First of all, let me get something straight. I am not a psychic, nor do I wish to enhance my abilities to perceive any worlds beyond our own. I have always considered myself to be staunchly rationalist. Specifically, I've never seen any reason to believe in undetectable entities that don't affect that lives of anyone but the fringe groups that do believe in them. But it was a lot easier to convince myself that these invisible entities have nothing to do with me before they started revealing themselves to me. I'm sorry if this offends any readers, but I'm almost embarrassed to say that I need your help. I've decided as my last resort to turn to the psychic community, and this site seemed pretty legitimate, or at least the members seem to truly believe their stories. Disclaimer aside, I should probably explain what happened.
I introduced myself above as a rationalist, but perhaps that's not entirely accurate. I suppose it's debatable whether belief in God is rational, but I digress. The point is, I'm Jewish, but I am of the school of thought that tries to limit the mystical aspects of our religion. Belief in God is pretty necessary for Judaism, but you might be surprised to hear that not all Jews believe in things such as angels (at least in the form of independent spiritual entities). There's one thing, though, that has bothered me for a while. The second-most important text in Judaism is the Talmud, which basically consists of a bunch of pre-Medieval rabbis arguing over how to interpret passages in the Bible, and how that affects Jewish law. But the text is also rife with stories and just generally odd passages. One of the favorite topics of budding mystics is that of demons, called "sheidim" (singular is sheid) in the language of the Talmud. The rabbis of the Talmud warn the faithful to avoid things such as walking in pairs to prevent demons from attacking. For my whole life until now, I could never understand how these superstitions were canonized in our major work of religious law.
And now we finally get to the good part. In one section dealing with demons, the rabbis of the Talmud explain that one can sprinkle ashes around his bed and, after waking up in the morning, will see chicken tracks. These are the footprints of the invisible demons surrounding you while you sleep. Of course, I never believed in this nonsense. Anyhow, one day recently, I was spending the night by a friend. His family has a nice fireplace, and he was tasked with cleaning it that night. I joked that I'd sprinkle it around my bed, just like in the Talmudic passage. One thing led to another and before I knew it, I was going to sleep in a bed surrounded by ash. Not that I expected anything to happen.
The next morning I woke up and, after taking a few moments to remember where I was, I remembered our joke from the previous night. I quickly peeked over the edge of the bed, and saw the ash from the night before, completely undisturbed. And then my vision started to regain its focus, and I saw the chicken prints. I still remember that moment pretty clearly. I remember jumping back, my heart pounding, and squeezing my eyes shut, trying to clear my vision. Cautiously, I reexamined the ash, only to find that nothing had changed. I shook my friend urgently awake and asked him if he had touched the ash during the night. Apparently he hadn't, because he suddenly bolted upright and leaned over to look. The worst part was the look of disappointment that came over him right then.
"You got me," was all he said.
"You mean you don't see anything?" I pressed.
"This joke is already getting old," he replied. "Wait--you're not saying that you see anything, are you?"
I forced a laugh. "No," I said, and then, "we should probably get this cleaned up."
That morning I discovered my hidden talent for freaking out on the inside. They say ignorance is bliss, and they're right. I may have been forced to learn of the existence this invisible world parallel to our own, but that didn't mean I had to pursue it. So demons existed, after all. Big deal. But I could learn not to think about it and get on with normal life, right? Unfortunately, I couldn't. The whole day, I was just imagining demons around every corner. I was passing dozens of demons on the sidewalk without realizing. Maybe walking right through them in the hallway of my school. One of the worst thoughts that popped into my head was while I was driving alone, and I suddenly wondered whether a was chauffeuring a whole family of them. I had to pull over and get out for a breath of air after that one.
But that's hardly the worst of it. I wouldn't bother you over the horrible thoughts that bounce around inside my own head. The real trouble began the very next day when, walking out of my house, I noticed the chicken prints in my yard. They were headed from the street towards a tree in the yard, where they stopped. And suddenly my distress was validated. I bolted to my car, not stopping to think about the demons that might be lurking within, and drove straight to school. But that didn't help. See, my school is in the middle of a construction project, so there's a large sandy lot right next to the building with a large steel building frame as well as other construction materials scattered around it. And the chicken prints were zig-zagging all around this stuff. Needless to say, I wasn't very focused in class that day.
That must have been almost a month ago. Since then, I've seen the tracks pretty much everywhere where there's soft enough ground. I've even seen them in a department store, dancing on top of a memory foam mattress. They climb trees, sneak under porches, take vacations at the beach, play in the mud after it rains. They're everywhere. I haven't had anyone to talk to; I've been too embarrassed to ask anyone about my problem. But I was inspired to start looking after an incident that happened a couple of days ago. I took my little brother to the park, and he was playing in the sandbox. I know that sounds like a recipe for disaster, but what was I supposed to tell him? And besides, it looked clean. At least it was clean until a footprint appeared right at the edge. This was the first, and so far only, time I've seen them actually walking. I froze after seeing the first appear, and watched, rooted to my spot, as the next followed. Step after step, they were walking right to my brother. By the time they were a few paces away, I broke my trance and raced to the sandbox. I grabbed my brother and announced that I was buying him ice cream, and he didn't put up a fight. As we walked away from the spot where he had been sitting, I felt a gentle tug on my sleeve.
I've been searching the web for clues, but no one seems to talk about my kind of demons. I really don't know much about them, but my concern is growing every day. Summer is just beginning here in New Jersey, but I'm already thinking about the middle of the winter. What will happen when my entire world is coated in a thin blanket of snow? What if one morning as my siblings rush to the window to see the snow that has granted them a day off, I look out and see chicken feet parading through the street? What if I see them dancing on top of the tables on my family's patio? Or walking in and out of the woods behind my house? And these are just the thoughts that are running through my head without any snow having fallen yet!
Please, I really do need your help. I'm sorry if I sounded high and mighty in the beginning, but recounting all of these events is just making me more and more frightened. Is there anyone out there who knows about this kind of thing? I don't want to learn how to conjure demons or control them. All I want is to stop seeing them, and for them not to bother me anymore. Please, help me be normal again.