FRIGHTENING EXPERIENCES - OF A TEMPLAR VARIETY. |
An event to remember and hastily forget.
We met at a local nightclub in Gibraltar. Most people knew my involvement with the modern order of Knights Templar and the local Priory made up of prominent social activists. It had incurred the wrath of the local Monsignor who had started to promote a religious order as an alternative to ours. even during confessionals The local Freemasons were also very aggressive and rarely did a day go by without some sort of argument or other with one of its supporter on the question of our legitimacy or even right to be there. We were held with some awe, by most particularly after we held an investiture in the very heart of the Rocks´s military tunnels appropriately called St. Georges Chambers and to which event a wide variety of executive Templars throughout the world attended. The glittering gala banquet at the Casino had left its mark and from that day onwards, the verbal and indirect social attacks incresed to the point of aggression. As Prior of Gibraltar, I had decked out my beautiful three storey villa overlooking the bay in the manner and style of an ambassadorial residence. Thick carpets and palatial chandeliers accompanied outstanding antique paintings. The social events organised there were always memorable and I was proud of my home and Templar niche in the country which would one day be visited and enjoyed by our Portuguese Grand Master. The Rock´s Chief Minister, the mayoress and the mayor of our ancient family seat in Spanish Ronda were able to meet and celebrate the event with him. It is quite understandable therefore that we would be accosted by the chagrin of those who hoped that our attempt to establish a foothold in the country, would fall to bits.
I was not in the mood therefore for an argument in the early hours of the morning with this aggressive and obviously disturbed self declared freemason. His scurrilious attacks were met with my own intransigence and refusal to climb down from my high horse. Gibraltar lacked nightlife and the only one or two places worthy of spending an interesting time in were also frequented by the most bizarre variety of sailors, drunks, hooligans and cross section locals. I should really have given places like thsose a wide berth, but short of gambling and drinking at the Casino, there was nothing else to do. When I left the place eventually and saw my argumentative associate by my car, I could not resist asking him to come home and have a coffee, if only becasue secretly, I had enjoyed the sparks and also because he looked wretchedly crestfallen. He had confessed going through a divorce situation, among other family problems. He was agressively defiant, but I insisted and apologized for the earlier argument. He shrugged his shoulders and joined me for the ride. It took me another plea outside my house to get him to join me inside. I wish I had not.
The Extraordinay Event.
Looking back some fifteen years ago, I still tremble with apprehension and look around to see if anything just as much moves or betrays unseen presences. The memory of what was to follow the ushering in of this man directly into the lounge of my house, that fateful day, lingers and leaves no scope for rational appreciation. It was a nightmare in every sense of the world.
I chose to go into the house via the lounge door to which we had to descend by an outside staircase rather than the main entrance which led to the sitting room and bedrooms. The house was built on a steep embankment and clung to it from a road level storey to a second, third and final garden supported by massive ramparts. The site was just above the famous Trafalgar Cemetery where victims of the battle were buried. The ground on which the house was built, was also well laden with the remains of victims of earlier battles, like that of 1704 when Admiral Rooke took Gibraltar. Skulls and odd bones were often dug up in nearby public gardens and it would be fair to say that the whole residential development was technically on a cemetery. This never bothered anyone but it made me very sensitive to the issue after the events that followed.
We walked directly into the large 40 metre square lounge. In the middle and straddling two columns were the war and peace Templar flags of known fame. They were a delight to see and draped almost down to the floor – one black striped and the other with the inverted Latin cross in red. The impression these made on my guest was startling. I could see the glazed look in his eyes and saw him stumble towards the war flag to out immediate right. I had had no time to offer him a drink or even suggest he sit down but I remember his challenging and derrogatory remarks which he uttered out loud “What is this....(nonsense) as he made a grab for one of its corners in what appeared to be an act of violence. I was overcome with an anxiety that somehow did not belong to the moment, because I reacted fiercely with a shout “DON´T …!” as I lunged forward to protect it in case he pulled it down. The rest was pure horror. I heard the most terrifying scramble of military boots upstairs in the bedroom area with the tiles sounding as if they were being broken to shreds by the heavy stomping. The noise filled my ears and my heart broke into a fear reaction that threatened to bring me down. I fell back onto the very large settee as I lost my balance and I saw him throw himself to the ground screaming loudly for help and muttering words like “leave me alone – leave me alone....... !! As if that were not enough, I realized to my astonishment that something was being dragged down the wooden staircase from the top level and that whatever was causing it, was going to arrive right next to my right arm on the settee. I recoiled and sprung from there to the other end of the room to get my back to the wall and watch,near fainting, what was coming down as it turned the corner into the room. It had sounded like sacking but visions of starched cloaks or linen filled my mind. I suspect my mind had translated whatever it was into a vision of an ancient knight, although I had been told that the mantle did not reach beyond the calves. I also knew that it was not starched , so the idea of what could be becoming down was not clear and frankly, I feared for my life if, whatever it was, could do physcial damage. I still do not understand why suddenly I was filled with an inner calmness that made me shout at my guest...”THINK POSITIVE!! THINK POSITIVE” I was not afraid anymore and when he lifted and saw my face …..”no longer betraying fear......” according to him, he stood up slowly and robotically and started to fondle a large leaf plant hanging from a chained, decorative container descending to waist level. I still remember him speaking softly to the plant and my mind fixed on the scene as if I too was begging nature to protect us. It was a form of prayer and I cannot remember at what point the noise stopped and I never saw what was coming down the staircase. I am thankful for the experience and cannot say what it could all have been. From the outside at first glance, it was an act of defiance from another dimension, but just what our minds are capable, given the opportunity and channel, I have yet to decide. I can understand hallucinations. I can also understand collective hysteria and relevant materialisations, but often, the nature and detail of the experience is not so easy to fathom psychologically. Why the starched dragging sound and why modern tiles appeared to be crashing underfoot is incomprehensible. I would, in a moment of panic have caused to materialize a lumbering skeleton or a monstruous genie screaming blue murder but such detail and so unusual in its makeup did what parapsychological manifestations always do – leave no handle to grab it by. The stomping itself would have been more than enough without the familiar sound that loose tiles make when stepped on.
My discussions with the very subdued but responsive guest were very interesting. He had. It seemed seen it all in vividly and as real as if he had been there on the battlefield. In fact, he had been there. I had seen nothing. The horses were flying over his head and the flag (or flags) was flying in the wind. They seemed to be trying to knock him down and they were about to descend on him when he started shouting “Leave me alone....leave me alone”, so plaintively. He did make a relevant comment however which may explain why he saw and I did not. He said that the sight of me running to the other end of the room had confused him because he saw in the whole thing a punishment for his undeserved disdain of the Order. He believed that they had come out of the past to teach him a lesson and perhaps all those who spoke badly of the knights, but he could not understand why I myself, should have been afraid in view of my defensive stand and respect for them. I found it difficult to explain that perhaps, I was just as guilty as he was in a different sort of way and that in any case, psychic assaults of this intensity were not quite things to take with a smile. I had been terrifed by the sounds but unfortunately had not been capable or hysterical enough to visualize the scene. I am sure that if I had, I would have become a better Templar. We dared to go upstairs and examine every inch of the place and scoured the outside for any signs of anything that could have come in contact with that turbulance but with no luck. There was absolutely nothing out of place and most definitely, no tile lifted or broken throughout the whole of the upstairs. He left in a cloud and I, funnily enough, slept like a log. The idea of selling the house and getting out found its seed there and then. I would have been incapable of withstanding anything like that on my own.
The next meeting with my fellow traveller, was to prove just how much our presence on the Rock was resented by the religious and mystical encampment. The General Secretary of the local Masonic lodges had been informed and had enquired as to what we had drunk and whether perhaps we had partaken (implying me giving him something guaranteed to produce the effect) of some sort of narcotic. Both he and I knew that there had been no time even if I had even remotely understood or ever seen those things. I assume that if we had taken substances of that nature, that we would have either run around like idiots or fallen asleep. I had had problems with our local Monsignor before – a defamatory and inquisitorial figure full of fantasies. He subquently had me labelled – “the devil” and prominent religious personalities including the Irish Bishop would cross the road rather than meet my path in the future. It made me wonder in just what dimension these ridiculous and destructive figures lived in. I was happy in the thought that perhaps one day, a real Knight Templar from the past, in full armorial dress, would pay them a little visit and perhaps swing a club or two.
Since this article was written, there has not been any contact with my guest and which unfortunate experience left him very psychologically disturbed. I spoke to others in high office he had spoken to and which cause me to be branded the devil in view of what they had heard described. Instructions were given to the priests by the Bisho to avoid me at all costs and at the death bed of my aunt when she looked as if she might die any moment I rang for one. His behaviour was disgustingly cynical with no element of love or compassion let along intelligence to comfort me. His words were " There is nothing I can do here...." I did not realize what he meant, but I was informed by an ex Christian Brother that on seeing me he thought the soul had been lost anyway! So much for the teachings of our gentle Jesus.
Michael Mifsud was a House of Commons correspondent at the age of 16 and the youngest member of the Commonwealth Press Union as a result of publishing Britains first trade journal for Drivers and perhaps simply first trade journal since the instrument had never been seen as a commercial venture. He went into business with a chauffeuring organisation of supply and training becoming the first choice in the country. He organised the transport of internatioanal gatherings at political and diplomatic level including movements associated with foreign Royalty like the hospitalisation of King Faud. He has published and broadcast extensively in Britain and Spain and travelled with the Royal couple all over the world for over a decade. He has publised a very different book on the nature of the Andalucian people who have been called the last anarchist of Europe and called it Al Andalus - A Trail of Discoveries which was acclaimed and copied in various countries. He opened the first public carpark at Malaga Airport and moved into the hospitality trade. He retired from the Order of Knights Templar which is the only one with official historical and documental evidence of its legitimacy despite well known Masonic criticism.
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