Yet another introduction of a means of communication that has been ingeniously infiltrated by 'spiritual evil' is that of 'signing' for the deaf and dumb. Although there has long been a hand language using signs to represent individual letters, the more recent signing strategy has introduced a greater fluency and speed. At first anecdotal, and subsequently authenticated, have been the instances when individuals who, having been completely deaf and dumb since birth, have been taught signing and have become 'verbally' fluent. Some have reported that their new 'world' has been intruded into by visual images of 'people' signing the usual unpleasant, obscene and disturbing propositions that have been experienced habitually as intrusions into the verbal minds of vocal people. As ever, I find it so hard to try to come to terms with the motives of the malevolent 'who' flood obscenely and disturbingly into the new channels of communication almost as soon as they are created. It is even more heart rending to learn of individuals who, when thus disturbed, have abandoned their new skill, and gladly returned to their silent inner tranquillity.

As a side issue stemming from that, one might consider briefly the practices employed by those who deliberately choose a silent life. I refer to certain of the monastic orders of various religions, where to be in silence is the chosen mode of living. There has long been an awareness of the reality of adverse mental intrusion, and one method of blocking that has been the practice of mentally verbalising chosen prayers. The 'Jesus Prayer' is the one most frequently discussed:

"Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me."

- and shortened versions, even to the simple repetition of the name 'Jesus'. Others in the Christian tradition frequently use the rosary as a means of praying and maintaining inner tranquillity. Buddhists favour their own repetition of:

"ôm mani padme hum" - Hail to the jewel in the lotus

- while many techniques of meditation and routes to inner tranquillity use their own 'mantras' or chosen words or phrases. There is much to be learned from well established meditation practices that can be used to still the minds of individuals who are plagued by 'intruders', too much for me to include, and only capable of being referred to in passing. Always bearing in mid the constant caution that I repeat and repeat, and find in my frequent quotation from Dr. Elmer Green, when he warns of the hasty descent into the deeper realms of the mind, and the dangers of there encountering 'indigenous beings'.

An isolated life that does not revolve around the twin practices of prayer and meditation is that enjoyed by the dedicated computer addict or avid player of computer and play-station games. The computer screen and the play station become the bounds of the world of these individuals and the divisions between reality and fantasy become blurred or non-existent. Within the realms of fantasy that the screens project, and away from the balancing human contact, the mind can lose its powers of discernment and become fruitful soil for the intruders to establish themselves and flourish.

Returning to the condition of someone who dies in explosion, fire and panic, in all of the time that I have been subjected to voices and intrusions, I have experienced - or been duped into believing it - the access of friends and shipmates who died when our ship was mined. Trapped, asphyxiated, fragmented, incinerated, literally within feet of me - where, I wonder did their spirits go, and in what state were they? Cleaning some items in my workshop, I disturbed some dry and finely powdered rust, and as it floated as an orange-brown cloud in a shaft of sunlight, I saw a hint of the flame-lit cloud of cordite smoke that filled my eyes as I regained consciousness after the explosion. I could not have had a more potent reminder - potent even though it happened nearly sixty years ago.

Geordie - a frequent companion - 'broke his duck' in a brothel in Nice. Not my personal predilection, but, in the first year after the war, a good place to sell perfumed toilet soap and supplement our meagre pay. I left him to his particular choice - a young and attractive woman - and his one and only experience. 'Beaucoup de soleil' she had said as she looked at him. From time to time, using suitable mental cues, for example 'Beaucoup de soleil', my mind is directed to those times and to him. Maybe 'Scrumpy', the Leading Cook, who produced all of our regular daily roasts, and sometimes made bread in the galley where he sweated and sweated in the mid-summer Mediterranean heat. I remember him particularly in a stone hut on Mount Troodos in Cyprus- somewhere cool for a change - where we had been taken for a few days leave. He had dragged in some green branches and tried to burn them in a pot-bellied barrack room stove and talked into the night in his Cornish voice while we choked on the smoke. It requires only one key word to bring him vividly to mind. Is he there 'in person'? I have no way of knowing, but there is some sort of 'presence', and it only takes the insertion of one word - 'rabbiting' - into my mind for it to manifest. I could go on - to Dennis and 'Straker', who with me sailed the ship's sailing dinghy at Haifa and Famagusta; Lofty, who bought his sister a vivid pair of pyjamas from a bumboat man in Grand Harbour, Valetta; the Chief Telegraphist, with whom I sometimes 'walked' in the dog-watches - thirty paces up to the torpedo tubes, turn and thirty paces back to the after deckhouse, turn… He was a 'regular', due for discharge at the end of this particular commission, and already full of plans for his impending retirement. They all have their verbal or visual triggers.




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