Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Appeasing hostility

This pertains to one of the stronger instances of UPG I have had, which involves a very negative experience. This happened a few years ago, and was the singular instance where I have experienced a distinct urge to run and not look back. A bit of background info then. I have always been fairly comfortable around the dead, be it at a funeral or in a cemetery; one of the reasons I have chosen the career I am in us because of my level of comfort. I rather enjoy cemeteries actually, and there are quite a few nice ones scattered around the city I live in. Often times my fiance and I will drive to one and walk around, especially the ones who have older monuments. The long and short of it is that I have never been uncomfortable in a cemetery; never found it weird or creepy.

Now, a few years back I was visiting a mausoleum with my fiance, her uncle had a vault in it, and I was doing perfectly well before we entered. Upon entering the structure however, I became increasingly apprehensive. We climbed the stairs to get to the second floor and I became very uncomfortable. The longer I remained in the building, the more I felt unwelcome, as if some oppressive force was really annoyed with my presence and wanted me to get out. At this point, my fiance had noticed my colour was a little drained and inquired what was wrong. "I need to leave, right now" I replied . "Why?" she asked, "You've never had a problem before". "Something really, really doesn't want me here." I responded, and the feeling was only getting worse. It was at this point that I remembered an article I had read, which was written by a couple of Celtic Recons, appropriately titled: "KILLYOUANDEATYOU: or a well intentioned Celt's guide to non-Celtic bio-regions". At this point, it certainly felt like something wanted to do just that, and I walked as calmly as I could out of the building, and did not stop until he feeling had subsided. Fortunately it did so almost as soon as I was past the threshold. I have not been back to that building since. It was a markedly odd event, but one which makes no sense to me except through the lens of UPG.

And now, my dilemma. This particular mausoleum is fairly new and frequented by an almost exclusively Catholic clientele.  The funeral home I will be working for, is fairly close to it, and is also almost exclusively Catholic's who often favour entombment. Therefore it is exceedingly likely that in the near future I will have to go back to this mausoleum. I am then in need of some method of appeasing or reaching some sort of understanding with the spirit(s) of place, and I am at a loss as to how to go about doing this. It is publicly accessible, so I could fairly easily get in and try to leave an offering, though I am then at a loss with regards to what I should leave. It would be rather helpful if anyone had some suggestions or sources they could direct me to. I've gone through the article I mentioned above, but unfortunately I am (likely) not going to be in a position where leaving "well enough alone" is a possibility open to me.


PS: I wonder if perhaps posting this on the GN mailing list may also elicit some suggestions from those who do not read my blog?


  1. If it's a family vault of your fiance's then I'd wonder if her family's ancestors are maybe looking out for her? As you're not yet married, but have made some sort of formal commitment, they might be interested in you in the sense of accepting you into the fold, as it were. Or perhaps, if they're more traditionally inclined, accepting you as worthy of taking one of their own into your family.

    It may have been a test of your mettle, and in that sense I'd ask your fiance about any particular favourites that her uncle had - a good whisky, good food, that sort of thing, and take them to the vault. (I assume that he's actually there, rather than having reserved a spot for the future, that is). Dairy is a good choice if she's not sure, especially cheese, along with some sort of bread or oatcake. Go with your gut.

    It might take a while to feel comfortable getting as far as the vault. I wouldn't discount other hostile beings, either, testing or otherwise. I'd probably play it cautious and make some general offerings to the spirits of the place, and some offerings to the dearly departed, along with any of your fiance's ancestors who are there to begin with. For such a strong reaction as you had I'd cover all bases - it doesn't hurt to make friends in trying to appease enemies.

    If it's still new, local spirits are often upset and disturbed by a development that's plonked on their land, and they might simply need some listening to and understanding. Often some offerings and some empathy helps show that you aren't directly responsible, or a threat in that sense. Introduce yourself, and see what you feel.

    If you really feel it's beyond offerings and appeasing, some protection might help you. Carrying rowan works in either a Scottish or Irish context, as one example. Whatever you decide, I'd say be confident in it. Bored, hostile or testing, spirits of any stripe can spot weaknesses a mile off...

    Not sure that helps, but either way I think it would be a good topic for the GN list if you want to take it there.

  2. I have no suggestions, but would be very interested to hear about any advice you're given. Fascinating article, by the way. Thank you for sharing it. Your situation would leave me baffled and concerned too, knowing there's a good chance of having to revisit the place.

  3. Perhaps incense, which is used in Catholic ceremonies, and something like local nuts or a traditional product of your area. I assume whatever didn't want you there was probably either a ghost or a local wight.

  4. I spent two nights in a hotel room like that once, many years ago. Whatever was in that room seemed to want to come out of the closet and suffocate me with a white plastic bag as I slept. This woke me up every hour and a half. Nothing I could do magically fixed the problem, either. Whatever was in the closet did not seem to have any sentience whatever, nor even much awareness of me individually, or openness to communication. Like a sociopath, it did not see me as a person, just as a living thing that had to be killed. In retrospect, I should have tried to move to another room.

    When I checked out, I told the desk clerk that I had had two very uncomfortable nights there, and asked whether he (or anyone else in the hotel) knew anything odd about the room I had slept in. He professed ignorance, and said that he and all the staff were fairly new to the building. But as I walked toward the exit, his manager called from the inner office saying to the clerk, "What did he want?" The clerk, thinking I was not paying attention, answered, "He was asking about THAT room."

    The point of my story is a simple one: sometimes a thing of this sort cannot be appeased, talked to, or bargained with.

    I think that whatever was in the closet had no power except to act on my mind at a certain point in my sleep cycle. But that power was enough to give me sleepless nights, leading to exhaustion. I suspect that if I had had to stay there longer and gotten exhausted enough, even this limited power would have been enough for it to cause my death in one way or another.

    Your mausoleum might not be the same class of thing I met with. Or it might be.

    If you can't fix it yourself, ask around. Look through the records and ask the custodian to find out whether anyone else has had the same kind of problem in the building. Has there been a very high rate of turnover in the staff, too? If there is an old-timer there, has he noticed anything -- and can he pinpoint a particular burial that marked the beginning of the problem.

    Also -- some problems of this kind cannot be fixed at all, or cannot be fixed by any magician or spiritual worker you might be able to contact for help.

    Once in a very long while the choice really is stark: leave or die.

  5. Thanks a lot for the input. When I get the opportunity to try some of the suggestions, I'll post about the results.


  6. I look forward to hearing how it all works out. Things like this, though disturbing for the one who has to deal with them, are also really instructive for everyone.

  7. Experiences like that are indeed scary. You have gotten what seems to be sound advice already.

    The one time that I did try to appease a pretty hostile entity was a land spirit that inhabits a local green space. I made two offerings that are usually regarded as appropriate for local land spirits and there was no change in the level of hostility. I try not to take it personally though. ;)

    Best of luck with your situation, and if you ever get a chance to travel to Toronto Canada, check out the Necropolis Cemetery. It is beautiful.