My father never had a job. He had a career with a company. For thirty-five years he worked for the same company before he retired. Today, many people just entering the job market don't expect to be with a company for a long time.
I was sort of stuck in between. Part of me wanted to be able to try new things and experiment in new areas. Another part of me enjoyed the security that came with being employed by one company for a long period of time. Indeed, I was employed by the same company as an accountant for nine years.
One of my co-workers, Jonathan, came over to my cubicle one day, set a box on the table and said, "You know, companies like ours try to make you think you are part of a family. But if they could make one cent more money by letting you go, you're out the door like yesterday's paper. Good luck, Abe." With that, he picked up the box of his belongings and left.
One week later, I knew how he felt. After saying "Good bye" to my many friends, I took the small box with my personal items, a check with two weeks of salary, and walked out the door, a new member of the class known as "The Unemployed."
I think I was very lucky. It only took me a month to find a new job. That was a month of desperation and depression, but it ended with exultation. My new job had better benefits and a slightly higher salary than my previous one.
I learned an interesting "secret." No matter how much you know, when you're hired to do the same thing you were doing previously, your new employer will want you to be trained to do your job a better way—their way. So for the next several weeks I learned new techniques, new tricks, and new computer software. I was filled with energy and loving my new job. I had already made several new friends. I jumped out of bed in the morning, anxious to get to work. I felt like a teenager involved in a new romance.
About four months later, I felt that it was becoming a bit harder to get out of bed in the morning. I just assumed that the "new relationship energy" was over and I was moving into a regular pattern without all of that excess energy. I started drinking some coffee in the morning and I was fine.
A month or so after that, I realized that I was falling asleep early. I would usually go to bed after Leno's monologue, but over the past few weeks I would start to drop off during the monologue or even earlier. Well, at work we were going through a heavy period, and even though all I do is sit in front of a computer all day, concentrating on what I'm doing can be draining. I didn't think much of it...at the time.
There were other things that I didn't pay much attention to back then. I used to hit the gym after work at least three times per week. That went down to twice or once a week, and then I stopped exercising altogether. I stopped dating. I didn't even go to movies, although I have always liked them. I was short and rude to people at work and would occasionally have trouble concentrating.
I was pleasantly surprised when Jonathan called me. He finally was in a new job and had caught up on his debts. "Let's get together and talk," he said. I sort of resisted (I don't know why), but he finally talked me into it.
Two nights later, he and I met at a popular restaurant and bar. I saw him first and called to him. He turned, recognizing my voice, and showed his usual quick smile. But as soon as he saw me, his face expressed shock, then quickly changed to an unconcerned look, obviously masking the former emotion. I wondered what the problem was, but said nothing.
The beer was cold and the steaks were good. The conversation ranged from our previous jobs, our weeks of job hunting, and our current jobs. Finally, Jonathan looked closely at me and asked, "Abe, how's your health?"
Surprised, I said, "I'm fine. Why do you ask?"
"Don't take this the wrong way, but you look terrible." He reached into his pocket, removed his wallet, and pulled out a photograph of people in the financial department of the company we had worked for. "Compare the picture with the mirror."
The walls of the restaurant had lots of mirrors, making the room look far bigger than it was. I went over to one of the mirrors and held up Jonathan's picture next to my reflection. Now it was my turn to be shocked. I looked gaunt and tired. There were now dark rings under my eyes. My hair was graying and receding. My skin color had changed from a bright pink to a dull grayish-yellow. Something was very wrong. "It's nothing," I told Jonathan as I gave him back the photo. "I've just been stressed out."
I didn't sleep well that night, worrying about what might be wrong. I looked very sick. I was low on energy. I needed more sleep than usual. The next morning I made an appointment with the doctor.
Two weeks, two thousand dollars, and a battery of tests later, my doctor told me he couldn't find anything wrong with me. But as I looked in the mirror at the new me, I saw that the rings under my eyes were darker than before. I was starting to become very worried.
A few days later, during a break at work, I mentioned my symptoms to a coworker. She had no idea what was going on either. When I went back to my cubicle, I discovered a folded piece of paper on my desk. I looked around to see who might have dropped it, but nobody was nearby. I opened the sheet of paper and saw four words in the center: Don't laugh. Psychic Vampires
Naturally, the first thing I did was laugh. The next thing I did was wonder what the heck a "psychic vampire" was anyway. Sitting at my cubicle, I did an Internet search. It turns out that the term "psychic vampire" describes a person who consciously or unconsciously takes away your vital energy.
A lack of energy would certainly describe what was happening to me. But could this be real? After work I went to a bookstore and, with great embarrassment, asked if they had any books on psychic vampires. The clerk, who—dressed in black with pale make-up, a pierced nose, bright red lips, and intense violet eyes—could have been a vampire herself, directed me to the section labeled "Body, Mind, Spirit."—I looked through the books on a wide variety of topics. Finally I came to one entitled Psychic Vampires: Protection from Energy Predators & Parasites, by Joe H. Slate, Ph.D. The back cover said that Slate is a licensed psychologist, professor, and founder of the International Parapsychology Research Foundation. It also says, "Consuming energy instead of blood, psychic vampires come in a variety of unsuspecting guises...Psychic Vampires presents effective, step-by-step empowerment procedures that you can use to protect yourself and replenish your energy reserves." Included is "A Seven-Day Psychic Protection Plan." I decided to read this book.
On page 20, the book revealed the symptoms of psychic vampire attacks:
I put down the book. I was in a state of disbelief, maybe even shock. The book, which described something I hadn't even believed in just hours ago, accurately described what had happened to me over the past few months!
I realized that my breath had changed to panting. Then it changed from the normal inhale-exhale-pause, inhale-exhale-pause, to inhale-hold-exhale, inhale-hold-exhale—the way a person breathes when they're terrified. I calmed my breath and wondered, "What should I do? What should I do?" Then I remembered that the book included a protection plan. I thumbed through the book and found it on page 202.
On the first day the goal is "to promote a fully functional internal energy system that meets mental, physical, and spiritual energy needs." The techniques given to achieve this goal were surprisingly easy. They involved scanning the body for tension and dispersing it with "bright, new radiant energy." (p. 202) Then you focus on your solar plexus, bringing energy into your body through that area. You end with an affirmation of attunement to the universe. There's more to it than that, of course, but I started with it. It helped me feel calm. There is an easy hand grip that is associated with this attunement. Every time I started to feel depressed or irritable I used the grip and felt better. There were also instructions on how to enhance the internal energy system and promote development of the system. The books says, "By regularly practicing this procedure and applying the energizing touch cue whenever needed, victims of psychic vampires discover their power to repel attacks on their energy system..." (p. 205)
For the rest of the week I followed the instructions and exercises in Psychic Vampires while reading more and more of the rest of the book. The goal of the exercises on the second day is "to energize and balance the aura system while protecting it against any intrusive force, including the onslaught of psychic vampirism." (p. 205) The techniques on day three taught me the skills that would get rid of the symptoms and "activate a state of inner empowerment." (p. 208) On the fourth day, I learned the techniques "to unleash subconscious growth resources that can fortify and protect the internal energy system against psychic vampirism." (p. 212) Included in this section are complete instructions for self-hypnosis leading to "Hypno-liberation." I had never tried self-hypnosis before and found it very peaceful and yet powerful.
That night, I had my first good night of sleep in months. People noticed it at work. I was less irritable and got more work done that day than ever before. Even my immediate supervisor came over and complimented me. Several of the people there spent more time talking to me than usual.
About this time, a new thought started to come to me. Who was the psychic vampire? Was it simply my own negative attitude that was destroying me? Was somebody doing it to me without knowing they were doing it? Was somebody consciously trying to drain me of energy? Or perhaps it was a "parasitic psychic vampire" (the book explains what that is). I looked around suspiciously. The only person who didn't talk to me was a guy named Tad. He had been hired just before I had joined the company, and every time I looked in his direction, he seemed to frown at me. To this day, I don't know why. I could make some assumptions, but I don't want to make any claims...
On the fifth day, the plan in the book gives a goal of accessing "higher cosmic planes of power through astral travel." (p. 216) I had heard about astral projection before but had thought it was just people's imagination. I tried the technique and, surprisingly to me, had some great experiences.
On the sixth day, I learned about working with quartz crystal for energizing and protection. Using the instructions in the book, I went to a shop where they sold crystals and was able to select one that would work the best for me. The book explained how to program it for my purposes. I kept the crystal in my pocket.
I had started the program on a Saturday. With the crystal in my pocket, I went into work. It was Friday. By 3 p.m., Tad was missing. We learned later that he had quit.
When I got home from work, I found a message on my voice mail. It was from an old friend of mine, Sheila, who wanted to see me. I called her up and we made a date for that night. I showered and got dressed. As I put on my fresh clothes I realized that it had been months since I had even considered going out. Now I was anxious to do so.
I completed the techniques given for the seventh day, which have to do with "limitless empowerment." (p. 220) My energy is back. I get along with everyone. I'm dating again. My sleep is good. So was it a psychic vampire draining me? I don't know for sure, but I'll be practicing the techniques in Psychic Vampires for the rest of my life.