What would you like to tell readers about yourself?
* Merry Freer is an author of memoir and fact-based fiction. “Special Levels of Earthly Hell: The Story of One Family’s Chilling Struggle with Demonic Possession” was inspired by actual events that were experienced by her nuclear and extended families, tearing relationships apart and making national news headlines. This book comes on the heels of her first book, a memoir named “Doctor, Doctor.” While "Doctor, Doctor" is her debut novel, she has been a writer and editor for many years, including work with the San Diego Chargers and the San Diego Hall of Champions. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from San Diego State University and has been a featured speaker for classes dealing with medical ethics.
* Her controversial memoir, "Doctor, Doctor," topped the Best Seller List in True Crime/White Collar Crime for 10 months and received a "Best Books of 2014" award from "Suspense Magazine."
Today Merry Freer will be talking about what sparked the idea for the story.
* When my daughter-in-law-to-be, Adriana, came from deep in Mexico to live at my house a little more than ten years ago, I had no idea she carried a secret with her. She may not have known it herself. Certainly my son, Drew, didn’t know. Not at first.
* Shortly after they were married they began to experience paranormal activity in the confines of my guest bedroom. Drew was stunned. He was an atheist and he began a long struggle with the idea that an evil entity was entering their bedroom and taking possession of his wife. His struggle must have been a tortuous and lonely one because Adriana had no memory of the events and Drew never mentioned them to me. Not for many years.
* As their married life together progressed, they moved from my home and into their own. During this time, Adriana’s sisters came to live in the United States. To my eyes the families of Adriana and her sisters appeared to exist under a dark cloud as tragedy upon tragedy befell them, each one worse than the one before.
* As time went by I tried to help out as I could, but there didn’t seem to be much I could do to stop the heartache that surrounded the entire family. Drew and Adriana had a child, then divorced, but he kept them close, seemingly under his watchful eye.
* More than ten years later, I wrote a memoir about a period in my own life when I was struggling, and the book did well – beyond my expectations. “Why don’t you write another book?” Drew encouraged me.
* “Because I only know how to write about things that are true.” I resisted.
* “Then why don’t you write about Adriana. About how she was possessed by an evil demon. Maybe still is. Her sisters, too.”
* These words from my son floored me. He said them as though I knew that fact. As though it would occur to me that he would believe his own wife had been possessed, given that he held no religious beliefs.
* And so the interview process began. I was aware of many of the tragedies. I had stayed close because of my granddaughter, now in the custody of my son. But the story behind the story had never been disclosed to me until this time and once I heard the details, I knew it was a tale that deserved to be shared.
* “So tell me about the first time,” I told Drew in our first of many interviews. “The first time you heard the scratching at my front door.”
* And so it began.
* What he witnesses at night in his own bedroom cannot be reconciled with science. And yet he sees it with his own eyes, feels its presence, ominous and evil, with his entire being.
* Against every instinct, Drew reaches out for help. It is not just his marriage that’s at stake. The evil force has invaded his wife's family, tearing them apart and culminating in bloodshed and murder. Drew must face a stark choice: sacrifice his belief that the world is a rational place and fight an entity he doesn’t understand and is reluctant to label, or abandon his wife and her family.
* Author's Note to the Reader: Sadly, the most frightening and brutal events in this book are factual. The story is loosely based on one family's experience with multiple tragedies, some of them "ripped from the headlines." It is also an excruciatingly factual account of one man's experience with a loved one who is possessed by a demonic presence. However, it transcends genre and is as much a tale of romance, of cultural barriers, of abuse, and of family drama, as it is of demonic possession. The link between the introduction of an evil spirit and the heartbreaking misfortunes that are visited on the family is left for the reader to decide.
* Someone was watching him. He was certain of it. His eyes were immediately drawn to the window. A dark fear formed in his gut and sent out tentacles of terror that invaded his thoughts and squeezed his lungs, threatening his very breath.
* The sensation of movement brought him to his feet but his trembling legs couldn’t support him and he allowed himself to fall back onto the bed next to his sleeping wife, Adriana. Turning his head toward the window, he looked closer at what appeared to be vapor, distorted lines of energy waving like the air in the distance over a desert highway in August. A terrifying feeling of knowledge washed over him. It was alive.
* Drew’s mind flashed to the first time he had encountered the demon in the bedroom at his mother’s house, the night it hijacked Adriana’s body - at 3:00am. It was always at 3:00am.
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