Mystery, Magic & Nazi Gold
David Marsden can bring mystery and
magic into lives made sterile by technology. Visiting a fortune teller may
seem harmless fun. At a psychic fair you can buy cheap crystals and
symbols etc offering protection against supernatural agencies.
Doctors and psychiatrists provide psychoactive drugs to manage symptoms
caused by relationship problems, and criticize alternative
approaches to them. Religious groups often seem to avoid
acknowledging the consequences of demons or
ghosts in people's lives. Martyn Carruthers
Demon - Part 1
I was a psychotherapist for most of my adult life, and a good
one by all accounts. During those years I specialized in too many
things to be called a specialist. I also pursued an interest in
occult phenomena. I was always fascinated
when clients described events that are often called magical,
or at least weird. Since retiring, I have become a ghost researcher.
There is a dark side. Such interests can become obsessive and
at times people may lose their ability to discern between their
objective or real worlds and subjective or imagined worlds. And some
phenomena seem to bridge these two worlds. Ghosts
for example ... and demons.
Ghost research has become my pastime and I have heard many strange
stories. Sometimes, people who should know better join cults and find
themselves confronting scary anthropomorphic projections -
commonly called demons. Ghosts can be interesting but demons are ...
different. Demons can possess people and
make them do horrible things. This story is about a demon I met.
For the Catholic
Church, signs of possession include superhuman strength,
accompanied by fits and convulsions; personality changes;
predicting the future or other secret information; and understanding
and conversing in previously unknown languages.
In Canada, Halloween is a time for foolish parties
and mostly-harmless pranks. In Central Europe, this is the Day of the
Dead - an important family holiday devoted to
placing candles and flowers on the graves of dead family members who hopefully
rest in peace. Forget accomplishing anything else on that day in much of
Halloween is a pre-Christian festival that was
practiced by Celtic and Slavic tribes. The doors to the world of the dead
are supposed to open, and the living can communicate with the dead - and
complete any outstanding or unfinished business. But (there is
always a but) other entities can cross over too - even entities that never
lived and so cannot really be called dead. (Undead perhaps?)
I do not subscribe to most concepts of good and evil.
I have prejudged events too many times. I have seen many good intentions
produce disgusting consequences, and I have witnessed apparently evil acts
do good - and what is the road to Hell paved with? Yet some entities
seem to exist only to hurt - to torment - to cause suffering.
ministers and later Protestant clergy agreed on similar symptoms as
the Catholic priests for declaring a person to be demonically
possessed. However, there remains huge ignorance about medical
conditions and emotion-driven behaviors.
This story started with an invitation from a colleague, Martyn Carruthers,
whose training programs often take him into the old Iron Curtain
countries. Martyn was teaching family therapy in Warsaw, Poland, and he
suggested that I visit him for Halloween. He said that he would enjoy
walking with me around some places that might satisfy my need
for ghost stories. Well ... why not? I bought an air ticket.
Warsaw is a haunted city. The atrocities by Russian and
German troops are almost beyond telling. Warsaw seems to have many spirits
that cannot rest in peace. The old city of Warsaw was flattened by German troops
at the end of World War two, and much was replaced by grey socialist apartment
Over the weekend we toured the old town, some monuments of the
once-Jewish ghetto and the old Russian Cytadel. We walked through the beautiful
Kampinowska Forest, the lungs of Warsaw, which hides a Nazi killing ground.
And we walked around a cemetery near the center of town.
I have NEVER seen such a busy cemetery. People in their thousands -
perhaps in their tens of thousands - were leaving candles and flowers
by the ton. Seen from the outside, a dense black smoke hung over the
cemetery like a bizarre Hollywood special effect. And after dark, the
Warsaw cemeteries had so many burning candles that they were as
bright as during the day.
Perhaps at the Umschlagplatz - the place where Warsaw Jews were loaded
onto cattle trains destined for the Treblinka death camp. We went there
late, when it was dark, cold and deserted. I felt a faint echo of the terror
of the many people condemned to die because of their race, and I recalled
the genocides of North American native tribes by the invading Europeans.
Martyn asked if I would like to witness a session the next day. He said
that the client thought that he (the client) might be possessed - and
that he (Martyn) had delayed the appointment until I was in Poland.
What a friend! We walked to my hotel near Saski Park, and enjoyed Polish
Zubrowka - vodka flavored with buffalo grass. Martyn called it a
friendly spirit, and he was right.
Therapist vs. The Rapist
Martyn's client Jan arrived the next morning. Jan looked about
sixty-few, and he spoke good English with a south England accent. He seemed
well-educated and was a lawyer in the city of Poznan. He had visited
Toronto, and we chatted about why Canadians like American baseball.
Jan's voice became quieter and I leaned forward to hear
him better. Then his face and posture changed abruptly. He leaned
forward and spoke in a raspy voice: "Do you know
why your wife died? She hated your work ... and you should have never
married a patient."
Hair stand up on my neck ... NOBODY knew that story!
Not even Martyn. But ...
Jan was looking at me. "What's the matter?
" he asked. "Did I say something ...?"
Martyn asked Jan some rather ordinary questions about
his history. Jan mentioned that he had been raised by his mother who had
died the previous year. He said that his maternal grandfather
was murdered by Germans during the second world war and that he knew
nothing about his father's parents.
Jan said that he had a problem that he wanted to get rid of.
He said that people have asked him to stop frightening them - and
that many people avoid him.
I was still shaken by Jan's hurtful comments. Short, sharp, and
designed to cause suffering. And true. But how could he have known?
Suddenly Jan was hissing something about Martyn's
son ... I was surprised that Martyn had told Jan about his (Martyn's)
personal life, and perhaps Martyn had told Jan something he had
heard or guessed about my personal life. I felt angry.
After a moment Jan was again friendly and intelligent.
I asked Jan how often he had met Martyn - Jan said that this was the
first actual meeting, although they had made three or four brief
telephone calls. I asked Jan what he knew about me - Jan said that he
had expected to meet a retired therapist from Canada - nothing else.
What was going on? I signaled to Martyn that I
wanted to talk outside the room. Martyn offered to make more tea and
I asked what was happening. "I have no idea", Martyn
replied, "Interesting isn't it? I don't know how he knew so
much about my son. Was he right about you too?"
"Spot on", I murmured. We returned
to Jan with black tea and lemon pieces. "No vodka?"
Jan joked, "This is Poland, you know".
Jan's story was peculiar. People were avoiding him and not
saying why. Some people would become angry and twice he had
even been struck - physically hit - by strangers. Jan said that
an angry woman called him a straszny demon
cierpienia - a horrible demon of suffering. Jan's ex-wife
would not meet Jan, saying that she had been hurt enough by Jan's cruelty.
It started, Jan said, with a visit to the Auschwitz
concentration camp, a Nazi war museum in southern Poland. Jan had taken
his Canadian relatives there, and he had sat on a bench near a gas chamber
while his relatives wandered around. Jan had been there before as a child
on a school trip. Jan said he despised the place and wished it destroyed.
He said that on this last trip, he found a place to sit in the sun and wait.
He added that he went to sleep while sitting there.
Jan said that he might have slept there for a half hour,
and that he dreamed that he was touring - or inspecting - the KZ Auschwitz
death camp at the height of its human destruction. Jan said that in his dream,
he not only witnessed but participated in atrocities. He said that he awoke
with a feeling of being cold to his bones, although it was a warm day. He dismissed the dream as brought on by the surroundings.
But since that day, Jan said, he could deeply offend people
without knowing how he did it. He said that would "blank out"
for a second or two, as he had just done with us - twice that morning.
Jan's doctor called it fatigue, Jan said, and told
Jan to learn to control the stress of his work.
I am a
competent hypnotist. Martyn asked Jan if he would care to explore that
dream in Auschwitz. Jan nodded and sighed. "Yes", he said,
"perhaps it's time".
Martyn invited him to sit in a large comfortable chair and gestured for me
to begin a hypnotic induction. I asked Jan to close his eyes and relax his body
- and gently recall that visit - and that's when the trouble began.
At first Jan relaxed, then his face contorted. I could feel
chicken skin on my arms and back, and stopped talking. Martyn continued.
"Jan - remember - you are in Auschwitz - you are waiting for
your friends - you are sleeping in warm sun..."
And so on, with suggestions for remembering that event. "You are asleep
... and you start to dream ... and what is happening in the dream?"
Jan convulsed in his chair. "Nein"
Jan said, "Er ist meine - meine!". Martyn said a few words
in German to Jan and then switched back to English. "Jan - you are
dreaming a strange dream - what is happening?"
"Destruction" said Jan, with his eyes closed.
"Death. An angel of death is here. A demon of death feeds here."
"Can you describe what you see" I
asked ... Jan's face distorted soundlessly.
"No ... it sees me ... it's coming ... it
is inside me ... NO!!!"
I was softly panting by this time. I have interviewed many
patients and heard endless strange stories - and some of those stories
were very weird - and some of my patients were diagnosed as psychotic.
But who can get used to this?
Many signs of demon possession
can be explained. Seizures and convulsions indicate epilepsy.
Personality changes indicate stress or schizophrenia. Obscene acts
indicate mental disorders. Sexual thoughts are commonplace.
But knowledge of future events or secret information is considered
by many to be spiritual ... or demonic.
"Jan - what is happening?"
I continued, "Jan? ... What's going on?"
swore - I don't know if in Polish or German. Then he spoke in English - something
like "It's inside me ... and it's hungry ... it feeds on suffering ...
death is an end ... it wants life ... any life ... my life"
"Why you?" asked Martyn, reasonably. Auschwitz could
be a feast for such an entity. But why should it want a small cup of soup
Jan screamed again,
and I wondered if Martyn's neighbors might call the police. "My father
is German!" said Jan. "A Nazi! Nobody knows! He raped my mother!
My mother killed him! Nobody knows! But this thing knows everything!"
Exorcize Your Options
"Ask it if it knows where the Breslau gold is
buried" I said. "Go on, ask!"
Martyn looked at me strangely. THAT was not one of his questions.
"G-g-g-old?" sputtered Jan.
"Yes" I said quickly, before Martyn
interfered. "The gold hidden by the Nazis before the Russians
captured Breslau in 1944."
Before coming to Poland I had read about Polish ghosts. Every
castle is polluted with them, if you believe tourist literature.
My research pointed again and again to the German province of
Silesia - now the Polish province called Sląsk.
Although this may be one of the
most haunted places in Europe, not much is written about it in English.
It is the borderland between Germany, Poland and Czech Republic - an area
with a long history of wealth, poverty and violence.
The Polish city of Wroclaw was, for a time, the German city of
Breslau. There had been centuries of gold mining in Silesia, and before
world war II, Breslau had been a rich city. Yet after WWII, little of
it's wealth was found.
There are many stories of hidden treasures in the Owl mountains of
Silesia - the same area where the Nazis developed secret weapons, nerve gas
and tried to build an atomic bomb in underground factories. Or perhaps the gold
had been secretly spirited off to Berlin or Moscow.
"Y-y-yes" whispered Jan,
hissing a word that sounded like "Bireeser".
"Is Bireeser a place or a person?" asked
"Yes ... no! ... Bireeser! ... no! ... yes"
mumbled Jan, "no! ... yesss ... but not my father ... not my
father! Nein! Gruss Gott in Himmel! Not my father!!" Jan
But I was already bringing Jan out of trance, suggesting
that he feel forgetful and relaxed. We drank our now-cold tea in
an exhausted silence, until Martyn made an appointment to meet Jan the next day.
We went to Stare Miasto - the old town of Warsaw - for dinner, discussing what
Jan had told us. I was bursting with excitement that a famous ghost story
might be under my nose. Martyn wondered if Jan had
identified with his dead father. And who or what or where was Bireeser?
The Golden Rule
The Catholic Church cautions priests to investigate
the medical and psychological aspects of a person before performing
exorcism. The main symptom for declaring a person possessed by a
demon seems to be a revulsion towards sacred objects and texts.
Bireeser ... Martyn phoned a Polish
friend and asked what bireeser meant. Well, it didn't mean anything
in Polish. He phoned a German friend and received the same answer.
After a great dinner of roast duck, we walked to the central Warsaw post office,
and scanned telephone directories for southwest Poland. No Bireeser - no
Breese - no Bewiese. No nothing.
We checked an online atlas in an internet cafe ... there was
no Bireeser in Poland. Perhaps it was a German place name for a village that
is now Polish, or more likely we were chasing a wild goose.
But this goose might lay a golden egg. Jan had an
appointment the next day ...
Nazi Demon - Part 2
Haunted House Curses
Coaching Systemic Magic
I am a retired psychotherapist living near Toronto,
Canada. I investigate ghost stories. You can email me at:
or ask Martyn for online help. If you want mentorship or training on how to
manage a wide
range of emotional, mental, esoteric and relationship challenges, ask Martyn.
Online Life Coaching & Counseling
I thought you were just
another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.
Plagiarism is theft. Copyright © David Marsden
2002 All rights reserved