It’s a fact that when our bodies become depleted of vital energies and essential vitamins and minerals we fall sick – it’s all but inevitable, too. One only has to look at two medical conditions that serve perfectly to make that very point. They are anorexia and anemia. The symptoms and side-effects of anorexia – the desire to stay thin, at all costs, even ones’ health – are many. They are potentially life-threatening, too. They include liver problems, low blood pressure, exhaustion, fainting, seizures, and, of course, weight loss. As for anemia – which is caused by a lowering of red cells in the blood – the symptoms are equally serious: hemorrhaging, ulcers, severe weakness, cramping in the legs, and shortness of breath. And, both anorexia and anemia have one, grim thing in common: if left untreated, over time they can lead to death. Of course, anyone – at any time – can fall sick. And, just because someone is involved in the world of the paranormal doesn’t mean that every illness is somehow connected. It would be absurd to even suggest such a thing. We are all human and, unfortunately, we all get ill – sometimes with minor issues and on other occasions to an extremely serious degree. Particularly intriguing, though, are those cases in which the condition has come on in the immediate aftermath of a paranormal encounter. As in hours – or, at the very most, just a few days.
Joseph McCabe, a Franciscan monk, who passed away in 1955, knew a great deal about all of this. He spent years poring over ancient texts and doing his utmost to understand the nature of the creatures that so terrified those who lived in Mesopotamia, and particularly so the Sumerians. McCabe had a particular interest in a pair of highly dangerous demons called Lilu and Lilitu who dwelled in the region. He was clearly aware of how illness was a side-effect of a supernatural encounter. He said, in The Story of Religious Controversy: “Did a maid show the symptoms of anemia [italics mine]? Obviously Lilu or Lilitu had been busy at night with her body.” McCabe went on to list literally dozens of cases he had on file of people who had nighttime encounters with supernatural entities and who, shortly thereafter, began to exhibit signs of anemia. Sometimes acute anemia, but in incredibly quick time. This all strongly suggests that certain paranormal things were depleting the people McCabe referred to in significantly dangerous fashion.
A perfect example of someone falling ill very quickly after a paranormal event is that of Albert Bender, the guy who pretty much kicked off the whole Men in Black mystery in the early 1950s. After allegedly getting too close to the truth behind the UFO phenomenon, Bender was visited by three strange and menacing MIB. They were not of the Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones type, though. Rather, they were far more like today’s so-called Shadow People. They were phantom-like things with shining eyes and bad attitudes that walked through the walls of Bender’s attic-based abode in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Bender was terrified by the warnings of the MIB, who told him to quit Ufology. Or else. As it turned out, it took several threats and creepy encounters before Bender finally heeded the words of the terrible trio. When all of this was going down, Bender went down too: with head-splitting migraines, severe stomach pains, faintness, and issues with his short-term memory. And, he lost significant weight – suggesting he too was being fed on. Was all of this due to the fear and stress that had been instilled in Bender? Or, had he somehow been supernaturally attacked? Who knows? But, things didn’t end there: Bender – quite out of the blue – developed a fear that he had cancer. Fortunately, he didn’t have cancer at all: after quitting Ufology, and getting married, the symptoms went away and Bender lived to the ripe old age of 94, passing away in 2016.
In early 2016, I spoke with an Englishman, Robbie, who had a disturbing encounter that falls right into this particular category. In August 1982, he had a somewhat similar experience after an encounter with what sounds like one of the Shadow People. Robbie, who was fourteen at the time, was living with his parents in Beckenham, Kent, England. He had a traumatic encounter with what he described to me as “a flat black-colored shadow [which] crawled on the bedroom ceiling.” During the encounter, Robbie experienced a bout of sleep paralysis and said that the room “suddenly smelled like dirt.” Robbie was soon hospitalized with meningitis. It was fortunate that the condition was quickly caught, and Robbie made a full recovery. There is, however, a disturbing afterword to all this: several months later Robbie was hospitalized after fainting while playing soccer at school. He was diagnosed with acute anemia. There is clearly a trend here. In 2015, David Weatherly wrote an article for my Men in Black book titled “Children of the Men in Black.” The subject was the phenomenon of the Black Eyed Children. As so often happens when I write a book, people contact me to share their experiences. One of those was Jim Harpur, who said that he had an encounter with the BEC in March of 2008, in Florida.
At the time, Jim and his wife were living in a rented duplex in a small town outside of Orlando. Jim’s encounter was a typical BEC one: there was a knock on the door late at night and Jim, having peered through the spy-hole on the front-door, saw two kids in black hoodies, both staring at the ground. He tentatively opened the door and was confronted by a pair of pale-faced, black-eyed monsters – who were now staring right at him. Jim slammed the door and never saw them again. Two days later, though, he experienced a severe case of dizziness, followed by a couple of pretty bad nosebleeds. Then, three weeks later, after feeling repeatedly sick, nauseous and shaky, he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Jim’s blood sugar levels were extremely low. Having read up on the BEC phenomenon, Jim wonders if his diabetes was somehow provoked by Black Eyed Children so adversely affecting him at the time of his encounter.
Then, there is the account of Michelle, a resident of Nova Scotia, Canada. In January 2017, and just two days after having a graphic dream about the Slenderman, Michelle was hospitalized with severe ulcerative colitis – which she had never had before and which led her to drop five pounds in just a few days. She finally made a good recovery, but was shaken by the timing of the onset of the condition, which she believed (and still believes) was connected to the skinny monster of her nightmare. It’s important to note that the various conditions discussed in this chapter, in relation to food and the supernatural, are anemia, colitis, and weight loss. All three are connected to food and digestion. And, still on the matter of weight loss…One of the strangest cases in my files comes from a woman who, back in the 1990s, had a series of experiences that left her seriously ill, and which took her several months to fully recover from. Alison, of Texas was seventeen when, in late 1998, she began to feel ill. The first symptom was a rapid loss of weight: around ten pounds in less than a month – which is definitely not a good thing. Given her age at the time, it’s perhaps not unreasonable that Alison’s mother tactfully asked if all was okay with her. When her mother brought up the issue of her weight loss, Alison became noticeably defensive, but denied that she had anorexia, or a somewhat related condition, that of bulimia.
Nothing more was said: Alison continued to have a healthy appetite, despite continuing to steadily lose weight. It was around ten days later, however, that Alison’s mother became deeply worried: early on a Sunday morning Alison screamed for her mother, who quickly came running to her bedroom. To her horror, she saw Alison laying on the bed, her face deathly pale. When her mother tried to help Alison to sit upright, Alison’s eyes rolled into her head and she fainted. Luckily, the pair lived only a few minutes’ from the local hospital and so Alison’s mother got her into the car and raced to the emergency room. In no time, she was being examined. As Alison - who regained consciousness in the car, but who felt weak and dizzy – rested, a doctor asked her mother about Alison’s general health. She explained that Alison had lost a lot of weight in the last few weeks. Maybe not surprisingly, the doctor too asked questions about anorexia and bulimia. When Alison recovered, the pair left the hospital, with the doctor suggesting to Alison’s mother that she keep a very close eye on her daughter, and – if she had any more fainting spells – to take her to their regular doctor. They were wise words: Alison fell sick on three more occasions, and as her weight began to plummet: a final total of approximately twenty pounds in around six weeks. She was admitted to hospital and watched very carefully.
Tests showed that, physically, Alison was exhibiting all the physical signs associated with early anorexia. But, there was always someone with her when she ate her meals in her hospital room – and at home, too. In fact, she was eating eagerly. On top of that, Alison’s mother sat with her for hours after eating each meal – on the suggestion of one of the doctors, to make sure she didn’t make herself ill, bulimia-style, by vomiting up her meals. Further tests were run but no answers were to be found. At least, not by conventional medicine. At the height of her illness, when Alison even started to take on a jaundiced look, she confided in her mother that there was something she had not told her – or the doctors. Alison’s mother feared, initially, that her daughter was going to say she had been using and abusing hard drugs. But, no. Alison said that four or five days before she began losing weight, she woke in the dead of night to see a pale-faced woman, attired in a long and black, hooded robe, standing next to the bed. The woman was very tall – around six-foot-three or –four. Her skin was white, and her eyes were staring and bulging. Alison found herself unable to move as the woman closed in on her, looming over the bed as Alison struggled to move. The woman gave a loud, satisfying groan at the very same time that Alison suddenly felt ill and cold. The woman retreated into the darkness of the bedroom and vanished.
Alison put the whole thing to a bad dream – and told her mother that she didn’t think any more about it. That is, until the pale hag returned the next night, and the next night, and…well, you get the picture. Alison’s mother listened, in fear and dread, as her daughter told her how, every night for weeks, the woman appeared in the bedroom. And, all the time, Alison was getting sicker and thinner. Alison even claimed to have seen the woman in her hospital room – as if, said Alison, the Woman in Black knew where she was at all times. Alison confided one other thing in her mother: four or five nights before the woman first appeared, Alison and two of her friends had been playing with an old Ouija-board. Alison’s mother was more terrified than she was angry – after all, she only wanted to get her daughter well, not pass judgment when she was severely ill. As luck, or fate, would have it, Alison’s mother had a friend, Jennifer, who worked in the field of alternative medicine and who also had deep knowledge of the world of the supernatural. Jennifer agreed to perform a cleansing of not just the family home, but also of Alison herself. Since the pale, supernatural woman only ever appeared at night, Jennifer said it would be a good idea for her to sit in the bedroom while Alison slept – to ensure that if the woman did appear she would be ready to deal with her.
Jennifer arrived the following evening, armed to the teeth with just about everything she needed to ensure that the evil entity in the home would be banished for good. Jennifer’s weapons included sea salt – which is said to have the ability to prevent supernatural creatures from crossing certain thresholds, including doorways to rooms. So, Jennifer scattered more than liberal amounts of sea salt at the front- and back-doors of the home, in front of Alison’s bedroom, and across the window-sill in her room. That was followed by the use of what is known as a Sage Smudge Stick. Traditionally, and for centuries, sage has been seen as both a powerful protector and a cleanser. So, Jennifer did what she does best: she performed a lengthy cleansing program that went on for several hours and which involved her lighting the Smudge Stick, and ensuring that the smoke reached all corners of the home. Then, it was a case of watching and waiting.
Alison’s mother stayed in the living-room, at the suggestion of Jennifer – who sat by Alison’s bed, ready for just about anything. The black-garbed woman did not put in an appearance, but there were two inexplicable things that did happen that night: Alison’s bedroom was briefly filled with an odor like rotting meat, and, for a few moments, rapid scratching noises were heard on the walls of the bedroom. Alison and Jennifer held hands tightly, and prayed that the hideous thing would leave – and leave now. By all accounts, the rituals worked. The eerie woman was never seen again and over the course of five or six weeks Alison’s health returned to normal. Today, and now in her late thirties, Alison is convinced that whatever the woman was, she was feeding on her, something which led to the weight loss and anorexia-like side-effects and symptoms. To this day, Alison keeps both sea salt and sage in her home – which, today, is in Arizona.