Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Exorcism of Caffeine Sparks

The events unfolding on the screen were eerily familiar. Emily Rose was on her bed when her bedsheets were slowly pulled off from her and her gradual demonic possession began.

I was 17 or 18 when something similar happened to me. I was fast asleep on my bed, in the sanctuary of my own room when the sensation of my sheets being pulled down woke me up. I've always been a light sleeper, given that I'm not unduly tired, and so I awoke with a start. Blind in the darkness, my body was frozen for what must've been a few seconds that seemed to last forever.

My brain was processing what had just happened while my body was locked immobile. What to do, what do? The lights. A few interminable seconds of forcing my muscles to work. Hit the lights! A surge of energy propelled my body up and my hand blindly searched for the switch a few feet above my bed. I looked around my bed, my empty room. No one. Nothing. A surge of fear threatened to engulf me and I debated what to do. It was tempting to sit still, in shock and inexplicable horror. But I chose otherwise. At the top of my voice, for what must've been a few minutes, I screamed all the expletives I knew. "Putang ina mo, sige subukan mong lumapit. Sige subukan mo!" Over and over and over. It was silly, and my voice was echoing in an empty room but at the time it seemed the logical thing to do. Nothing happened, and I sat still for 20 or 30 minutes staring at my TV, the light, my closet, the walls. Nothing.

How I could have fallen back to sleep, I don't know. And for the next month or so, I'd chosen to sleep in my parents' room. Even then I'd woken a dozen times or so to the sensation of cold climbing up my legs. I'd forgotten how I mustered the courage to move back into my own room after that. Prayers, crosses, holy water and the rosary I suppose. I haven't been able to sleep with no light on since then.

I've always been "sensitive," prone to hearing things since I was a child. But getting older has its benefits because as one gains knowledge then everything has a rational explanation. I might've jerked unknowlingly and the motion of my legs could've shoved my sheets. The consequent cold visiting me at night may have been the product of my own mind. Lots of rational explanations. My UP education has since taught me to view the Church and its teachings with suspicion. Religion is a construct, created to control human behavior with a series of complex rules. God is relative and so the devil must be too. If I hear or feel some things at times my mind immediately shuts them out. I've exorcised those kinds demons, and these days, I am only left with entirely human ones.

Edited to add:

God, the devil, or the innermost recesses of my brain must have a really sick sense of humor. As if to make a point I got a grand total of an hour's worth of sleep last night.

After having written this article, I decided not to chance it so I slept in my brother's room (thankfully he was out carousing) right across my mom's. At about 12 midnight, after not even so much as a wink, I transferred to my mom's bed. She woke, blinked at me, but said nothing. She said nothing even after I'd shifted for what must've been a few dozen times trying to sleep.

But I couldn't. Images in the movie, and my own experiences kept haunting me. I found I couldn't catch my breath at times. 12:30, 1:00, 1:30. The clock kept ticking. At around 2:15, half asleep and half awake, I smelled something burning. To know the significance of this, you've got to watch the movie. Anyway, to make sure I hadn't finally succumbed to my own personal hysteria, I woke my mom. I asked her if she smelled something burning. Thankfully, she did too. We looked around to check but the odor was coming from outside the window, so we went back to bed.

At this point, I expected the bed to start swallowing me or experience the same paroxysms as Emily Rose. As 3:00 (again you had to have seen the movie) slowly creeped, I turned on my side, away from the clock. After what I judged was 30 minutes, I looked back at the clock and saw it didn't freeze at 3:00. Thank God. The Devil didn't come get me. I finally fell asleep at 4:30 and woke at 5:30 with my drool on the pillow.

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