A former spiritualist shares the dangers of opening the door to New Age practices
Freaky supernatural experiences seem like mere fantasy to some but electronics engineer Michael Dahlenburg has experienced some of its nightmarish reality.
Looking back on his multiple experiences of terrifying paralysis, Michael warns against naïvely experimenting with occult practices.
It all started in an online chat room back in 1997, when Michael met a girl who encouraged a curiosity for spiritual things and New Age concepts.
"Over time Jessica (not her real name) revealed she was a spiritualist. She believed we all have a personal guardian and she claimed it could control her hands as she typed," Michael recalls.
After a while, Michael began reading about and experimenting with fortune telling and New Age ideas like astral travel, Ouija boards and remote viewing.
"One time I tried astral travel and it felt like I was being pulled out of my own body and was falling backwards, like you would feel if somebody pushed you off a roof.
"I backed off due to the spinning, sick feeling I had. I never tried it again."
“I (finally) slept well. The terrible experiences completely stopped”Although he had some "foggy" success with another new age practise, after three months everything changed.
"It went from, 'Hey this is fun' to 'Oh no, what have I done!'"
Before sunrise, he was awoken in his bed by "a bad presence and an unnatural overwhelming sense of fear."
This fear, he says, was far more disturbing than the sleep paralysis he had experienced from medication years earlier.
"Closing my eyes, in my mind I repeatedly said, 'Go away'. The force attempted to take control of my body. After 10 minutes of temporary paralysis I regained control. I turned on all the lights but there was nothing in my room."
The visitations continued several times per week.
"I would hear the presence mumbling something I could never make out."
Some nights he recalls being awoken by a bright, white light that would immediately disappear and strange sounds when nothing was there, or "horribly strange nightmares".
"Jessica told me that my 'guardian angel' could help," he remembers, "but nothing worked and the experiences increased."
In desperation, Michael related his experiences to a Christian friend.
"Dude that sounds like a spiritual attack," his friend said. "Tell it to leave in the name of Jesus if it happens again."
"That was the best advice ever," Michael says.
After a few nights, he recalls, "I saw a short wide entity with dark red eyes glaring at me, like they were vortexes that would consume me.
"I closed my eyes and attempted to say, Jesus, but it came out as 'J...' as the force grabbed my throat. In my mind I repeated, 'Jesus, help me'. Eventually the force left," he describes.
"Why did this force try to stop me from saying Jesus's name? There's got to be something in that, I thought. I came out of the night with a glimmer of hope for the first time in several weeks."
A week later the entity tried to paralyse Michael.
"I said, 'In Jesus' name, leave!' Bang, the experience stopped. Wow! I needed to look into this Jesus guy, I thought, so I borrowed resources from my Christian friend."
For a few days the entity intensified its attempts to paralyse Michael, to the point that it became hourly.
"It would start at my feet and up my body, but I said 'In Jesus' name, leave' and every time it would."
A month later Michael decided to submit his whole life to Jesus, and accept God's forgiveness for the wrong things he had done in his life.
"At the end of an online sermon video I joined in the salvation prayer," Michael says.
"An overwhelming sense of peace flooded my body, as if I was standing under a waterfall. I gave thanks to Jesus for literally saving me!
"For the first time in weeks I slept well, totally uninterrupted. The terrible experiences completely stopped. Strangely, Jessica also completely disappeared from the chat room."
Through reading the Bible Michael realised that he had been involved in the occult, and that God is opposed to counterfeit spirituality like witchcraft.
"I threw away or burned the occult items," he says. "I have never looked back."
Michael is now happily married, has three children, and works in the ATM industry in Adelaide. •