Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

A Mother’s Curse

Today’s date is 06.06.06 —”the number of the beast”. This reminds me of the one time in my life when I experienced a little taste of devil. It all started with a mother’s curse.

Approximate age: 11, maybe 12. Yes, I was a big girl. My sister is three years younger, so she would have been 8 or so. Those were the fun times when she and I fought EVERY SINGLE DAY about stupid stuff. One morning as we were getting ready for school, mom heard us fighting as usual. She must have been really fed up with it because she shouted “STOP!”. She got our attention and proceeded to say with a calmer voice:

“This afternoon I am going to be out and you will be alone in the house. And I swear, you are fighting so much that you will see the devil while I’m gone”.

THAT ended it. We were proud pequeñas, so we were not going to make up right there, but the fear from mom’s words made us stop arguing ipso facto, and half smile at each other… hoping that the friendly gesture would take away the curse.

I can’t recall if I remembered the morning “curse” when mom left that afternoon after school. All I know is that some time after that (not too long), I was studying in my room when I heard my sister scream in horror. I turned around and she was running at full throttle towards me, like escaping from a ghost, screaming and crying. Her story was: She was studying in her room (right by mine), when she heard her TV set turn on and immediately off. She thought it was odd and ignored it, but the TV did it again. (GOSH, it’s dead quiet, and I’m scaring my butt off right now just writing this). She wasn’t near the remote to accidentally be doing something, so it was pretty clear that the darn thing was doing it by itself.

You must remember those were the times of the stupid Poltergeist movie that scared the hell out of me. I couldn’t see my TV set as such an innocent creature anymore, so hearing that my sister’s TV was acting up surely horrified me. Her TV set was digital (the kind we all have today). Mine was pretty old… even black and white. To turn it on you needed to flip a button (like those things in your home’s power box), and to change the channel you had to turn a circular dial that would make a “clack” noise on every channel stop. I’m telling all this because the rest of the afternoon my sister and I spent in my room, HUGGING EACH OTHER in screams and tears every time that her TV set would turn itself on and off. We could hear the noise, and would run to each other, hug and die a little inside, all in front of my TV set, and every time I would be thinking that if mine started doing the same thing (which would require a more physical act) my heart couldn’t take it, I would pee in my pants and rip my eyes out of their sockets.

The possessed TV continued scaring us all afternoon. Every time we got calmed the damn thing would do it again, and again, like laughing out loud at us and saying “HUG! Hug little girls!”… We suddenly heard my mom’s car… We thank the Lord… Poor mom, I still don’t know how she didn’t get a heart attack when she heard our screams when she opened the door. We flew down the stairs with dry and fresh snot covering our faces, screaming “Mommie!!!!! Mommie!!!” She almost did have a heart attack… What could you imagine coming to that scene?

We have this expression in Spanish: “Las brujas no existen, pero de que las hay, las hay” (Witches don’t exist, but there’s no denying that they’re out there). I feel the same way about the devil… The absolute truth is that the TV did not do it once after mom got home. Later, she asked our electrician about the phenomenon. He explained that maybe our TV set had some kind of timer, but all I know is that “the timer” only worked THAT SINGLE DAY, and it did it MULTIPLE times only within the span of the few hours we were alone in the house. Just as mom willed it.

Despite a few days of peace, Ana and I had a few more years of cat fight. However, mom NEVER cursed us again.