The same week I moved in to this eight by fourteen foot room on the twelfth floor where I’d be sharing a half-bathroom with (thank God) a clean enough fellow tenant, I met another tenant, a much younger man, who informed me I was paying too much rent--$500 to be exact. I had paid the landlord about $750 for the month when I should have paid him $250. I had moved into my first ever SRO building, which stands for Single Room Occupancy. On either side of the building were two million dollar brownstones. A much younger Eric Baldwin lived on the same block.
That would be the last time I paid this crook a dime, after attending a meeting at the Westside Law Project that was backing our fight, finding out this rat bastard had, so far, ripped off 120 tenants for more than $2,888,000.00, at $500 a month x 12 months x (at least) four years!!! I became the head of their tenant’s group, only at that time, there were only eight of us, the rest, the other 112 too afraid to join until we won our battle in court.
Even though the landlord was a middle-aged white man, formerly from the Midwest, his much younger wife, and the help, were native Guyanese. I would later discover they practiced “Santeria,” which is a cross-between African Voodoo and Catholicism that sprang out of four hundred years’ worth of black slavery and European Christianity’s hypocrisy on the islands before slaves were brought to Virginia and Louisiana shores.
One tenant member of our little group, a Theosophy PhD male, had a Bible that kept falling off the bed one day while he was resting, which had him looking under the bed to discover a pile of fresh blood-soaked chicken feathers.
In various Caribbean traditions such as Santeria and Voodoo, chickens are sacrificed to encourage the satisfaction of the spirits invoked during ritual. The spirits feed on blood, and the participants spare themselves by offering the chicken's blood to the spirits. The blood of chickens also commonly appears as a medium for scrying (predicting the future). In other words, a blood sacrifice had taken place with our name on it as the next victims.
Having not grown up in this culture, nor being on the receiving end of Santeria as far as I knew, I didn’t believe in any of it. What I believed in was the power of positive thinking, Jesus Christ, and God.
At the beginning of one weekend, early one Friday evening, I was on my way out to a Third Eye weekend-long seminar being given by the famous Roslyn Bruyere at the Barbizon Hotel. Just about to open the door, I looked down and saw a large manila envelope that had been slipped under my door; in it were copies of an “X-Rated” comic book with pictures of women suffering violent rape with my name all over them.
The following Saturday night, I woke up to this extremely LOUD, pounding sound coming from my door, like somebody was trying to break it down with a sledgehammer. Figuring I must have been having a nightmare, I sat up, turned the light on, and looked at my door. It hadn’t stopped. My life was in danger.
I put my hands together and began to say “Jesus Christ protect me,” over and over again. Whoever was outside apparently wanted to, at the very least, scare the crap out of me, and at the most….well, I did live on the 12th floor with two windows. Who’d see me falling to my death in the middle of the night?
I couldn’t call the police because of the antiquated phone system; whoever worked behind the desk in the lobby had to manually make your calls for you, and no one worked that late. Cell phones hadn’t been invented either.
Old SRO building room doors didn’t go in when you entered your room; rather, the opposite. The next day, I couldn’t get my door to open out into the hall; something was blocking the way. I had to push hard until I could get my (then) skinny body out. No wonder I couldn’t get out! There, in front of my door, was the big trash can normally located on the stairwell. It had been overturned and now all that trash and garbage was on the hall floor! YUCK!!!
On the other side of it was a large, metal-framed chair that must have been what was used to pound so loudly on my door!
But what really sent shivers down my spine were these big red letters drawn on the outside of my door from top to bottom, that spelled violence towards women words that began with the letters C, and W, and B.
I immediately called the lobby and the landlord-owner’s wife answered. I told her not to touch anything until the police got here. But when they arrived, all had been cleaned up and removed except the bright red lettering on my door the detective said was written there with red lipstick.
The same color of lipstick the landlord’s Guyanese wife used to paint her lips.
Were they trying to frighten me into leaving or did they have something else in mind?
After we won our case against the owner for “first degree fraud,” one afternoon, I was canvassing the building as was my right according to Westside Law Project attorneys, putting fliers under the door, about the landlord listening in on our phone conversations which is illegal. I was on the 15th floor putting a flier under a door, right in front of the elevator when it opened and the owner walked out, saw what I was doing, and yelling profanities, chased me out onto the stairwell.
While turning around, saying I had a right to do this, he was putting his hands roughly on my throat smashing my head back and forth against the wall, strangling me.
It was in that moment that everything went into slow motion.
I was gurgling sound, only hearing blood-curdling screaming in my head. Just inches away, I knew if I made the wrong move, he could throw me down the stairs.
The sixty-four thousand dollar question had now become: Should I or shouldn’t I “knee” this monster in the groin?
I had never done that to a man. What if I missed and it angered him even more? Then for sure he’d kill me.
Yes, it is times like these that your faith in God means everything. All your childhood training, all your character building, everything intelligent you’ve ever learned, all the wisdom and other virtues you’ve accumulated, all of it counts at times like these. Maturity means a lot actually, when your life is on the line.
I decided to put all my “blue chips” in God’s hand. Time had slowed to a stop; everything as I said had gone into slow motion as I asked Him to save me.
I had hoped the landlord-owner would come to his senses, realizing that what he was doing could be the end of his freedom forever. And the royal greed trip he’d been on for years at the expense of 120 + tenants.
Angry that he couldn’t finish the job, he hit me hard on the shoulder, kicked me even harder on my rear end, and flew up the stairs to his wife in their penthouse on the 17th floor.
Or course, when the police arrived, his wife gave him an alibi so the cops couldn’t arrest him even though they knew he was guilty. What had convinced were the red marks on my neck and the rage in my eyes. Cops aren’t stupid.
[ Of special note: I spent the next nine months in a special counseling group for victims of abuse trying to get over my—now—murderous rage towards my abuser. And although I did, moving on, finding joy again in the little things of life, ….on rare occasions, regardless if it’s true or not, if I think my life is in danger, or my possessions may be taken away from me, I become paranoid. ]
I should mention here that, for about six months, everyone in the Brave Eight including myself had been living with this mysterious acute stomach pain; what were the odds of that happening to 8 people that didn’t hang out with each other let alone eat the same food?
Day in and day out, we suffered until I began to wonder if there was something to this Santeria Voo Doo stuff sharing our experience at a meeting with some friends; afterwards, a Latina woman explained to me that my life was in danger and that I needed to do a seven day novena to St. Michael. FAST.
By now, I would do almost anything to get the stomach pain to stop so I took her advice, practically running to this little hole in the wall botanical shop in Spanish Harlem, buying everything I’d need to do a seven day novena to St. Michael the Archangel, which at that point in my life, I didn’t know if I believed in such things as angels or devils for that matter, since leaving behind orthodox religion at the age of 13.
It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in God or Jesus; I just didn’t believe in a lot of his mis-informed followers who unconsciously used their religion as a weapon against anyone who disagreed with them.
I began to discover my own “kingdom within” when I began meditating every day; after all, Jesus did say, in so many words, that we could connect with Him that way. Praying is vital; but then you gotta shut up long enough to hear the answers, don’t you?
So what if stilling your mind is hard to do; so was riding a bike until you got real good at it. It’s the same thing with meditating. It becomes easier the more you practice. Prayer and Meditation go together like a stamp to a letter; they are two sides of the same coin. Together, they connect us to the world that awaits us on the other side.
First, I had to take a needle and write the names of all my enemies on a long, slender red candle that had wicks on both ends; then turn the candle upside down and place it back in the glass casing.
Next, I had to put the candle in a pan of water. After that, I was to light the candle and keep it lit 24 hours a day for all seven days of the novena.
Spirits can see and are drawn to red light.
Then, there were the outer skins of garlic placed near the red lighted candle I had to continually burn.
Apparently spirits can smell and are repelled by their odor, which I could definitely relate to after a few hours of inhaling their aroma in my teeny tiny shoe box-sized room.
After that, I had to create a little altar and put nothing on it except the cheapest little statue of St. Michael that I could find at the botanical shop.
Finally, there was the prayer novena I was to say out loud, while down on my knees. Every day for a week, first thing when I got out of bed in the morning.
Crying at times, I pleaded with St. Michael to come to my aid because I couldn’t afford to move out and he was my only hope.
The candle burned down, inch by inch, getting less and less oxygen, making me wonder if it was going to last by the fifth day. It burned bright at night while I was sleeping, then less and less bright night and day when I was at work. Thank God it was in a pan of water.
Michael and archangels and devils being struck down to hell and what kind of a fight that must have been would swim up in my mind while I was at my job. I wondered what Satan looked like, how large in size he was, did he have a tail, was he really the color red like I had seen in Catholic churches and in books at Christ the King grade school in Indianapolis, Indiana where I grew up. Was Michael bigger than Satan? Were they bigger than the Cherubim and Serubim angels? How big were peoples’ guardian angels? Were they much smaller? Why had God created a hierarchy of angels and was that fair? Did the smaller sized angels resent the larger ones? Did angels appear to people in this day and age? Or was Earth too corrupt nowadays? And was the USA way too materialistic for God’s taste? Would God help me even though I was born in this country?
The Monster Critic in my head worked overtime until I meditated and shut it down; finally facing the FACT that, the novena would either work or I’d be terribly disappointed. The whole thing was up to forces I had no control over; I was at God’s mercy. It was a matter of God’s Grace and whether I’d get any or not. But my life was in danger; surely God would come to my aid, wouldn’t He if He was Love?
I decided to HOPE for the best, put my FAITH to the test and still LOVE God no matter what, letting the chips fall where they may; after all, I believed in angels when I was a little girl.
MICHAELI hope you’re sitting down for this.
At the very moment I said the last word of that special prayer to St. Michael, on the last of the seven days of that novena to him, I no longer smelled garlic but something so out of this world beyond beautiful.
Still kneeling, I suddenly felt a divine sensation on my right shoulder. A hand had been placed there.
Unable to move or open my eyes, where before I had “seen” darkness, now, I could somehow SEE a real life 3-D….ahh….well….how do I say it, geez, I’m just gonna say it: I saw H-I-M.
It was like this swiftly powerful YET beyond extremely GRACE-FULL presence, I mean, there was this sort of like this supremely radiant BEING not found in our dimension standing there in front of me several feet away.
I mean…you’d THINK the most beautiful light-shiny halo—ish strawberry blonde shoulder length soft satin-like wavy hair parted down the middle would look too feminine on HIM, right?
Try to wrap your finite mind around a million volts of electro-magnetic energy, radiating off of the most unbelievably handsome entity I’ve ever laid eyes on.
HE had the most beautiful, the kindest, most loving eyes, blue-green orbs of light gazing down upon me, still kneeling there, stunned out of my mind. Shocked and Awed but in a glorious way!!!
HE was so ***HAPPY***…I’ve never seen happiness that looked like that on a person’s face. I could write a book on what I think he could be happy about; God must love HIM more than almost anyone because HE was so happy about something.
That wasn’t all I saw.
Wearing a bright white robe with a light green sash diagonally crossing it from his right shoulder to his left waist, behind him spanning the length of his body were wings made of nothing but glorious white light.
My higher mind had kicked in by now, meaning I just knew that standing there before me was the greatest of all the angels in God’s Kingdom, and the one who guards this Earth from total destruction.
He was the ESSENCE of SELF-CONFIDENCE, total FAITH in action, unconditional LOVE, PEACE, He was every positive state of being you can think of.
I had either been transported to heaven or heaven had come into my shoe box sized room.
Michael was real and he seemed happy to be there, and happy with me that I had called for him to come to my aid. I could feel it and see it in his radiant smile. Michael was more than I could ever have imagined. He was and still is and forever will be God’s greatest Champion.
My belief had, in the blink of an eye, been replaced with experiential KNOWING that God, and angels, and devils were very real and that our Soul is the most important thing we humans will ever possess and that we’d better take care of it and do its bidding rather than enslave it like we so often do on Earth.
Finally, St. Michael, the Archangel, my Champion, was gone, and I was left with joy, gratitude, and ecstasy in His wake, infused with strength, conviction, self-confidence, and an even greater willingness to be a little champion for others such as these 120 tenants living below the poverty line.
I knew I was on the right path, and that meditation was the best way I could connect with God just as Jesus had; that the kingdom of heaven is within, as Christ had said it was. That outdated holy books paled in comparison to what awaited us on the other side of physical manifestation. That there were worlds within worlds inside of us.
As time went on, I wondered about the possibility of “spirit portals” on this Earth, places where the energy veils between dimensions are so thin, spirits can come and go, that is, break through, cross the great divide, and do battle. The light doesn’t always win as the Dark Ages have shown; but it’s been getting lighter over the centuries, you know.
Funny I should be mentioning this now but it was in that building right before or after I had moved in that I read the book The Sentinel (J. Konvitz, 1981).
Before Michael, the story was just that, a great fiction thriller. But maybe there’s something, a kernel of truth there; I mean…do we really know for sure there aren’t saints or special human beings who incarnate for the purpose of standing guard between the other side of life, and this one?
Angels have been appearing to people throughout history. If you have been visited by an angel and want to share your true story, please do.
It’s been more than twenty years since that glorious day that was life-changing to say the least. I became more intensely involved in my healing work, becoming an energy therapist, licensed massage therapist and metaphysician, seeing miracles on my table, always asking Jesus to heal through my hands knowing that if I used my own energy, it would drain me of my life force.
Demonic energy is more prevalent in this world than we know. When we feel negative emotion such as jealousy, resentment, rage or hatred, we attract it into our chakras/energy fields. That is why forgiveness is so important.
The mysterious stomach pain we lived with for half a year vanished the day Michael appeared to me. I moved not long after “the event.” Shortly after, I received a phone call, while now living in Virginia Beach, from one of the members of our core group, saying the owner’s wife had died from cancer that had begun, in of all places, the same arm she uses to write with.
Not long after I moved out, the SRO building was made into a hotel in which a “suite” that goes for $139 a night, consists of two shoe box-size rooms with the tiny bathroom shower and toilet in between!!!
Perhaps the SRO tenants were offered a lump sum to leave, as I was when I had found out from a member in our core group who was privy to certain information (spying for us), that the owner was using the basement of the building to store large shipments of marijuana he was transporting from his wife’s native island in his crop plane. Never mess with big drug dealers who have planes they can throw you out of.
I knew it was time to go. We had won our case. There was no reason for me to stay. It was time to leave the Big Apple and head for Edgar Cayce land and the Association of Research & Enlightenment in Virginia Beach, VA that has one of the largest metaphysical libraries in the world.
To this day, the same "man" still owns the building he no longer lives in only visiting about once a month according to an employee who works behind the counter. A widower for about 19 years, he never remarried.
Mary Kinlen, CMT BA