Background Information: JX presents her second story from her own perspective. She goes to retreat once a year to pray and learn how to redeem her sins. Starting from one year, a aunt whose kid she is very close to begin showing symptoms of being possessed. JX explains the theory of why the aunt is possessed and gives a detailed description of what happens when people pray around her.
JX: So here’s the second story. Our church has a special meeting on National Day every year. We name it after the burning fire. During this meeting we will stay at a hotel for three days. There would be a conference room in which we listen to the pastor pray and guide us to repent for sins.
Me: Is it similar to a retreat? I have friends in the US who often go to retreats on weekends.
JX: Oh that’s possible… I think it is. There seems to be a lot more retreats in the U.S. Since the Chinese government has stricter control over religion, we can only do it once a year. There would always be a very powerful pastor to pray for us. Ok so there is a kid two or three years younger than me who I am very close to. Her mom, who I call aunt because we are very close, also comes to church and retreats. That aunt is… in our words, she is possessed by a ghost. This aunt was raped when she was in the house when she was very young. Then she could not forgive her parents, because she thought it was her parents’ negligence and indifferent attitude towards her that caused the tragedy. So she had a strong unforgiveness of her parents in her heart, and that’s why she was possessed by ghosts. In one year’s retreat, she started to twitch in the middle of the prayer. She was lying on the floor, and then there will be… my mother and one of them will be chosen to pray for her. So they put their hands on her in a circle and prayed to her. This is called an exorcism ceremony, and they just prayed for her. That aunt would twist with unnatural movements, and then she would keep wiggling and twitching. Then her voice will change, that is, it doesn’t sound like hers at all. It wasn’t her who was talking… the ghost is just using her body to communicate with us. My parents, oh my dad was not there, my mom and the other people just sat around her and prayed for her, trying to drive the ghost out. But I remember that for many years, they didn’t get rid of this ghost because she always had this unforgiveness for her parents in her heart. Only when she sincerely forgives her parents, there would be a chance that the pastor can drive the ghost out. We have a small prayer meeting every Thursday which my mom participates every time. Occasionally the aunt would just collapse to the ground, or suddenly the became very unnatural, began to have all kinds of strange symptoms. I didn’t know exactly what happened later, but I knew that the ghost is still in her. We heard from the pastor that there are many cases of exorcism similar to this.
Me: But why does she go to church every week if the ghost inside her is afraid of prayer?
JX: Yes, yes. Her belief in God in very very faithful, but she really…she still has that unforgiveness in her heart, so she has contradicting thoughts in her body.
Me: So she has not yet been… Her self-consciousness and soul were not swallowed up by the ghost yet?
JX: No it hasn’t. The ghost just comes up like that when people are praying for her. Because the ghost didn’t like to be prayed. It felt uncomfortable if people are praying around it, so it comes out. And that aunt is super nice. I ate lunch with her, but I can’t anything wrong with her. She seemed very normal. The ghost will only come out when a very powerful pastor or when a lot of people pray for her.
Me: Thank you for sharing! I feel that hearing these stories from people I know feels really different.
My thoughts: When I was researching for ghost stories to tell on Halloween for this class, I listened to tenths, if not hundredths of storied told by normal people. These stories are all collected from people who shared their personal experiences, but I found it hard to really believe in these stories. It felt more like listening to urban tales than personal experiences. However, I feel really different when I listened to JX, one of my closest friends back in middle school. As mentioned by Professor Thompson, the way humans believe is very interesting. They tend to believe in close friends or relatives because they assume that these people won’t lie to them. That’s exactly how I feel after listening to JX’s story. I think it’s totally probable. I’m really curious about what the ghost actually said when people prayed for the aunt, but JX does not recall the specific words. Why do ghosts like people with unforgiveness or hate in their heart? Do they eat hatred like food? What would happen to the aunt if the ghost continues to stay in her? These are all questions I wonder about after listening to this story.