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OUT OF THE OCCULT AND INTO CHRIST
Because my testimony is of a very dramatic nature, I felt it appropriate to include a brief declaration of dedication to God.
I (Vincent McCann) do declare before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit that this story is true. I also declare that the many individuals included in this account can be called upon at any time as witnesses of the truthfulness of this account. I have nothing to hide. Everything has been told as it happened. God is my judge.
Since as long as I can remember I had always been interested in dark and sinister things. Even as a child I always drew ‘monster’ pictures and my parents used to suggest that I should draw nice pictures instead.
In the teenage years I felt desperately as though something was seriously lacking from my life. I often felt inadequate and longed to better myself somehow. Because of an interest in the unusual and bizarre, I would frequently purchase literature dealing with unusual phenomena and paranormal subjects (ghosts, etc.). I noticed various advertisements in these magazines that offered books on all kinds of subjects. One advertisement, in particular, caught my eye. It was on self-improvement. I ordered this book thinking, as the advertisement promised, that it would revolutionize my life. When the book came I was surprised by some of the techniques that it encouraged. The author strongly recommended self-hypnosis and as a result, I began practicing it secretly in my bedroom with the aid of a cassette recorder and a lit candle. It wasn’t long before I craved more of something a bit deeper. After noticing other advertisements in other magazines I began to practice ‘white’ witchcraft and set up an altar in my bedroom. It seemed harmless enough at the time and there was a new sense of excitement and interest in my life with the added bonus of the possibility to change things for the better.
My interest in dark and morbid things also began to grow at this time. I dressed in black and got into the ‘gothic’ scene. At the peak of this period in my life, I was dressing in black most of the time, wearing white face paint and black eyeliner! Even though my hair is naturally a very dark brown I would always dye it black because I wanted it to be jet black. I began to acquire quite an interesting array of occult literature and set them up on a shelf in my bedroom, but I kept the more disturbing books hidden away because I knew that my parents would become offended. I also set up shelves to fill them with anything unusual. I began to make my own clay models, many of which were extremely grotesque such as twisted and tormented faces and creatures with horns. I felt compelled and driven to create such things. I even acquired a goats skull and hung it from the wall. On weekends, I would visit a night-club in Liverpool called ‘Planet X’. This was a popular meeting place for people like myself. Interestingly, I noticed that a lot of people there also had an interest in sinister things as well as an interest in the occult.
Many of the friends that I had known for years began to notice a change in me. When they noticed how my room was developing, the books that I was reading and the things that I was talking about they became scared and I began to see less and less of them. I can remember on one occasion I was in my room with my brother and a group of friends and we were reading the Tarot Cards. When the death card was turned over a glass shelf suddenly shattered with a bang. We realized later that it had cracked due to the heat of a candle beneath it, but because of its timing, my friends became scared and took it as a bad sign. I suddenly found myself alone…a lot! I was also unemployed at this time and so I already had a lot of spare time on my hands but I at least used to see my friends in the evenings and at weekends. However, now I was alone in the evenings and at weekends as well. I thought to myself, “Right, I will engulf myself in gaining more knowledge about the occult and obtain power.” For a time I did get very involved in this activity and ordered even more books through the post. The books that I was getting were becoming darker and darker as this quest for power continued. Every night, and at times in the day, I was practicing witchcraft in my bedroom, something my parents continued to be oblivious of. I think that they suspected that I was up to something because of my secrecy and the many unusual packages that came to the house. These packages consisted of occult paraphernalia ordered from occult suppliers (I think one was called ‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice’).
Eventually, I was encouraged to be reintroduced to an old girlfriend. This happened when one night, out of the blue, there was a knock at the door. Two ladies were there who looked vaguely familiar. They explained that they were relatives of Jane, an old girlfriend of mine. They explained that they had come because Jane was in a local mental health ward and had been asking for me. I thought that the only decent thing to do was to go and visit her, which I did a few days after. When I got to the hospital Jane was very withdrawn and nervous. She was a small but pretty girl with very striking pixie-like features and long jet black hair. She, like me, was drawn to the gothic style of dress and wore a lot of black. From one visit a week I began to go more and more. She seemed to benefit from my visits and became less and less withdrawn. I felt as though I had a sort of mission to get her back to health. However, I didn’t notice at the time but she was actually quite manipulative and demanding. One day the news arrived that she had been discharged from the hospital because of her uncontrollable violent behavior. She had smashed the ward up, something that she had apparently done several times before and this was her last chance.
After Jane’s discharge from the hospital a new chapter in both our lives began. She moved back to her parents’ house and I began to spend even more time with her. I was seeing less and less of my family at this time and was with Jane virtually every day. Eventually, this led to me sleeping at her house regularly as well. For a young man to be spending so much time with a young woman may not sound that unusual, that is of course if the couple were boyfriend and girlfriend. But we were not boyfriend and girlfriend. She simply wanted someone who would be a friend to her and take care of her. By this time I was beginning to get a bit tired of being around her so much and missed my parents. I didn’t’ want to end our friendship but simply see a bit less of one another. When I expressed this to her she was upset and felt rejected. Eventually, as time went on, I began to feel more and more trapped. Her behavior had changed as well. She became more confident and controlling to the point where she controlled everything that I did. In addition to this strong controlling personality, she also encouraged my interest in the occult and we performed spells together. It was as though, all of a sudden, to my surprise, she appeared to be an expert on the subject! She also made a special point of letting her parents know that I was interested in the subject.
I got on reasonably well with Jane’s parents and they seemed to think that I was good for her. However, all this was suddenly about to change. Because they trusted me they felt that they could leave me in charge of the house and look after Jane while they went away on holiday for a week. The night that they left for their holiday Jane and I were in the kitchen. She had been acting very unusual all day but I just put it down to her mental problems. But nothing could have prepared me for what happened next. All of a sudden she stood up and began pacing up and down the kitchen doing what first appeared to be impersonations. Thinking it was just her way of having a joke I simply laughed it off. But she continued this behavior to the point where it was beyond a joke and I had stopped laughing. There was a point when she looked at me and I could clearly see that I was no longer talking to the same person. She spoke in a male voice and her whole personality had radically changed. The voice professed to be that of a spirit who had indwelt her since early childhood. It threatened me not to tell anyone about its existence and said that if I did so it would kill me, my mother, my father, and my brother. I was absolutely terrified and my gut reaction was to run out of the house and back to my parents’ home but I did not have any shoes on at the time. Because of the threats and not having any shoes on I felt as though there was no alternative but to stay and talk to this spirit. I eventually became more relaxed and adjusted to this new but unusual situation. We talked right through the night until the light crept through the curtains and I heard the birds singing outside. This spirit declared that the reason for Jane’s mental problems was because of its presence, but it further revealed that its time had come to leave her now. Before leaving it said that I was never to abandon Jane because I had been “chosen” to look after her. With this, Jane lay on the settee, closed her eyes and sprang up full of energy. She acted as though she had no recollection of the events of the previous night. In contrast, I was exhausted, physically and mentally.
The next day Jane seemed fine. Nothing out of the ordinary happened until late on in the afternoon. As we sat in the lounge of her parents’ house, all of a sudden she looked at me, her face was different and a familiar voice came out of her. I said, “I thought you had gone.” “I lied,” replied the voice. As the week that progressed more and more spirits introduced themselves to me. Some were strange and mysterious, some were strong and intimidating, and some were even humorous at times. Almost every personality type under the sun seemed to emerge. However, up until the last day that we had the house to ourselves for the week none of these personalities had been violent. This changed only a few hours before Jane’s parents were due back from their holiday. In contrast to Jane’s reluctance to engage in any physical boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, one particular personality that manifested itself from within her seemed intent on encouraging me to engage in perverse sexual acts with her. Looking back, I have to say that I wasn’t the most sexually pure of people, but the things that this spirit was urging me to do I just could not go through with. After refusing this spirit’s persistent requests I watched in sheer terror as a new personality emerged through Jane in such a way that it seemingly rose up from deep within her, displacing the previous immoral spirit. I suppose that by this time, I had, to some degree, become somewhat accustomed to the various spirits that spoke through her. But nothing could have prepared me for the sudden personality that manifested itself at this point. She jumped up screaming at the top of her voice and white foam gushed out of her mouth. I had never known such a feeling of absolute terror in all my life. Having a vague sort of belief in God, and being familiar with such films as ‘The Exorcist’ I reached for a crucifix that lay on a nearby cupboard and held it up before her face (her parents were nominal Roman Catholics). To my dismay, this attempt to defend myself had no effect whatsoever. After attacking me she ran around the house destroying it. The next stage of her behavior took on a strange and eerie dimension. She began running into cupboards and giggling in such a way that it was chilling. At this point, I was at the point of feeling as though I was going to have a complete nervous breakdown. I could hardly believe that such things were happening to me. As quickly as it had come this aggressive spirit disappeared and a more relaxed personality took over and advised me to clean up the house before her parents came back. This spirit predicted that her parents would return within the next few minutes. We frantically tried to clean the house but time beat us. As predicted, and to my amazement, Jane’s parents arrived back within the next few minutes. As would be expected they were furious. They had been good to me and I felt so sorry for them coming home from holiday to a house that was such a mess. On top of their anger, I could see that they were deeply hurt and disappointed in me. They had trusted me and left me in charge of their house and their daughter. I felt as though I had betrayed them. As if the present situation wasn’t bad enough, Jane was implying to them that it was me who had led her astray. She also kept emphasizing to them my unhealthy interest in the occult. Amazingly, her parents eventually calmed down and let us stay with them, although my relationship with them was never the same. But there was nothing I could say about what was really going on. The words of one of the spirits who had spoken with me in the events of the previous week rang in my ears, “Don’t even bother telling anyone what is really going on, after all. Who would believe such a story?”
Despite being allowed to continue to stay at the house we were certainly not welcome, which of course was perfectly understandable. We were both viewed with suspicion and Jane appeared to enjoy tormenting them with talk of “my evil occult powers”. Her parents kept telling me to go back to my own house, something that, if only they knew, I wanted to do more than anything else in the world. Unwelcome in her parents’ house, except, for being allowed to eat and sleep there, we spent most of the following days wandering around a local town. Spirit after spirit manifested itself to me as we wandered the streets. All kinds of mind games were played on me and I was constantly set various tests. She had me believe that there were two groups of people in the town. One group was against us and the other group was in favor of us. Incredibly, Jane would approach people in the town that I had never met before and they appeared to know what she was doing. On one occasion she approached a man and he said to her, “How is ‘the work’ going on Jane?” after which they both looked at me long and hard. She explained that he was “on our side.” On another occasion, there was a man walking behind us and she said “That man is against us, he is our enemy,” With these words, she said, “I will try and get rid of him.” She then lifted her arm discreetly in front of her and revolved her finger in a circle. To my amazement, the man stopped dead in his tracks in the middle of the street, did an about-turn, and walked in the opposite direction!
Many supernatural things occurred during this period. On one occasion, while in conversation with a spirit in her bedroom, lots of flashing lights appeared by the curtains. On another occasion, we were standing outside her parents’ house with Jane trying to negotiate with them to let us in (because we were only allowed in the house to sleep and eat, it was neither of these times on this particular occasion). The furthest we got, however, was being allowed to stand by the front gate to have a cup of tea and read the daily papers. As I usually did when I read a daily paper I went straight to the horoscopes page and was amazed to discover that everything that was happening to me was relevant to my horoscope reading for that day. I cannot remember the actual wording of what it said but it was along the lines of having to submit to someone powerful and not being able to resist their control and influence. In a similar way, Jane’s horoscope was also relevant to what was happening and spoke of dominating and being in full control of every situation and having the power to subdue whoever she wanted. Although these words in the newspaper were startlingly accurate I realized for the first time that horoscopes were connected with dark spiritual forces of evil. One night while we were waiting to be allowed into the house to sleep we were standing by some trees at the bottom of her street. She looked up into a tree and in a terrified voice said that there was something in it that wanted to hurt us. We both began to run and as we did I heard a bloodcurdling noise like nothing I have ever heard before. No words could ever adequately describe what I heard but it was coming loud and clear from the tree that she had been looking up into. I could see clearly enough into the tree to observe that no person was hiding up there making the noise. There was just nobody there although the noise was so clear. As we ran I caught a glimpse of her looking gleefully on at the expression of terror that I knew must have been all over my face. Looking back, I can see that all of these things, the supernatural acts the tests that she set and the things that she said were all designed to break me down mentally.
Despite the longsuffering of Jane’s parents, things just became too much for them. Eventually, we were forced to leave and found a bedsit at a seaside resort in a place called New Brighton. Both the bedsit and the area that we moved into was very undesirable. Drug addicts were everywhere. Some of the people in the bedsit did seem o.k. though but whenever they tried to befriend us in anyway Jane would be abrupt and keep them at arm’s length. It was in this bedsit that the most violent attacks were inflicted upon me. I was beaten in the face and the various spirits that spoke out of her never seemed to stop tormenting me. Even throughout the night, these spirits continued their relentless assault against me and I spent many nights without any sleep. I was reduced to a shuffling zombie and went down to about seven and a half stone in weight. In contrast, while I deteriorated, Jane seemed to bloom and become stronger and stronger.
Occasionally, throughout our time at New Brighton, Jane did allow me to visit my parents in a couple of instances. Looking back, she probably only allowed this because we were running low of cash at this time and she knew that my mother would most likely give us some money. Each time before we went, however, she would be sure to brief me on what I was to tell them. She concocted a story for me to tell my parents to explain why I had bruises on my face. I was to tell them that I had been beaten up by a gang of skinheads. My mother appeared to buy the story but I sensed that my father was suspicious. The first time that she allowed me back to see my parents they were shocked at my condition. I unfolded my carefully rehearsed story to them listened to closely by Jane who sat nearby. For the first time in months, I broke down in tears on my mother’s shoulder. Unknown to me at the time my dad had caught a glimpse of Jane’s face looking on at the scene. He said that he noticed her, for a split second, as she watched my mother and I crying, smiling in a way that expressed a sinister satisfaction. When we left my father said that he searched my room and found an Aladdin’s cave of occult books and other related items. I had many occult-related books and many of the more acceptable ones were not hidden but on display. However, my father in his search of my room had unearthed some of the more sinister ones. As a result of his discoveries, and his suspicions of Jane, he went to a local Anglican minister and unfolded what he knew. The minister told him that he and the Church would be praying for me and that if he could help further he was available. My father was also praying. Although he is not a Christian he felt that praying to God was the only thing he could do. Also at this time, in contrast to my own situation, my brother, Kevin, had become a born-again Christian. He had gone to a local drug dealer’s house one night to buy some cannabis. While he was there the dealer’s brother, who was a Christian, came into the room. He told Kev not to be involved with drugs and preached the Gospel message to him. Incredibly, my brother immediately accepted what was being said, turned from his sin and placed his faith in Christ. Like my father, Kevin did not understand what was going on in my life but knew that I was in trouble. As a result of his concerns, he and a group of other Christians from another local Pentecostal Church were also praying for me. God had come in on the scene.
It was during the next visit to my parents’ house that these many prayers were answered. We were not originally going to my parents’ house but instead had just come from Jane’s parents’ house and were on the way to a night club in Liverpool (Planet X). When we approached the station where my parents’ house was nearby, somehow, I managed to muster up the energy and the courage to ask to see my parents again before we went to the night-club. To my amazement, she agreed (albeit somewhat reluctantly). After the usual threats of not telling them what was really going on, we arrived. Jane was upstairs in my bedroom and I was discretely called into the kitchen by my father. He asked me again what was going on, to which I replied with the usual prepared lines that Jane had forced me to repeat. He said that he didn’t believe me and suddenly dumped a pile of occult books down on a chair and said “explain them!” I was speechless. He then further surprised me by saying “I know who is behind this. Its the Devil, isn’t’ it? He is the one that is wrecking your life and that girl is in league with him.” I was so shocked by his words. Not only was this the first time that anyone had made such a connection but to hear it from my father, a man who never spoke about such things was a total surprise. The shock of his words caused me to break down and the most I could say was “Dad you don’t know what you are getting yourself into.” He explained that he had been in touch with the local minister and that he and his team were willing to help me. He told me to go upstairs and keep her occupied while he phoned the minister up and got him and his team to come to the house. He then quickly left the house to use a phone in a nearby shop and I walked up the stairs with my heart pounding like a drum convinced that Jane would know that something had happened. To my astonishment, she was oblivious to the conversation that I had just had and the events that were transpiring as a result. When I entered my bedroom she was dancing in front of a full-length mirror to a record by the rock group ‘The Cult’. I was filled with fear and worry as I wondered what would result in the next few minutes. Eventually, I looked out of the window and saw my father coming through the gate with a group of men and one lady. I said, “Jane, my dad is coming up with some people!” Immediately, she was on the alert. But no sooner had I said these words they had entered the room led by my father who shouted, pointing at Jane, “That’s her, that’s the Devil woman!” One of the people said to me “You go into the other room and you (pointing to Jane) stay here.” I then went into my brother’s room with my father and mother and left Jane with the group of people from the Church. I was still very, very afraid at this point. I felt as though God was no match for Jane’s powers. Any time that I had brought the subject of God up during my time with her she had either changed the subject or made God look as though He was weak and powerless. I sat down on my brother’s bed with my mother and father either side of me and prayed the only prayer I knew, the Lord’s prayer, or what I knew of it from schooldays. Even though the words of my prayer were all muddled up, I was looking up through the window into the sky and praying with every fiber of my soul ‘God help me!’ It was then that an incredible thing happened. It was early evening at this time and the sky outside was clouded and dark but as I prayed the dark clouds parted and the sunlight broke through. A perfect ray of sunlight came down and filled the room with light. My dad said, “Look! He has heard you!” For the first time since all the terrible events of the past, hope was born in me. I knew that God had heard me and was involved in my situation. The three of us wept for joy and God’s presence filled the room. In contrast to what was happening in the room that I was in, I could hear the voices of the spirits who had tormented me for so long themselves being tormented. The screams and the shouting were ear piercing. Eventually, I entered the room where Jane was. Jane was surrounded by the people from the Church who were praying over her. Tears were streaming down her face and she looked at me saying, “Vince I can see faces in torment, burning”.
It was eventually decided that Jane was to be taken back to her parents’ home. However, she did not go easily. She kept going on about some sort of “salvation” and screamed at the people from the Church, “You don’t understand what you are doing! You are wrecking everything!” While she was saying this, my father had gone to his toolbox to get his chisel. He met us all at the top of the stairs, his face was red and he shouted, looking at Jane “I am going to drive this chisel into your heart!” The people from the Church tried to stop him but in his rage, he threatened to hit them! It was only because I pleaded with him to stop that I was able to change his mind. I am convinced to this day that he would have murdered her if I hadn’t have stopped him. I think the events of the past few weeks had overwhelmed him and out of his anger toward Jane, and his love for me as his son, he just snapped. Eventually, Jane was escorted from the house. She left me very reluctantly, kicking and screaming all over the street as she was dragged towards the minister’s car. She pleaded with me to stay with her and said every manipulative thing that she could think of to make me stay with her. The commotion was so bad that perplexed neighbors emerged from their houses wondering what the noise was and some very puzzled police arrived to hear mutterings of demon possession and involvement in the occult. They were visibly shocked.
When Jane finally went I felt relieved but was still frightened. I had undergone weeks of mental conditioning that told me that harm would come to me and my family if I ever revealed what was truly happening. That night I slept on the sofa in the front living room with my father watching over me. The next day was Sunday and my brother Kevin was going to the Pentecostal Church that he had been attending, The Wirral Christian Centre. The next day came and I couldn’t get to the Church quick enough. The Wirral Christian Centre is a thriving Church which at the time I first entered its doors had a congregation of about four hundred. As I walked into the Church the first song that I heard was one called ‘Thank you Lord for the Victory’ which is a song all about the victory of Jesus Christ over Satan and all the powers of darkness. Part of that song is as follows, “There’s not a fetter that You cannot break Lord, there’s not a demon that can stand in Your way Lord, there’s not a principality, power nor authority, that is not under the feet of our God.” It was as if someone knew that I was coming and written that song especially for me. Although I had always believed in God, I was confused about what it meant to be a Christian. Even though I had been involved in the occult I always felt that I was generally a good person. I had never murdered anyone, or beaten up old women, or committed armed robbery. I, therefore, felt that I was in with a good chance with God. Whenever I did something which was ‘good’ I felt as though God must have been looking down on me and awarding me points which would somehow outweigh the bad things that I did, and that I would eventually get to heaven when I died. However, after the service finished one of the leaders in the Church at the time took me aside and explained how each one of us was sinners by nature and that our sin separated us from God. Jesus Christ came as the only perfect man to reconcile fallen humanity back to their relationship with God through His sacrifice on the cross so that when people turn from their sin and put their faith in Him they begin a new life and can have a certainty of eternal life (1 John 5:13 These things have I written to you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.). As I spoke with this dear friend the realization dawned upon me that I was indeed a sinner. I knew that I had done terrible things in the past and that my mind was full of sinful thoughts. I repeated a simple prayer of faith and repentance to the Lord Jesus Christ repenting of my sin and asking Him to be the Lord of my life. I was urged to pray this prayer with all my heart and I did so with every fiber of my being. Nobody told me to expect anything through such a prayer and I was not at all prepared for what happened next. I opened my eyes and said, “I feel as though I have found what I have been looking for all my life!” I realized that all of the things that I had been involved in such as the occult, the music I listened to, etc, had been a search in all the wrong places that nearly led me to utter ruin. I experienced such a sensation of love and peace that I could never adequately put it into words. All I can say is that I felt love. There was no doubt about it. It was love in its most pure form. I knew I was saved.
Things seemed to go well for a while and I slowly began to readjust to my new life. Jane still tried to keep in contact with me and sent letters none of which I replied to. Each letter was full of manipulative language and attempted to put me back under her control again. Eventually, my new spiritual life seemed to go horribly wrong. I suddenly began to see horrific visions, heard tormenting voices, and felt troubled inside. I felt as though I was finally going mad or that I had somehow done something against God and was being punished by Him. Nobody in the Church seemed to really understand me and I felt alone. Many supernatural things occurred during this period, too numerous to go into here.
My first release from this bondage occurred months later. I was standing at the front of the Church being prayed for, for a headache when suddenly I fell on the floor (much to the surprise of the man praying for me), and began shouting in another voice. People in the congregation who had witnessed the event later said that I had slithered across the floor like a snake. The Pastor, the Rev. Paul Epton came over to me and began rebuking the spirit. Inside myself, I could feel two personalities at work, my own and that of the spirit that had its grip on me and was presumably responsible for making my new life as a Christian so difficult. This spirit was mocking the Pastor and laughing at him at the top of its voice. Somehow, I could feel its arrogance and mockery. When the Pastor kept mentioning the name of Jesus I could feel its annoyance. The laughter stopped and it became extremely angry. I can remember feeling the emotion of utter fury at what this man was saying. I understand that many Christians believe that it is impossible for a Christian to have a demon but there was no doubt in my mind that I had given my life over to Christ and from that point on had become a true born-again believer. Whether the demons were in me or not is a matter of theological debate, all I know is that they were there and had been making my life unbearable. While at the front of the Church I eventually felt a release and I seemed to be myself again. However, similar things happened again over a period of a couple of years. But each time I went through some deliverance I felt more and more free.
As the years have gone on I have felt that God has continued to heal me and help me, although not as dramatically as what has just been described. Over the years I have felt God heal me gradually and I have felt Him changing me. I eventually got married to Donna whom I met at the Wirral Christian Centre church. We have two boys, Nathaniel (aged 6) and Edward (aged 5). After completing a degree at Regents Theological College in Nantwich, Cheshire I went back to the Wirral Christian Centre for a short time to serve as an assistant Pastor. At present, I am an Area Director for a Christian charity called Reachout Trust, an organization that deals with helping those who are tangled up in the deception of the occult and cults. I think that because I was caught up in such terrible deception I have a special empathy with those who are also deceived. I long to see people in such groups come into a true and living relationship with Jesus Christ.