20 July 2013

Ghosts Part III

Today's story is related by one of my closest friends.  Comment below or click the contact me link to send me your stories, first person accounts only, please.

"This was my first encounter with something that I could not explain.

First, a bit of background. We were living in Germany: Augsburg, in the state of Bavaria, to be specific. I was assigned to the US Army hospital there, working in the emergency room. The buildings in our kaserne mostly dated back to WWII. Our kaserne had been the base of Luftwaffe flak troops, tasked primarily with protecting the Messerschmitt plant there.
About every six weeks or so, hospital staff of my rank ( E-5 at the time ) were assigned to "Charge of Quarters" ( CQ ) duty, which consisted of spending the night in the foyer of the main barracks building, and doing periodic security checks in that building, the men's barracks, and the adjoining women's barracks. Both were four stories high, and the men's side also included the basement arms room.
 The basement entrance was a heavy, barred jail door, secured with a padlock and chain. An L-shaped stairway led down to the basement, which was a segment of the tunnel system that had once run beneath the whole compound, and was rumored to also connect to tunnels to the other three kasernes in town. The other units in the complex had all sealed off their own segments of the underground passage. Ours was very long, it seemed, and it was lined with sealed-off doors. At the very end of our tunnel was the armored door of our arms room. Taped on it was a log-in sheet, which was to be checked and initialed hourly all through the night.
Going into the tunnel was an unnerving experience. We had no idea what was behind all of the sealed doors, but all too frequently, as the CQ walked down the corridor, the walls on both sides of the passage would start pounding like drums. It would usually continue until the now shaky CQ got back up to the top of the stairs. I never heard the pounding from the main floor unless I had just returned from a security check. It wasn't just me, either; most of us, after a while, decided to risk disciplinary action by signing the sheet for the whole night either at the beginning or end of our shift. This was a real risk, as our First Sergeant at the time, a former Hitler Youth member, had a habit of turning up at odd hours to check on us.
On the fourth floor of the women's barracks, there had been rumors of odd happenings. Several of the women had been awakened in the night by the sensations of someone climbing into bed with them. When they turned their lights on, they were alone. Several women living on that floor had made suicide attempts. ( One of them attacked me with a knife when we went to pick her up in the ambulance. ) Others had seen shadowy apparitions, including a set of disembodied glowing eyes hovering in the air outside the fourth floor windows.
One very cold winter night, I was on CQ, and was making a security check with another soldier, a lab tech. As we ascended the stairs to the fourth floor, we were both pushed backwards down the stairs by something that we could not see. The stairwell lights were on, but whatever pushed us wasn't visible. We made a hasty decision to go to the chapel and discuss the episode further.
As we sat in the chapel and collected ourselves ( somewhat ), we realized that two of our friends and coworkers, who were both working in the E.R. that night, would be going back to their rooms on that floor after their shift ended at 2300. We decided that we had to tell them, and walked across the parking lot to find them.
After they had cleared out some of the patients, we got them away from the others and told them our story. They sat there, expressionless, as we told the tale. They then looked at each other, and simultaneously said, "Thank God - I thought I was going crazy". We then started talking about what to do.
Of the four of us, I was the only non-Catholic, and wasn't really a believer at the time. One of the women had been involved with something similar back in the US, and detailed a procedure for "sealing" the building against evil spirits. It involved going to every entrance that we could find, and reading scripture together while anointing the entrance with Holy Water. Being a good Irish Catholic type, she carried a small bottle of Holy Water in her purse. So, we waited for the shift to end, to go try the process.
By the time they were ready to go, I had managed to talk myself into believing that I had imagined it. As we walked away from the E.R., I was joking and not taking it seriously. When we turned the corner and the women's building came into view, I looked up at the fourth floor windows, and felt an ice-cold bolt of energy hit me in the forehead. I panicked and ran for the chapel. It took all three of them to drag me back and get started.
The next couple of hours were a cross between uneventful and comical, as many staff members with whom we worked were coming back in various states of inebriation. We played it as cool as possible, waiting for people to move on before we went on to the next entrance. It was a long process, working our way up all four floors.
On the fourth floor, there was a large open area, with individual room doors on two sides. After "sealing" all of the doors, I noticed a trap door into the ceiling at the far end. We decided that we should do that one, also.
We read scripture, and my friend with the Holy Water had to flick the bottle up to reach the door. When the water contacted the door, all four of us were knocked onto our backs.
We said nervous goodbyes, and I went back to the CQ room and spent the rest of the night trembling.  I decided to report the incident officially to my Commanding Officer when I was relieved from CQ. I even called my wife and told her that I would probably be in the psychiatric ward later, if she wanted to come see me.
When the CO came in, I told him the story. He sat there, impassively, tapping a pencil on his desk, as I went through my report. After I had finished, he sat for a moment, and said " I know that the First Sergeant refuses to inspect that floor, but won't tell me why. I think I'm going to close that area and move the women to other rooms." I was dismissed.
He was as good as his word. Within the week, the fourth floor was padlocked.
Several years later, I contacted the woman with the Holy Water. She said that she had no memory of the incident. Did she block it out? Did I imagine the whole thing? I don't think so.
I didn't start trying to walk as a proper Christian for several more years, but that night made it abundantly clear to me that the spirit world was real.
As an afterthought, it turned out that all the women who attempted suicide from that floor had been practicing some form of witchcraft in their rooms."

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