Sometimes I look back on my life and think, “did that really happen?” “Is this normal?” Then I ask my friends and they look at me like I’m crazy. Likely, the things I experienced when I was younger got me where I am today so I’m not complaining. I love what I do and look forward to doing it for as long as my body can handle it. One of the more noteworthy experiences of my youth was attending a faith healing event. I wish I could remember what year this was but unfortunately, my brain has lost that piece of information. Here is what I remember.
A family member had heard about an event happening at a church nearby where a famous preacher would be speaking. He was well known for faith healing by laying of hands on a person’s forehead. I was a bit frightened and also intrigued by the idea. I had seen images of people being healed and falling backwards into the hands of the helpers as if they had fallen asleep just by the touch of the preacher’s hand. Would I fall to the ground? What if it didn’t work? Did I really need a faith healing?
The day of the event, we participated in the internal church service and when the time came, followed everyone out into the lawn. We lined up in rows so that the preacher could walk up to a person, lay his hands on their head, and then move onto the next. Each person was safely assisted to the ground by an assistant walking behind the row. I watched an entire line progress in this way. People were touched, fell, and then slowly climbed back to their feet. When it was my turn, I did the same. I remember having a sudden feeling of my body relaxing and slumping into the helper behind me. I did not stay on the ground very long as I clearly had no major issues to heal. I got up to continue watching the preacher. I did notice that not everyone got up right away and several people were being monitored by their friends or church helpers.
Suddenly, there was yelling and one woman who had been laying on the ground was now screaming. She shook violently and appeared to be having a mild seizure. I remember being told to stay calm and I thought I heard someone in the crowd whisper something about possession. The preacher crouched to the ground and placed his hand back on the woman’s head while she continued to shake and yell obscenities. The group pushed closer, forming a circle around the woman. We began to pray “Hail Mary, full of grace the lord is with thee. . .” over and over. This went on for some time until the woman began to calm. I remember being confused and frightened by what had occurred. Had I really witnessed a woman possessed?
I don’t remember anything beyond this and have no recollection of how my parents tried to explain this event to me. Clearly, it has stuck in my head as one of the stranger things I have seen. Looking back, I can’t help but wonder about the psychology of faith healing and how we all fell to the ground as expected. Is this due to the power of conformity? When we watched others go through this process, did we unconsciously conform to fit the situation? As for the woman on the ground, was she really possessed by something otherworldly? Was she sick and in need of medical attention or is it possible that she was part of the “experience”? Am I misremembering the details of the event as it happened so long ago and memories are known to be malleable to change with the retelling of events and even after reading or viewing information about similar events. I really can’t say either way. All I know is that I have this memory that adds to the collection of questions I have regarding the unknown. Somehow, I have fumbled into a variety of unique situations that keep me questioning my perception of the world. We all get to the paranormal field in our own way and mine includes the time I was faith healed.
Until next time, Happy Hunting.