When dealing with haunted objects, you always have to be on your toes. Some strange artifacts will never show an ounce of paranormal activity for years until they’re introduced to the right trigger. That trigger might be a person, location, or time period, but when the two meet, all hell can break loose if you aren’t prepared. There’s no better example of this than the time we watched a haunted ritual sword possess a young woman with an urge to kill.
As curators of the world’s only mobile paranormal museum, we’re regularly fielding requests to contain and remove haunted objects from people’s properties. About six months ago we were contacted by a Kentucky man who claimed that his “troubled son” had been dabbling in “Satanism”, and while he had destroyed the teen’s occult paraphernalia in a backyard fire, he was in possession a so-called ritual sword that he wasn’t sure what to do with. The father told us that his son had been using the sword to summon all manner of demons, and that he wanted it out of his house and far away from his family, so we agreed to meet the man and take it off his hands, adding it to the collection in the Traveling Museum of the Paranormal & the Occult.
When we were finally presented with the weapon, we were, admittedly, a bit underwhelmed. We had been expecting some massive viking-style sword that looked every bit the part of a demon summoning ritual weapon, and that is most definitely not what we were looking out. Stuffed into a faux-leather sheath was average-looking sword with a gold-hued handle that had, of all things, a daisy carved into the tip of the hit.
For a demon-summoning sorcerer’s weapon, this sword was decidedly mundane.
The distressed father admitted to us that he had considered keeping the sword, as it had been a gift presented to the young man by a family member, but claimed that weapon would often make a strange ringing sound, almost as if it were a gigantic tuning fork. The strange hum was the deciding factor in his decision to donate the sword to us.
Shortly after we received the object, we were off to a Strange Escapes event presented at the legendary Stanley Hotel – which would prove to be the hotel’s final paranormal event ever – and after printing out a description tag, we packed the sword into the chest with the rest of our haunted objects and headed off for the Colorado mountains.
In the few weeks before the event, we had experienced zero strange activity associated with the sword. Greg and I couldn’t help but think that the so-called ritual sword was collateral damage in a Bible-Belt family’s overreaction to a teen’s dabbling in internet witchcraft. It happens all the time.
The first day of the Stanley Hotel event went off without a hitch, with most museum visitors paying very little attention to the sword at all, further convincing us that the object was probably a dud. With even our most inactive and mundane objects, we generally receive some useful feedback about the objects from those who claim to be psychic or sensitive. The sword didn’t seem to be having any such effect.
The second night of the event, however, completely blew that theory out of the water with one very strange incident.
Within an hour of opening the museum to the event guests, a young lady (who I’ll call Maria for the purposes of this article) approached the display and calmly asked if she could hold the sword.
When we formed the museum several years ago and decided to start traveling the country with these haunted objects, it was very important to us that people be able to hold these artifacts as part of the experience, if they wished to. Until this point, there was only piece that we didn’t let people a handle: a strange carving that appeared to have a menacing purpose.
I was more than happy to allow Maria the chance to hold the object, and she smiled while gingerly lifting the piece out of the display and walking to a corner of the room. At the time, there were over 60 people packed into the room listening to Greg and I tell stories about the haunted objects, so I didn’t have the ability to keep an eye on what was happening with the young girl and the sword.
After about twenty minutes an event-goer pulled me aside and quietly informed me that she thought it might be a good idea for me to remove the sword from the vicinity of Maria. As I scanned the room, I quickly found the young girl crouched on the floor in the corner, the sword still clutched tightly in her hands, and a very strange, vacant look on her face. I was immediately alarmed.
What I had missed while I was busy with the other guests was that in the twenty minutes since she’d disappeared with the ritual word, she had started to swing the weapon around violently, pointing it at museum visitors, and muttering about how she needed to spill blood.
I rushed to the corner where she was crouched, muttering to herself, and had to forcefully pry the sword out of her hands, which were both wrapped around the hilt, her knuckles white.
Seeing as the event was currently in full swing, I suggested that she go sit outside in the fresh air and try to ground herself, and implored her to come back so that I could talk with her in private once the event was over. She agreed, and I didn’t see her again until the end of the event, when everyone else had started trailing back to their haunted hotel rooms for the night.
I sat with Maria in an empty room and had her recount her experience from beginning to end. Maria had no memory of aggressively pointing the sword in the crowd, ranting about spilling blood, or even me forcefully pulling the sword away from her. The only thing she did remember was that she felt there was something very strong, very old, and very dark attached to the artifact.
With a lot of our items, it sometimes takes months for them to truly display any kind of strange activity, and sometimes I can’t help but wonder if they’re behaving that way in order to “trick” us. If we believe that they’re harmless, we’re less likely to take major precautions with them, and that’s when frightening incidents, like the one with the sword, tend to occur.
Since that event, not only have we not allowed anyone touch the sword, we’ve also learned a bit more about it’s potential origins. We’ve had the sword examined by a weapons expert who explained to us that the object was not created with the intention of being a movie prop, or a even a historical recreation, as both the hilt and shaft are far too small. He believes the sword was specifically created for the purpose of ritual use.
After the frightening event at the Stanley Hotel, the Ritual Sword now joins The Crone and the Conjuring Drum as one of the very few artifacts in the Traveling Museum of the Paranormal & Occult that we won’t let visitors handle, and a prime example of why museum attendees must sign a waiver before interacting with the haunted objects.
While we can’t quite be sure about the exact origins or purposes of Ritual Sword, we’re continuing to study the artifact in our museum’s lab space with the hopes of finding some concrete answers to the questions that this mysterious piece forces us to ponder.