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Descent into Hell: 1956
CAUTION: The following contains explicit descriptions of sexual abuse, pedophilia, and ritual abuse. If you are a survivor of similar abuse, the following may cause abreaction and flashbacks.
Pink Floydd: Welcome to the Machine
After my dad's death, my mother and her new husband drove down to pick up Peggy (my sister) and me. They arrived at the house early in the morning, and packed us into their car as the police watched. My dad's widow - my stepmother - kept crying "don't take my babies, please don't take my babies" over and over again. She had been ordered by the California welfare and social departments to turn us over to my mother.
The last I saw of my stepmother, she was standing in the middle of the street, tears streaming down her face as several neighbors held her.
My baby brother Danny - whom I'd never met until then - was in the car; and my mother repeatedly told me that as his - and Peggy's - big brother, that I was to take care of them, look out for them, and protect them. My brother Danny was four months old.
Peggy and I were thrilled to have a baby brother, and spent the entire trip home - which took several hours - playing with him, feeding him, taking care of him. Our mother showed us how to change his diapers and clean him during one of the first rest stops we took - and again stressed how important it was for us - particularly me - to take care of him.
It took most of the day to get home - which turned out to be a converted store on the south side of San Jose.
We were lavished with attention; Mom and stepdad gave us a lot of toys and new clothes, took us out to several movies, and took us to the many parks in the area.
One of Lester's - my stepfather's - hobbies was assembling and painting model knights; which, when completed, were displayed on a shelf running the entire perimeter of the living room. My stepfather purchased a knight model for me and took the time to show me how to put it together and paint it.
It did not take long for the abuse to begin.
At times, my mother and stepfather would leave us with a couple of friend of theirs - a man and woman about their age, who, unknown to us at the time, were also friends of my paternal grandfather, Art - while they went out for the day, or to a movie, or shopping.
Before the end of that first month home with them, before Thanksgiving 1956, the woman babysitter called me to the bedroom. My mother and stepfather were not home.
The sitter was laying nude on the bed, and told me she was going to train me and show me what sex is. I felt that it was wrong, but because she was an adult - and because she threatened to tell my stepfather I had been disobedient, I obeyed.
She told me to strip and climb on the bed, and then forced me to examine every part of her body as she described the function of each - and what it felt like to be touched. She forced me to touch her breasts, her vulva, to insert my fingers inside her vagina. When I hesitated, she told me that I was being selfish pig like my real father.
She then told me to lay on my back - and she performed oral sex on me, bringing me to a ejaculation-less climax - I was scared and excited, but had no idea of why it felt like it did.
I told her I was scared, that it didn't feel right - and again she told me that I was being stupid, that I was wrong - that resisting her was the same as withholding love, that it was selfishness. I felt intensely guilty - but didn't say anything because I did not want to upset or displease her - I internalized the feelings, out of guilt, out of shame - and because she was the adult whom my mother and stepfather said I must obey - or pay the consequences.
She stimulated me to another erection, and guided me to having vaginal intercourse with her. It was frightening, shameful and yet exciting; the physical feelings were intensely pleasurable and overwhelming.
This happened several times over the next couple of weeks; then she initiated the next phase.
She told me that she had been showing me "love" by giving me pleasure, and that it was only right and natural that I return that "love." She reinforced that by bringing me to climax again, orally - and then she made me perform oral sex on her. I gagged, and she yelled at me, told me I was being selfish again, and forced my face back in; forced me to continue licking her clitoris and vagina, forced me to bring her to climax.
Afterwards, she told me how good I had been to her, how loving, how kind - how proud she was of me - and she took me and my sister and brother out to a dinner and a movie as a treat.
This happened over and over again; even when she was menstruating -
Not long after that, I found out her boyfriend had been doing the same to my sister, for they joined us in the bedroom - and shared us. The man brought me to climax orally, had me do the same to him - as did the woman with my sister. My sister and I know the smell and taste of blood and semen.
Early on, they told us that if we ever told anyone about our "love" that he would beat us with my stepfather's belt, and he showed us the belt - a very wide leather belt with three rows of metal grommets. I was to become all too familiar with that belt in a very short time.
That was just the beginning.
My maternal grandfather Art was part of a pedophilia ring as my sister and I found out after Thanksgiving of that year. When we had moved back to San Jose, my mother did not tell her father where we were. But, a mutual friend of her's and her father's had let him know. One evening while my stepfather was in school, Art dropped by to visit. Later that evening, my mother became very groggy and went to bed - drugged, as I quickly figured out; he'd mixed a brown powder into her coffee earlier without her knowledge - and threatened me with a severe beating if I said anything. Not long afterwards, some adults - our "babysitters" and another woman - arrived, and my grandfather told them we had been "broken in very well and were very obedient but needed more training." Looking back at this years later and discussing it with my mother, we've no doubt now that she too had been subjected to the same kind of conditioning - programming - as a child and young teen, and to which I and my sister were soon to be subjected as well.
Money changed hands, and my grandfather told me and Peggy that we would be spending some time with the other adults, and that we were to obey them and do whatever they wanted. The two women took my sister and me out to their car while the man talked with my grandfather. He came out in a few minutes with my grandfather; and my grandfather leaned into the back seat and told us if we did everything these people said that he'd give us some real good treats.
We were taken to an old Victorian house in southeast San Jose - a house that later was to become horrifyingly familiar to us. We were taken down into the basement, given ice cream, and told to undress after we ate it - Art was holding the metal-grometted belt, making it all too clear what would happen if we didn't obey.
The adults stripped and waited for us, then when we had stripped they took us into a large mirrored bedroom with no windows - and set up several large cameras. I was filmed first; both women had me perform oral sex on them and did the same to me - and had intercourse with me. All of it filmed. Art went back upstairs, and I didn't see him again until we were taken home.
The women then took me to the side; and I was surprised to see Mary Anne and an older man coming down the stairs carrying a plate of food for me - she instructed me to eat the food silently while the man "trained" my sister. I was famished, and obeyed.
At first my sister was quiet - but started crying that she was being hurt - and I told the man "stop hurting my sister." He looked at me, then at Mary Anne - and continued. Before she or the older man could stop me, I jumped on the man hurting my sister and started scratching and biting him - and he backhanded me, knocking me to the floor. The older man picked me up and hit me, told me to be quiet - and took me upstairs.
Mary Anne brought my clothes upstairs and told me to dress, and then the older man sat me down on a couch and sat by me as Peggy's cries and screams filtered up faintly through the floor - each time I moved, the man hit me hard... I don't know how long we sat there.
My sister was dressed when they brought her upstairs. We were told to be completely quiet, taken to the car, and driven home. The older man took his own car and got to our house before we did, and met us outside. He took us into the house as the others followed.
My grandfather was waiting for me behind the door.
He beat me to the floor, pinned me, and very quietly told me never to ever attack anyone who had payed for us, who was training us. He then said if I ever told anyone what happened that he would kill my sister.
He then took me to the kitchen, opened up a drawer, and took out my stepfathers large folding knife. Mary Anne followed us with my sister in hand; the older man behind them - grandpa handed him the knife. The older man took me out to the back yard, called our dog - a small cocker spaniel puppy - and then told me to watch carefully, because what he was going to do to the dog he'd do to my sister if I ever disobeyed again.
He picked up the puppy, slit its throat, and disemboweled it; then calmly lit a cigarette.
The adults just watched.
He then told my sister that he'd kill me like that if she ever said anything to anyone. He then grabbed me by the back of the neck and told me I had to be punished - and took me to my bedroom where he had me strip and lay across my bed.
He had my sister come in to watch, telling her this is what she'd get when she disobeyed. He then told me that if I cried out he would beat me worse; that I had better not make any sound.
He started beating me with that leather belt, the one with the grommets. I did cry out; the belt left huge welts - and he stopped - told me I disobeyed him - and took the pillow case off my pillow and gagged me with it - then held me down and burned my arm with his cigarette.
I cried and struggled to get free - and he kept me pinned, telling me he would stop burning me only when I stopped struggling. Mary Anne only said "you're making it worse for yourself by fighting."
I don't remember how long it took - it still feels like forever - I finally stopped struggling, stopped crying; I somehow detached from the pain and horror, withdrawing deep within myself, "watching" what he was doing to my body... I do know he'd smoked 3 cigarettes; I can still see those butts on the floor.
He then took me out in the back yard, got a shovel, and had me bury our puppy - and quietly told me that I had only a taste of what I'd get if I told anyone about what happened.
My mother slept through all of this, a deep drugged sleep. My stepfather, Lester, was at school, learning cabinetry. The next day, my mother questioned me about the burns, and I told her I'd lit and played with some of granpa's cigarettes, and dropped them on myself when I gagged on the smoke.
The other adults came back one evening a couple of days later, accompanied by grandpa Art and Mary Anne. My mother was once again asleep, once again drugged as before. Mary Anne brought me and my sister in and had us stand there as the man asked us if we would obey him now. Lester, my stepfather, had been told that grandpa Art and the babysitters were going to take us out so that my mother could have an evening to herself to relax.
My sister and I said yes, we'd obey.
He then asked us if we knew what would happen if we didn't; what would happen if we cried out or tried to attack any of them again, and we again said yes.
He told us he would give us a second chance - that if we were real good he'd give us a special treat to reward us. granpa asked if we would do exactly as told, and we said yes.
Grandpa Art dropped us off at the old Victorian house - and this time the room was darker, candles lit and placed on stands around the bed, and lights turned down low. The adults stripped and dressed in - what was to me at the time - strange leather costumes; handcuffs, whips and other devices were hung on the walls...
Mary Anne and the older man who'd been there before sat on the couch with my sister and me between them, and told us to be completely quiet - to watch closely, because what we would see would be done to us if we disobeyed. Mary Anne told me that the older man, older than my grandfather Art, was my Uncle Ray.
The other two women and the younger man tortured each other; taking turns tying each other up and whipping each other till blood ran, putting stringed balls and more into each other's orifices - I was terrified, and my sister buried her face in the couch.
When they were done, they cleaned up - and then it was our turn. They did to us as they had done before, but did not subject us to the torture they had demonstrated.
We obeyed them.
Afterwards they took us out to dinner and to a movie, and told us they had another treat they'd take us to the next day for being so obedient - Alum Rock Park. In 1956, Alum Rock had a swimming pool and a small zoo, and we loved going there.
They took us home very late that evening; Lester had just gotten home from school, and my mother had woken up when he got home. Art told my stepfather that we'd been very good - my mother and stepfather believed we had been taken out to just a dinner and movie by my grandfather and his friends - and that they'd take us to Alum Rock the next day - which they did. They let us do whatever we wanted; told us to ask for whatever we wanted - we ate our fill and more of hot dogs, cotton candy, peanuts, and sodas - and my mother read them the riot act when we got home for overindulging us kids with sweets and "garbage food".
This occurred several times over the next few weeks; I learned quickly which nights it would be because my grandfather would come to visit when Lester was in school, drug my mother's food and/or coffee; by the time the others arrived, she was always asleep. For several years, my mother and stepfather thought that she was overtired, and was taking advantage of my grandfather coming over to catch up on her rest.
Our silence was guaranteed by my grandfather beating us anytime we disobeyed him; some beatings he'd use just his hands and fists; others he'd use that leather belt - or on me, the belt followed by cigarettes on my arms and back which was explained away as various kinds of accidents - and, because I was very accident-prone as a child, the excuses were believed. Conversely, when we obeyed him immediately, he'd give us treats - ice cream cones, trips to Alum Rock and other parks, movies.
Shortly before Christmas, the "sessions" became more ominous. We had been taken to the old Victorian house many times by now, and were very familiar with it. Several times before Christmas, the adults moved a huge bookcase away from the wall in one of the rooms in the basement, and took us through the door behind that bookcase into another room - also windowless - that contained a large grooved altar standing in front of a curtained wall. Mary Anne went ahead of us, and the other adults came behind us, escorted us in, and Mary Anne closed and locked the door behind us.
Each time, my sister and I were instructed to remain silent and only watch - to pay attention so we would learn how to worship the "earth mother" properly, to memorize the chants and the rituals. The adults then stripped, dressed in black robes and cowls, and demonstrated - performed - their ritual.
The youngest woman stripped nude, and lay down on the altar - the others surrounded the table quietly, silently. An older man, whose face was always obscured by the hood - and whom I and my mother now strongly suspect was Uncle Ray - stood at one end wearing a black cape and hood and a carnelian pendant with entwined dragons and crescent moons.
They stood silently for several minutes; then the hooded man, the priest, raised both hands towards the woman on the altar and said "Behold the Earth Mother, bared to receive our seed that she may bring forth fruit for us to eat."
Each man then had intercourse with the woman on the altar - alternating with the women, who performed oral sex on the woman on the altar. After they completed, the man intoned "Life comes from seed freely given, and fruit freely received" - and they all disrobed and had intercourse with each other; men with women, men with men, women with women.
I and my sister were scared, sickened, terrified - and remained silent. The ending of the "ceremony" was the most horrifying: The man took off the pendant, and used one of the crescent moons on the pendant to cut his arm just above the wrist.
As he did this, Mary Anne brought a chalice up, holding it underneath his arm to catch the dripping blood. After a few moments, he held the chalice as she did the same - then each person around the altar did the same; presenting their arms to slice, dripping blood into the chalice.
The priest and the others then resumed their positions around the altar, and he then intoned "Without blood, there is no life - without life, there is no blood" - and drank. The chalice was passed around; each adult drank.
Then the chalice was brought to me and my sister.
Our descent into hell began.