Church of the Holy Sepulchre

When I first went to Israel in 1972, I went as an immigrant. I was part of a program called Ulpan, a work/study program to teach new immigrants the language and to familiarize them with Israel and its customs and way of life. My Ulpan was at Kibbutz Revivim in the Negev desert, south of Beersheba. Interestingly, this kibbutz was the home of Golda Meir and her children and grandchildren (my age) lived there. But that's another story altogether.

Part of the Ulpan program involved a certain number of guided trips to different places in Israel. We got to go on a trip to Jerusalem for 3 days, totally guided. Fantastic experience.

I was with a group of about 15 people and we were entering the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It's a tall, wooden double-door entry. I was in the middle of the group as we entered. I had taken about half a dozen steps into the church when something hit me in the middle of the chest and knocked me backwards 6-8 feet into the wall. I knocked against other members of our group in the process. The crazy part is that nobody saw anything.

At the same time, I had a flashback to when I was a young boy, maybe 5-6 years of age. My mother used to play Mah-Jong at that period of time. Every so often the game was held at my Uncle John and Aunt Irene's house, the sister of my father's mother. My mother would take the 3 of us with her and put us to bed, my brother and I in the guest bedroom, my sister (there was only one at that time) in John & Irene's bed.

On this particular ocassion my brother had the side of the bed against the wall and I had the side nearest the door. At one point I awakened and saw the figure of a man with long brown hair standing just inside the doorway. He was dressed in flowing white clothes. I was totally freaked out. I pulled the covers up over my head and then peeked out. He was still there. Then I pulled the covers up for a longer time and then peeked again and he was gone.

I never told anyone about that and had forgotten all about it until that very moment when I got hit in the chest by something I didn't see just inside the entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the burial place of Jesus.