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Gargoyles in the Bedroom

By Robert S Urbanek

I had been aggravated for several months by noise from a neighbor. On October 14, 2020, a boisterous backyard gathering dispersed shortly after 10 p.m. but my anxiety kept me awake until about 4 a.m.

At approximately 5:15 a.m. I was awakened by a light. To my left, what had been a shuttered window was now a blank wall softly lit with a slight yellowish tinge, as if illuminated by candlelight. Then, near the top of the wall, appeared the living head of a monster, like a cathedral gargoyle. The beastly head was replaced by another after a couple of seconds, then followed by another. This happened five or six times. One head had glowing eyes. Another appeared to be a cross between a man and a lion. Then the heads disappeared.

I turned to my right to turn on a light and make notes. When I looked back, the shuttered windows had returned.

While this vision might be related to my anxiety, this seemed to be a spectacular display for something as mundane as a noisy neighbor. Perhaps the event released demons from my subconscious. Did I purge beasts from my mind only to release them into the world? I looked up gargoyles on Wikipedia. One section noted “gargoyles are said to protect what they guard, such as a church, from any evil or harmful spirits” but another passage said, “The primary use of the gargoyle was to illustrate evil through the form of the gargoyle.”

One could argue that extreme stress had altered my brain chemistry so as to create an illusion, but since I had fallen asleep before the vision, I would think my brain would have returned to a more balanced state during the sleep period.

Two days after the vision, after another noisy and sleepless night, I went to the ER to request some sleep meds. I described my "hallucination." They took a blood panel (which came up fine), prescribed some sleep meds but did not take x-rays. The discharge nurse, after asking a few questions to determine my mental stability, suggested that I might be a shaman.

A few days later, I had a phone consultation with my internist, and he also did not suggest a brain scan. Fortunately, the next several days were peaceful and I slept much better, both with and without the pills.

After a few weeks, the neighbor moved away, and the new neighbor was much quieter.

This was not my first experience with a specter on the wall. On February 9, 2005. I was asleep in a different room in my house. I was awakened at about 2:15 a.m. by a bright light emanating from a clock on a dresser near the foot of my bed. To my right, next to the closet door, a portion of the wall glowed like a torch-lit cave. Stick figures on the wall bounced against each other, like men in hand-to-hand combat.

To my left hung a Patrick Nagel serigraph depicting a larger-than-life head of a woman wearing sunglasses who had a stark white face and gray hair. I had purchased the print in 1985. But at this moment, the picture was solid black and bulging from the wall. To break this spell, I reached up and switched on the room light. The vision disappeared. I concluded that the dark power of the Nagel “goddess” was inciting the wall warriors to fight each other.


Robert S Urbanek Vacaville, California Website:

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