Everyone knew about the ghost in the nightblub I worked in. Tiles had gone under many names over the years, but the bar itself was largely untouched. As well as reputedly being the longest marble bar in the UK (or was it Europe?), it could be clearly seen where the divisions of first, second, and third class once were. The Victorian look of the venue gave it a unique, look – beautiful yet forgotten, almost decaying in some regards. During the years me and my friends worked there, there were the assortment of strange events. Phone ringing internally on their own, disembodied laughter, figures appearing both sides of the bar, unexplained footsteps coming from the dancefloor in plain sight, keyfobs being pulled, and doors closing on their own.
But all these events can probably be explained away by the more skeptical and easily dismissed. And I could probably agree with them.
But one event in my life, I still today have no explaination, and even today I struggle putting it down to imagination or lack of sleep etc.
Around the age of 23 I began writing a screenplay for a project called ‘Last Battle’.
It involved a young man called Richard Crowell – successful in both his personal and professional life. Yet when he is tragically killed in a car crash, he awakes in the realm of Heaven in a kind of hospital. Noticing everyone appears sombre, and all are looking at him with suspicion and sadness, he enquires to a nurse. He is then told that Hell has finally amassed enough souls to stage an full on invasion of Heaven, and it is he who (for better or worse) is prophecised to determine the outcome of the war.
Now Hell has appeared in a few works of mine, and I find it as a playground for my imagination to conjur up various monsters. As a Pagan, my non-belief of Hell helps in this. But ‘Last Battle’ was different, and required approaching with care and authenticity. I researched for months, delved into works ranging from the Old Testament to the Divine Comedy. I wanted to give character to angels and demons alike and flesh them out in ways that felt correct.
Since the script involved the War of Angels – where Lucifer and his minions fell from grace, I needed to research this. This was largely before the internet was a valuable source of information (Wikipedia wasn’t a thing at this point), and I could only scour what books I could find. Thankfully my father is a big occult fan and this meant he had tons of material to delve into.
Some sources say one third of Heaven fell in the War – approximately 130,000 angels. So whilst this number of characters is absurd to write about, I landed on 13 instead, and used the works of Jacques Collin de Plancy, the books of Solomon and various other dark texts to breathe life into these 13 fallen angels and demons.
Sat at night in my father’s attic office I was scribbling down names, signals and symbols in order to develop the characters. Now looking back I think I was naive and silly to be dabbling in things I clearly didn’t understand, yet onwards I went!
Suddenly, I noticed I could see my breath. The room had become VERY cold, and had taken on a bluish, oppressive look. But this was late Spring, and had been a warm day. I became aware of what felt like a thousand eyes watching me; as if I was writing on a stage. Intrigued witnesses were peering over my shoulder at what I was penning. Icy chills ran down my spine. Whatever was in that attic with my didn’t feel human (or former human) at all! I’ve never felt fear like that before and I did wonder if what I was doing was a good idea at all.
I grabbed my Encylopedia of Angels and began frantically scribbling out the names of the Angels on a fresh page. Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Auriel – you know, the more famous ones. Gradually, the room seemed to warm up again, and the dull blue tinge brightened into a warm glow again. My breath vanished, and the watchful eyes seemed to melt away.
Now like I say, this all could be just an overimaginative imagination – and as the years go on, I conclude this more and more.
But at the time it seemed so real and visceral, and felt so…unknown.
The time is coming when I will rewrite this story, but in novel format. And once again I’ll be dragging out those occult books again.
Maybe this time I’ll take precautions.
Anyone know a priest?