Showing 5 of 5 comments.
I mean, Alainn…. I don’t know what is happening to my typing, LOL!
MJK, thank you so much. Your compassion and kindness is like a breath of fresh air.
OK… as I was saying: In 1967, when I was 14 years old, I joined a group of my school friends who were holding seances. One of the tools they used was a Oui Ja board that one of the girls had received as a gift. My paternal grandfather had died a few months before, and I was hoping to contact his spirit. I wanted assurance that my loving grandfather still existed somewhere.
After several sessions with the oui ja board, which did seem to be contacting some kind of spirit, but not my grandfather, one of my school friends loaned me a book that contained detailed instructions for contacting the dead. This book had step-by-step directions on everything from autonomic handwriting, to going into a trance and allowing a spirit to take over your body and speak through your mouth.
After several attempts to follow the instructions in the book (I can’t remember the name of it, but it may as well have been called “Spiritism for Dummies”), I was successful with the autonomic handwriting. My hand seemed to have taken on a life of its own, writing words, sentences, and whole paragraphs of things of which I had no prior knowledge in my head. The things that my hand wrote while I was in a self-induced trance, was as much of a surprise to me as if someone else was writing those words.
My autonomic writing stated that the writer was the ghost of a man who had been hanged for a crime he did not commit, and he wanted to protest his innocence.
Next came frightening, loud, distracting voices inside my head, a multitude of voices, the voices of men and women of all ages, and even a few children. All of the voices claimed to be the ghosts of people who had died unexpectedly and were lost in a terrible endless void, seeking a way out, and I was that way out.
To say that I was terrified doesn’t even begin to describe it! Suddenly, my life was a horror movie, a nightmare I could not wake up from.
Until this time, I had always been a perfectly normal child. I made excellent grades in school, I got along well with my friends, and I was helpful and obedient at home. My favorite thing to do was read, and I had dreams of going to college and becoming a writer. But now I had “ghosts” living inside my head, talking to me, talking to each other, and trying to take over my body! I couldn’t make them leave, no where in the spiritism book did it say how to make them leave! I begged them to go back to where they had come from, and they just mocked me. So I told my mother about the seances, the autonomic handwriting, and the voices, and was promptly taken to a hospital, diagnosed with schizophrenia, and then, after our health insurance ran out, I was committed to an insane asylum for two years.
The voices went away after a social worker, who said she couldn’t understand why I was in a mental institution when I seemed so “normal,” asked for my version of what was wrong with me, and when I told her the story behind my voices, she suggested that all that had happened to me was that I had hypnotized myself into believing that spirits would be talking to me and through me, and so my hypnotized mind had made it seem to come true; it was like I was having a dream, while I was awake. She advised me to try hypnotizing myself again, and then telling myself that the spirits were not real, and that when I woke up, the voices would all be gone.
I did what she suggested, and it worked. No more voices!
But today, more than 45 years later, I am still living with the lifelong consequences of my “crazy label.” In my unenlightened family of origin, I am still considered “mentally ill,” and everything I say and do is discounted. My self-esteem, after a lifetime of being treated as “less-than,” is practically non-existent.
I also suffer from chronic and severe Post Traumatic Stress from the traumas I went through it that horrible institution, and also from the abuse I’ve endured in many of my adult relationships, because most “normal” men don’t want to get seriously involved with someone who has a history of schizophrenia and being institutionalized, but users and abusers seek women like me out like prey.
The traumas that I went through as a teenage mental patient were many and terrifying, and can still give me nightmares even after all these years. I was one of those who was experimented on in the late 1960s with a drug that actually made my hallucinations and delusions far more severe. This was done without my knowledge or consent, of course, I was a 15-year-old “ward of the state” and had no rights whatsoever.
One day I confessed to one of the nurses that my insanity suddenly seemed to be getting so much worse, for now the walls were breathing in and out, the floors were heaving up and down, and the furniture was moving around as though it were alive. Then the nurse took pity on me and told me that a secret that she said could cost her her job: I was being given an experimental drug that was having similar hallucinatory effects on many of the other patients who were also part of that experiment.
The drug that was being tested, came in the form of a tiny round red pill, about the size and shape of a B-B gun pellet. I was soon taken off of that drug, but I continued to have “flashbacks” from it, for years. There were times, many years later, after I was married and a mother, when I would be driving the car with my baby in his little seat, when suddenly the road would start heaving up and down and the steering wheel would come alive like a snake in my hands, and I would have to pull off the road and wait for the flashback to pass.
I have only recently discovered, through online research, that the experimental drug I was given as a 15-year-old mental patient was probably LSD. I no longer have flashbacks from that long-ago experiment, but I still struggle today with the normal psychotropic medication that I have been prescribed for years, for my PTSD and depression. I am ultra-sensitive to medications and chemicals of all kinds, which is a problem I did not have before I was pumped full of Thorazine and other anti-psychotics during my teenage years.
When I was locked up in a mental institution at the age of 14, I had never committed a crime beyond petty childhood shoplifting (for which I had never caught, by the way), nor had I ever been violent or threatening in any way toward anyone, not even violent toward myself. But I have lived my entire life since then under the stigma of “mental illness.”
To this day I still am not entirely certain about what really happened to me. Was my 2-year-long psychotic episode nothing more than a childish experiment in self-hypnosis-gone-bad? Were the spirits real? If they were real, were they actually the ghosts of people who had died, as they told me they were, or were they demonic, as they seemed to be, with their abusive words and brutal effects on my life? Or was I really mentally ill? If so, what caused it? It could have been caused by trauma, there was a lot of extreme abuse in my childhood home. It could also have been genetic, my own father, who was a fundamentalist minister, became very ill when I was 12 and came so close to murdering my mother that I thought she was dead. He was arrested, then hospitalized, and then diagnosed schizophrenic and with multiple personality disorder, which my father really did seem to have, going back to my earliest memories.
I really don’t know the answer to the question of what happened to my mind when I was 14 to 16 years old. I prefer not to believe that ghosts or demons are real, because spiritism is creepy and scary and it doesn’t stand up too well to scientific examination. But the ghostly voices and visions certainly seemed real to me at the time. I wasn’t the only one in my circle of friends who had problems with seeing and hearing spirits as a result of our seances, either. One of the boys from our group ended up in the same mental hospital where I was, with the same diagnosis, schizophrenia. Like me, he had never had any kind of mental or emotional problems before getting involved with the oui ja board and seances.
Sorry this is so long… wow, it’s the first time that I have ever written out this whole story! For me, the bottom line is that, after my terrible experience with hearing voices, I would like to strongly, but respectfully, caution people against seances, oui ja boards, self-hypnosis, or in any way encouraging the hearing of voices.
PS: When I say that I have been guilty of being condescending in the past… last week counts as the past, right?
This is my first comment on this site. I have been reading here off and on for a while, but have only just now registered in order to leave a comment on this thread.
I am 59 years old, happily married to my best-ever friend, the mother of 3 adult children, and 3 grandchildren. Now that my first great-grandchild is on the way (due in February), I feel an urgent need to search out some practical healing answers for all the pain and dysfunction that has been passed down through the generations of my family.
In 1967, when I was 14 years old, I joined a group of my school friends who were holding seances. One of the tools they used was a Oui Ja board that one of the girls had received as a gift. My paternal grandfather had died a few months before, and I was hoping to contact his spirit. I wanted assurance that my loving grandfather still existed somewhere.
After several sessions with the oui ja board, which did seem to be contacting some kind of spirit, but not my grandfather, one of my schoolfriends loaned me a book that contained detailed instructions for contacting the dead. This book had step-by-step directions on everything from autonomic handwriting, to going into a trance and allowing a spirit to take over your body and speak through your mouth.
I was 14. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.
Ouch, this is painful. After more than 45 years of keeping this part of my life mostly hidden, putting what happened to me into words is not easy. I’m going to take a coffee break and after I stop shaking inside, I will come back and finish what I want to share of my personal experience with hearing voices.
But first, I want to say this: Having a condescending attitude is not only disrespectful, I have found it to be very counter-productive, because nothing will close a person’s mind faster than the sense that he or she is being talked down to. I know that I have been terribly guilty, myself, of being condescending in the past, especially when I was a lot younger and was sure that I knew it all, or at least that I knew everything worth knowing. But the things I have learned since I knew it all, have forced me to aknowledge that the things I do not know, far outweight the things I know, on just about any topic you can think of: history, science, physics, astronomy, literature, religion…. in truth, there are whole categories of things that I know next to nothing about, despite my well-above-average IQ.
I learn so much more from the simple, respectful, open-minded and open-hearted exchange of ideas and experiences, than from lectures.
Just my two cents worth~