A large part of any working psychics day must of necessity contain a lot of counselling, especially in these troubled times.
The haunting events I am about to relate happened some 25 years ago, when a man in his late forties came to me in some distress.
He had been a professional soldier all his life and had seen action in trouble spots all over the world. A rugged, fit and very sceptical man, he had served with the Special Air Service and being in the forefront of combat had seen many awful sights.
Although he said he always thought he would die in action, he had discovered that he now had terminal cancer and as he was nearing the end of life, felt there were things he needed to unburden himself from. In much the same way as Catholics make confessions to their priest.
Despite his past, or more precisely because of it, this man was emotional and very afraid and my training as a psychologist led me diagnose Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ( P.T.S.D.).
This was underlined by his inward hand wringing gestures, and the fact he was left handed, and U.S. military studies show that for left hand dominance, the right brain side would be actively engaged, thus rendering a greater susceptibility to trauma.
During the Veitnam war, we in Britain had been told by the then Prime Minister Harold Wilson that due to public disapproval, British forces would not be sent to fight there. This, the man said was a lie, under U.S pressure Britain and also Australia had sent men to fight in the jungles of ‘Nam’.
Although America had little support among the British public for their Vietnam campaign, British soldiers were apparently encouraged to “volunteer” for service there and the pressured recruiting of mercenaries was given priority.
Hence the former soldier had ended up in Vietnam where, as he now neared the end of his life, he had been involved in an incident that he needed to unburden himself from.
As a special forces soldier he had been ordered to go to a certain village at night, count the huts along to a given number, and then at daybreak, enter the hut and kill the occupant who was seen to be passing information on to the Vietcong. Having disposed of any witnesses, he was then to destroy any evidence and get back silently to rejoin the main body of the unit he was assigned to.
On finding the right hut he had sat in the undergrowth and watched from a distance, until the first signs of daybreak, then crept over and entered the hut. But what he saw disturbed him somewhat, just a beautiful moon faced young mother and her 3 children, and as he posed momentarily, she opened her eyes and looked him straight in the face.
Before she could call out, she was dead along with the 3 young witnesses and the hut was set alight.
He knew he had to obey orders, but was not happy about what he had done and the nightmares began soon after. Spasmodic at first, then more regularly, and always seeing the young face of the beautiful moon faced girl, whose soul was so angry with him, with her children in the background.
As time went on the visions came more regularly, in which she also began to promise him, a horrible death.
He assured me that when you live with death as soldiers do, you kind of blank off to it. Such things as the supernatural were for old ladies and pansies, he and his comrades had believed. Yet as death approached him in his cancerous condition, he was afraid of what he called; “the girl in the night”.
Although he came to talk to me several times, he seemed even more distressed when I was summoned to visit him in hospital, seeing him there pale and gaunt, with frightened staring eyes. He pleaded with me to save him from the spirit of the angry girl, who would stand and watch him now even in daylight.
The medical position is that people hallucinate particularly with intravenous analgesics, just before death, but he had seen these visions for some time.
He was convinced she was waiting for him at the point of death, and wished he had died on a far away lonely battlefield, fighting for some politician to score a political point somewhere, rather than what he now faced.
After the weekend away camping with my son, I went back to the hospital and saw a bearded elderly man with an awful smokers cough now occupied the bed. I turned round to a passing nurse and asked about my friend the soldier, and her reply shook me: “He went in the early hours of the morning,” she said, “he was found grasping the sheets in a dead mans grip, with a frozen look of sheer horror on his face”
And as she walked away she looked back at me with her beautiful little oriental moon face and smiled.
I thought coincidence or what?