Introduction, Aline Terpstra, 30 January 2022
I was there when Esther shared these memories in bits and pieces. I was in contact with Esther when the part of the person who had kept the horror and agony of the girl who was hung like a pig on a spit and slowly shrivelled up by the fire came up. I was there when the part of the personality that had the severed arm of a dead girl forced down her throat surfaced. I heard the gagging and saw the horror in her eyes. I followed closely how these memories were then put to paper with great effort. To free the parts of the person that were still stuck in extreme agony and horror. To deprive the cult of the possibility of luring her back into the trap via these totally disconnected personal parts.
Every day, Esther is besieged by emails, photos and present cult people around her house, on the road and at work. As she described in her last blog, they recently managed to trap her. With all the triggers the cult deliberately gives to force personal parts of her into obedience, her fight remains one of life and death.
I see at close quarters how gruelling this process is; I meet small parts of the person that are trapped in all kinds of pieces of horrible trauma. But I also see how courageously Esther confronts her memories. In the meantime, I have seen a great deal of supporting evidence for what Esther is telling me, some of which I have not seen before. here to be read. The degree of horror of what she shares here is therefore no reason for me to doubt the reliability of her memories. After all, history proves time and again what monstrous deeds people are capable of, especially in groups and under pressure. And that these are really not only people on the criminal fringes of society. History proves that people can cauterise their conscience step by step until nothing is left.
The testimonies of Esther below are about people who are at the heart of power in this world. I sincerely hope that her voice will be heard by many.
Esther's own story, by Esther
Group 2: Suspended on one leg
I was 13 years old. A person who was my anchor had just moved, my only place of peace for a while. I had to perform at secondary school. I loved learning, but all that interaction with pupils and teachers was terrible. When the French teacher started picking on me and other girls and grounding me in every lesson, learning was no longer an option. For French I got 1's, no matter how well I studied and for other subjects I only got 9's and 10's, except for gymnastics, because I skipped school too often. Everyone knew why, the bruises had been seen before.
Because I had recently lost a baby and because the French teacher triggered everything enormously from moments with an uncle, I decided, after months of hesitation, to go to the confidant. Mrs H. I found her very nice and she won my trust quite quickly. We met up a few times and after the 4th or 5th time I told her a little bit about an uncle sometimes touching me. That I didn't know how to stop him from doing it. My question was of course much bigger, but if she had an answer to this, then maybe I would have it in the bigger picture. The last appointment was just after school and so I was out of school later than usual. I had planned it so that it would not be noticed. I didn't have to work and I didn't have a cult appointment and I was free that afternoon. Still, they found out.
One day later, I did not have to go to school. I was waited for at the school bicycle shed and was allowed to come along. My friends wondered what was wrong and I made up my mind with H that my grandfather was very ill and I had to go and see him. He had died a year earlier, but they didn't know that.
So tough girl, said H who had picked me up. Today you are free. They were quiet all the way and so was I. I sat in the back of the car and knew what was going on. They knew I had talked and I had to make up for it. I took into account that this could be the last few hours and enjoyed the trees, the stork along the water and the rain that later began to pour. I suddenly enjoyed every moment of life and sucked everything in like a last supper.
We drove for a long time. It was evening when we arrived at a house in Germany or Switzerland. I had missed all the signs at the end and we drove into a very wooded area. There were a few luxury cars parked near the house and that was enough information for me. I knew that important people were there. You wait here, H said and he called someone and walked back to his car and drove off.
It was snowing and it was cold. I had my coat on, but I was not prepared for this. I had to pee really badly, which made the cold worse, and I stood there alone, in the dark, under a very small light of the house.
I thought I was left alone here. I didn't know what to do when no one would come to get me, but in no time the door opened. A big, burly man called me in. I asked if I could pee and was slapped in the face. No speaking, he said. I knew right away that I didn't stand a chance with Dutch and suddenly I didn't feel alone any more. I got help from my inside and behaved nicely.
Inside, several men were having a drink. Their square whisky glasses in their hands and a smile on their faces. While looking at me. Two other girls who were also there were sitting on the laps of two men, but it did not interfere with their conversation.
They talk about all sorts of things they have been through and what they are going to do next, but I am not interested and do not follow the conversations. I feel I have to be sharp. I have to assess who is there and what needs to be done. I have to do my best, that's clear.
Suddenly, one of the men comes back from the toilet. I was standing at the edge of the room waiting for a possible order, but I didn't expect anything from him. He grabbed me, lifted me up and took me to a room next door. He didn't say anything the whole time and just raped me very aggressively. He walked away, fastening his trousers and I knew I had to walk with him, so I did.
When we came back, everyone got up and walked out. They were conducting a session. The campfire was lit and one of the girls was sacrificed. There was a lot of spiritual activity. They knew exactly what they were doing and were very skilled at it. After the whole ceremony R came to me and took me aside a bit. He told me in English that he was deeply, deeply disappointed in me. I had to pay for this and I was lucky that I was not lying there. He pointed to the girl who had just been sacrificed and was lying open.
He took me to a shed next to the house. There was a sort of arch in the shed next to the house. I got a rope around my ankle with a band around it and in one pull R and C pulled on the rope, causing me to fall over. The two of them pulled me up until I was hanging just above the ground. I could still reach the ground with my arms and because it hurt to hang like this, I tried to keep myself in balance with my hands on the ground. When I had just about balanced myself, R or one of the others kicked my hands off the floor, causing all the weight to hang down on my one leg again. After a while they went into the house with the girl, who I later heard screaming intensely.
I hung there all evening and all night. The hanging became so painful, that I turned off my leg. The cold was so intense that it turned off my whole feeling. It was unbearable.
Holding it back with my hands became impossible and I felt like a huge failure. I couldn't do anything right. I couldn't even keep my hand on the ground. I couldn't even keep myself alert and continue with what was necessary. Failure.
The sun was rising and I could not hear anyone in the cottage. I lost consciousness from time to time and kept waking up. After hours, there were sounds coming from the direction of the cottage. I heard someone getting into a car, starting it and driving away. Suddenly I felt intensely abandoned. I would die here and never be found again. Dying alone, hanging on one leg.
Suddenly H comes walking into the barn and asks me how it is. Hey girl, are you coming with me again? I'm sure you know what to do now. I nodded. I didn't know what he wanted from me, but I pretended. I was untied and couldn't walk anymore. My legs stopped working and I crawled strangely behind H, through the snow, over the ice-cold ground and into the house. How warm it was inside, it hurt to feel the warmth.
The men who saw me crawling laughed at me when I came in crawling under the snow. They started peeing on me saying they would make me warm, after which they raped me. I was cleaned and dressed by H and put in the car. We drove home again.
I could not walk for days and after a while I got crutches and a bandage around my foot. I had to say that my ankle ligaments were torn. That way I could go to school and nobody would think that something bad was happening. I had a lot of pain. The pain that still wakes me up now.
Group 1, 7 years
Grandpa is picking me up at home. I did my best and he is going to buy me a horse and I get to pick him out. I am so very happy. I have really done my best lately and it feels like I really get it and really deserve it. Grandpa always asked a lot of me, he always wanted me to listen to him and do what he asked of me. Men had to touch me, I had to go with them to all kinds of places and I was not allowed to cry. And now, finally, I was rewarded. A real horse! I am completely euphoric and at the airport, when checking in, I tell everyone that I am going to buy a horse with Grandpa and everyone smiles sweetly and is happy for me and asks me questions. I don't think at all of the bad things that Grandpa did or sometimes wants, it is only positive.
In the plane, I tell the stewardess and, while we are flying and the seatbelts can be removed and Grandpa lights his pipe, the stewardess asks me if I want to take a look in the cockpit. I have been there before, but I found it very special then and want to go again. The pilots are also told that I am going to pick a horse. I am very happy all the way and fall asleep in the aeroplane and even dream about it. When we arrive at the airport, I ask granddad where the horse is and if I can give its name. Grandpa says, "Be patient, girl," and then remains silent. We walk outside and there's a big luxurious car waiting for us. I get in, as always, only to my enormous surprise and fear, he then closes the door and doesn't get in. I want to open the door and call Grandpa, but the driver locks the door before I can open it and I look at him.
He points his finger in front of his lips. I must be silent. Be silent. My world collapses again in one blow. I've been tricked again, like so often. I feel alone and scared and I don't know what to do now. I wait patiently where I am taken and prepare myself for everything that can happen.
After a long drive, the car stops somewhere in the middle of nowhere and the driver makes me get out. It's a small house where we are and he turns on the light and points to the bathroom and then the toilet. I go to the toilet. I'm actually quite happy about it, because I already had to go very badly. But I stayed after I had finished, because I didn't know what to do. The man came to get me and led me to a bed. I had to lie down. Like a dog, I followed faithfully and lay down in the bed. He gave me a glass of water and walked away. I waited for him to come and rape me, but he lay down on the sofa and fell asleep. I did not dare to move. I had become very thirsty, but I didn't dare to drink either. I waited. I fell asleep, I was so tired.
Suddenly I was in a rather dark cellar. It was cold. I was naked and lying tied up on a bed. My hands and ankles were tied in stirrups and it was very quiet there. I felt very groggy. It was really scary and even though I had a hard time seeing everything and knowing where I was, this place scared me to death.
I woke up feeling better and looked up and saw all the heads on sticks hanging on the wall. Heads with short hair, long hair, women and men, all different heads. I get a huge panic attack and feel some kind of primal force coming up in me that makes it clear that we have to be strong and stay strong.
After a while 2 men come in, K and D. K is talking and points D to me. D. rapes me, while he keeps talking to K. He doesn't care that it does anything to me. He barely looks at me. Suddenly he stops talking, looks at me and puts his hand around my neck. I almost choke and he goes on more aggressively. When he's finished, he puts everything back in his trousers and walks away talking to K. He doesn't even look back. I lie here and don't dare move anymore. It feels like hours that I am lying like this. I am cold, but actually I hardly feel it. After a very long time, two other men come in and a couple of children. They put the children, some of them crying, against the wall. When I am also taken off the couch and taken to the wall, I see that they are tied up and a stick that is attached to the wall goes into their buttocks. A kind of dildo. I have to bend down like this too and the thing is pushed into me and fastened. I am half-bent to the wall, sitting on the dildo, a position which cannot be maintained for long.
More men come in, about three of them, and there are six of us, including me. They laugh, talk, mainly English and Swedish and look around a bit. Someone pours them whisky, in those square crystal glasses. They drink, watch, talk, also clearly about us and then suddenly someone starts throwing something. When it falls to the ground right in front of me, I see a ball with iron spikes on it. They are throwing weapons. I don't realise it at the time, but the unexpected scares me. More men start throwing and when the first one hits a girl and she screams, I get really scared. I realise that I cannot let myself go, because now that she is going to scream, they are all going to come after her. So I have to stay calm, even if a ball like that hits me.
A ball lands on my foot and gets stuck in it. A thorn is just above my toe and it hurts. I sort of put my foot out and watch to see if another one comes. That way I am prepared and can better cope with any pain. Sometimes I hear a ball fly through the air and hit something or someone. Sometimes a girl screams, sometimes someone cries and sometimes it is completely silent. They also know that it is best to stay quiet. One hits my head and I feel the blood running down my face. Meanwhile I hear other children screaming and shouting and I see men pointing, but not at me. I know that I will succeed. I'm not going to die, I have to hold on and be strong, I know this. Grandpa is like that too. If I don't let myself be known, he will stop more quickly when he realises that there is really no point in hurting more.
Suddenly, one fell on my back. I heard the ball hit the wall behind me and suddenly it fell on my back. It hurt a lot, it was unexpected. But they stop after this. A girl appears to have fallen off the dildo and I hear someone say: she is dead. She is taken off the wall and taken away. They are going to use her, that is clear.
We stay here like this, they leave us alone. I see how the girl is raped and one of the children is taken off the wall and has to skin her. She has done it before, that is clear. She gives the pieces of meat to the men, who apparently already had some kind of BBQ going on. A kind of stone oven with a flue through the roof. The whisky is poured continuously and they talk loudly.
In front of us, a woman and an older man come and stitch up open wounds. The ball is removed from my foot and a stitch is placed in the wound. They also do something on my head and on my back. I can hardly feel anything, my body is over-stimulated and everything that comes with it is like a big mountain of feelings flowing through my body from top to bottom and back again. The feelings are so many and so intense that they permeate everything, but nobody sees or hears it, only me.
When they are still eating and the older man and woman have left, a man suddenly stands up and takes me off the wall. He lifts me up and throws me on a table and rapes me. I lie on my back on the table, so that I can focus all my feelings on it and isolate what he is doing. My legs hang down so there is a huge stretch on my back, which also sort of streamlines the feelings.
When he has finished, more are busy and I am also grabbed by a man and another is busy in my mouth. When they are finished, they leave me lying like this. I don't dare to lie like this, but I would like it so much. I can't stand this position, but I am afraid that if I move, I will be skinned, alive. I know that they can and want to do that, I have seen several people do it. That is my biggest fear.
Suddenly they get up and walk away. Some are still hanging on the wall and the rest are lying somewhere in the room, just like me. Even now I don't dare move. I know that they always see everything and keep an eye on everything. I don't move. Sometimes I see a child move and then endlessly look at the door to see if anyone is coming. Nothing happens and after hours I dare to lie down a bit differently. Finally, I lie down with my legs on the table and fall asleep for a while. Some of the children cry for a while and some move rhythmically and autistically, some I did not hear. And we all look at the remains of the girl who was murdered tonight. It could have been us....
The hours seem to be days, I am constantly woken up by unfamiliar noises. Someone comes to watch, which makes me afraid that we will be punished for moving, someone has even crawled up to someone and tried to get her off the wall. I am prepared for anything.
After a long time, the men come back. I feel less strong than last time. I am tired, thirsty, hungry and in pain. But the cold is the worst. The cold makes you want to move, but that is really a no go. Everything stiffens up and the bruises and cold make everything worse.
They first go and talk to each other for a while with something like coffee. At least something warm. Warm steam comes out of their cups and I long to touch it a little. Just to feel the warmth. I don't even have to drink it, just feel it. But it remains a dream. We all sit and lie still and motionless, just as we sat and try to be invisible. That's how it feels. Pretending we're not there, and they're also pretending we're not there.
When they get up and put the cups down, I know that the silence and rest are over. We have to do something again. Will I still be alive? Equipment is taken and the girls who are still tied up are released. We have to stand in a circle. I can hardly stand. I am stiff and everything hurts and I see from another girl that she has the same problem. I push on and see her doing the same. Don't whine, don't feel, stand up and do what you have to do bitch, I tell myself. I hardly know what the words mean, but I've heard others say it so many times.
We stand in a circle and each of us is given something in our hands that consists of a kind of stick with a rubber band attached to it. A box of nails is placed next to us and the task is explained. We have to shoot the others with the nails we have. The one who empties his basket first and kills someone, wins.
I feel myself looking and listening in amazement and I don't know how to do it. Will I be shot? We look at each other and I see and feel the amazement of the others also in my own gaze. No words for the feelings and thoughts that just couldn't be there anymore.
The men take beer from a crate and I hear the caps flying off. They toast and when they have given the start signal, I have already thought of how I am going to do this. I had shot this before with my brother. Berries against cars. I knew how it worked. I felt a button go off in myself where all the emotions and thoughts about the others went out. There was no room for it.
The starting signal came and I took my time testing the rubber band and holding the nails conveniently in my hands. Some were already trying to shoot, but they didn't really succeed yet. I was prepared for pain, but it took some time. I picked up the first nail and put it in the device properly. I didn't do it right and the nail fell to the ground. I wanted to pick it up, but that was not allowed. Only from your basket. They laughed at my surprised look, it couldn't be otherwise.
I held myself together and knew that I could do this and seeing some other girls doing it wrong gave me hope. The second one I aimed well and I took my time and shot. I hit, I hit the leg of the girl opposite me. She screamed, she looked at me with a look of pain and pleading, but my feeling for her was completely gone. It did not exist. I had to go on now, otherwise the others would know how it worked and I would be the loser. I knew I shouldn't feel anything for her and that I had to focus only on her, then it would work. As if my one side of my brain was completely switched off with all the feelings and emotions, including fear of being shot at, my other half seemed to work very well as a very strong side. I knew exactly what to do and how to do it and for a moment I had total control over my thoughts and actions.
Suddenly, I felt pain in my abdomen. A nail had hit my abdomen and some blood was coming out. But I could handle it and decided to ignore it and keep going. I picked up the next nail and the next and the next and had my sights set on the girl in front of me, because I could reach her best. She wasn't the weakest of the group, but she wouldn't make it anyway, so this was my chance. As I say and think this now, I wasn't thinking verbatim, but that's what it came down to. I already picked my chances and knew what I had to take into account. I knew how to play the games, Grandpa had taught me well.
She collapsed, the moment the nail hit her neck and the blood started spurting out. Hold now, they called out. We had to put down our things and sit down. I looked around and saw that some people were in a lot of pain. I looked at my own body. I had 4 nails in my body, I didn't know that. I looked at it and only then did I start to feel it. I pulled them out as if they were a splinter. It was in my way. It was bleeding, but I didn't mind that very much.
I looked at the girl in front of me, who had fallen on the ground and was shaking and dying. The men went over and collected her blood. They took her to the same place as last time where they skinned the girl. They were also going to eat her.
We stayed put again. I helped the girl next to me to get the nails out, but later the old man and woman came again to patch us up. When they arrived, I collapsed. I couldn't take it anymore. The pain and all the feeling of being bruised, the hunger and the thirst and the enormous adrenaline, were taking their toll. We were all given a little water. I was so happy. It made me feel so much better. The men skinned the girl themselves and also barbecued her. The rapes also continued with me going completely off. I felt everything, but I couldn't process it. It didn't find a place and floated around in my body. I put everything in my secret corner, where it was safe.
When they left, we didn't say anything to each other and we didn't even look at each other. I wanted to, but I didn't dare. The tension towards each other was enormous. We were soon picked up by two men and had to follow them outside. When we arrived outside, there were more men and more children. All 'new' children, it felt like. Some were still as blue as how we started these days and some were very scared and crying, some seemed very cool and able to handle everything. Some were bigger than me, but there were also 2 and 3 year old kids running around. The shotguns became visible and the dogs on the lines were restless. Maybe they were hungry, I thought.
I had experienced a hunt once before. I recognised the setting and knew what was going to happen. I had to run and they would shoot us if they found us before the horn sounded. From that moment on I just wanted to leave.
The horn sounded and I started running. No idea where to, but I started running like other children. I was so tired and everything hurt so much that I stopped at a tree and saw that there was a child following me. It was a small child. I couldn't let that happen, it would give me away. I ran faster, so she wouldn't be able to keep up, but after a while my energy was completely gone. I heard the horn, they were coming. My energy came back for a moment, but it was gone very quickly. I crashed into a pole and as if I were only 1 cm tall, I tried to hide behind it. I really couldn't do it any more. I still wanted to somewhere but my body stopped, it wasn't possible. I had no choice. I knew that I would be found, but I still had a hope, a childlike faith, that they would not find me.
It didn't take very long until suddenly a dog was near me and when I tried to crawl away, grabbed my ankles. Its teeth were in my flesh and I spontaneously gave up. I was there, waiting to die. The man who belonged to the dog was there in no time and held the gun to my head. He looked at me and pulled the trigger. I thought. He said 'pang' and laughed and held the gun away from my head. He took a rope from the bag he had with him and tied my ankles and wrists together and threw me over his left shoulder. Like a captured wild boar, he took me with him.
Not much later this happened to another girl. We hung out together behind his back. The next one he found he shot dead and with that loot he went back to the camp. There was a big fire and a few people had already returned with dead children and a few living ones. The horn went off when we came back. What happened to the rest?
They held up their trophies to each other and had a lot of fun. One man showed a bullet wound on a girl who was already hanging limp. The blood was still flowing from her buttocks. A man was cutting into a girl and there were clearly eating utensils and bottles of drink. I knew that they were being eaten. I did not ask myself why I was not shot. Because I didn't run away? But the third girl didn't run away either and was shot in the head like that. I did not know.
I was thrown into the back of a truck tailgate with two other girls. The ramp closed and I could see over the edge what they were doing, but I did not look. I could only stare and stare. For a moment there were no thoughts, no feelings, I could finally stare and rest and nothing and nobody and this moment was never to end. I could not survive that. I would sit here and stare forever. I would never feel hunger again, never feel cold again, never feel fear again, just this. Suddenly, the door opened and I was pulled out of the truck. My peace was completely disturbed and I freaked out.
The man who pulled me out and found me raped me by the fire. When he had finished the first time, he called someone over and offered to rape me, while he continued for a while in my face. Meanwhile, I looked at the fire and saw a girl hanging above the fire on a stick. She had a stick in her buttocks and in her throat and she was wriggling to and fro. She had enormous fear in her eyes, she was very, very afraid. The fire got louder and she was devoured by the flames. She could not scream because of the rod, but everything in her was clear that she was in terrible pain and fear. Like a pig, she was roasted and later eaten.
The man who raped me saw me and said: if you can't keep your mouth shut, that's your place. For me it was a choice at that moment that I would keep my mouth shut forever and never speak again. The girl was changed by the fire. Her intensely frightened eyes turned to liquid dust in her hollows. Her skin blistered and her colour changed. She became darker and darker and her skin tightened. It was as if she was rapidly becoming wrinkled and blackened, and as her spasms faded, her fingers tightened and she was a hard, tough piece of meat on a spit. Like a pig on a spit, only to be cooked. 'Do you also want to hang out like this and become a tasty morsel?" suddenly asks another man who appears to be busy with me. I was so absorbed in what I was seeing with the girl on the spit that everything about my own body had passed me by. It was C who said it and I saw that he burst out laughing because apparently I kind of woke up and saw him. He bumped a few more times and got off me and then walked away.
I did not feel the pain in my stomach, but now when I think about it, the intense stinging comes back. Slowly the feelings come together and it becomes mine, but it is too heavy to bear.
All night/morning it was sex, food and drink. There was bragging and all the behaviour was loose. And I was just out. I couldn't feel or think anything, everything happened. I was put in the car again and fell asleep like a log. As if all the fear was gone.
I did not realise that the cold was so intense on my bare body. But now when I think about it, it completely penetrates my joints as it did then. I didn't realise then that it was the intense cold that I felt. Now I understand. The men had clothes on, thick coats, some had something on their heads, but we, the children, were naked. For days. In the cold, in the forest and it was winter. The men sat by the fire for most of the time, but not us, unless they wanted us to do something for them.
The pain, the bruises, the stitched wounds were all there. But I had turned it off. Another part carried it in the background. Like a taciturn person, never allowed to say anything, afraid of the spit, afraid of the punishment, afraid to be eaten, he sits in a corner and says nothing. He waits and waits to see if it will ever go away. He has the patience of someone who can wait for 100 years, without having to ask, because he does not know what else to do. Waiting is the only thing that counts and helps. Waiting is the only thing that can, while he carries the intense pain.
The next moment, I was lying in a bed on an infusion. My wounds were bandaged and some places re-stitched. I was given food and drink and they said I had to gain strength. I saw a few times a woman and once a man who I think was a doctor. When I had to show that I could urinate and walk and make other movements, they called me and I was picked up.
My next address was the house.... everything had to be cleared. I entered through a rather large door in the hall. I was taken to a fairly sterile room with a table and two chairs. I was told which chair to sit on and I did so obediently. The door closed and I waited silently. I did not know what would happen, but expected everything.
Suddenly, the door opened and a man and woman entered. The woman remained standing and the man sat down and asked questions. Who I was, where I was, what had happened since I had been on the plane. I told without hesitation big lines and did not tell faces, names and details. I told him that I was in a big house with several children and that we had played games. I told him that I had slept for a while, but that I found it exciting and that we had run in the woods. He laughed. I thought of the girl who hung there like a pig.
He asked what the men were doing. I said that I don't want to tell. All right, he said, but we will erase everything. You have to forget everything, he said. Do you want to? I nodded loudly yes. I wanted that very much because I would almost cry every time I thought about it.
I was taken to another room with a chair and some equipment in it. I lay down in the chair and wires were attached to my body. On my wrists, ankles and head. I didn't know what it was and was totally unprepared for what was to come.
He said, you close your eyes and listen to me. You only say yes and no. I nodded. He got angry and slapped me in the face. I said, you only say yes and no. Did you understand me, he said angrily. Yes, I said immediately. We are going to start, he said and dimmed the light.
Have you been in a big house with 5 men who looked like... and he described them. I said yes. The moment I said yes, an enormous shock went through my body. The pain is very intense and it frightens me enormously. I see it as punishment and the next question I answer with No, while in fact it is also Yes. I now get a tube pushed into my throat and a bucket of water is thrown into the funnel that is attached to the tube. It feels like I'm drowning, really horrible, and the images get worse, as if it's all over my head.
The next time I say YES to the same question and I get the shock twice. Slowly I begin to see and feel the benefits of the shocks and I cooperate as I should. The memories seem to disappear and the pain in my body also seems to disappear, more and more. I long for the shocks more and more and even ask for them at the end. They laugh.
When I feel completely knocked out, the hose is pulled out of my throat and I cough and cough enormously. I have to recover, but I don't get a chance to. I am lifted up and taken to the other side of the room and tied up after they have laid me down. When I regain my senses, I see that I am stuck on a large wheel and they are spinning it. When I'm almost hanging upside down, I go through the water with my head and because I'm startled and didn't realise it, I almost suffocate.
When I stand upright again, the intention is explained to me in detail. They call for another part and as soon as it is there, the songs are rehearsed. With each number, more and more pictures of everything that has happened disappear. I am afraid that they will leave me downstairs and I cooperate very well. I feel myself switching with the other part all the time and it becomes a flawless cooperation of coming and going.
Suddenly I am ready. I am taken off and have to dry off, dress up and get dressed. A man picks me up and takes me to the airport. When we arrive at the airport by car, Grandpa is there again. He smiles, but says nothing. The whole way, he says nothing. We drive home and in the car I sleep.
Nobody asks about the horse anymore, as if everybody knew. I don't dare say anything, afraid I won't know what to say.
Group 1, 9 years
I am lying in a dentist's chair. A girl has been murdered and her limbs are being brought in. My wrists are locked in brackets and there is an iron bar around my neck so that I cannot move. I am about 9 years old and have been here before. We are in a cellar and there are 5 men. I recognise them. They are rich people whom I never hear about in the news or in other places, but it seems as if the world belongs to them. They act like that and they have the people around them who serve them like that. Later when there is a hunt, they are the centre of attention and decide what happens.
How I got here is vague. The aeroplane, getting off, going with a stranger into a small plane, a car journey, another stranger, waiting, alert to other people, sleeping for a few hours and then another long car journey with a stranger.
I am lying in the chair and the leg supports are wide and between my legs is a girl with a piece of leg. The leg has just been cut off from a girl who did not survive and she is pushing it into me. Another girl is standing next to me. She has to take over the leg from the other girl while a man rapes her. She is told to rape me with the leg in the same rhythm and with the same force as he does with her. The fact that it is predictable is killing me. Every time he pushes hard, I tighten my muscles again, which makes everything even more painful.
It takes a long time and after a while another man comes with an arm of the dead girl and pushes it into my mouth and my throat. It goes so far down my throat that I choke. I have to swallow and feel the arm go far down my throat. I can't breathe. Sometimes he takes it out so that I can breathe, but most of the time he leaves it there. At some point I really choke. I feel that I am splitting and I knock out.
I am left alone for a while. When two men come to rape me, I suddenly get two eyes pushed into my mouth. A man says in another language that now they always know when I talk or tell about them. As if the language is as clear as Dutch and completely drawn out, that's how clear it comes in.
After a while, everyone is back in a circle. The men stand around us and we stand in a circle, in the largest free space. We, the children, all have a baseball bat in our hands. The men put limbs between the chair and the sofa and between the cupboard and another kind of chair and in the open space to the seating area. We are not allowed to cross it. Listen well, they say. I don't know English very well, but my ears are pricked up and I understand what they are saying. We have to strike. Whoever is dead first has lost. Everyone laughs. Long live the strongest!
A girl standing next to me takes a step forward and then stands still. She looks at a girl penetratingly. A girl I also had in mind to grab if necessary. Suddenly she runs towards the girl and starts to bat at her very hard. The girl starts screaming and shouting and holds her hands in front of her face and her head. She is clearly scared and does not dare to bat back, she even drops the bat.
The girl continues to beat and seems unable to stop. The girl being beaten falls to the ground and collapses completely with her hands over her head and she cries out in pain and fear. You can hear it clearly. She also urinates on the ground. Slowly a puddle appears between her legs.
The strongest girl who had beaten up the most scared girl was pulled out of the circle by a man. She wanted to go on, but was not allowed to. I watched her and when she had to stand by the man and hand in her bloody baton, she kept staring at the girl. She was still moving, moaning and crying. Another girl wanted to come towards me, which caused a switch to be made in my head. I pretended I was going to hit her, after which she took a step back and I continued towards the girl on the ground. It would be finished when she was dead, I had to go on now.
I clubbed her, but on her back it didn't do much good. I started kicking her and at one point I managed to kick her over and hit her full in the face and on the head. She didn't keep her hands in front of her face and on her head anymore, she was lying unconscious on the ground and I kept on hitting her. I kept on hitting her like a man possessed. I could not stop. The blood was splattering in all directions and a girl told me to stop in English, but it did not penetrate. I kept going and was so tired, but just wanted to keep going. I don't know why. Everything had to come out. She was the one who could have killed me, but now I was stronger. She had done it at that moment.
The whistle sounded. The familiar whistle of one of the men, who made sure the game we were playing was finished. I heard it and fell silent. I stopped hitting, dropped the bat and looked at what I had done. It was devastating. The girl was completely unrecognisable. Completely blue and swollen and everything was covered in blood. I was shocked by what I saw, as if I saw it for the first time.
The girl was pulled by her arm towards the place where they always sat together, ate and drank. The place where there was also a kind of table, made of aluminium, which could have come straight out of a laboratory. A table with trenches for the blood, which could be collected. Her arm hung limp and the man pulled her towards it while she remained motionless. It had to hurt to be dragged across the cobbled floor like that. When I thought about it, it dawned on me that she should be dead. That I was safe for now and she had lost.
The girl was placed on the table and had to be skinned. Her bruised skin was carefully removed from her body and the blood slowly went through the gullies of the table into the bucket with which they filled their cups. The pieces of meat went on the BBQ and they ate them on the spot. I was so hungry that the smell made me hungry. The connection with it being that girl was no longer there. The hunger began to overcome everything and water came into my mouth. I didn't realise at all what was really happening at that moment. Now I feel so mega guilty that the smell of her body made me hungry. The idea that I would love to eat a piece of her then is bizarre. It was so strong at that moment.
We had to sit quietly in a corner. I was so tired, but also so hungry, that I couldn't sleep, but I didn't dare either. But sitting was so nice. I didn't have to do anything and we weren't asked to do anything, no pain, no fear, no torture, we just sat here safe and sound.
After a few hours it was over. The men became restless. They wanted sex and it became a kind of orgy in which there was a lot of alternation and at the same time. The men must have taken something that made them so licentious. They were loose as well, everything was said, nothing was kept secret.
Suddenly R stood up and grabbed me and pointed to another girl. Take her heart', he said. I knew immediately what he meant and wanted. The girl didn't understand and that was my luck. I just didn't know how to do it.
Suddenly I had a bright idea. I asked two girls to take her and hold her. They did not understand me right away, but when I took her and gave her to them, they understood me. They just helped me, without hesitation. They knew that the next battle had begun.
They held the girl by the arms, they sat on her arms and held her legs still and I was given a knife. I had to take out her heart, I knew that and I did it, without hesitation. She screamed out. She panicked with all her might, but she couldn't move.
I cut, got the saw and started sawing, as if in a lifeless body. I felt nothing, thought nothing, just did what I had to do. Now in retrospect I think I just knew that it was my life or hers that was at stake. I had no choice, I had to, but how it works at that moment, I don't know.
I cut out her heart and she immediately stopped making a sound. I saw the terror in their eyes. I knew it was going to happen and I was prepared. I even closed my eyes. They didn't. I gave the heart to the man who had asked me and knelt down before him, holding it up.
He wanted me to finish getting her ready. I tried to lift her to the table, but I couldn't. I was so tired and my muscles didn't work anymore. A girl who saw it helped me right away. I saw in her eyes that she knew what it could mean when you can't do what you are asked to do. We put her on the table and I started to prepare her. The meat had to be bagged, they were going to eat it, they were full now.
I had become good at it. I had practised a lot of peeling and cutting of meat. It had to be in good sizes, without sinews and not in small pieces. It was important to cut well in one go. I even got a compliment.
Then they opened the valves in the ground. There were several and each girl had to go into the pit. I climbed in and to my surprise I could stand in it and my head stuck out above the ground. I was glad that we didn't have to sit under the ground. A man took the flap and put it around my neck and then fixed it to the ground. The flap was tight around my neck. If I moved my neck, it felt like I was being suffocated and couldn't breathe. It was a very unpleasant feeling to be stuck like that and not be able to leave. You couldn't reach your face because your hands were under the flap.
When we were all stuck in the pits like this, the lights went out and the men walked away. We were all silent. Our breathing was audible in the distance and there was nothing else. As if we were all waiting to see what would happen next, but nothing happened. Not for a long time. I almost fell asleep once in a while and was then woken up because my head was stuck in the clamp. I would sink through my ankles. But every time I woke up again.
Suddenly, we heard a noise. I didn't know what it was at all, I couldn't estimate it. It was completely dark. Sometimes the sounds came closer and sometimes they went further away again. They always came from a different angle, it was maddening.
Suddenly I felt a sharp sting in my ear combined with a loud sound like a scream. I was startled and moved, so that what was in my ear immediately ran away. I heard tiny tripping paws going away. And coming back again. This went on all night long. Sometimes I would suddenly hear another girl screaming and sometimes it would be me. Sometimes there was nothing for a long time and I fell asleep for a while until it suddenly bit me again. The night lasted so intensely. There were no windows anywhere, I didn't know if it was night, but because no people came in and because there was no light, for me it was night.
Suddenly the door opened. Two men from the group who had been there before pulled us out of the pit and made us sit on the ground. They gave us a drink of water and half a slice of old bread. I was so hungry that I swallowed it in no time.
A man called me to him with his finger saying come. I obeyed immediately. He opened his trousers and I had to sit on him. He let himself go and the others laughed. Come on, hurry', said a man. At that moment he pushed me off his lap and closed his trousers again. We had to walk outside with him.
It was dusk outside. Later I found out that it was daytime. Outside there were several people and about 20 children. Some afraid, others in shock, some injured, some knowing nothing. The hunting party could begin. I was much better prepared than last time and had already devised a plan. I insisted on survival, no matter what, but had seen a girl of about 3 years old that I melted for. I suddenly had some kind of motherly feelings and slapped myself in the face to wake myself up. Act normal, I said to myself. You won't survive. I toyed with the idea of helping her, but it would be suicide. She looked at me, at the moment I was making a fool of myself and slapping myself in the face. She won me over with those brown eyes.
I would grab her and run on. I had energy just from wanting to help her. But if I let it show, I would be the first to catch them. She had to get far enough herself first. I had no influence on that.
The horn rang, I started to run, but not too fast and kept an eye on her. She ran after a boy, but he was much too fast and after a while she stopped. Just like that. She stopped, stood still and started crying. The boy didn't even look back, he didn't see that she was following him. I had almost let go, because following him would have been fine for a while. But she stopped, he was going too fast.
I ran to her, grabbed her and ran away as fast as I could. Her sound would immediately bring them to our side. She had to stop first. I had a piece of bread somewhere in my body. I gave it to her. Even though it was terribly disgusting, I knew it could help.
She became silent for a moment and in two languages I tried to tell her that I would help and she should be quiet. Suddenly I felt that my energy was finished. I could do no more and I fell. Lying on the ground, half over the girl, I heard the horses approaching. I heard a dog barking somewhere else and then a shot. They were not very far.
I saw a pile of leaves with a fallen tree and decided to go there. I hid the girl and told her to be quiet. The dogs would smell us.
I saw a boy hiding near us. He had not seen us. The horses came closer and the dogs ran in front of them. I was ready to be found. I knew no more alternatives. They would not let me live twice. The dogs barked, I kept my eyes closed and floated to some other place. It was warm, I lay there in a nice cool blanket and there was nobody. I was all alone. I loved it. I felt the wind between the trees and heard a bang, but I was in my perfect little world.
Suddenly I heard the horses running away and the horn blew. I opened my eyes to see where I was. I was still lying under the leaves. The girl was lying next to me, crying softly. The boy was gone, there was blood.... Had they forgotten me? Was I invisible?
The horn rang 3 more times. Coming back meant that. I hesitated. Should we run away, I thought quietly, as if I were talking to the girl. But where should I go? I didn't even know where I was. I had no energy left and I was so intensely tired. I took her on my arm and we walked back to the starting point. The fire was lit, the dogs were sleeping peacefully and they cheered when you came back and rewarded you for it with a rape.
There were more than eight bodies lying by the fire. A girl of about 3 years of age was also among them and I looked again at the girl I had carried on my arm. Was it her sister?
The evening was combined with food, sex and awkward moments that alternated with being left alone. Sometimes they would ignore us for a while, sometimes they would suddenly grab us and rape us, only to suddenly push us away and continue eating or drinking again.
Someone raped me near the fire. He didn't realise how close he got to the fire. Must have been drunk or something. I felt the heat on my body, but he still had a lot of clothes on. Suddenly, his trousers caught fire. Everyone dived on him and helped extinguish the fire and take off the trousers. I got the blame. I was beaten up and fell unconscious. When I came to, there were two men working on me. I had no energy left, I let everything happen and received the pain as if I wanted it so intensely.
It was slowly getting dark and a car came and took me and two other children away. Nobody said goodbye, nobody thanked us for giving up our bodies. Nobody said sorry, nobody said I should have killed you. Just nothing. I was nobody and I disappeared into thin air.
I fell asleep in the car and when I woke up, we had to get out of the car. We arrived at the house where we had been before and I wanted to drop dead. Triggers overwhelmed me like an avalanche. Electroshock entered my memories. Drowning, pictures flashing by, I fell to the floor.
We walked in and I had to sit at the table. I had to tell why I came here and told everything from front to back that I still knew. Suddenly I received an electroshock against my back. Again I was asked what I knew. I heard myself telling other things but could not intervene. This happened 2 more times and after the last time I said, I don't know. The man got a smile and got up, leaving me alone.
After a while, I was picked up. I already knew where I had to go and walked ahead to the room. The door was ajar and I pushed it open. I saw the chair and sat down in it. Like a zombie, I did what I knew was required of me, just by the memory and by that smile.
The electrodes were attached to my body and as if I was starving for peace of mind, I hardly had any patience left. I wanted to feel the current. I wanted to think of everything that was going on and get shocks so that it went away. I knew it was working, and I wanted it. After the 'treatment' I had to sleep in a room. The light went out and I was dead tired. I wanted to sleep. I was also given water and food, but after two sips of water I fell asleep like a log, I was too tired.
I woke up with a shock. I thought it was very mean, because I almost liked them when I went to sleep and now it was very mean. I had to come with them. No time to pee, just come with me, naked, like I had slept on the rubber mat on the floor. I had to lie on the couch, got a syringe in my thigh and stuff was taken. My arms were tied up and a bucket of water was filled. I felt myself becoming floaty and could not find my words. Everything was spinning and I almost had to spit.
A hose was put in my throat and by letting water run into it, I distanced myself from everything I felt. I was gone. I felt something hard and big being pushed into my buttocks. I felt a vibrator being put in front of me and I felt I was suffocating from the water they were drowning me with. At times when I was not being drowned with the water, I was given an electroshock on top of my head and I kept losing consciousness.
The next moment I was in a dark room. I was still recovering from falling unconscious and had felt myself being taken to another room, but was too groggy to realise by whom and where. I had fallen asleep again and was now waking up. It was pitch black and I could feel nothing but bumps and dings and it smelt very dirty. I was trying to get my bearings, but I wasn't really able to. I listened for sounds, heard the occasional walk, but nothing else. I wondered whether I should try to get out or wait. Everything was a test, I knew, that's how this whole house was. I felt where I was in order to make a judgment and soon found out that this place was full of body parts. I could feel that not all were real body parts, but some were, some were plastic.
The voice sounded. In English. Welcome to paradise, from which you will never emerge. Stay where you are or find your way, whatever you wish. And there was silence again. A little later, the same voice sounded again with the same text, repeated over and over again. I did not know what to do, but there was something I could do, otherwise they would not say it like that. I wriggled past parts, sometimes feeling eyes, sometimes intestines, sometimes severed arms, everything passed by. Sometimes, when I touched it, a devouring smell would suddenly come out. But I saw nothing. That helped. I could focus on the text. As if everything was focused on the text they kept saying and the rest was taken away by another part. Then it was as if the rest did not exist.
I felt a door and a lock. I felt further, there was a keyhole in it, but I did not have the key. I felt around my neck, inside me, maybe it was hidden there, but I didn't have the key. Again the text sounded. The same. I was intensely tired and I couldn't hear the text any more, it was chasing me, while I needed rest to puzzle, but I didn't get it. It was driving me crazy.
I decided to feel the body parts one by one and see if there was a key. If this was not the solution, then at least I had tried something.
I went through the room one by one. I started at the right of the door and would go around and finally try to sort everything out in the middle. It was soggy and it felt wet and very dirty. I felt I had been at it for days. Every now and then, I went completely crazy, because of the feeling of the body parts, because of the voice that kept sounding and seemed to be speaking faster and faster, and at times when I was so intensely tired and couldn't cope any longer, I would sometimes sink for a while and the voice would wake me up again.
It felt like days, weeks, I had moments when I thought I would never be able to get out, moments when I wondered if I would take a bite of a piece of meat I felt because of hunger and thirst and moments when I thought I heard something and that I had been saved. Everything passed.
Suddenly I felt something hard. I felt it about four times to see if I was going crazy, but it was there. I went with my hand into a cut leg, as if it had been made partly hollow, and felt a metal key there.
I did not know what I felt. I thought I was dreaming, going crazy, imagining things. Over and over I felt it again. Until the moment when I really had the key in my hands. I had now lost the door. My whole awareness that I had to find the door and from where I came was completely gone and I searched far too long for the door, until I found it again.
I dropped the key two more times before I could turn it in the lock and had it open, but the moment it fitted was bizarre how it felt. It was indescribable, that what I had been longing for years, had now become reality. But I didn't dare anymore. I had not imagined what could be behind the door and now that the lock was open, there was room for it. I looked in the opposite direction to the door. I looked into the black space again, thinking of what lay there and thinking that it couldn't get any worse and turned around again. I opened the door and was buried under everything that fell through. I fell backwards and pushed myself up with my hand, clearly crushing a head under my hand. It had already become so porous that it hardly needed my weight. I wriggled upwards, hoping I was wriggling upwards and not in the wrong direction, totally misdirected. I became despondent as I 'dug'. I had failed and I had not found the exit after so much work and would die here. I collapsed.
Suddenly there was a sound from behind the door I had just opened. I heard someone talking, for a moment, I thought. But then it was quiet again. Then suddenly I heard a click and the fluorescent lights came on. I saw a rather small room full of body parts and pieces. It was much smaller than I thought and in the doorway stood two men and laughed out loud.
Come," said one man and I climbed over the parts to the exit of the door. Behind the door there had been fresh body parts and they entered this room by opening the door. The room I had been in had body parts in it, but also very decomposed pieces. It was a very dirty mess. I stared after the men and they showed me a kind of shower that you also have in sports halls. A sprinkler that turns on when you stand under it. I stood under it and knew that the water was ice cold, but I did not feel it. All my sensors were off, I could only walk stoically behind them or stay standing.
I was given a cup of hot drink. I don't know whether it was tea or something else, because I didn't have a sip. I held it and just sat there staring, looking ahead. When the cup was taken away, I did not regret that I did not take a sip. I wasn't so clear anymore.
I had to lie on a piece of wood. Later I knew that it was a wooden wheel that went through the water. I was so intensely tired and disoriented that I couldn't go on. I heard a name and disappeared. Sometimes I could feel the water splashing in my face and the pictures of people and holiday pictures were shown interchangeably and I lost my way.
I don't know how I got out of here or came home. I remember a car journey with flashing lampposts and feeling very groggy and tired and waking up in bed. I had slept for days, my mother said, and she had called in sick at school. I must have had a very bad fall, because I was covered with bruises and had spit a lot. I also lost a lot of blood and had some stitches, but nobody knew exactly what had happened. Later, she told others that I had done something again and had not been careful. I believed it, I didn't know where else it could have come from. She had to be right.
Come on, it is allowed
Crawling on my hands and knees across the floor, following Grandpa. He has just opened the door of the cupboard and I was just bending over, waiting for 'come'. I am not allowed to look up. If I look, his shoe will hit my head or shoulder. I look down. To the carpet, to the shoes, I have to go after them.
Grandpa said 'come' and I go after him. It is quite far. Through the corridor, through the scullery, across the garage, across the yard to the barn. My knees are usually blue but if this happens more than once a week they usually break. Open knees are part of kids who play a lot, especially kids like you who fumble,' I hear people say in my head. Whenever I bang my knee and get a bruise, I think of that again. I am so clumsy. I'm always breaking things, climbing trees and being broken.
But is that really the case?
The small part that has suddenly come to the surface crawls on its hands and knees and bends its head forward. Her head on the ground and her hands above it. Open, so that Grandpa can hit it if necessary. If she secretly looks up a little too much. She waits until grandpa says 'good', then she can go. She doesn't know that another part takes over. She is learning that now, as she surfaces and gets to know us.
The little girl who is always in the closet. Inside us in the inner world, but also in the closet in grandma and grandpa's house. Waiting for grandpa to open the door. Waiting for her to come, to lick his shoes clean or to crawl after him like a little dog on her way to the barn for new film shots that men want to see.
Come out of the closet girl, come with me. It's time to stay out of the closet, without grandpa, without all the others who want to abuse you, come with me. I needed you so much, so intensely, because I couldn't do it anymore. You were so strong, you lived my life for a while, I was hiding. But now I come to free you. Out of the closet from now on, into the light and life. Together we feel the pain, the fear and the sadness and I tell you that I understand that you were so obedient and it was nice to be so submissive. No guilt, no fear, no joy, just following. But now you may learn, in me again, to embrace life. Taste freedom, feel joy. Learn that when you are hungry, you may eat and when you are stiff, you may move.
Nobody is telling you what to do anymore. Choose for yourself, you have a choice, you may return to me.