Cape Town, South Africa. A young nurse, working at a mental health hospital, sees some of her colleagues playing an elaborate game with a mirror, a glass and a set of letters and numbers. “You’re just playing the fool,” she tells them. Suddenly the glass starts sliding quickly over the mirror, cursing her. The others ask her to leave. “You’re upsetting the spirits,” they say.
She was brought up a Christian, but living in South Africa, the influence of the occult is all around her. She’s always viewed the supernatural with a mix of fear and curiosity. But she has no idea the game she’s seeing is a Ouija board. She watches the staff play through the window, and sometimes quietly sits on the sidelines. Eventually, she decides to test the spirits out.
She knows she’s preparing to travel 1,600 kilometres to visit an aunt. “Where am I going?” she asks. “On a trip,” the board replies. “Who am I going to go and visit?” she asks. “Family,” it says. “How am I getting there?” she asks. “Train,” comes the answer. “Who will meet me?” she inquires. The final response isn’t what she expects. “A tall, handsome man.”
“This tall handsome gentleman actually turned out to be my Dad,” said Pastor, radio host and missionary Ettienne McClintock. “He was actually a border at her aunt’s house, and that’s how [my parents] ended up meeting.”
Though there’s superstition on both sides of his family, Ettienne told Vision’s Shelley Scowen that he’s learnt how important it is to steer well clear of the occult, even, and especially, when it offers you a glimpse of your future. His mother’s experience sounds like something from the horror movies he later loved, but for her it was all too real.
It’s a hot December night in a haunted house. Two single beds have been pushed together for Ettienne’s mother and the tall handsome man, now her husband. He’s brought her back north to spend Christmas with his family.
Earlier that night his sister and mother, both heavily involved in the occult at the time, had been talking about how sometimes, the radio dial would turn by itself, about the strange apparitions they would sometimes see, and the people who had fled the house in terror after unusual events. Apparently, someone had once been killed here, and a restless spirit remains.
Now, Ettienne’s mother jolts awake, a current of electricity coursing through her body. The lights are flicking on and off, and something is walking down the hallway. Terrified, she covers her head in a sheet, leaving one eye on baby Ettienne, just four months old, in the cot beside them. “Please God,” she prays, “don’t let it do anything.”
Something shakes her bed violently, then retreats. She tries carefully to reach out and wake her husband. But it returns, lifts the bed again, and shakes it so violently she’s nearly thrown off. Eventually her husband wakes up, and she clings to him, unable to speak as the dogs bark wildly outside.
“Listen,” she says, when she’s finally able to explain what happened. “We’re packing up. We’re not staying here another day.” “When she told the story to my aunt, who was involved in the occult at that time,” Ettienne said, “she said ‘not to worry. He’s harmless. He just came to say hi’!”
But Ettienne’s mother did worry. Though some were sceptical, she insisted until the day she died that this experience had been real. Eventually she came to believe that her dabbling with the Ouija board had opened a door, and something darker had tried to reach through. “She started looking at these things a bit more,” Ettienne said, “and she realised there were a few things she was involved in that she shouldn’t have been, although it was innocently.”
Whether or not you believe occult forces can have an impact on the real world, it’s clear that they can lead us astray from what’s really important. Later in life, Ettienne himself developed a curiosity about the occult through his love of horror movies. But like his mother, he received a clear warning that demonic forces aren’t worth playing with. To find out more about his experiences with the occult, as well as his complex journey with God, listen to his two-part conversation with Shelley Scowen on Vision’s the Story below.
Tune into The Story on Vision for true testimonies from extraordinary people. Click here for your local times.
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