I certainly do remember the first time I visited the house. The power came on all of a sudden; a song played on the radio…Chris Isaak’s song “Wicked Games”.
“The world was on fire and no one could save me but you.
It's strange what desire will make foolish people do.
What a wicked game to play, to make me feel this way.
What a wicked thing to do, to let me dream of you.”
In the beginning of Christianity and Islam, sorcery came to be associated with heresy and apostasy and to be viewed as evil. However, throughout the early modern period the English term 'witch' was not exclusively negative in meaning. Probably the most obvious characteristic of a witch was the ability to cast a spell, a "spell" being the word used to signify the means employed to carry out a magical action.
I had recently relocated from New York to a small town close Boston, Massachusetts and purchased an old home in a very affluent neighborhood. The house was more than several hundred years old and had always been owned and occupied by a member of the Ravenswood family, until now that is. It is a beautiful house that has been carefully remodeled on the inside but the exterior looks just like it did in a painting done in 1790. The house is in the federal registry of protect buildings.
Boston played an important part in the forming of a new country, independent of England and all others, the United States of America. Those that established the colonies brought their values, beliefs and superstitions with them. I was very pleased to be living in Boston, like New York City it is a port city with a rich history. Everyone that visits the Boston area will hear something about witches. The witch trials that took place in 1692 and 1693 made Salem infamous, trials were also held all across the province. History will show that the evil was politics and not spells cast.
I accepted a full professorship position with Boston University in the History Department, my area of specialty is early American History and Boston has played a part in almost all the research I have done. The first time the real-estate agent took me into the house I knew I wanted to buy it. I have only lived in two other places and believe a residence is more than a ‘thing’ or ‘place’. It wasn’t so much of a mental decision as it was an emotional one.
Lisa Esprit my real-estate broker explained “When I read the email you sent me describing the type of house you were looking for Mr. Willow I immediately thought of the Ravenswood mansion. It is privately listed with me and is shown at my discretion based on the owner’s criteria.”
Smiling I replied “Well, being able to view this beautiful house was an exclusive event.”
“That is a good way to put it. You’re only the third person I have shown it to in six months.”
“It’s fortunate for me that the other two prospective buyers decided not to put in a purchase offer.”
Lisa had a strange look on her face when she responded, “that’s where it gets interesting Mr. Willow, they both wanted to buy the house.”
“My first name is Jonah; there isn’t any need for formality.”
Lisa smiled again and continued “both of the other people who viewed the mansion were financially qualified but in both cases random circumstances prevented them from being able to put in a purchase offer.”
“It must be my good luck; I get a job in Boston and a beautiful historic home. “It’s unfortunate that there is no one to carry on the family legacy and live in the house,” I said.
“This sale has been unusual from the beginning Jonah. The house is being sold by the great, great granddaughter of the original owner Elijah Ravenswood, Rebecca Ravenswood. Rebecca is one of the nicest clients I have ever had but she never spoke about why she is selling the family home. You will meet her at the closing next week.”
“How nice, I have so many questions about her family and the house. What does she look like Lisa?”
Lisa smiled and slowly moved her head back and forth, “there is a picture in the living, and I’ll show you.”
I was a little confused but followed Lisa into the living room; she pointed at the wall above the fireplace and said “that’s what she looks like.”
Now I was really confused, “Lisa that picture is of a woman in eighteenth century clothes and looks very old.”
Laughing Lisa explained, “I didn’t mean to confuse you, that is a portrait of her great, great, grandmother but she looks exactly like that. It is unbelievable how much they look alike; I was startled when I first met her after having seen the portrait several times. Rebecca insisted that the portrait stay with the house, so after the closing you will own it.”
“The woman in that picture is very beautiful. I can’t do that Lisa; the picture is a family heirloom and must stay in the family.”
“I totally understand your feelings but it is written in the purchase agreement and Rebecca was clear there would be no changes to it.”
Lisa just shrugged her shoulders and told me, “That’s how it has to be if you want to close on this house, the closing is Monday morning.”
“The portrait is certainly an asset to the house, it won’t be a problem.” I had an odd sense of anticipation about the house closing and I didn’t know what had come over me all of a sudden.
I intentionally decided to move in to a house in June so I would have the summer to get acclimated to a new city and a different house. Monday morning arrived fast, I had been staying with a professor I am friends with but was anxious to move in to my own home. Boston has so many historic buildings and houses, I pulled into the parking lot of the bank and the corner stone of the building was dated 1850.
I was greeted at the door by Lisa; she pointed and said “we’re in the last room on the right.” We walked in the door and Ms. Ravenswood was already there sitting on the opposite side of the conference table. There was also an assistant bank manager, the bank’s attorney and a gentleman from the Historic Preservation Commission.
We sat down and Lisa introduced everyone to me, Rebecca was last. We both stood up and reached across the table and shook hands, as soon as our hands touched I was overwhelmed with a strange feeling.
I was just standing there staring at Rebecca when she spoke, “Jonah, it is so nice to finally meet you. I have been looking forward to this day more than you can imagine.”
I didn’t know what to say, “I have been looking forward to it too.” The picture didn’t do he her justice, Rebecca was so beautiful with long black hair and soft ivory skin. She was so pleasant it wasn’t like meeting someone new but more like getting reacquainted with an old friend.
The meeting went very well and lasted about forty-five minutes. Rebecca and I walked out together and she said, “I was wondering if you would like to have dinner with me tonight. You’re new to the city and there are some things unique to a home that old you may have questions about.”
It was such a nice offer, “I would really like that, thank you so much. Do you have a place in mind?”
“I do, there is an old English pub near my…excuse me…near your new house called the Black Crow. The stories that are told about the pub say it was a meeting place for an odd assortment of people; revolutionary conspirators, black marketers, thieves and those who told fortunes and cast spells.”
“As a history professor or a new resident of Boston that sounds great.”
“I am pleased to hear that, I figured you might like it. The Black Crow has been a family favorite for a long time.”
I was very happy things were working out so well, I smiled and said “should I try and guess what group your family was in?”
Lisa laughed, smiled back and said “wait until we get to know each other better before you venture a guess.”
The look in her eyes when she said that gave me a bit of a chill but I didn’t pay it any attention because the day was going really well.
“Ok then I will see you there at 8:00,” Rebecca said, she gave me a piece of paper “this is the address of the Black Crow and the phone number. The other number is my cell phone in case you have trouble finding it.”
“It can’t get any easier than that, I’ll see you at 8:00.”
I arrived on time thanks to my GPS; Rebecca was already sitting at the bar. She called out “Jonah, I see you didn’t have a problem find it.”
“No problem at all,” I looked around and was impressed. Most of the historic buildings have not been altered much as a result of the preservation laws, particularly on the outside. It was like stepping back in time several hundred years, other than certain obvious updates the pub could be a location for a movie set in the past.
“I reserved our favorite table over in the corner by the window.”
Not sure what she meant I asked “our favorite table?”
With a small grin Rebecca explained “It is our family’s favorite place to sit.”
After a short wait we sat down, I immediately understood why Rebecca liked the table, it was out of the way but you still had a very good view of the pub.
“I am glad you asked me to dinner. I have so many questions I want to ask.”
“I was sure you would; let me guess what the first one is. Why did I sell the house?”
“Yes, of course. It has been in your family for so many years. I was actually hesitant about buying the house.”
“You are a considerate person, the decision wasn’t that difficult. Circumstances required me to sell it…” She paused for a second “to you, ah by that I mean to the right person who you turned out to be.”
I still didn’t really understand but I didn’t want to pry in to her personal business. “I am glad I was the right person, the house has a charming feel to it.”
“Yes it does…for the right person.” She laughed a little and smiled. Rebecca smiled a lot and I enjoyed her company. “You were alone at the closing so I am guessing that you are moving in to the house by yourself?”
I was a little surprised by her question “yes I am. I am not married and don’t have any children. I was in a long term relationship but it ended on friendly terms when I accepted the job at Boston University. She had recently received a promotion and her family was close by so I understood, are you married?”
Rebecca paused, I expected her to say yes or no. “Well, the best answer would be to say I have not been seeing anyone recently but I do have a spiritual connection with a man.” Although I wasn’t exactly sure what she meant I took that as a no.
We were done with dinner and Rebecca said “Let’s go visit the house there are some things I want to show you Jonah.”
“That’s a good idea; I appreciate you being so helpful.” The house was only a few blocks from the tavern so got there quickly.
We walked up the stairs, I was searching for my key when Rebecca opened the door, she held it open looked at me and told me “it’s an extra key.” She walked toward the fireplace and put the key on the mantel.
Rebecca turned my way and stood still just looking at me, for a moment we didn’t speak. A very strange sensation came over me like I was in a dream. I still had not moved, from a distance I heard a voice as if it was a whisper. The voice got louder becoming more clear…”Jonah, there is something I have…ah, want to show you. Please, seat down and I will get us some wine.” I wasn’t moving in until the end of the month so her things were still there.
I sat down on a couch, “For being so old this is sure comfortable.”
She came in from the kitchen with two glasses of wine and handed me one, “That is my favorite piece of furniture, it was recently restored. I have to go up to the attic to get something, I’ll be right back.”
A few minutes later Rebecca return carrying a painting of a man and a woman in eighteenth century clothing, “here is what I have been waiting to show you.”
“That is a very well done painting, the woman looks just like you so it must be a relative.”
She looked at me, nodded her head slowly “yes it does look a lot like me. Look at the man in the picture.”
I took a sip of wine while carefully looking at the portrait, the picture reminded me of someone but I didn’t know who. “He is a handsome gentleman, a wealthy one I would add by the way he is dressed.”
“He is a handsome man and indeed wealthy but look closer, I am sure you will recognize him.”
“Ok.” He must be somebody well known if she thinks I can recognize him. I took another sip of wine and studied the man’s face and realized who the man looked like. In an instant fear gripped me tight, not being able to speak I just stared at Rebecca.
“Take a moment, I am so sorry you’re frightened but everything will be fine. Please tell me who you think that man is.”
The reality had entered my mind but the words were still a thought. “This is so important to me “Jonah…can you tell me...tell me who he is.”
“It can’t be; it’s not possible Rebecca…what is happening?”
“It is improbable but it is possible, now tell…you know who it is.”
I had to force the words out fearing what will happen if they were spoken, “the man in the picture is…is…me, isn’t it? How is that possible, who are you?”
“Jonah, darling it is possible that is you in the picture with your wife, me.”
“Who are you? What are you a witch?”
“I am your wife and I have been for almost three hundred years. Witch wouldn’t exactly describe who I am but if it helps you understand better I am a witch but a good witch. My father was the seventh son of a seventh son.”
“What does all of that mean?”
“You will slowly remember everything but I will try and explain it. The 'Seventh Son' is born divine, a chosen one who has a special purpose in life for the 'Lord of Hosts' to expose the evil and corruption of the world, but of who is cursed by those same powers who would try to destroy him. As is my father’s soul my soul is eternal and when I accepted you as my husband your soul also became immortal. We have been reborn many times, brought together again and again.
“You’re a doctor, I saw that when we closed on the house.”
“Yes and I have the power to heal, I can see things before they happen and I can influence the future. There are other things I can do but I didn’t cast a spell on you, there are no powers that can make someone love another. They can make a person do their bidding but not love them. We married because I love you and you love me. I do love you so Jonah and you have pledged everlasting love to me.”
“I felt something…unusual yet not at all frightening the first moment I met you. This feeling has grown stronger.”
“Please tell me, what have you been feeling?”
“Its love for you, it didn’t make any sense. How could I be in love with someone I didn’t even know? And I have had the same dream several times the last few months. I am in a field of wild flowers just as the sun is setting and a raven begins to circle over me calling out. The dream stayed the same until about a month ago.”
“What happened different in your dream?”
“The raven came down close to the ground and just before landing; it turned in to a beautiful woman with black hair and a flowing black night gown.”
“That was me Jonah, I entered your dream so I could be with you…do you remember how the dream ended?”
‘Yes, the woman…I mean you, walked up close and put your arms around me. You kissed me as we began to slowly move in a circle…it was an incredible feeling. I held you closer as we began moving faster and faster suddenly you pulled away from me and I woke up in my bed…what you are saying…It is true.”
“Most certainly it is true, there is more if you want to continue?”
“Yes, please tell me more.”
“We have children, a son and daughter.”
“Oh, I have to sit down for a moment…May I have more wine?”
Rebecca giggled a little bit “I will get us more wine.”
“When will I meet them…what do they look like…how old are they…will they know me?”
“Slow down, one question at a time, you will meet them soon and they will know us. Both children favor us for looks. Our daughter Rose is twenty-one and a recent college graduate. Our son Benjamin is eighteen and will be a college freshman at Boston University.”
“Not likely a coincidence.”
“No darling that is not a coincidence.”
“How does that work?”
Another giggle, “I’ll explain it. Our children were conceived by us when we first married.”
“Several hundred years ago I am guessing?”
“Yes, like us when their mortal bodies die their souls are returned to heaven. A woman of unwavering faith, who otherwise would not be able to conceive, is sent a miracle. Not consciously, but they know they are carrying a special child. Their mortal mother becomes a blessed person and the child leaves on their mission.”
“We will sleep together again.”
“Yes, it is a full moon so visions will visit your dreams. You will feel much different when wake in the morning.”
“Will you be in those visions?”
“Of course, so will; the children. You will walk down the road of souls in the dream world. Those who you love are going to visit. The dream will last a long time but when morning comes it will seem just a few minutes. I remember a quote from a children’s book. ‘I think we dream so we don't have to be apart so long. If we're in each other's dreams, we can be together all the time’.”
We did lie together for the first time in many years; the dream world held much for Jonah. In Hebrew his name means ‘dove’ or ‘peace’ and he was greeted by loved ones and the holy ones. The morning came quickly as predicted.
“Jonah, are you at peace now?”
“Yes, all has been revealed to me and I connected the past and present. “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 12:1. What was revealed? You seem troubled.”
“No, I am not troubled but I do have a mission.”
“What is it?”
“One of my patients is a young girl who is very sick. Her mother’s prayers were delivered to me in a vision. She is going to get a new medicine to try and save her life.”
“Will the medicine save her Rebecca?”
“She is going to die?”
“No, she will be saved by a miracle; everyone but the mother will think it was the medicine. Her mother will know a prayer was answered. She will spend the rest of her life helping relieve the suffering of others. I deliver the miracle but as you know we do not decide who has a prayer answered.”
“Yes, we serve those with faith and those whose faith is being tested. There are many more prayers than miracles.”
We were reunited as a family the next morning; it was a glorious day for giving thanks. Once again our past became the foundation for the present and our missions are the wings which carry us in to the future.