was ever able to be built on the lot this man had his house on. In the 1960s these houses were torn down and plans to build these apartments was put into action. All went well until this lot, now this where things do not make sense unless you think about the things going on in the 60s such as drugs and protesting. I think the demon planned on getting someone he could control during this time due to the fact that religion and God were not in many of the young people's lives at this time. So the spot this apartment was on would be about where the house was that this man owned and lived in.