I have ability to sense energy. I can feel it mostly when it is menacing. What brings it to be a place I cannot say? Sometimes I am the only one who feels it but often it is so strong that others are uneasy in its presence. 
            I know someone who harboured such an ominous presence in her flat. I didn’t much like spending time there and acknowledged that the evil resided in one of her many object d’art that she treasured. 
            One summer evening, sharing a few bottles of wine on her balcony we found ourselves talking about (for the lack of a better word) ghosts. She told us that she had never felt anything strange nor had been subjected to anything she could not fully explain, except once. This is her story.
            ‘I was living in Avignon in France twenty years ago and one evening, after dark I walked through the town, back to the family’s home I lived in. The mistral was blowing through the town and I became aware of something following me. It unnerved me so I quickened my pace  I passed a shop and saw and heard balloons decorating the shop explode, one after the other. It was eerie and frightening. At the next shop – an antique shop, I saw the small collection of cash registers spring to life tapping out money to be paid. I was very afraid by now and could feel this…. thing closing in on me. Just before I reached the house this darkness that I can only say appeared to be an unseen evil, surround me. I believed it was going to kill me. I felt as if that is what it wanted from me and that there was nothing I could do. I accepted my fate and then, suddenly it was gone. It was as if it just decided my soul was not for the taking, that night.’
            Our conversation moved on and when I and another friend remarked on the energy we often feel she asked if there was something ‘dark’ in her home. We both immediately said that there was. We argued on its whereabouts and guided by my friend I entered the dinning room. She was right. The evil was there. It was as if it was breathing, simmering, lying in wait, to pounce, to take. I have rarely felt such vileness of energy. I could only stay a moment in the dinning room alone. But had already located the source without registering exactly what it was. When I returned I told her that it was a picture on her sideboard.
            ‘There are photos of my family there.’she said.
            I told her I did not know what the picture was but that it was the middle picture and that it carried such vileness I could not even turn to look at it.
            She took the picture out to us on the balcony. The moment she entered with it my friend and I could feel the vibrations coming from it and she affirmed that it was indeed the source of evil in the house. I could not even bring myself to look at the picture as if, like the Gorgon’s head it would turn me into stone. I did glance at it and I can reveal that it was actually beautiful  A symmetrical garden in the Parisian style. The painting was detailed and highly lacquered.  We told her that she needed to destroy the picture either by water or fire. I was game for us to weight it down and throw it into the Bosphorus.
            If we thought we were wrong about the picture our findings were confirmed when our friend came to its rescue by saying ‘I don’t know if I can bring myself to destroy this. I love this picture. It cost a lot of money and, as a student I could hardly afford it. It called to me from an antique shop and I’d pass it every day until one day, just before I left, I bought it. This picture has travelled everywhere with me over the last 20 years. It is a reminder of my student days and is the only souvenir I bought of my time in Avignon.’
            The hairs on the back of our necks rose to attention, ‘Avignon?’ 
            The realization hit her too. The evil presence she had told us earlier had come with her over the years. Every relationship she had ever had failed quickly. It was a jealous picture that needed to possess her. 
            She agreed we must be rid of it but having started on the third bottle of wine we couldn’t summon up the energy to make our way to the Bosphorus that night, instead on our way to the bar down the room we dumped the picture in the rubbish dump. 
            Out there somewhere, I am sure this picture still exists intact. Istanbul is a city where late at night rubbish hunters make money by finding things they can resell. 
            I only hope that the spell in that painting will not find me to avenge itself; for I am the one who took its lover from it. Just in case I’m considering the many ways of spell protection that I shall cover in part III.

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