USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘tuberculosis’
Folk medicine

The Story of the Tenrikyo Miracle that Saved My Grandfather

Nationality: American/Japanese

Primary Language: English

Other Language(s): Japanese

Age: 23

Residence: New York City, USA

Performance Date: April 13, 2017 (Skype)


Sammy is a 23 year old man, born and raised in New York who is a representative with the Tenri Cultural Institute of New York City.


Interviewer: Good Morning. I never heard of Tenri, can you tell me something about it and a tradition associated with it.


Informant: “Ok ok. The teaching of Tenrikyo (sp)”


Interviewer:  Can you spell it please.


Informant: “that’s T-E-N as in Nancy R-I-K-Y-O, Tenrikyo, ah basically we are taught that our bodies are something that is lent to us from G-D something that we borrow something from G-D The Parent and uh just our minds are our own ah our own. And basically depending on the way we use our minds G-D The Parent will ah show ah us ah the proper way to mature spiritually hum which means basically is to become selfless and in order to do that we basically have to keep our minds from becoming ah or getting rid of our egos basically. And ah what we are taught when we use our minds in selfish manners it is like we are accumulating dust. And when we accumulate dust, we are unable to see our goals as human beings um from what it should be basically. Um and so what we do in the Service the Tenrikyo Service is we ask G-D The Parent to sweep that dust from our minds ah but we are also responsible for our own, you know, how we use it individually. So we have to continue to keep ah fighting ourselves almost not others and fighting ourselves to not to be greedy or arrogant or selfish or anything like that. Ah but if you ever get the chance please read up on and the teachings of Tenrikyo ah it is native to the country of Japanese ah the country of Japan and there is a small town in Tenri where we call our home.”


Interviewer: When did you first become aware of this?


Informant: “Ah actually I was born into the church.  Ah My Father he ah he was I am a third generation Tenrikyo and basically my father he came to New York to spread the teachings of Tenrikyo and he so started at a church in Bayside Queens, and that is where I was born. My my original, my grandfather was the one who kind of started the faith and he ah he has suffered from ah tuberculosis and he was saved miraculously ah through ah missionary who was walking in Japan, a Tenrikyo Missionary and he was taught the same thing what I actually just said.  And ah realizing that it was his own mind that was the problem he kind of replaced his mind and ah decided that even though he was going to die from tuberculosis he might as well die you know saving others.  And when he, he firmly resolved that mind ah, he was saved from his tuberculosis in some way. My father was born and also I was born after that. So it is kind of nice.”


Thoughts about the piece: 

Faith healing belief systems exist in many cultures and modern medicine placebo testing is one way that the power of thought to promote health is being investigated. Tenrikyo is a matriarchal religion founded on miraculous healing. Background can be found here: Another testimonial is:












Haunted Hollydale Mental Hospital

My friends and I were hunting for haunted houses and after googling haunted places in los angeles, we decided to go check out the abandoned Hollydale Mental Hospital in Downey, CA.

We drove around the hospital campus for a bit, and then decided we should probably leave considering all of the buildings were fenced in and we really didn’t know what we were doing. Then we pulled in to a nearby parking lot and saw a group of people get out of their car who looked about our age, in their early twenties. We asked them if they were there to check out the hospital and they said yes, so we asked if we could join. They were very welcoming (the four guys were drunk, and the one girl was clearly  their sober driver) and explained that they were there to “initiate” Cherry because it was his first time visiting this haunted place. According to them, it was tradition to run up to the main house, “where they kept the craziest of the crazies”, and touch the front door for your first time visiting Hollydale. We decided this was exciting and tagged along. The girl, Cindy, began to explain how they were from the area and that they heard stories about Hollydale all the time from other kids in school. She also told us the story she knows of why it was abandoned:

Back in the 70’s, there was an outbreak of Tuberculosis at the hospital, and their way of dealing with it was to get all of those who had not yet been infected out and then left the rest of the people there to die. That is why the whole compound looks as if everyone just up and left, because they did. They just closed up shop like it was the end of another business day.

Cindy told us that they had been inside one of the buildings before and they took a whole box of papers from beside a desk and it had a lot of old, interesting papers and files inside.

She also said that about a year ago, the town planned  on tearing the place down because it was costing them money to have policemen constantly patrolling and whatnot, but a group of animal rights activists wouldn’t allow them too because the site has become a breeding ground for stray cats.