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Out of Body Experience [Podfic]

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Audio recording can be found here.

 

[Recording starts] 

 

So I’m- doing this, now.

 

Right now, it’s about 8pm on February the 13th. I’m sitting on a shitty futon in my room, alone, with the light on. While speaking into- or like- [incredulous breath] … speaking somewhat away from the shitty audi- the shitty audio recording of my phone. And… if you’re opening this-slash-listening to this, you’re going to notice that I tagged this as ‘nonfiction’.

 

That… is because everything I am about to recount to you- is true. Or, if not true… it felt real, in the moment. 

 

See, when I started listening to the Magnus Archives… something in me kind of… clicked, with the statements, and I don’t mean in the kind of way of listening to a good story and… it speaks to you on a level of, emotions and, craft, and- and although the Magnus Archives does that as well!- I mean that something clicked. In that, whenever Jonathan was reading these statements of these frightened individuals, talking about their stories… well, not candidly, but talking about their stories… 

 

I felt as if- [sound of metal clicking] in the course of my own life… and, I’ve definitely had- it’s been an ordinary life, don’t get me wrong!- but [shifting movements] I’ve had a few… spooky happenings. I guess that comes with the territory when your grandfather is a pagan priest and your mother is a witch, but, [laughs] 

 

… God, sorry, this is going to sound really rambly, because the way I’m doing this is: I’m actually speaking into the phone first, and then after this recording is finished, I’m gonna take a little bit to collect myself and then I’m going to transcribe it. I feel as if that will have a more authentic feel. I don’t… want to do this with a premade script…. Because I want to recount this… heh, not candidly- but I want to recount this.

 

[pause, then slight fumbling with words]

 

Partially because I wanna go ahead and write M-Magnus Archives fic myself [little giggle] and I thought it’d be a little fun to get into character- but also partially because… I do have a statement. … and this [nervous chuckle] creepy, unexplainable thing… has, and may very well follow me, for a long time down the road. 

 

So. 

 

Statement of Samuel Phillip [REDACTED], on the subject of his first out of body experience. Statement recorded February 13th, 2020, directly from subject. Statement begins.

 

When I was sixteen, I began to really dream vividly. Or… I guess vividly isn’t the right word per se. It feels more as if that was the age I really started to live when I dreamed. 

 

When I went to sleep, it was pretty much instantaneous- my head would hit the pillow, I’d be out, and then suddenly I’d just be in REM- It was kind of like… breaking through the water. Close your eyes, everything’s dark, you fall back into the darkness, and then… everything comes back and flickers back to life in full color, like flames dancing around you. 

 

Sometimes this was just… well sometimes, it was… good shit. [laughs] It was the kind of thing that I could occupy myself with during the afternoons when I didn’t really have anything to do, or when I couldn’t really write anything- mostly because I was a chronic insomniac and a chronic procrastinator and had undiagnosed ADHD at this time- so it gave me something to do. But it also gave me kind of… an outlet. Which sounds [noises of incredulity] really sad now that I’m saying it out loud, and unfiltered? But… well, guess that’s out there! [laughs]

 

[shifting on the sheets of the bed] So… this was about… sometime in the late summer. I hesitate to say whether it’s late July or early August, just because during that summer everything was kind of a blur. I think at the time I was breaking up with an internet girlfriend, and… God [laughs] some other, little minor trivial things that, now that I’m twenty, don’t really matter anymore. At the time, I had just turned sixteen. And… I hadn’t started feeling sixteen, but I was getting there. 

 

So, one Sunday, without really much to do and with my mom running errands out and about, I went to have a nap. Which is… uh- which, this is the moment where if the Magnus Archives were real and if this were 100% true spooky scary creepy whatever, my statement would probably be thrown in the trash, which I mean, fair enough. This is already starting to get really rambly and not- [shifts] -in the good, vaguely entertaining way. 

 

But… I went to sleep, and dreamt. I dreamt vividly. And, to this day, I still remember the storyline of the dream. Essentially what happened in the dream was, I was walking towards a government facility, and behind this chain link fence, there were these three kids. Except the kids were all really off.

 

When the oldest girl, who couldn’t have been more than seven, opened her mouth to grin at me, she- her mouth was just full of these opaque… teeth. Not blunt human teeth, but opaque, sharp teeth, by the millions. It was like looking into the mouth of an anglerfish, and… looking, directly, deeply, into it, you could just see the faintest pinprick of blue… just beyond her tongue.

 

The second was an unremarkable little boy. He had silver scales all over his forearms and around his eyes. And then the last one… the last one was the youngest. She was a little girl, and she seemed wholly, totally normal, except for the fact that she carried around a skin blanket. I remember looking at it, and you have to understand this was… extremely realistic skin- it still had- like it was- fleshly- freshly flayed… pulsing, just slightly… with the blue veins underneath, just- writhing. I remember looking at the skin blanket and thinking- “is that animal or human skin?” And then just kinda reining myself back in, just saying… let’s not. [nervous wheeze-laugh] Let’s… not.

 

So… Most of the middle of the dream honestly doesn’t matter to the plotline of this entire statement that I’m giving right now, so as a general synopsis: I find out I’m invisible; I take these kids, who are the only people who can see me; I steal a government vehicle; and- I cart these kids off, because, you know. They’re kids. They’re really creepy and fucked up to look at, but they’re kids, you know?

 

[vague snapping sound] It only really starts getting weird by dream standards towards the end. Towards the end of the dream, I remember I’m driving this big black van. The kids are in the back; they’re quiet, they’re a little shaken, and they’re huddled together. But outside the window… was the most photorealistic set of maple trees I had ever seen, in… well, a dream, or real life. They were clustered together on the side of the road in bunches of three or four, all standing tall and proud against the stark blue of the sky.

 

It was autumn, in the dream. So they all had their leaves just pumped up with this gorgeous orange- with these hues of orange and gold. But the thing about their leaves is, even though they were so vivid and beautiful and bright like watercolors… you could still make out each individual leaf. They didn’t blend together, like how a kind of painterly-slash-realistic style might have painted it. It looked… well, more high-definition than high-definition itself, I guess.

 

So we’re driving down this lane with these beautiful maple trees. They’re falling gently across the road- it’s peaceful… serene… The rumbling of the van slows to a stop outside of a large… I hesitate to call it a house. Just because… it was hollowed out, in a sense. It looked more like the bare bones of a temple. [pauses] I remember stepping out onto the sunbaked concrete and thinking how odd it was, that it felt so warm despite the fact that it was autumn. Even the breeze that passed by had the- the slightest tingle of warmth. 

 

So, I stepped towards this house, this temple, and, it’s almost completely bare. I don’t know what the material was, exactly- it should have looked like marble, by any means. It certainly had the look of it. But… the way that it was, it was… whiter than marble, somehow. Whiter than porcelain. It should have looked delicate, it should have looked breakable- but when I stepped on it, it was… str-strong, I guess is the only thing I can really think of. [laughs] God… I guess The Eye really isn’t real, if this is all I can come up with in terms of eloquence. 

 

[shifting] So I walk in. Kids are still in the car- sorry, kids- and, across the room, sitting at a lone table with a lone chair… which is- the table and chair were wicker, really shitty wicker too; I remember just thinking, “Man, why… is this lady sitting in this chair that’s basically falling apart?” But, I look across the room, and there’s… this little old woman in the chair. And she’s looking at me, and the first thing that I think of is… where have I seen those eyes before?

 

Because the thing about her eyes were… they were set in her face, the way that eyes should, you know? Um… a little bit spaced out, with a nose in between-- the thing about her eyes is, it looked kind of as if she had cataracts in them. Which- she was a normal little old woman with wrinkles deep set in her face, smile lines and dimples- all grey hair and sun warmed skin. It looked like she had cataracts, but instead of her cataracts being cloudy white, like they should have been, they were blue. There were just these circles of cloudy blue light shining in the center of her eyes, ringed by even bluer irises, and- whites of the eyes that are so white that it’s nearly blinding.

 

And she just looks at me, and she says, in the sweetest little voice, she told me, “Sweetheart,” in the sweetest, most lilting voice, “Sweetheart… you have such a big storm coming.” I remember opening my mouth to ask her what she meant. Because of course, by dream standards, I was thinking that I was just living my life, kidnapping… government children [laughs yet again at the incredulity of the situation] and the like. 

 

I asked her what she meant, but I never got an answer because that was the moment I woke up. And it may seem weird that I’m starting off with this entire weird dream sequence, but I promise it’s leading somewhere- because the thing is, is that… as I was committing this dream to memory, because this by far the most vivid dream I had had at that time, I was just kind of staring up at the ceiling.

 

I don’t know what I was really waiting for? Or if I was waiting at all. … I don’t know why I didn’t realize it as I woke up, since usually I don’t wake up on my back. I don’t go to sleep on my back either. Usually I’m curled up on my side, or just tangled up in the sheets with my legs any which way. … But. This time I was on my back, staring up at the ceiling, at the pockmarks, at the shitty little plastic stars that my Father had put up. And, I get up, thinking, “Well, I should go ahead and put this down! I should write this down, I should turn this into a big story-” but as I was trying to get up, I realized I couldn’t move.

 

And of course, it’s the cheesiest thing, right? [uneasy shifting] … You try to move, but it feels as if every inch of your body is strapped down, like some invisible barrier is keeping you from jerking more than a couple inches- or, not even a couple inches. Barely a millimeter. 

 

I couldn’t move a muscle. I looked around- I could move my eyes, at the very least- and, that was the moment where I figured, “Well, it’s just sleep paralysis,” I had read a little bit about it beforehand, so I was thinking, “Well, it’s just sleep paralysis, it’ll wear off on its own. I’ll be fine.” The thing is, is that when I tried to close my eyes… they would close for a moment. For a moment, they would close, and I’d be staring at the back of my lids, trying to… feel something coming back to my limbs. But they would snap back open again. I don’t… know why. Every time I tried to close my eyes, they just opened right back up, and… that was the moment where I started to see a faint… imprint. On the ceiling above me.

 

At first, I thought that I was just seeing things or that maybe some water had gotten through from the storm the previous night, but the thing is, is that, the imprint kept growing. It kept becoming more distinguishable, it kept becoming- more pronounced. And then I realized that it looked like a human face. And then I realized, it didn’t look like a human face at all.

 

It’s… the oddest thing. It was- it looked just like what a human face ought to look like. Two eyes, a nose, a mouth, two ears- all in the same spot, but. It wasn’t there because those features were human. It had two eyes, but it didn’t use them to see me- it used its eyes because its eyes were forward facing, so it must have been a predator. It had a mouth full of teeth, just pulled into this grin, tight across its face- but it wasn’t smiling at me because of any real emotion behind it, it was grinning because… it was just baring its teeth. Its blunt, human looking teeth. 

 

And it slowly faded into view. More- not tangible, but, more legible by the moment. And that… is when I felt its claws.

 

Its claws felt- I never saw them. I only felt them. It had three claws on each hand. Just three. One of the claws on each of its hands dug into either side of my stomach. The other two on the other side of each of its hands… dug into my back. [long pause, then silent, rising panic] They were- th- they- they were- large. … No eloquence to be seen here, I guess. They were large.

 

They dug in. Sleep paralysis… doesn’t- it shouldn’t come with pain like that. I felt the stab of each claw digging into my flesh. It hooked me deep and deep inside, and the thing is, is that I could feel the tips of its claws at the very bottom of the little holes that it was slowly gouging into me. 

 

The tips of its claws were curved, but they weren’t curved in the normal way that claws and talons are curved, like birds of prey or like beasts- it was bent back in on itself like a fish hook. The claws were- they were ridged as well. Ridged claws bent like fish hooks, slowly screwing deeper and deeper into me. It- didn’t feel… as if they were tearing, necessarily? Just… clean cuts. Cutting, and rubbing every inch of the ridged surface of those claws against the soft tissue of- of my back. Against the fat of my stomach. Just slowly worming deeper, and deeper, like the slowest drills.

 

It started to pull me out. I mean, it didn’t pull me physically out. My body was still on the bed, I could feel myself laying down, still locked in this immobile position, shaking harder than I’d ever shaken in my life but- it pulled me out. My soul was- or if not my soul, it was pulling something out, something that was me, out of my body. 

 

As if I was only affixed to my body by the barest hint of hot glue. It slowly peeled me away, and its face just kept getting closer, and closer. And then, all at once, just as the corners of that grinning face slowly began to crumple back into a minor look of- disgust? Was it disgust? It couldn’t feel disgust, this thing didn’t feel… but. Its face pinched back, pulling so taut against whatever strange musculature was hidden underneath, like a latex glove over a gnarled hand. 

 

And then- I was slammed back into my own body. I sat up, suddenly able to move, gasping for breath, and when I looked up there was nothing there. It was just the ceiling. 

 

There were no marks, of course. Because- [vaguely hysterical laugh] what kind of statement would this be if it were easily traceable, if it were easily said to be real? [sigh] But I do remember that I was shaken, for a long time after. … I’m still shaken now, I think. 

 

[Pause]

 

You’ll notice that at the beginning of this statement, I said that this was my first out of body experience. About two years ago, I had one more. Although I wouldn’t call this so much of an out of body experience as it was, a failed attempt.

 

I had discovered how to lucid dream. So I took a nap, trying to go ahead and figure out some abstract problem in a… little story that I was writing. I woke up- well, not woke up- but I became lucid in the dream, and then, as things were starting to get more and more off, I decided… actually no, I’m just going to wake up. So I did. The thing is, the second I opened my eyes, I-I realized that I couldn’t move. This time though, I was able to actually close my eyes and keep them shut. I just waited until I could feel my limbs again and could roll over.

 

Even now… even now, when I wake up, I don’t open my eyes. I just… get up. Wade through the dark until I can feel a light switch. And only then, when I know that I’m out of bed and… I’m… out of, whatever it can reach, do I open my eyes.

 

End statement.

 

So, this is the point where I would really go ahead and encourage you to just tear this the fuck apart- but also, I would like to go ahead and add, that I did a little follow up after, where I actually went ahead and, directly after this experience happened at the age of sixteen, I talked to my mother about it. 

 

Of course, she was downstairs in the kitchen, chopping pineapple, and I was kinda feeling bad at the time because, well, she’s chopping pineapple and I’m about to go ahead and drop this on her, because at the time when I was sixteen I thought that she was Catholic? [laugh] Which is- kind of laughable at this point, because even though she is technically Catholic, she’s still very- witchy. So it’s kinda weird that I never picked up on the cues before this kinda thing. Happened.

 

But anyway, I go downstairs and I tell my mom, “Hey, I think I had an out of body experience.”

 

And my mom just kinda looked at me. She paused her chopping, and then she shrugged, and said, “Eh, you’ll get used to it.”

 

And of course I was like, “What.” Because… What? [exhausted giggle]

 

And then- only then- does my mother decide to tell me, “Oh, by the way, every firstborn in my family has an out of body experience when they turn sixteen,” [stunned beat of silence] And you know that- that would have been great? To know [various noises of hitting a possible breaking point] BEFORE I had the out of body experience!

 

I remember that I was just staring at her because- what? I still don’t- I- I’m sorry, I st- I cannot fucking believe. That that’s actually a thing. I mean I asked her of course, and was like, “W-well y- what was your? What was your experience?” 

 

And my mom was like “Oh yeah, I saw my great-grandfather- he was great. We had a talk about my life and about the struggles that I was having-”

 

I was like “I saw Satan on my ceiling,”

 

And my mom just kinda shrugged. Again. [laugh] She just did a lot of shrugging in this conversation- she just shrugged and said, “Wow. That sucks.” And if that ain’t an accurate portrayal of my life. 

 

Anyway… admittedly, that was really cathartic [laughs]. I can see what all those statement givers have going for them now. [more delighted giggling] Okay- well, see ya.

 

[Recording ends]

 

Some notes:

- Quick addendum- my mom is not a Literal Witch because magic isn’t real. She and my grandfather and my grandfather’s family dating back to the centuries before he moved out of Puerto Rico are practitioners of Santeria, a syncretic religion mixing the worship of Yoruban orishas with Catholicism, originally pioneered as a way to disguise the true religion with the worship of the saints so that colonizers wouldn’t get pissy. I just like teasing her about being a witch since she literally has a book called The Good Witch’s Guide and adamantly refuses to let my little sisters touch it because she doesn’t want them to try any of the spells.

- Honestly, the reason why I’m not more fucked up over this probably comes down to my mom being pretty flippant about the whole thing. She saged my room after and I only had the second experience after I moved into a dorm, so, win for me?