Another Tale Of The Bizarre And Macabre, TCM Style

Lately I've been thinking about how lucky I am to be in a field that provides constant surprises and mysteries...hence, all these posts about weird phenomena that I've experienced. I have said, repeatedly, that acupuncture is not some sort of voodoo, and that when you come into my office you will probably be surprised at how clinicaI it all is. I have also said, however, that there are as many different types of practitioners as there are types of artists, and some of these practitioners deal with styles that are pretty esoteric. I will never forget one session I had that scared the living hell out of me. I had met an acupuncture student while I was still in school; he was a few years ahead of me. I liked him, so when he started practicing I became his client.

He was very...different. He had eyes like laser beams and would scan you from head to toe the moment you sat down. Then he would say, "Your left knee hurts today," or "You've got some low back pain"...and he would always be right. Always. Now, this sounds more mysterious than it actually is; as acupuncturists we become attuned to the subtle nuances of pain in our patients. I myself can look at someone's gait and tell if they've had back problems, or look at the way a patient is holding his neck and determine previous injuries. But this guy brought it to a whole other level. He was really, really good at it...so good it was spooky. Plus he had those eyes that stared straight into your soul. I would sometimes feel nervous that those eyes could see EXACTLY what I'd been doing the night before ;) Still, I kept thinking that he was just exceptionally gifted at reading body language.

I was seeing this acupuncturist on a regular basis, not for anything in particular but just to keep myself balanced (preventative medicine, remember?) and at one point I went on vacation. During this vacation I stayed at a hotel, and for some reason the room really bothered me. I normally sleep very easily in strange beds (!), but this particular room felt wrong somehow. I kept checking under the bed like a little kid checking for monsters. I finally fell asleep and had the worst nightmare of my life, so horrible I don't even want to talk about it to this day. I woke up to my own screams at 3:00 in the morning, all alone in a strange hotel room. It was terrifying...and then I started having night terrors (in case this has never happened to you, it's like a state of paralysis where you wake up to a sort of panic attack, but are in such a state of terror that you literally can't move. It's as much fun as you can imagine it is.) Somehow I got through the night, but for the next two weeks I developed excruciating headaches and neck pain.

When I went back to my acupuncturist, his eyes widened the moment I walked in the door. Before I could say anything, he asked, "Have you been somewhere bad? Did you travel someplace where something bad happened?" I thought about my trip and wasn't sure if that qualified as what he meant, but the words hadn't even left my mouth when he answered himself: "You went somewhere and something evil latched onto you. It's on your neck, and it's trying to get inside of you...that's why you've been having those headaches and neck pain."

Okay, I was officially scared shitless. I hadn't told him ANYTHING, and he knew all this...plus, what the hell was this thing dangling off my neck? Was it a ghost? A demon? I had waded into theological waters too deep for me to swim. And I didn't even believe in any of this crap! I admit, I always kind of laughed at the students who were into this side of acupuncture, dealing with spirits and such. And now here I was, one of the possessed!

He laid me on the table and explained that this...thing that was clinging to me was sort of like a ball of negative energy that gathered after something terrible happened. Sometimes this energy sits around waiting for someone with a weak spot to latch onto. As a student of acupuncture, I was dealing with energies everyday, and that being the case, my own energetic field was more open than most people's.

To this day I'm not sure what I believe. All I know is that, after he "exorcised" me, my headache and neck pain left, never to return. He told me to smudge my house and pour salt around to dispel any remaining negative energy, and although I did salt my house, smudging felt like officially crossing the line into kookiness. Plus, my roommates would have smelled it, and then I'd have to explain that I was trying to get rid of the evil spirit that was trying to possess me. I just didn't want to go there.