For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
Let’s call this one…The Black Portal.
Duh, duh, duuuuuuhhhh!
True story. This took place in a very remote area of northern Michigan. The nearest town I can recall is Interlochen, maybe an hour away. My best friend from high school went to the arts academy there. It’s a very prestigious boarding school that attracts students from around the world.
My friend’s dad was the engineering VP at a GM transmission plant, and one of his suppliers owned a huge log cabin, which is where my friend and I walked through The Black Portal. It was about a quarter to half mile from a two-lane state route. The “driveway” was simply a dirt road to the cabin, which continued past the cabin to a stocked lake for fishing. His dad could check with his sales rep on availability. If no one else had signed up for it on a given range of dates, he’d get it. We stayed there a couple times to visit my friend and at least once more around October of ’79 just after I finished my apprenticeship at The Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in Cleveland, OH. It was this visit where he and I encountered the Portal.
The cabin was huge. I remember it was my friend, his dad, and two of his sisters. We were there for a long weekend just for fun. The living room was two stories. Any of us could almost walk into the fireplace without ducking. The site manager had made sure there was plenty of firewood for us, so we had it going most of the time.
The basement has a small walk-in refrigerator, fully stocked, and a small walk-in freezer which boasted cases of steaks and other meats. There was so much food and firewood there that we could have been snowed in all winter and come out in the spring fatter than we went in!
My friend – let’s call him Joe – and I decided one afternoon to walk out past the back yard to see how far we could go and what we might find. There was a neglected orchard at one point and a rusted barb wire fence. After about a mile we came to an old, one lane dirt road just big enough for a car. We figured it was a seldom-used fire road. There was not even the slightest indication of a track. Beyond that was just wilderness – trees and brush. We decided to head back.
One evening after dark we went for a walk along the dirt road to the lake, which was further past the cabin, deeper into the property. We hoped to see some stars with no light pollution from a city. I don’t remember the stars. Maybe there were stars, but what was about to happen crowds out anything else about that walk. I can tell you that there was enough light that we could see each other easily enough.
Then it happened like walking through a doorway. We could see nothing. Period. I remember holding my hand in front of my face and not being able to see it in the least. At first it was intriguing, but we both quickly realized we might be in trouble. We could not see each other or the road. We both got disoriented as to which way was to the lake, the cabin, or the sides of the road. There was a real danger of walking off the road and either tripping or losing our way altogether. We could hear each other, and that was it!
I started slowly pivoting in place, hoping that something would appear to give me some bearing on a way back. As I turned, it so happened that I saw car lights for a second on the state route in the distance as it passed our dirt road. I froze in place, not wanting to lose that direction. I called to Joe to follow my voice. I knew which way to go!
It was only a few steps in that direction that took us again through a seeming doorway to where we had normal, nighttime light. We made our way back to the cabin and its welcoming fireplace.
I didn’t assign anything mystical to that experience at the time, but it was strange enough to stay with me all these years. I can’t even say now whether it was a supernatural event.
I’ve come to believe what the American Indians have known for years; there are things that go bump in the night. There are supernatural things that favor the dark especially. Stories of Bigfoot abound all over the world. There are hundreds of strange disappearances in remote places of our national parks. Check out the Missing 411 materials both on books and videos.
I also believe that North American Indians are more knowledgeable of God than most expect. See my article North American Indians and God.
To the point of the verse from Ephesians above, God is not the only being that works in our lives. There are indeed principalities and powers whose only purpose is to hurt God by hurting us, His beloved children. It behooves us all to not only know our God but to know our enemy too!
I’m not saying that I think Joe and I had a supernatural experience, but it was strange in that there were no tall trees anywhere near us to cast such a profound shadow, not even being able to see the road behind us. All I know for certain is that it remains the strangest thing that has ever happened to me!