Updated: Nov 21, 2020
By Gabriella Greenhill
Disclaimer: all the events in this article are of my personal experience.
Trigger warning: mentions of sexual assault and mental health.
Image via rookiemag.com
Regardless of the situation, I feel as though we all have had something loom over us in life. Whether it be emotions, school, late loved ones, friends, family, or reality, we all have experienced in different ways how life can be difficult.
Late strangers were always looming over me. I felt their presence as I walked through the halls in my house, went to the bathroom, or when I tried to fall asleep.
I always felt as if I was being watched and that no matter how alone I felt in a room, I actually wasn’t.
I lived in a cramped, seven person household and when it came to falling asleep, that became the most difficult task of my days. I don’t think any 18yr old wants to remember their time spent in their childhood home as a period in which they feared sleeping. At the peak of my somniphobia, my college dorm moving date had arrived.
It was 11pm on Monday, August 24th 2020. I had just finished having a small, socially distanced, masked up party with the freshman in my dorm and as I went to close my door, the air shifted.
The presence I felt in my childhood home was here. It was them but something else too, something more heightened and giving me more reason to fear it.
Not knowing what to do, I frantically called my twin brother in hopes that he could keep me company and distract me from this presence I couldn't seem to escape.
About an hour had passed and just when I was forgetting the reason for why I had called my brother, two loud and abrasive bangs pounded on the connecting wall in my dorm. Being that we are living in a pandemic, my dorm changed from a four person suite into a single. There were two bedrooms in my dorm. I slept in bedroom A, and the loud, abrasive bangs came from locked bedroom B.
I quickly slapped on my sandals and ran to the elevators. I could not stay in my dorm, not with this presence.
The elevators opened to the dormitory’s main lobby and I told my crazed story to the doubtful security guards. After practically begging them for 30 minutes, a maintenance man came to open locked bedroom B. He kept reassuring me that no one could get in the building and especially not to the 11th floor, but that’s not why I was urging him to open the door. I wasn’t looking for some deranged person stalking me in locked bedroom B, I was wanting the door to be open so I could walk inside and see if I could feel the presence. I wanted to see if they would reveal themselves to me like they have in the past.
But nothing. No shadow figure this time.
3rd day into college and after informing my witch friend about the abrasive spirit, research commenced. We wanted to know what we were dealing with before we talked with it.
All our research had pointed to a possible Indigenous spirit as we live on sacred land.
With burning sage, turning off the lights, lighting candles, and forming a salt circle done, we were ready to talk with the spirit in my room. Not with an Ouija board, but instead with a pendulum. My friend and I asked the spirit to identify what motions resembled the answer “yes” and “no.”
She was no Indigenous spirit. Although we couldn’t figure out her name through yes and no questions, we were able to find out that she was a woman who went to my college and is hiding in locked room B from her abuser who’s still in the building. A few more questions in, and she exposed to me that the presence in my childhood home was no figment of my imagination. There very much was a spirit attached to me, but it was no loved one. Instead it was a stranger who seemed to latch onto my warm spirit at a young age.
Weeks in a pandemic feel like days. Time seemed to be nonexistent as I pondered the information I processed through that session. How was I to help this spirit cross over and why me? Why me, to have 1104 as my dorm? Why me, do I attract spirits? And in the midst of questioning my position in the path life is taking me through, dark memories resurfaced.
Finally being alone and having a space to my own meant that I was finally alone with my brain. With my thoughts. Things were to be different now. I had no one to distract me from the thoughts I always avoided. Incidents of sexual assault involving friends, past love interests, and others raced through my mind. I was finally alone to process everything and I knew this was my brain's way of finally letting me know I was strong enough to handle these repressed memories.
Alone and hysterical in my dorm, she called out to me. Three light knocks were pounded on my wall, seemingly signaling that just as I was there for her, she was now there for me.
Weeks of therapy, mood swings, crying sessions, and unhealthy eating patterns later, I finally was seeing progress. I’ve always loved myself, but sometimes self love isn’t always enough to get you through the trauma others have inflicted on you. I began to realize that my lack of a response to my sexual assaults weren’t because I didn’t care, but because it was a testament to my strong character. I know she didn’t exactly push me to seek a therapist, but those 3 knocks did. Something about her lightly knocking meant the world to me. In a time when I couldn’t recognize myself and when my happy childhood was depleting, those knocks brought me back to reality. I remembered thinking, “Three more knocks and I’ll seek a therapist” and three more knocks came.
With how close we have gotten, my friend and I thought it was best we communicated with her once more. It was 7:30pm on Wednesday, October 28th 2020 and earlier in the week, my therapist suggested I talk with a medium to help the spirit in my room “cross-over” after confessing to her all my paranormal experiences. Completing the same routine as last time, my friend and I were ready to see what she had to say.
Does it come to any surprise that she was eager to have a medium come and rescue her from locked bedroom B? She confirmed my particular questions about if those strands of hair stuck in the corners of our dorm were hers, and if she had passed away in the last 5 years. With each talk we learn more and more and grow closer.
My friend and I plan to help her cross over ourselves, per her request, as I’ve told her that obtaining a medium with a broke city college student's budget was not possible.
Although I don’t physically know her, I still know her. She has crossed my path in life and I’ve grown to love her soul, regardless if she intentionally turns off my wifi. I intend to help her cross-over no matter what.
Perhaps most things that loom over us aren’t as scary as we perceive them to be. However, life in a pandemic may just be the looming scary expectation. If you are struggling whether it be mentally, or physically, or if you know someone who is, here is a list of resources/tips to check out. Listed I have specific ways on how to go about finding a therapist and hotlines/websites to check out if you are struggling with sexual assault or if you just need someone to talk too. You’re not alone.
Written by writer Gabriella Greenhill
If applicable, go onto your insurances website and contact the lists of therapists that best match what you are looking for
If you are in school, check to see if your school offers free counseling. You can also go about talking to a guidance counselor or confiding in any teacher to seek information about counseling.
Crisis Text Line: You can contact this hotline about sexual assault but they will also respond to any of your other struggles
Text HOME to Number: 741741 (US & Canada), 85258 (UK), 50808 (Ireland)
National Sexual Assault Hotline:
Number to call: 800.656.HOPE (4673)
National Domestic Abuse Hotline:
Text LOVEIS to Number: 22522
Number to call: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
Website: https://www.thehotline.org/ where there are more resources and even an option to chat with them via their website
My Sister’s Place:
Number to call: 1-800-298-7233 (SAFE)
National Suicide Hotline:
Number to call: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)
Website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/ here is a direct link that will take you to their chat feature if you don’t wish to talk to a counselor over the phone.