Meeting the Holy Spirit in the Hallway

By Al Perrotta Published on May 16, 2018

The latest in our series on “Pentecost and the Holy Spirit Today.”

I’m blessed to have become aware of the reality of the spiritual world before coming to know the Holy Spirit. Because I knew the spiritual world was real, it was much easier to embrace the Holy Spirit as the real deal. 

Fascinated with New Age

In the years before I met my wife, I became fascinated with New Age. I hit the Psychic Eye book store the way other Californians hit In-N-Out burger. Had to get my regular fix. Astral projection? Why not? L.A. traffic is horrible. If there’s a way to get around without having to get in the car, sign me up.

Past-life regression? Why not? Maybe I was thinner in a previous life. Spirit-guides? Was it a Greek fisherman like one lady told me or a long dead Italian ancestor as another told me, who cares? I’d appreciate the company. White witchcraft? We Italians have just as rich a history as the Celts. How come they get all the press?

Then there were Tarot cards. I was enraptured. Read everything I could. Had “psychics” give me Tarot “readings” just for the fun of watching them do it. I became an expert. So good, I’d watch street psychics give readings in New Orleans or Venice Beach, and I’d be shaking my head. “Nope. Wrong. Wrong.”

I even ended up teaching some of the Psychic Eye people already paid to do “readings” how to read Tarot cards. (Including a young lady who got up to $300 an hour in Malibu.) Heck, I could do a reading using baseball cards. 

Through all the experiences and friendships I came to know the spiritual world is real. I became aware. (Ask me sometime about the terrified mafioso’s haunted beach house.)

The Dark Candle Magic

Yet through the sweet incense and lilting sounds of Lorena McKinnitt, darkness and malice soon pierced. I physically could not bear the occult section of the store. Drifting past, I’d recoil as if from a snarling, rabid dog. I progressed from “This is strange” to “This is bad” to “This is evil.” Evil was real. And evil was at work.

There was a woman who did readings at Psychic Eye. She was from a powerful family in Latin America. Very charismatic, very fun, very vivacious. Picture Modern Family‘s Sophia Vergara. One day, the “viva” was gone. Someone had tried to move in on her man. 

“That **** will pay,” she hissed with a menace that would make a mobster cower. Her eyes grew very dark. She detailed the dark candle magic spell she had put on her romantic rival. A cackle, then a matter-of-fact, “She may be dead already.”

Some of you might be thinking, “What nonsense.” Don’t fool yourself. I’ve stood close enough to the unholy fire to get singed and smell the ash. Nonsense is believing evil isn’t real, that the demonic is not at work.

Now the Good News

Now the good news. My wife came along and brought with her the Good News. Rusty is Charismatic. She would take me to Charismatic church services. People were speaking in tongues, people were laying on hands, people were speaking words of knowledge, people were being “slain in the Spirit.”Holy Spirit & Pentecost Stream Ad - 900

And THIS person did not freak out. Even two years earlier, such demonstrations and manifestations would have sent me sprinting down Ventura Blvd. Watching the tormented delivered, the sick healed, the truth revealed was so wonderful. So comfortable. So right. This is how things are supposed to be. 

The key word in that paragraph was “watching.” Of course, God isn’t much desiring of spectators. 

The Party and the Hallway

Rusty and I would have talks about my beliefs. Or as she says now, she just asked questions and let the Holy Spirit work. I’d never actually examined my beliefs. We’d take a drive down the coast and by the time we got to San Diego, I’d be arguing and defending her position.

“Well, with Tarot cards,” I’d say, “when it comes down to it, any card can mean anything at any time. And if something can mean anything, it means nothing. The Bible can be turned upside down, it’s books read in different order, and it still means the same thing.”

Still, one day my old job asked if I would do Tarot readings for the company Halloween party. I didn’t really want to do it, especially knowing Rusty wouldn’t approve. However, I also didn’t want to let my company down, leave them short on entertainment. And yeah, part of me still attracted to the thrill of watching stories emerge from the colorful cards.

So we hit on a solution. I would do it, but only as a huge joke. I was a comedy writer, after all. Making a big joke out of pretending to read fortunes would be easy, right?

But the Lord wasn’t in a joking mood. My attempts at funny failed. Instead, everything coming out of my mouth resonated with the people. I knew this guy was going to New York. I knew that lady was pregnant. On and on. A line started forming.

The Small, Still Voice

I began hearing a small, still voice. The Teacher started instructing, “You are on the wrong side. This is not for you to do.” For three hours this went on. Party was over, tables put away and still I was there. But by the end, the lessons was learned, “I’m on the wrong side. This is not for me to do.”

I knew I was done. Fighting was done. I knew what side I was supposed to be on. It was the side of light. The Light.

I was so drained and battered that walking back to my office, I collapsed against the hallway wall. The Comforter grabbed me. Wrapped his arms around me, kept me from falling to the ground.

“I’ve got you,” said the Holy Spirit. He hasn’t let go since.

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  • Nunyadambizness

    Al, great story, thank you for sharing. Evil IS real, just as the Holy Spirit IS real, as are the manifestations of the Spirit that you mention in the article. It has been said “The devil’s greatest trick was convincing the world he doesn’t exist”, but personally I think that it is more often willful ignorance of the devil and his works that allow people to ignore evil. The truth is available, if one only has the desire to look for it. I’m glad you found the Lord, thank you again for sharing your story.

    • albert perrotta

      Thank you for reading it, and I’m glad you enjoyed it. So grateful for the Lord and the patience He showed me. And grace.

  • Howard Rosenbaum

    Yeah, it’s been said that where sin abounds grace does much more abound. Sounds like your “hallway experience “ confirmed this life affirming precept. That hallway was perhaps a metaphor of sorts. It was likely straight & narrow. it was in the moment , when the moment where you mastered that moment that the Master of life altering moments began . Your know , that walk in the spirit/Spirit kind of thing ….

    • albert perrotta

      Thanks. That’s precisely what it was, and you put it better than I ever did. Of course the atheist would say, “Of course you collapsed. You didn’t actually eat anything you were so busy playing with the stupid cards. You were famished.”

      • Howard Rosenbaum

        Yeah where evidence other than the empirical kind is concerned, atheists have a way of calling those things which are not as though they were.
        Most of them are likely democrats which might explain that. Now if only they could employ that rational to things not seen where faith is at play …

  • Paul

    Great read Al, It would be very interesting to hear more of times you’ve been aware of the evil.

    • albert perrotta

      Thanks. Would love to write sometime about some of the stuff wife had to deal with in Hollywood. Stuff they don’t teach you in acting class or classes on how to audition. And the mafioso story is actually hysterical. Especially since we had just come from seeing “Donnie Brasco,” which included portrayals of members of this guy’s family.

      • Paul

        We’ve had three dramatic instances of that presence of evil, very unexpected. Thank God we’re on the winning side.

  • Craig Roberts

    Did it occur to you that by equating evil with superstitious nonsense and the “spirit world” with witches and magic you are undermining all of Christianity? Christians don’t have to be crazy. The Truth does not require us to believe in the devils lies.

    • GPS Daddy

      That is so not true, Craig.

      • Craig Roberts

        Jesus came to free us from the illusions created by false religions. Not affirm their validity.

        • GPS Daddy

          Al’s testimony is not superstition but the work of the Holy Spirit.
          You have two choices here, Craig. Either Al is being deceived by a demon or this is the work of the Holy Spirit. Here is the test to tell: look at the fruit in Al’s life?

          Why would a demon lead Al to be committed to Jesus?

    • Rick

      The Truth demands that we NOT believe in the devils lies. It does however allow us to be aware of them, and gives us the Power to resist and combat them.

      • Craig Roberts

        You battle lies by calling them out for what they are: superstitious nonsense. You don’t give credence to them by saying that they are true and have ‘supernatural power’ and must be opposed with equally powerful talismans and charms from the ‘white magic’ end of the spectrum. If you do, Christianity becomes just another form of voodoo.

        • Rick

          The apostle Paul had a decidedly different point of view.

          “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places”.

          Ephesians 6:12

          And,

          “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses”. 2 Corinthians 10: 3-4.

          • Craig Roberts

            You’re right. Paul also likens the spiritual life to a race but Jesus says “Many who are first will be last and the last shall be first.” (Matt 19:30)

    • albert perrotta

      This would come as a great surprise to the folks in Acts who dealt with the fortune telling slave girl.

      • Craig Roberts

        So let me get this straight, you’re saying that you ACTUALLY could read peoples fortunes and foretell the future before you became a Christian? You weren’t scamming people or were deluded that you had these gifts, you had ‘supernatural’ powers and the Holy Spirit didn’t convince you otherwise. If that’s true why don’t you just use your powers for good? Did the Holy Spirit take them away or can you still see the future?

  • swordfish

    Is this an example of the ‘sophisticated theology’ I keep hearing about?

    • Howard Rosenbaum

      Just curious. What does sophistication have to do w/theology ?
      Perhaps you’re confusing “true religion” if you will w/sophistry ..?
      You might do well to check a dictionary before you venture into “theological waters’ too deep for you to touch bottom ….?!

      • swordfish

        “What does sophistication have to do with theology?”

        Good question! We new atheists are frequently accused of not engaging with ‘sophisticated theology’. I think it means theology that uses long words.

    • GPS Daddy

      Hmm, I thought you use to be a Christian?

      • swordfish

        I did. How is this relevant?

        • GPS Daddy

          You display a sever lack of understanding of Christianity. So much so that people with this level of understanding I call cultural Christians if they consider themselves a Christian. Even the comment you made here displays a lack of true understanding.

          It’s like someone who claims to know mathematics but then says that a parallelogram was a letter sent from one mathematician to another. That’s how far off-base you are.

  • Craig Roberts

    Christianity should be an antidote to superstition and false religion, not an affirmation of them.

    • Howard Rosenbaum

      So you prefer a “Christianity” neutered by the absence of the supernatural ..?
      One w/which you apparently have been seduced by & one w/which appears to have left you spiritually impotent ..? Correct me if I’m reading more into your comment than is warranted ..

      • Craig Roberts

        The supernatural is not the same as superstition. That’s Christianity’s great gift to mankind.

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