When I was six my parents built one of the first mid-century-modern, split-level houses in Ann Arbor. The brick vestibule led to the various floors of the house. My parents’ suite was on the top level, my brother and I had bedrooms on the second floor, and a dark cinder block room in the basement was outfitted for the current “German girl” who worked as an au pair. At the center of the house, on the main floor, lurked a windowless powder room decorated in pink wallpaper with Parisienne cancan girls kicking their legs up in provocative poses. I hated to go in there because when I turned on the light with its automatic fan a disturbing song would play in my head, “There’s a place in France where the ladies wear no pants.”
One night when I was seven or eight my parents promised they would be home from a party by eleven. I awoke at midnight and climbed the stairs to their room, but it was empty. As I turned to go back to my room, I looked over the railing and saw a giant dragon filling the vestibule. Panicked, I ran back to my room and climbed onto my four-poster bed, jumping up down and screaming until I woke the German girl whose room was just below mine. She came upstairs and tried to calm me.
For years I assumed I must have had a fever and was hallucinating that night. But since becoming a Christian, I’ve learned about spiritual realities, both good and evil, and had other experiences with the unseen realm. I’ve also learned about my parents’ illicit relationships. I now believe my young eyes were opened to an actual presence in our house—one that may very well have resided in the powder room.