search instagram arrow-down


best of HDtS editor's notes fiction interviews nonfiction poetry reviews

Archives by date

Archives by theme

February 6, 2009. I struggled through the doorway of Nadine’s flat just after 8pm, the agreed time, my rucksack bulging with exotic foodstuffs, alcoholic drinks, pastel blue and red candles, white roses, and a giant carrier bag oozing deep purple, slippery, wobbly calf’s liver straining in my right hand. I couldn’t wait to divest myself of the offending item, could almost feel the pain of the animal whose life had been so brutally cut short. Any normal person might have assumed I was hosting a vampire’s ball. The truth was, I hadn’t told a soul about the ritual. None of my family or friends knew I had been diagnosed with a spirit attachment. There was little point in mentioning it; they would have no idea of the concept, apart from the pagan ones, who would probably ask too many questions. I had, after all, signed a confidentiality agreement.

Three young women lounged on sofas bordering the wide empty space in the front room; the pristine whiteness of their robes casting ethereal shadows in the dim artificial light, their low voices a distant hum. I paused, catching my breath, as a wafting stench of raw meat and fish, intermingled with the scents of roses and designer perfume, invaded my lungs, producing a sickly lump in my throat.

“Hi Anna. Just put them all in the kitchen,” called out Nadine, poking her head around a doorway. “Kyla will be here soon to show you how to prepare the trays. Come and take a seat.”

No one seemed to notice my exhaustion. It had taken all my reserves of strength to make the journey to Camden; to put one foot in front of the other, while an all too familiar fogginess hung over my shoulders threatening to derail this, the most important day of my life.

I was reassured to see the women looking at ease, and most of all—in good health. That was the biggest surprise. I had been expecting to find that some, especially those with higher level entities, would be in a far worse condition than I was, probably heavily sedated or accompanied by carers. But no, everyone looked perfectly normal. They welcomed me with smiling faces and introduced themselves as Lucie, Pippa, and Kristin.

I crouched down weakly next to them waving ‘hello;’ relieved to feel the thick blue carpet against my aching limbs. Lucie, a pretty, vivacious young Italian woman said she had come “to watch,” because her clearing, which happened last month, had been such an incredible experience. Her eyes shone and she hugged her knees recalling Kyla’s extraordinary channelling abilities. Now she clung on to the hope that more important messages would come through for her. And, yes, Kyla had given her permission to be here, she reassured everyone.

Kristin’s bespectacled eyes darted anxiously around the room, until they settled on my face. Was I feeling OK? There was nothing to worry about. “Just do as Kyla and her spirit guide says, and everything will be fine,” she assured me. Kristin’s accent was unmistakably German. I warmed to the boyish young woman with cropped fair hair straight away. She knew what to expect, as Kyla had cleared her of a level one last month. The ritual must have been a great success, as tonight she was here to support others going through exactly the same process. It was a role she took very seriously, and I could feel her excitement simmering beneath the whisperings and suppressed giggles.

The quieter among them, Pippa, had a number three, and Nadine—the person with whom we had shared the most intimate details of our lives, our hypnotherapist—was due to be cleared of a number one, said Kristin.

Suddenly and without warning, a clattering of commotion brought the conversation to a halt and all eyes turned to the petite figure careering through the hallway into the kitchen clutching armfuls of bags. I guessed it was Kyla. Looking every part the girl next door, in tight jeans and cowboy boots, auburn hair scraped back into a ponytail, black eye liner and lip-gloss, she apologised for being late while hastily unpacking the contents.

“Oh my God, Lord o’ mine! You wouldn’t belieeeve what happened to me on the way here,” she gasped breathlessly. “They always kick up and cause problems just before a clearing.” Seeing our puzzled faces, she added: “…because I’m working with the Light to heal you girls.”

Everyone knew that ‘They’ meant the bad guys, our demons.

This time, there had almost been a fight on the bus, and Kyla had had to call on her guides and angels for help. Fortunately, the aggressor eventually calmed down, but only after she’d repeated prayers and worked with the Light to change the energy around him. It didn’t help that They had been giving her headaches and fatigue all day.

She pulled out a white satin ball gown and threw it roughly on the round table in the lounge, barking: “I need someone to sew some buttons on it. Quickly!” We were behind schedule in preparing the trays and there was much more to do. Kristin meekly offered. Then Kyla caught my eye and ran over exclaiming how lovely it was to meet me—at last! Did I manage to get everything? She looked me up and down approvingly, noting the white cotton cargo pants and v-neck long sleeved top I had dressed in for the event. I discreetly pulled out an envelope containing the remaining £300 in cash that I owed her for the clearing, and she plucked it daintily from my fingertips before disappearing into the kitchen.

It must have been close to midnight by the time all the trays had been meticulously laid out. Grapes, cherries, beans cooked in tomato sauce, and raw prawns spilled over onto the white plastic sheet covering the carpet, while gold rimmed bottles of champagne and slim taper candles poked their noses through sunny displays of yellow and white roses. There were six platters dotting the perimeter of the plastic sheeting, and I tried to keep as much distance as possible from my dark spirit offering, for the sight and odour of the purple mound induced an unbearable nausea.

Kyla’s husband, Marcelo, had arrived only a few minutes earlier, to Kyla’s agitation. And Nadine had slipped in among the four of us clustered around the table at the side of the room. We were forbidden from touching the white floor covering or the offerings; the area was designated “sacred space” according to Kyla. An accidental foot on the site would elicit shrieks of “No, no! Off, off!”

The clock was ticking, and all we were waiting for, was for Kyla to emerge from her fitting room.

A hush descended and I felt my heart skip a beat as the fairy godmother-like figure of Kyla swept across the room, extravagantly robed in a white satin corseted gown, with an elaborately sequinned mesh headdress masking her face. The disco diva had been replaced by a shimmering femme fatale – at once beautiful and sinister. An exquisite fragrance floated through the air, momentarily concealing the odours of uncooked seafood and other decomposing flesh. With the aura of a movie star, she held her audience in spellbound awe.

But there was something odd about the way Kyla carried herself. It must have been the stiffness of her walk. The familiar exuberance and spontaneity of her character had vanished. In barefooted silence she glided to the epicentre of her stage and turned to face her audience. Then there was a disturbing rasping and a fitful struggle for air as if trying to clear an object trapped in her throat. I later learned that this meant a spirit was entering her body.

A deep rumbling rippled from behind the veil and her small frame heaved violently with each laboured inhalation and exhalation, arms flailing downwards, head lowered. Not a soul in the room breathed or moved as a growling babble emanated from obscured lips that could have been a Portuguese dialect. Beads rattled and jewellery jangled with each movement.

Raising her head in a smooth, slow motion, the ivory enchantress commanded in a thick accent: “Come here! Come!” waving her arms furiously at Marcelo and Kristin who flocked to her side, taking up their places as her assistants.

Nadine was called up to the white stage first, eyes gleaming in anticipation, the corners of her mouth tipping into the widest grin. The spirit had been blocking her love life and finances, and this moment couldn’t come soon enough. What occurred during that ritual is just a blur in my memory now. All I can remember is what happened next, when it was my turn.

I was standing there barefoot with Kristin on my right and Marcelo on my left, when a rush of heat ricocheted through my body, shaking me back to my senses. I peered down at the mermaid-like creature writhing at my feet making deep, guttural, snarling noises, and trusted that I would come to no harm. I looked to Marcelo and Kristin for reassurance and caught Marcelo’s eye.

Kyla’s husband was a hulk of a man, bearlike, stocky with thick broad shoulders and soft brown eyes. He was always present at clearings not just to translate, but as a kind of heavy. If a high level spirit possessing a client became violent, he would step in to restrain the individual as necessary. Seeing my worried expression he smiled and said: “Don’t worry, just relax. She’s channelling.”

Rising slowly to her feet, Kyla pushed a long bladed knife with a white handle up hard against my chest, breathing heavily all the while from behind the veil. Then, still facing me, she swung her arm out and pressed the knife blade against the middle of my back, making loud “ah” noises. I knew then that this was not Kyla, and later learned that five spirits had entered her body that night. They were all spirits of light that had come down to release us from the entities that were tormenting us.

She crouched down on the floor, eyes fixed on my feet. Speaking in that gruff, garbled foreign tongue she signalled for champagne. This must be the spirit of Iemanjá, queen of the ocean, working through her, I reasoned. Kyla said she adores bubbly. Marcelo uncorked the bottle and she gulped some down before pausing and spitting out mouthfuls of the cool, fizzy liquid onto my naked feet.

I was blessed with Iemanjá’s champagne kisses several times until she gestured wildly for a cigarette and was handed one, lit by Kristin. After a few puffs the ocean goddess slid back down onto the floor aiming her exhalations at my feet. Then she was heaving herself upwards, billowing clouds of smoke around me until I was all but engulfed in a light nicotine-filled mist. Marcelo asked if I was OK, and I said I was.

Kyla wriggled across the floor in the direction of one of the trays laden with fish and fruit. An arm shot out to snatch a beefy king prawn which was quickly stuffed into her mouth amid loud munching. She squirmed back to face me again drawing once more on her cigarette before shoving the remaining stub, ash and all, down the neck of the champagne bottle that she was holding. I held my breath as she took a long swig from that cigarette butt filled bottle. The muttering and growling carried on, her face – in fleeting moments of visibility when eating or drinking – utterly rigid, as if in a deep trance. It wasn’t over yet however. She picked up a hand held mirror and pressed it firmly against the small of my lower back and slid it over my haunches, rubbing fiercely in circular motions.

Then she placed a palm beneath each of my armpits and ran them down and up the length of my body, rubbing so hard that my loose-fitting cargo pants slipped further and further down and I had to quickly hitch them back up before my knickers went down with them. After that, she leant back on her heels muttering something inaudibly under her breath.

“She’s saying: ‘He’s feeding. You’re clear now. You can go. You have nothing to fear any more’,” translated Marcelo.

I thanked him and Kyla before turning to walk back to my seat. Pippa who was sitting quietly awaiting her turn, smiled up at me as I brushed by, grabbing hold of my hand and squeezing it tightly.

Did I feel lighter, different? Perhaps. Some people commented that I looked more relaxed afterwards. But I didn’t feel like talking, just wanted to go home and let it all sink in. The clearing was finally over and now I was free. I would be able to live my life without interference, safe in the knowledge that my thoughts are my own, and that the terrifying panic attacks will surely become a distant memory.

It must have been past two in the morning by the time the clearings were over. Kyla collapsed in a heap and had to be helped up from the tarpaulin, now a slippery mosaic of smeared cigarette ash, squashed grapes and puddles of stale champagne. Marcelo hauled her onto a sofa, lifting the tasselled veil so that we that could see her return to consciousness. He said: “She’ll be alright soon. You should have seen her last time. Completely knocked out. We nearly lost her. It took her days to recover.”

Releasing several very high level dark spirits in one evening can take a lot out of you, especially if the spirit is resisting. Usually they went quite easily when spoken to in the right way and guided to a better life in the Light. And occasionally, if you were lucky, they saw Kyla/Iemanjá coming and made a speedy exit on their own accord. But just now and again, you got a particularly vengeful spirit with unfinished business, or one who wanted to stir up trouble. Luckily these were the exception rather than the rule.

I didn’t get much sleep that night because I had to get up at 6.30 in the morning to return to Nadine’s flat to collect my offerings. Pippa and I were getting a lift down with Mitch, a friend of Pippa’s, to Southend-on-Sea where we had been instructed to lay out our offerings to Iemanjá on the sandy beach, and then on to Epping Forest to deliver our dark spirit offerings. Timing was crucial. If we missed the midday deadline for Kyla’s spirit of light, all of our clearings would be in jeopardy.

* * *

It was a crisp sunny February morning and our fingers nearly froze on that gusty beach as we tried unsuccessfully to light our candles for Iemanjá. The tide had retreated and the sea wind kept blowing them out, while the ribbons became entangled and sand showered over the tattered displays. So worried were we that I called Kyla on my mobile phone to explain what was happening. When I told her that our offerings were all laid out in front of a boat called Inspiration, she burst into fits of laughter exclaiming, “Ah, that’s Her alright! She loves to get in on the act.”

We soon learned that Iemanjá could show up in the most unexpected places. Anything nautical would be hailed as the hallowed presence of this spirit of light, Kyla’s spirit guide.

We were reassured to hear that Iansã, goddess of the wind and hurricanes, was playing up, and that we needn’t worry about the candles. Just spend a few moments in silence giving thanks and blessings, then leave the offerings there for Iemanjá to collect when she comes in.

As the wind whipped up around us and the waves lurched closer, I imagined petals and champagne bottles disappearing into the great salty womb of Mother Earth. Nothing would ever be the same again after today, I was sure of that. This was a rebirth, just as Kyla had said. I felt blessed, grateful to have been guided to this remarkable woman. We hugged each other tightly and scrambled back to the car to make the journey to Epping Forest before nightfall. There was no time to waste.

It was dusk as the car parked up in a secluded lane obscured from view by the labyrinth of trees and tangled undergrowth. The two of us clambered out, still buzzing, and gingerly carried the foetid offerings to the base of an old oak where we lit the red candles, until one by one a circle of flaming fairy lights danced triumphantly before us. I sighed inwardly with relief that it had all gone smoothly. For we had been warned to be careful not to accidentally drop or damage any of the items, as this could provoke a return of the demon—as had happened to one of Kyla’s previous clients who failed to show appropriate respect for the departing entity. We said our prayers, giving thanks for the lessons learned and the fresh chance awarded to us to change our lives for the better.

It was just after 7.00pm when they dropped me off home. I opened the front door to the basement flat with some trepidation wondering whether Hendrik would be around. His moods had become so unpredictable lately, switching from sweet, charming and respectful one day, to sneering and ridiculing the next. The last thing I needed after today’s momentous events was to be greeted with chilly remarks and a cold stare. The last twenty-four hours had wrung every ounce of energy out of my body, and I was just about ready to collapse. I felt exhausted, but most of all—elated.


Anna Bragga is a freelance public relations consultant and journalist based in Bedfordshire, England. Educated at Oxford Brookes University and the University of Westminster, she spent several years in London promoting the work of non-profit organisations before returning to her home town for a quieter life. “Releasing The Demon” is an excerpt from her forthcoming memoir. For further details see her website

© 2014, Anna Bragga

Leave a Reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: