I heard the rats scratching in the basement and they frightened me. I was only five. Thinking they would scratch through the floor door, I listened in terror night after night. We lived behind a store and one summer night, I walked into my bedroom to see a large rat lying on my pillow. He was sick from the poison my father had left in the corners to kill the rats. I screamed and he slowly walked off the bed. For years I relived that awful moment.
By age 55 I could only sleep an hour a night. I believed the only thing that saved me was my daily meditation. I would not take medication to sleep and sought more natural means; not eating after dinner… sometimes a cup of hot chocolate helped, but mostly I did creative thinking to pass the hours of sleeplessness.
My digestion wasn’t going well so I went to Dr. McGarey’s live-in clinic in Arizona. He was into alternative therapies and I thought he might be able to help me. I asked to be put in a quiet room because of my sleep pattern and one in which I would not disturb others if I moved around. They put me upstairs where it was hot. August was probably not the best time of the year to be in Phoenix. Exhausted I fell sound asleep, only to awaken from the fan rustling
The noise from the papers rustling set my nerves on edge. I turned around trying to decide whether to sweat by shutting off the fan or leave it on and endure the noise. That’s when I saw the king rat sitting in my doorway. I knew the image wasn’t real, just a figment of my imagination, but it terrified me. I got up, shut off the fan and tried to sleep, but the image of the rat kept returning. Finally I got up and, like a frightened child, I sat at the top of the stairs hoping someone would wake up that I could talk to. No one woke up.
My imagination heightened and I saw dozens of king rats coming up the stairs. I knew I was imagining the scene but I couldn’t seem to turn it off. Like a Hollywood movie, I saw myself steering a three-masted sailing ship. I knew instinctively that my shipmates were dying or already dead from the rats that were all over the ship. I was the only healthy one left. Night after night I tried to steer the ship towards land. Finally I fell asleep and woke to excruciating pain. The rats were eating me alive.
I heard my name being called and came out of the bad dream. It was the housekeeper asking if I was all right. I burst out crying and told her what had happened. She suggested I see the Gestalt therapist in the morning. I did. He had me role-play with the rat that had died in my bed. At first I was reluctant to return to my childhood fear, but I needed help. I thought I was going mad but the therapist helped me get through the visualization and finally, I was able to let go.
For the first time in 50 years I slept through the night. I don’t know if many people believe in past lives, but for me it explained my sleep disorder. Rats had played a major role in my present life, but until my vision aboard the ship, I couldn’t get past the fear of needing to be awake to listen for the sounds of the rats.
Ruth Berger, author of Medical Intuition and The Secret is in the Rainbow, has been a practicing psychic medium, medical intuitive and past life regressionist for over thirty years. Her next book, They Don’t See What I See, will be coming out in October.
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