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Confronting Evil

Writer of supernatural thriller among ten local authors at Saturday event

“Rain No Evil,” Michele Zirkle Marcum’s fictionalized account of her toxic relationship and oppression at the hands of not only her husband, but according to her, supernatural powers, is a starkly confessional read at times. Marcum didn’t want to try to hide her own shortcomings in the book, she said, explaining that she frankly discussed her own failings for a reason.

“I feel like it was my mission,” she said. “If someone cold reads (the story without knowing the background) I wanted them to see what was going on with me. By the end, you’ll see why I changed.”

What was going on with her was quite complex. Her marriage to her high school sweetheart was already falling apart amid infidelity and his escalating verbal abuse, she said, when she prayed an angry prayer that she believes lead to God removing his protection from her and allowing her family to be tormented by a demonic presence.

While that may not sound biblical at first, Marcum believes it is.

“Look at Job,” she said. “God released his protection from him.”

That, she said, is what she believed had to happen for her before she could accept where she was, move on, and begin healing.

“I think it was the earnestness (of my prayer),” she said. “He knew, inherently, (what I needed.) I grew up believing. But I was at the end of my rope. He did release His protection. He allowed it so I could be humbled.”

What he allowed to happen is the basis of the book. It began, innocently enough, with dripping water that then escalated to sprays of water, coming from seemingly nowhere.

“Water started dripping on my oldest son’s head,” she said. “Then water literally began spraying, usually from behind us. It was bursting light bulbs, setting off the fire alarm.”

This was followed later by other paranormal events, like seeing the image of a demon reflected in a mirror.

But in the first few days, she and her husband thought the kids were playing around. She remembered the first really odd incident was about three days after the first drips appeared. Water was sprayed, as if from a strong squirt gun, and hit the front door. Her husband yelled at the children, accusing them of a prank, which they denied.

Marcum said that they had the roof checked by a professional, and checked all the plumbing as well.

“We had a plumber out, but the only thing that fixed it was a priest,” she said.

While the timeline is compressed, in reality it took her four years to find the courage to leave her abusive relationship, and some other aspects are fictionalized for the sake of privacy, Marcum insists that most of the events in the book are based on actual occurrences in her life.

“A lot of people don’t put themselves out there like that,” she said. “But you’ll see, by the end, the person is liberated.”

Marcum now tries to share that liberation, not only through her book, but also through her work with victims of verbal abuse. Her program, Free to Speak, provides mentorship to verbal abuse victims as they work through what they have experienced.

Marcum will be at Consigned Books, 221 Third Street, in Ironton, today for a Rally on the River book-signing event from noon-4 p.m. Her book can be purchased there, or online from Amazon.

Other featured authors confirmed for the event include Eliot Parker, Carol Lucas, Jon Burne, R.C. Burch, Jesse Thornton, Rita Brown Fraley, Emily Click, Shop Stevie, and Cat Shaffer.