By January 25, 2013 1 Comments

The Hidden Truth

When I was young I was fascinated with the subject of the paranormal.  Perhaps it was due to the fact that I had personally experienced different phenomena first hand and because I possess an inquisitive mind anyway, I felt I needed to learn as much as I could about the subject.

I was boarding at St. Joseph’s School in Lebanon at the age of ten.  This was a Christian school that was very strict and religious.  My parents enrolled my brother and I at this school out of necessity because there was no school in Doha where we were living at the time that could accommodate to our requirements.  They chose St. Joseph’s School over others for the close proximity to our grandparents’ home in Cornet Chahwan.

I hated that school; I have very few if any good memories associated with it.  I will write about my experiences at that horrid school in a separate article in the future.  However, for the sake of this article, I will describe some of the settings to familiarize the reader with the background to events in this article.

St. Joseph’s School was run like a military camp, borderline to a concentration camp.  The teachers were mean, the supervisors were sadists who regularly applied brutal corporal punishment in extreme forms to ‘discipline’ the students.  Our ‘carers’ resented us and their dislike of children showed at ever opportunity when they had to reprimand us for any menial reason.

The students were hyper bullies who reacted to the abuse from their superiors by being horrible to one another.  I was picked on regularly and it did not help that I stood out like a sour thumb because I am Armenian.  At the time, Armenians were resented for taking a stand of non-involvement in the Lebanese civil war.  Unfortunately the decision backfired and the Armenians were hated, mostly by the Christians.

I took refuge in the school library where I would lose myself in a  very large collection of books that satisfied my desire to read.  The library was peaceful and quiet and it was the one place in the school which was not frequented by the bullies or even the illiterate sadistic supervisors; the library was my sanctuary.

Every Monday morning meant prayers in the church and the students would be led into the cold church for morning mass.  I was  fascinated with religion at the time having grown in a Christian household but more so because I was yearning for answers… what is there beyond death?  Do we all meet again?  If so, where?  How?

I listened to the sermons very carefully and I read the New Testament and then re-read it once again.  I spoke to one of the monks at the school and asked him questions but I felt him at a loss when I pressed for technical facts about the after life.

“Brother, how could God love us and forgive our sins, yet burn us in in hell eternally for our sins?”

I had many questions and few replies, mostly paradoxical, leading me to further questioning.

One day during mass, the priest gave a sermon about Christ’s love for children and how Christ referred to the children as the angels of God.  I looked around and saw the supervisors listening to the sermon just as intently as the rest of the students.  Something was not right; how could these monsters be so sadistic and beat us at every opportunity and yet sit in church in pretence of holiness and spirituality.  The double standards appalled me and I felt myself drift further away from ‘the establishment’ – I believed in Christianity but certainly not the doctrine served by the soulless hypoctites.

I needed answers and I could not find them in the church nor in school.  No one could explain my personal experiences, not the priests, monks and nor the teachers.  The books in the library did not provide the guidance I sought until one day, when out shopping with my grandparents, I stumbled upon what appeared to be a fascinating find in a bookshop.  It was some sort of an encyclopedia of the paranormal but in French.  I was not fluent in French but the book presented an intriguing albeit limited number of photos with descriptions.  I tried to read the book but it was too hard and I found myself going over the same paragraphs repeatedly, struggling to understand.   I was consumed in my find and took the book with me to school and kept it hidden inside my desk in study hall.  Everyday, in the study hall,  I finished my studies as quickly as I could read my book in secret.  At the end of the study session, I would carefully place it back inside the desk below my exercise books and papers.

One day, while seeking the attention of my peers, I proudly showed the book to my classmates and I enjoyed their reactions.  Of course, non of them including myself could make much sense of the text but the photos were interesting enough to warrant a small crowd.  The next day when I arrived into the study hall, I raised the top of my desk but my book was not there.  I panicked and rummaged through the limited content but I still could not find it so I panicked; who took my book and why?

Then out of nowhere came a deep voice, unmistakably it was one of the hideous supervisors Mr. Jamil  who was pretending to be   ‘concerned’  He smirked down at me and asked me what I was looking for.  I explained that I could not find my book and that someone has taken it.  He told me that perhaps I should go to the headmaster’s office and ask Mr. Sawma, the headmaster about my book.

“Go on… he’s waiting for you and I am sure he will help you find your book.”

The prospect, sent a chill down my spine, I may have been a child but I was very sensitive and I felt that something foul was amiss.  I left the study hall, trembling slightly and felt cold all over, I was aware of all eyes following me as students turned their heads and looked on.  I was condemned and guilty of a serious crime, the fear literally made me shake and I found the walk through the dark corridors to the headmaster’s office very painful indeed.

I entered his office after knocking on the door and as soon as I walked in, I saw my book in the middle of his already cluttered desk.  He casually picked it up and pretended to be leafing through it, momentarily ignoring me and pressing his lips firmly as if deep in thought while shaking his head.  Then he simply put the book down and looked at me; a long cold stare, devoid of any emotion.

“Well Dedeyan, do you know why you’re here?”
“I was told to come to see you sir”
“Yes, indeed… it is because of this book.  Now, Dedeyan, are you going to tell me, who gave you this book?  Don’t worry, you’re not in trouble, just give me the name.”
“No one gave me the book sir, I bought it myself”
“Where?”  he looked disappointed, he really wanted names.
“At a bookstore in the town next to our village”

He stared at me in complete silence, trying to determine if I was telling the truth or not, he knew that I was not lying.

“Who was with you at the time?”
“My grandparents sir”
“Do they know that you bought this book?”
“Yes sir”
“Did they not object to it?”
“No sir…”
“How come?”
“Because they do not speak French sir…”

His anger was slowly turning to cynicism and in a patronizing tone he explained:

“Listen to me carefully Dedeyan.  This book, is not for you, it does not belong here in our Christian school, he really stressed the word ‘Christian’.  You will never bring such books to this school in the future, do you understand?”
“Yes sir”
“We are a proud Christian school, we believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray to God – everything else is insignificant.  These things that you are reading are not from the Bible or the church.  You will not read such things now and at any time in the future.” he raised his voice slightly, his demeanor changed “Do you understand?”
“Yes sir”
“You will not discuss such subjects with anyone in school or outside the school now and forever.  These are matters that are beyond you and you will stop reading, asking and talking about these subjects… are we clear on this Dedeyan?”
He pushed the now closed book away with the back of his hand as if it contained something disgusting.

I am sure he had heard about me from one of the priests about my inquisitive nature and my questions about religion and God.  My questions did not please them and as far as they were concerned, I was a non-conformist and therefore I should be reported and reprimanded.

I was lucky that I did not receive a beating on that day, I do not know why I was spared.  I had never felt more alienated in my life and as I walked back from his office and back to the study, I felt humiliated and defeated and yet my questions were not answered.  That book was keeping me interested in that otherwise cold and soulless school.  I walked back into the study hall to glances and stares by the other students – who knows what had transpired during my absence and what the supervisor had said about me.  I felt an imposing hostility trickling and oozing from the higher echelons and now the other students considered me ‘strange’ and just stared.  I did not fully comprehend their reactions at the time but I felt very uncomfortable about being there.  It is as if they associated me to something evil, the devil himself perhaps.

Eventually the war in Lebanon intensified and my parents were forced to move us to another school in an another country; much to my relief of course.  There was little that I liked about St. Joseph’s School, so leaving it was the easiest step in the world.  Unknown to the staff and specifically those who reprimanded me, I pursued my research into the paranormal undeterred.  Their incompetence in dealing with my fascination only served to raise my curiosity and awareness further and I found myself conducting even more research and study into the subject at a very young age.  There was no internet back then, I had to rely on books, magazines and various publications.  Sometimes, if I was really lucky, I would catch a documentary on television or on video tape.

We were eventually moved to a boarding school in Bath, England and there I had complete freedom to buy any book on the subject of the paranormal from any bookshop in town.  There were dozens of bookshops and many libraries, the books on the subject occupied their own space and there were so many to choose from; I was in heaven!

I bought more books than I could afford and read as much as I could in my spare time.  I went through them almost mechanically,  finding it hard to put them down.  Every book presented new ideas, insights and explanations.  Some of them touched on experiences that were similar to mine, a relief, since I discovered that I was not alone and that the psychic experiences were undeniably real.  Previously when I discussed them with the priest or the teachers, I would be told that it was my imagination and that I should ignore them and pray.

In time, I stopped reading such books as I eventually came to the conclusion that they were written by humans, some of whom are out to make money.  My personal development led me to understand that all experiences in life be it normal or paranormal are unique to the individual.  There was no sense in trying to compare myself to others or to try to belong.  In time I was to learn more about my individuality and to appreciate who I am and to embrace myself with all my imperfections.

Reading about the various subjects has not swayed my faith in God in any way, quite on the contrary in fact. The various inexplicable events that I witnessed and all the soul searching I went through cemented my faith in the greater good and the value of service.

Yes, there are many things that are inexplicable in life and the paranormal is certainly a science in its own right.  I cannot say that I believe in everything but I know that it is real for I am witness to the undeniable truth.

If only my supervisors and mentors from St. Joseph School were to meet me now to understand that my curiosity was harmless and to see where it had in fact led me.  In time as is with any curiosity, I lost interest and accepted the inexplicable side to life as normal as opposed to it being labelled as ‘paranormal’.   Ignorance can never be defeated with fear and equally, truth can never be twisted and nor ignored.

The technical aspect to the paranormal side to life no longer fascinates me as it once did.  What radiates inside me and above everything else is the flame of love, faith and service… the most enlightening qualities to be bestowed on me from every lesson in life, including the normal and the paranormal.

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1 Comment on "The Hidden Truth"

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  1. Your search for truth and bitter sweet experiences dug into the deepest part of our heart and showed us that spark we have all forgotten in our soul. You are such a special soul and I am forever thankful for having you in my life. I hope we will always cross eachother in a way or another, the journey is always more enlightening and heart warming when you are around especially in such a world. Thank you for sharing.. I look forward to having those long endless conversations when you’re both here. A big warm hug to you both.

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