Authentic shamanism is very rare. Unless there is tangible spiritual activity, practitioners are just going through the motions in hopes of experiencing anything spiritual or genuine in nature as seen when the spiritual realm physically crosses over to the earth realm. For example, orbs, ghosts, demonic infestation, demonic possessions, entities, and interactive ceremony and ritual. In ‘Tales from a Shaman,’ I will share such crossovers and paranormal/supernatural events. Any modern-day shaman can fake paranormal activity, or share a ritual, whether fake or authentic; but rarely do real paranormal events ever occur. I can tell the difference between authentic shamanism and snake-oil ‘plastic shaman.’ I was raised around authentic spiritual paranormal activity. The spirit beings made their presence known, as well as performing phenomena such as healings, teleportation, spirit-travel, physical manifestations in the Earth realm, and producing visions.
THE FLOATING RIFLE
This event took place when I was around 10 years old and remains deeply rooted in my memory. Back on the reservation, in the days of log cabins, dirt roads, large families, and lots of cousins—I spent a lot of time with my Granny, Elders, Aunts, and cousins. I remember sleeping on the floor or sharing a bed with multiple family members. I remember my cousins and I laying opposite each other, kicking each other’s feet, arguing as our granny scolded us, silencing us almost instantly. We were surrounded by family, yet I was always lonely; my mother had abandoned me here. I did not know why, nor did I understand. Nonetheless, we were taken care of, always put to work, and raised by wise Elders—something I appreciate to this day.
During the day, the log cabin was empty as us children played in the woods, and as the adults were busy with their own chores. I remember helping my uncles and Medicine Men with tasks related to ceremony, such as tending to the fire, bringing the Elders tea, and cleaning the ceremony grounds. We were never allowed back in the house before sundown—to return home would result in the further designation of chores or extended exile. We would also never dare to suggest that we were ever bored, a forbidden statement that would land you in the gulag. At least it felt that way. The best thing was to stay busy and stay away, unless absolutely necessary.
One early summer afternoon, I found myself wandering alone looking for my younger cousins; after having been banished and sent away by my older adolescent cousins. I could not find where they were playing, so I decided to see if anyone was at my Granny’s. I arrived upon the giant concrete step leading into the log house and immediately remembered the story where my aunt opened the door one morning and came upon a giant bullfrog sitting on the doorstep. She was said to have screamed so loud it woke the entire house, forcing the uncles to evict the bullfrog and relocate it far into the forest—giant bullfrogs are now rare to see back home.
I crept inside the log house. It appeared empty, but there was a cup of steaming tea on the old wooden dining room table, and the wood stove was in the middle of being emptied of ash. So, I had to be quick and avoid detection. I remember the place always smelling like soup and boiling meat. My granny was always baking Cree bread we called Bannock; it was delicious. Its aroma whilst baking was mouthwatering. I miss the aromas of home. I darted towards the steep stairway leading to the second level; it was very steep, less than 45 degrees with thin narrow steps leading upwards. We were always warned to be careful climbing the stairs, and to never run up or down—there were no safety railings. Nonetheless, I ran up hoping to see my cousins.
The top floor was an open room with beds on each side, reminiscent of an orphanage. The log cabin had beams on top that formed an arch, and always smelt musty like aged wood and dust. The room was long, with the middle walkway that led to a narrow doorway that featured a very small room in the middle, like a closet. The small room was equipped with a single window that illuminated the closet area, but dimly lit the rest of the floor. Inside the ‘closet’ space were small doors on each end that led to a spooky corridor, like a crawl space behind the walls. I never dared go inside without my cousins.
I stood silently at the foot of the steps, listening to see if my cousins were hiding from me. While I stood there listening, I heard shuffling behind the closet space walls. I smiled and called out to my cousins. ‘I can hear you!’ I yelled. No one answered. I called out again, ‘I heard you!’ There was no one in sight but I felt very eerie, like a presence in there with me. I then started to hear a whispery voice speaking that sounded like multiple voices; I could not make out the words. It was accompanied by an eerie breathing or hissing; and it whispered for me to come closer. I was frozen in terror and could not move.
Inside the small room, illuminated by the sunlight, I noticed a shape appear at the top right of the doorway. It was the barrel of a rifle. Its tip extended out and it started moving in a circular motion, in and out of sight, as if to taunt me. I shouted, ‘I’m going to tell on you!’ hoping it was one of my older cousins playing a trick on me. No one answered, but the voices kept whispering and speaking amongst each other. The rifle kept moving in a circular motion at the top of the door, eventually showing more than the barrel; it was now revealing the rest of the firearm. I called out again, hoping this would be a cruel joke, desperately hoping one of my older cousins would come out and at least laugh at me. But I was alone, and the terrifying ordeal was not over.
The whispers continued and the rifle kept moving, seemingly floating on its own. Then the impossible happened. The rifle floated in midair, moved to the center of the doorway, and pointed straight at me. My thoughts began to race. Was I going to be shot and killed? Perhaps this is not one of my cousins, but an evil spirit! The gun cocked itself. I panicked. Terrified, and still in denial, I screamed out, ‘I’m telling Granny!’ And ran down the stairwell, almost tripping, stumbling, straight out the cabin—nearly knocking over my aunt who was standing outside with my Granny. Out of breath, I immediately told them what had happened, they called me a liar, as usual, and chastised me for even being in the house.
They continued to tell me that all my cousins were out swimming and playing by the bridge. I felt angry and offended that they did not believe me. I did not want to sleep upstairs later that evening. I was terrified of that cabin and was relieved when I was able to return to my own home. We were always left with my Granny for long periods of time when I was younger. I can’t help but think this was a cruel prank by one of my cousins, but I know what I witnessed. That gun DID float. It DID point at me. There were no hands or arms visibly lifting that rifle. I know what I saw.