We first saw John and Carol's story on the website of Reach Out Trust, the British ministry which helps people emerge from the darkness of the cults.*
John & Carol and their involvement with the Ouija Board: In all of us there is a mental void into which we dump the things that frustrate our logic, a luxury unavailable to those who experience the seemingly unexplainable.
To stumble into a world where reality recedes into insignificance, the impossible becomes the norm, and all you ever believed or disbelieved is turned on its head by an invisible force too powerful to resist, was the nightmare my wife Carol and I were surreptitiously drawn into on Christmas day in 1968. That was the day the seed was planted- we had not even heard of the Ouija board game.
There were about ten people around the dining room table in a neighbour’s house. The letters of the alphabet were arranged in a circle and some of them had their index finger on an upturned wine glass that moved erratically round the circle to the noisy accompaniment of drink lubricated laughter, interspersed with debates about who was and who was not pushing the glass.
The following day, having eaten an oversize dinner together with Carol's father and her younger sister, we decided to have a go at the Oujia board game ourselves. We prepared the table as at the party, adding the words ”yes” and “no” opposite each other. Carol's father wanted no part of it, but her sister was up for it. Fingers on glass we waited for something to happen, but nothing did. Then one of us asked the question "Is anybody there?" A short hesitation, then slowly with our fingers on the board it moved towards “yes”.
Carol's sister screamed and ran from the room. Cyril, her father, laughed. "Don't be daft, it's those two - they are pushing it," he confidently assured her.
"Are you pushing it?" I asked Carol.
"No," she replied, "are you?" "No I am not," I answered truthfully.
We managed to persuade Carol's sister to return to the table. The same question was asked. The glass moved and sister-in-law ran. Wild horses could not have dragged her back in there. Carol and I continued to play the game on our own.
"Right," said Cyril. "Let's see if there really is anybody there." He lit up a cigarette. "You two face away from me and I want that glass to tell me when I put this cigarette to my mouth." With our fingers on the glass, we waited for it to move; then suddenly, taking us both by surprise, it dashed over to "yes". "You must have been looking," said Cyril.
We did the cigarette thing several times. We did not cheat and the glass was right every time. We were now quite convinced that something was there. That is, Carol and I were - Carol's sister was still unhappy about it and Cyril was still sceptical.
The logical next step was to ask the question "Who is there?" The answer stunned us into silence ….."NAN BENNETT".
Carol's grandmother had died about two years previously. Many of Carol's young years were spent living with her at Summercourt in Cornwall, and there was a loving and caring relationship between them.
After recovering from the shock, we returned to the game and asked her the obvious questions. "Where are you now and what is it like?" Carol was comforted to know that she was in heaven and everything was wonderful.
And so it began. We little realised at that time how much we had to learn about the "power that moved the glass".
We were an ordinary couple, with two daughters almost six years and three years of age, a mortgage to pay, and a basket full of the everyday problems common to most young parents. I was working a three-shift system at a Wolverhampton factory. On returning home from the morning shift the day after our first contact with the glass, I was met by a very excited Carol telling me she had been playing the game on her own. “Nan Bennett” had told of things way back in her childhood, things that her mother when told of them was really amazed as to how she knew.
We became well and truly hooked. Every spare moment was spent on the “chat line” to “Nan Bennett”. Then, one evening, totally unexpectedly, the glass told us: "God is listening." This was quite a setback for me. Talking to a deceased grandmother is one thing, but this really was something else. I, an atheist, had been communicating with a dead person for several weeks and despite my hostile stance that there was no life after death, I had not been fazed by this. Why?
Any theories I may have considered were not only dissipated but disintegrated far sooner than I could have imagined. We continued to spend the majority of our spare time talking to “Nan Bennett”, growing accustomed to the fact that “God” was listening, particularly as occasionally “she” would say "God is telling me to ask you a question."
Suddenly one night the glass took on a frightening new personality. "GOD IS HERE," it announced, moving around the nine letters with such ferocity we could scarcely keep our fingers on the glass.
Playtime was now well and truly over! The new “voice” wasted no time in establishing its dominance over the glass, Carol, and myself. "What can you see, Carol?" was spelt out at breakneck speed.
"I can see a figure in a long black cloak," she said.
"And what am I holding?" it asked.
"You are holding a large book with a chain and a bunch of keys hanging from it."
"John's name is in this book," the glass was rapidly spelling out.
Though I cannot recall the exact words used, I was told very emphatically that my afterlife destination was hell. I would have to pay consequences of my lifestyle and my rejection of him. Can you possibly imagine the immediate effect this had on me? The total despair and utter hopelessness? I had been told by “God”, the ultimate and absolute universal Authority (in whom until that moment I did not believe) that my eternity in hell was inescapable.
So began my indescribable nightmare. Even death, the ultimate way out of unbearable human problems was now the entrance into that which I dreaded.
Carol was undergoing a completely different experience. She could do no wrong. Whilst I was relegated to a finger on the glass, she was enjoying out of the body experiences and pleasant, even flirty, conversations with this “God”. I began to have multi-coloured nightmares filled with mocking cartoon characters, making sleep an undesirable thing. Most nights I spent kneeling by the bed asking “God” to forgive me and rub my name out of that book.
About that time he began to do a new thing with us. Through the glass he would ask us a question: "What am I saying?” We then had to listen to our thoughts and answer from the words most dominant in our minds. If we were correct, the glass would swing to "yes", if not it would go to "no, listen again", and so on until we got it right.
We realised only later that we had two levels of thought, our own mental processes and the voice of “God”, with the latter becoming more and more commanding. The structure for confusion and mental instability was being established, but always there was the glass to return to where any confusion could be sorted out.
Then came that incredible night when he said that he had something very important to talk to us about. It concerned a task we would have to undertake for him. He said that the time had now come for his son to be born into the world, and that Carol would have this child.
I have every sympathy with those people who at this moment are thinking, "enough is enough", sensing they are now entering into some figment of a contorted imagination. No one, least of all someone as easily embarrassed as myself, deliberately sets out to court ridicule. All these situations are told exactly as Carol and I experienced them, nothing added or expanded. The opposite is more correct, indeed there are details both intend to keep to ourselves.
I was told I would not be involved in the conception of this child, and Carol herself would not be aware that it had taken place - though on the night of its alleged occurrence “God's” presence was very evident in the room. Carol was told that she would no longer be able to drink alcohol or smoke. Drink was no problem, she did little of that, but smoking was a different matter. For some time she had been trying to give it up but couldn't, until the morning after the “visitation”, she lit up, took one draw that tasted so disgusting that she threw it away and has never smoked since.
If God were to visit you today and tell you that he would pick your lottery numbers for you, how would you feel? Euphoric? You bet! We were told that this child must have the very best upbringing and education money could buy. We obviously were unable to provide this, so “God” would make wealth available to us.
There was no national lottery in those days, and the main hope most working people had of becoming instantly rich was through the football pools. I used to do them regularly until I had the magic eight draws up and could not fit them into the plan. So I gave up on it.
"You obtain a pools coupon," said “God”, "and I will tell you which teams are going to draw on Saturday." “God” may have hated me, and I was certain of going to hell, but boy, my life style was about to change!
I had already decided on the brand new car I would buy. The pools agent at the factory was the Weasel, whose appearance accounted for his nickname. He spent most of his time drinking in a pub called the Eagle, and whenever I saw him the words of a song came to mind, "up and down the city road, in and out of the Eagle, that's the way the money goes - pop goes the weasel!"
So I contacted said Weasel, and arranged for a copy to be dropped off for me. Strangely the promised wealth did little to ease the growing frustrations and anxieties. Dreams were no less frightening, sometimes previewing situations that would occur days later.
One night I was told by the “other voice” that my soul was so filthy it would have to be removed to be cleaned. Unbelievable? Not to me at that time. Immediately I found I could no longer laugh or cry. I had become void of emotion, I felt like a zombie, and that situation was ongoing.
But then another perplexing factor had entered, adding further turmoil to my ever weary brain cells, and it was this: though I had no time for religion, I had in common with most folk a basic knowledge of the Christmas story: how that Mary had a child not conceived through Joseph, that they were not rich, nor to my knowledge did they ever become so. He, the child, was called the Son of God, so why the need for another? And why was it necessary for the child Carol was allegedly carrying to be favoured with the very best that money could buy?
So came the evening when the requested pools coupon was placed on the table with the twenty six letters and “yes” and “no”. There was some conversation between “God” and ourselves prior to the anticipated team selection, concerning what I can't recall. I had my questions demanding to be answered before the team choice business could begin.
I could hold them back no longer! "Where does Jesus Christ fit into all this?" I blurted out. "He was born in a stable and didn't need lots of money."
The glass went absolutely berserk! It tore around the table spelling out "JESUS CHRIST IS A LOST SOUL."
I have no recollection of any further conversation with the “God” of the glass, but indelibly printed on my memory is the terrible anger my question had provoked. The outcome was that the glass would no longer work. “God” was now refusing to talk to us through it. We placed our fingers on it many times, but it was as if it were super-glued to the table.
We were now in a terrifying limbo. The voice of “God” we had been so carefully trained to recognise had not gone away and was becoming inextricably intermingled with our own mental processes. This was the beginning of a very real fear campaign. Conflicting thoughts were being injected into our already confused minds, driving us steadily towards insanity.
To be in a strait between two mental processes, not knowing our own thoughts from those being thrust into it, together with the very real possibility of offending an already offended “God”, was like living in a surreal nightmare, yet knowing always that you were wide awake and the circumstances would not go away.
Lewd and crude thoughts incessantly thrust their way in, the urge to speak foul language constantly having to be held back, obscenities seemed to be everywhere. There was no refuge from them.
I believed I was being told he was going to make me blind - but was it his voice or a fear from my own thoughts? I had no way of checking now; the means of communication was dead. There were so many dreadful possibilities swirling around in my whirlpool of a brain.
At work there was the phenomenon of the office entrance. The door between it and the workshop housing noisy equipment was never shut. I had grown accustomed to the fact that when someone came in the sound was temporarily deadened and I normally knew without looking round that someone had come in. But at that time I would hear the same reduction in sound but no-one would be there. It didn't seem to bother me too much, as so many other thoughts were demanding my attention.
I envied everyone else. They were not living this nightmare, they had normal lives. Yet somehow, despite the distractions going on in my head, I still went to work and carried out my normal duties, though how I shall never know.
Carol meanwhile was experiencing mental torments similar though not identical to mine. Nightmares were increasing in intensity, many night hours were spent praying and pleading for each other and the two girls. Our short periods of sleep provided little respite from our awful circumstances.
“God” would tell us he was still in the house and we would hear footsteps and stairs creaking as he made his presence known. One night as we lay sleepless, he told us that our eldest daughter would cry out and we would not be able to go to her. Sure enough, a little later we heard her frightened cry, not once but several times, and as he had said, we were physically unable to move. She still remembers the night the “tar baby” as she called it climbed on to the bottom of her bed. How terrible that she endured that, and how guilty we felt that we were unable to go and comfort her.
Our two daughters, the house, our appearance, everything was being neglected, so wrapped up were we in our involvement with the “God” of the glass. It was now not only I that was lost and destined for hell, but as the proposed “son” was no longer relevant, Carol was now under the same condemnation.
Somewhere in the house there was a Bible; maybe if I found it and read it “God” might speak to me through it. Apparently it's not a good idea to open up a Bible at random and expect to get only what you want to hear, but I knew nothing of that.
After a bit of a rummage I found it and opened it up randomly, and read in Job chapter 23 "Even today is my complaint bitter, my stroke is heavier than my groaning. Oh, that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat. I would order my cause before him and fill my mouth with arguments.
I would know the words which he would answer me and understand what he would say to me." Verse 8 goes on to say: "Behold I go forward, but he is not there: and backward, but I cannot perceive him, on the left hand where he doth work, but I cannot behold him, he hideth himself on the right hand that I cannot see him."
All so incredibly uncannily relevant, yet I found no comfort in those words. They spoke only of my desperate search to establish contact with “God”. If I had taken notice of what verse 10 says: "But he knows the way that I take: when he hath tried me I shall come forth as gold," I might have glimpsed some light. But I was too deep into misery and wretchedness to accommodate uplifting thoughts.
We could no longer go on like this. Something had to be done, but what? We discussed it and realised that this was a problem no medical practitioner could deal with. What if we went to church, God,s house? That might help.
The following Sunday morning, as we had resolved, we went to a church. I am unable to remember anything about the service because for the whole time we could only feel the cold draught of “God’s” presence. Going to church offered no cure for our dilemma. The night of 13th/14th February, 1969, was so dreadful that we had no option other than to speak to a minister of the church.
The next morning, without an appointment, we knocked on the manse door of the local Methodist minister. Rev. Alan Fisher answered, said he had someone with him and would we mind waiting a while? As we sat in our van (incidentally the road tax was out of date - something else we had neglected) Carol said "let's go, I don't think there is any point in speaking to him," but I insisted we go through with it.
A couple of eternities later the manse door opened, someone came out and Rev. Fisher beckoned us in. For two hours we opened up, during which time Mary, his wife who had been out, came into the room and they both just listened. So amazed was Mary with what she was hearing that she burned their fish fingers to a cinder!
I had to terminate the visit at 1.30pm as I was due on shift at 2.00pm. Rev. Fisher had a brief word of prayer before we left and promised he would call in on Carol later that afternoon.
At work I did something completely out of character. I arrived fifteen minutes late and instead of clocking on as normal, I sneaked into my department without doing so. I was in charge of a building with seven other men, separate from the main factory where we carried out timed chemical processes, in rotation over three floor levels. Timing was paramount. If anything went wrong, chaos could ensue, and that morning something had gone wrong, and I walked into a complicated reorganising situation that it was my job to sort out.
It was the straw that broke the camel's back. My already tormented mind went into overdrive. Sorting out the mess, something I had done several times before with no great difficulty was now nigh on impossible. I could not even apply myself to it.The foreman came over thinking he would be doing my job, as there was no record of me having clocked in, and amazed at seeing me there, he proceeded to give me a well deserved ticking off, then left me to it.
A few nights earlier I had had a dream that I was in a very tall building being told by someone in a very stern way "to pull myself together." Later that evening I was in a confused state, in a building where great tall tanks of chemicals were stored - also an area of my responsibility. The chaos in my department was still not sorted out and the foreman, a very angry man by now, found me in that place. He not only told me "to pull myself together," but to report to the factory nurse immediately. It was then around 8 pm.
When you are actually in such a condition as I was at that time, you are not really aware of other people's assessment of you. The confusion is there, very real within yourself, but you believe your observable behaviour to be normal. A very short interview with the nurse obviously convinced her of my urgent need of medical intervention. She remonstrated with me concerning my ability to drive home safely and insisted that I see my doctor the very next morning. In fact she somehow arranged an appointment for early that Saturday.
Arriving home from work I found Carol more at ease. Rev. Fisher had visited as promised and that had helped her greatly, but for me things were far from good. I desperately needed to go to the manse. In that house there was a peace that was almost touchable.
As I sat later in their living room, I felt a modicum of normality was returning, and the calm that radiated from them both spoke to me of a possibility that there may yet be a way out of our situation.
The telephone rang. It was Carol phoning from our next door neighbour's house, as we did not have a phone. "She wants you to go home right away," said Rev. Fisher, "she sounds very frightened. I will follow on after you."
How things had changed. Only 52 days earlier I was a confirmed atheist, always ready to ridicule the church, and now it seems our only real hope of escaping from this nightmare could be through a minister of the church, though how he could bring it about I really did not have a clue.
I found Carol in an agitated condition. She was experiencing an intense cold presence in the room and was afraid the “god” that controlled us would appear as he had on a previous occasion. Rev. Fisher arrived only minutes after me. We sat down and he quietly explained to us the true nature of God, and how he loved us so much that he gave his only son, Jesus Christ, to die in our place, a substitute sacrifice for our sin, so that through him we had a way back to God.
He spoke of the “god” of the glass and said he was not able to tell us earlier as it could have added to our confused condition, but that he who claimed to be God was actually a spirit the Bible calls the devil.
I was not completely naïve and had for a while begun to doubt that the regime of fear imposed on Carol and myself was compatible with any God I had heard of. Now things were becoming clearer, but how could our release come about? Could God, the real God, ever forgive people like us?
The Rev. Fisher told us of a painting by Holman Hunt, a picture of Jesus standing knocking at a door that had no handle on the outside. He pointed us to a verse in the book of Revelation that said "Behold I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and sup with him." Rev. Fisher explained that the door is the door of our hearts and if we want Jesus to come in and save us, the handle is on the inside and we have to open it. He will not push His way in.
We then knelt down and prayed as Rev. Fisher directed, confessing to God our sinful condition, claiming forgiveness in Jesus name, and asked him into our lives. It seemed such a simple thing to do, but the peace and calmness of mind that immediately embraced us was undeniable. We had no real understanding of the miracle transaction that had taken place, but we did know that we both enjoyed a peaceful night's sleep - the first for weeks.
The next morning, as ordered by the factory nurse, I attended my doctor's appointment and was amazed that he already knew so much about my condition. The nurse had obviously briefed him. I felt that the interview went well, however the doctor was not impressed. He prescribed sedatives and made another appointment for first thing on Monday morning. He also apparently contacted Rev. and Mrs. Fisher to see if they were able to help me. (Mary Fisher was a health visitor working out of the practice). Otherwise he would have to commit me for psychiatric treatment.
Later that Saturday morning Rev. Fisher collected me from home and took me to a post office to tax my van, but it was closed. On the way home he called in at a local hospital to visit a member of his congregation and asked if I would mind waiting in the car. While he was away the familiar voice in my mind whispered: "Do you really believe that God will forgive you?"
Rev. Fisher returned, and before starting away he said that he had just been talking to a lady who was very near to death and she knew it. He said she told him there were many things she did not understand about spiritual matters, but soon she would be with the One that would provide all the answers. I doubt that I will ever know how that impacted my thought processes, but by the time we had travelled the few miles to my house, it seemed as if a dark cloud had been lifted from my mind.
I left the car and floated into the house on the euphoria of the newly liberated. I was lost in that unrepeatable moment so perceptively penned by Charles Wesley in his hymn:
Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night.
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth and followed thee.
Seeing my face in a mirror eventually brought me down to earth. I was grey faced and gaunt, my eyes red rimmed and bloodshot through so many sleepless nights crying for help from the imposter god. My lips were dry and sore. I had been biting them raw. I went out and bought some eye bath and lip ointment. I had a new determination and a resolve that on my Monday visit to the doctor, not only my appearance, but my whole demeanour would be changed. I would also return to him the sedatives unopened. I knew I would have no need of them.
Later that day Carol and I were returning from a family visit to my parents when we both stopped walking and looked at each other. At precisely the same instant we had heard that familiar voice saying, "So you think you have escaped?" We travelled home by bus and Carol had a most weird experience - I only have a vague recollection of this. She saw the same man get on the bus at several stops along the route. She did not see him get off, but he was always ahead of us waiting to get on.
We agreed that we needed to make a meaningful and practical act of total separation from that which had so nearly wrecked our lives. I don't know what our neighbours may have thought, but when we arrived home we went through all our cupboards and smashed every wineglass, tumbler or any other glass we may have used in our conversations with the spirit who called himself god.
The next day, Sunday, Rev. Fisher came to see us and felt that our house was very cold, unnaturally so, and Carol felt the recognisable presence of the familiar spirit. Rev. Fisher rebuked it in the name and power of the Lord Jesus Christ, commanding it to leave, and its departure was evident.
He took Carol back with him to the manse, where she spent the afternoon and evening in fellowship with Mary Fisher, whilst her husband was out ministering. I kept my doctor's appointment the following morning, and the work the Lord had done in me in one and a half days must surely have surprised him. I was aware that not only was my appearance more presentable, but that my mind had been repaired.
I returned the sedatives to him unopened as I had determined to do, and he was content that I needed no further consultation. On returning to work my work mates could not understand the change that had taken place in me. They reckoned it must be the effect my “mental breakdown” had brought about.
I was no longer cementing my words together with strong language, and I carefully avoided the huddles exchanging crude jokes. It wasn't a case of "I'm a Christian now, better not get involved in this," I had a completely new mindset. My whole way of thinking had been turned on its head. To them I had now become “Johnny Jesus”, “John the Baptist” or “that religious nutter”.
Every time we met with Alan and Mary Fisher we inundated them with pages of pre-prepared questions; there was so much we did not understand. Life suddenly became filled with things to do. We were invited to speak at all kinds of Christian meetings across the denominations, from Sunday services to Student Union gatherings.
We became involved in our local church. For years our house was not our own. Apart from the young people's nightly visits we had a Bible Study and an outreach work held at our house. We both taught at the morning Sunday school on our estate that Rev. Fisher had pioneered. I also had a class in the afternoon at a Methodist church we both attended, and with Sunday afternoon services in local hospitals and homes for the aged, evangelical work and involvement in the setting up of a church on our estate, we had little time for ourselves.
Carol was recognised as a gifted speaker, and was frequently ministering in various churches. I was on trial as a local methodist preacher… the list goes on. The Lord had completely transformed our lives and we would not have it any other way.
Many people, particularly the young, shared stories of their encounters with the “moving glass”. To some it was frightening, but to the majority it was nothing other than an amusing pastime. Most had no interest in understanding the power that caused the glass to move and to ask and answer questions intelligently. For myself, having been deceived and tormented by the invisible force that demonstrated its ability to communicate through a clear manufactured inanimate object, this was a puzzle I needed to investigate further.
So who? The devil! Is it?
I am convinced that the “Nan Bennett” character and the subsequent “God” personality were one and the same. The first being eased its way into our confidence by the deceitfully assuming the identity of a familiar, well loved family member. "God is listening" was a further clever ploy to prepare us for the “God” character, which in itself was another assumed title, hiding the true identity of our contact.
This enigmatic invisible force asks and answers questions, considers circumstances, deceives, dominates, employs mind games and is in every way more than a match for any human intelligence. His power is not contained within the glass, indeed the manufactured Ouija board does not employ a glass as such. The alphabet circle, “yes “ and “no” hold no mystic power. They are all simply the means of communication.
So what does move the glass? Is there some hitherto untapped power in human minds allied to the body's electrical energies that motivates it, thus in some way making the “players” the activators? If that is the case, why should Carol and I be transmitting thoughts detrimental to ourselves? And why was it that when we so desperately wanted it to move, to answer our mind-confusing questions, it refused to do so? If it were that the glass moved in relation to our own thought patterns, it would surely have only told us of that which we considered good for us.
"It could be some form of influence," someone has said. What exactly do they mean by that, I ask myself? It has shown itself to have an intelligence, therefore it is an intelligent influence , and a free thinking intelligent influence must emanate from a life form of some sort, albeit spiritual - but that concept is illogical.
Some think the glass is moved in some way by static electricity. That being so, it also would need to be linked to the intelligence it displayed, and indeed be inseparable from it.
The old accusation that someone is pushing the glass falls at the first hurdle, as Carol and I and many others have seen it move on its own.
Can it actually be that the dead are contacted through the various spiritist methods? Was it indeed Carol's grandmother that we were actually speaking to? She was supposedly in heaven, so how is it that the “god” that was with her and subsequently took over the conversations showed himself to be a liar, deceiver, and a purveyor of fear, with a strong aversion to the name of Jesus Christ?
Would the God of the Bible who inhabits heaven be so abusive to His own Son? Remember what “god” said when I questioned him about that name: "Jesus Christ is a lost soul." The pseudo “god” most certainly does not inhabit heaven.
The Bible teaches that those who claim to be able to speak to the dead are an abomination to God. Read Deuteronomy chapter 18, verses 9-12. The true nature of the personality we invite into our lives is, to those of us who have done it, totally unknown. Yet out of blind curiosity, many people foolishly continue to do it.
The common factor in all involvements we have encountered is that it introduces itself as a deceased friend or well loved family member. It confirms its bogus authenticity by giving details easily recognisable, often quite private, a personal nickname, or similar. Carol’s “grandmother” employed the idiosyncrasies of her Cornish accent.
This being then ingratiates itself into our confidence with his relaxed familiarity. He has the ability to infiltrate our minds. You recall he deliberately taught us to listen for and recognise his “voice”, a weapon later used against us to great advantage. I feel it's not unreasonable to assume that the ability to speak into our minds during our waking hours would have been carried on into our sleep, so enabling him to torment us with those multi-coloured nightmares, always mocking and accusing.
He had knowledge of the scriptures and wanted to be recognised as God. He took pleasure in inflicting upon us adverse emotions. He amplified and emphasised our sense of guilt, and despite numerous long tear-filled prayers of repentance, offered no hope whatsoever of forgiveness and reconciliation. This is all In total contrast to the God of the Bible who says "that He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
When refusing to move the glass during our last two way conversation with him, he knowingly left us in a dangerously unstable, confused condition and had it not been that we were led (as I really believe we were) to contact a Christian couple in Alan and Mary Fisher, who understood the underlying problem and the answer to it, our story to date would have been so much different.
Psychiatric remedies had no chance of digging out the root of the problem. They may have stabilised us and so calloused over it, thus turning us over the years into burned out schizophrenics.
Without doubt the most significant clue to the identity of the glass-moving power, was the way he reacted at the mere mention of the name of Jesus Christ. So who is it? It is an obvious conclusion, you may think, for Bible believers to consider him to be the devil.
To most people he is a pantomime figure, usually in red tights with horns on his head, always playfully tempting us to do wrong, who inhabits some fiery place of torture or carnal pleasure where deviants go when they die. In reality he is not the least bit amusing or virtuous. He delights to be misunderstood and propagates this image of himself, so unbelievable, so laughable that it furthers his objective of denying his own existence.
So what does the Bible say about him that points to him as the number one suspect, not only as the invisible power behind the mystery of the glass, but of many other well documented phenomena? Many folklore misconceptions have evolved over the years giving this character a mythological status.
Most speak of him as “the devil' singular, but in the scriptures Jesus often talks of devils. John in the book of Revelation records that Satan was cast out of heaven and his angels with him (Revelation 12: 9). He called himself God, and indeed this Satan or Lucifer had desires to be equal with God. In 2 Corinthians 4, v3-4 Paul writes of him as the god of this world. He is also referred to as the prince of this world in John's gospel (John 14: 30) and as the prince of the power of the air in Ephesians chapter 2, v2.
He operates within a dimension our finite minds are totally unable to comprehend, almost as if he and his followers inhabit our atmosphere. These are the devils, demons, whatever, one of which Carol and I unfortunately contacted that Boxing Day afternoon.
The world for the most part is oblivious of it, but there is a tremendous battle going on for the minds of us all. How, you may ask, can spirits pretending to be our dead relatives or friends, speaking through a glass or a medium, turn people's minds away from spiritual things? Surely the opposite is more the case? The answer to that is simple. Every allegedly dead person contacted in this manner is in a good place, usually heaven. They may speak of problems left behind, but all are in some form of paradise.
In one clever move the work of Jesus on the cross is seen as unnecessary, if all go to heaven. There is no judgment to face, and no substitute sacrifice is needed, an environment of false security is propagated and the need for repentance and forgiveness becomes null and void. Jesus tells us of the devil snatching away the word of God (parable of the sower in Mark 4: 13-15), and in Ephesians chapter 6 Paul states clearly that "we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
People enthuse about the possibility of aliens and of life on other planets, when living here invisibly among us, is this degenerate spiritual life form, whose sole purpose is to wreck and destroy, not only individual lives, but the whole fabric of the society God originally intended for mankind.
The aliens are already here! And so certain are they that they have blinded our eyes to their existence that they can openly toy with us. They are more than adequately equipped to deceive both individuals and nations. They are the male voice coming from the female spiritist medium, the information provider for the past life regressionist, the mover of objects we call poltergeist, the apparition we call ghost, the occult power of the witch doctor, the intelligence behind the Ouija board, and so much more.
The complexity and diversity of guises used to deceive our understanding of the true nature of Almighty God are truly awesome, particularly in many of the world's more primitive societies. We in the West have adopted an acceptance of certain types of spiritism, witchcraft, and even Satanism is considered benign. "It doesn't affect me, so let them get on with it, no real harm done," we say.
The force that moves the glass is more than capable of throwing things around a room. The imposter “god” who materialised to Carol is equally able to appear to others as a ghost. The intelligence that asked and answered our questions would have no problem deceiving a receptive audience eager to communicate with their deceased loved ones, and the voice that infiltrated our thoughts so easily has unlimited scope for wickedness on an unthinkable scale.
Why did this enigmatic intelligence display its anger, shout abuse about Jesus Christ, then run, refusing to be contacted through the glass again, when in fact at that time he had us both in the palm of his hand? The simple answer is that he was afraid. The very name of Jesus Christ strikes fear into unclean spirits, and by that reaction he inadvertently declared who he is - the spirit of anti-Christ.
There is a scripture (1 John3: 8 ) that states "for this purpose Christ was revealed, to destroy all the works of the evil one." The unclean spirits know Him and are justifiably afraid of Him.
Paul, in his letter to the church at Ephesus, spoke of the power given to Jesus, when God raised Him from the dead, "that He is far above all principalities and powers, and might and dominion, and every name that is named, in this world and also in that to come." (Ephesians1: 19 -21). The four gospels have many instances of Jesus casting out and rebuking devils. His power over them is unquestionable, and they are aware that they are fast running out of time.
The son that he told Carol and myself was needed to be born into the world was more than a deceit perpetrated on two gullible individuals; it has a biblical parallel. There is fast approaching a day, indelibly written into scripture, when this demonic spirit will be seen embodied in a man.
Some years after our encounter with the devil, a film was made called “Rosemary's Baby”, on this very subject. Even as I write this, I have in front of me a page of television advertisements headed “devil's child” called “Hex”, which tells of a woman who tries to destroy her demon love-child, whose birth has released a group of fallen angels bent on killing mortals.
Then there is " The Omen" - all fiction? I wonder just where the inspiration comes from to write this stuff. As I said, he is confident enough of people's disbelief in his actual existence that he can toy with us. And most of us suck it up like sponges, unaware of the deep under-lying sinister implications.
I am convinced that the mover of the glass is none other than a demonic spirit. They alone are the correct shape to fit into the universal jigsaw puzzle, and indeed if the devil has shown himself to be a reality and the Bible account of him is true, then obviously God is and so is His Son Jesus Christ.
It seems that the devil over-reached himself, allowing Carol and myself to become very much aware of the spiritual dimension around us, that is around all of us! We are told in the Bible that God has made us in His image, and that is seen in many ways. But there is an important truth here that Satan has seen fit to attack in order to further dilute a precious truth, and it is this: God in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So likewise he made us body, soul, and spirit, and it is that part of us that cannot die that is so much neglected: the spirit.
The Bible is in no way uncertain about it. When Paul was signing off his letter to the Christians at Thessalonica, he said: "I pray God your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved…" When Mary, the mother of Jesus, was rejoicing with the mother of John the Baptist about her pregnancy with Jesus, she said: "My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour."
When Stephen was being stoned, he called out to God "to receive my spirit", and in his first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul posed the question: "What man knows the things of man save the spirit of man which is in him? A little later he encourages them "to glorify God in their bodies and in their spirits which are God's…" And finally another quote from the Old Testament. In Ecclesiastes, "then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God who gave it."
Like it or not, believe it or not, we are more than just flesh and blood. We all have a spirit and that spirit cannot die, and where our spirit spends eternity is entirely in our own hands.
The most fear-filled facet of my involvement with the “god” of the glass was to be told that I was irretrievably lost to an eternity in hell. I now know this was a false god, an imposter, but I am also now aware that Almighty God, the maker and creator of all things, is the God of light of love and of truth, and that all good things emanate from him.
To step out into an eternity that is black and loveless, having been told by the Lord himself "Go away from me; I never knew you", would be too dreadful to contemplate. We cannot know what hell is. It could be a place or a condition, but of this I am sure, if it is an eternal separation from the very source of all life and light with absolutely no hope of reconciliation, then we, all of us, need urgently to do whatever it takes to avoid that condemnation.
Jesus said of Himself: "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Me." He also said, "Those that are not for us are against us." There is no fence to sit on!
It is extremely unlikely that many will ever get entangled in the sort of traumatic spiritist net that ensnared Carol and myself, but invisibly, inaudibly and imperceptibly, the battle for the ownership of every human spirit continues.
I am now in no doubt whatsoever that there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun, and the choice of your eternal habitation is yours and yours alone. Frankly, if someone had come to me in the days of my atheism with a story such as ours, I would have been looking over their shoulders for the men in white coats. "It was made easy for you to believe," some have said, and I can see where they are coming from, but I can assure you, being saved from the edge of insanity was in no way easy.
Fifty-two days was all that was needed to turn an ordinary young couple, innocently dabbling in that which they did not recognise as occult, into that which confronted Alan and Mary Fisher on February 14th, 1969.
When we had recovered from the effects of our ordeal, Carol and I were amazed, not only by the number of people who said they had played Oujia board, but that a top toy manufacturer was still producing and selling it world wide. Despite being made aware of its effects on some of the “players”, they saw it as a harmless game and refused to withdraw it from sale. Despite their protestations that it is innocent, the bottom line is that it is a do it yourself séance, no different in any way to those conducted by spiritist mediums, yet freely available to anyone, children included.
Interest in the occult has not gone away. In fact the opposite is true. Many TV programmes are dedicated to the various manifestations of it. What really amazes me is that folk will experience unexplainable psychic phenomena, be unshakeable in their belief in that which they have witnessed, be convinced they have communicated with the dead, practice witchcraft or Satanism, be in awe of the powers of witch doctors in primitive societies, be terrified by poltergeist activity and ghostly apparitions, all of them pointing clearly at the spirit activity that is around us - and yet deny out of hand the existence of Almighty God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Jesus was amazed at people's unbelief (Mark 6:6). I now know what He meant. He told the story of two men who, having died, found themselves in different places. The one was happy and content with his lot; the other was in extreme discomfort. The one in misery asked if he might return to warn his brothers of that place, so they could change their lives and so avoid it. Jesus replied: "Though one should return from the dead, yet still they will not believe."
When our spiritual encounter first became known, there was some publicity given to it based on an outline of the experience: a Christian newspaper article, a brief chapter in a book, and an A4 sheet warning of the dangers of dabbling in the occult. But for some time I have felt the need to put together a more full account.
Spiritism in its various forms is increasingly gripping the minds of many by its mysterious magnetism. Carol and I hope that the reading of this account and analysis of the evil forces behind them all will reverse the polarity, break bondages and draw people into an eternal relationship with the one true God through His Son Jesus Christ, who in our darkest hour rescued us, has kept us, and will keep us in a sure and certain knowledge that one day we shall meet Him face to face…
"For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians1: 13-14)
Carol and John Cockerill - March 2008
Click on www.reachouttrust.org to find out more.