Norman Allan
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Norman Allan : the story

Chapter 4: evil: the devil at large… it's a long story, so many faces, and… surely we are all complicit, to some degree, in the atrocity.

click here: for contents and chapter one


Norman Allan : the story

chapter 4: evil: the devil at large… it's a long story, so many faces, and… surely we are all complicit, to some degree, in the atrocity.

Given the possibility that there may be a divinity, a "God": the question arises, "Is there a Dark Lord, a Lucifer, a Satan?" If there's a creator reigning in heaven, does Beelzebub lurk in the shadows?
      I've been luck. So far, at least, evil has not come too close; well, not explicitly. One of my mother's aunts went back to Kiev, to the USSR, in the nineteen twenties and "we" lost contact with her in the war. Possibly, or probably, she was a victim of the holocaust.
      Closer to home, my wife and first child were badly hurt in a motor vehicle accident (with some strange circumstances we may come back to later). Could that be the Devil's work? Well, it could be…
      I think the "evil" that abounds around, all the horrors that surround us, perhaps can be ascribe to stupidity and greed/selfishness, to anger and malice, oh, and sloth, let's not forget sloth…. So far, if there is a Devil he has not shown himself to me, openly, as "spirit" has.
      So, I've not met Satan. He's kept behind me, out of sight. Yes, there are evil people throwing malice around. I've meet victims of truly horrible stuff, and they've told me their stories… as for instance, I was in the middle of a CranialSacral Therapy session gently following the subtle movements - oh, Cranio is so mellow - when there was a knock at the door. I went over, opened the door to a woman in her thirties who announced, "I am the face of horror. I'm channeling Christ, and I need an adjustment."
      I stepped out and closed the door. "I can see you in fifteen minutes," I said.
      "I need an adjustments now," said the woman.
I       put my hand gently to her shoulder and began to steer her towards the outer door. "Ask Jesus," I said.
      "I'll wait," she replied.
      Another Poor Mary, another Crazy Jane, Sad Sue…
      To begin with I saw Suzie three times a week. There is an acupuncture point right at the top of the head, Baihui - "the hundred meetings" - (1) that is profoundly relaxing when needled. As I recall, seeing Suzie, charitably, over about three weeks she came down from her mania. I learned about her childhood, slowly, of monstrous abuse. "Daddy took me when I was five years old, to this old garage. Sold my virginity for twenty dollars. It hurt, and it hurt walking home, but I was a little bit proud because we were hungry and I'd earned… And then he, he sent me home and went, and went into the bar, into Clinton's, round the corner."

Shoot! I think the Dark Lord is trying to get my attention. Perhaps in some wild reality, he is aware of my (conditional) denial of his personhood, as I prepare to write, now it seems he is visiting, biting and stinging. I'll come back to this in the next chapter.

But now I want to return Professor Pomeranz and how complicity in a couple of horror stories pushed him away from clinical medicine and into research. Bruce was going to be a doctor, a physician, but two of his "rotations" as an intern soured all that. One of these, this back in the 1950s, was in Psychiatry with Ewen Cameron, head of Montreal's Allan Memorial Institute (a part of McGill University). Ewen Cameron was at the time conducting experiments for the CIA on brainwashing: "driving" behaviour with non-stop LSD and electro shock therapy. Patients who came to him for care with depression, anxiety, and this and that, Cameron would "brainwash" them, would torture them. The CIA called it MKUltra. (2)
      On another of Bruce's rotations, in thoracic surgery, he was assisting in an operation on an infant with a heart defect. After the surgery was successfully completed, the surgeon decided to try an experimental catheterization procedure. The infant died during this experiment and the intern, Bruce, was sent to tell the parents that their baby had not survived the surgical repair.
      Pomeranz completed his medical degree, graduated as a M.D., but never practiced. He turned his attention to research. Research: the highlights… the endorphin mechanism for acupuncture analgesia, we mentioned before. And the replication of Benveniste's ultradilute antigen histamine release! On June 30th 1988 the article was printed in the journal Nature. (3) Nature is the single most important, most prestigious science journal. So, round the world newspapers splashed their front pages with "water memory" headlines! but also they would mention Nature's caveat, an editorial titled, "When to believe the unbelievable," which read, "Editorial reservation: Readers of this article may share the incredulity of the many referees who have commented on several versions of this paper during the past several months. The essence of the results is that an aqueous solution of an antibody retains its ability to evoke a biological response even when diluted to such an extent that there is a negligible chance of there being a single molecule in any sample. There is no physical basis for such an activity. With the kind collaboration of Professor Benveniste, Nature has therefore arranged for independent investigators to observe repetitions of the experiments. A report of this investigation will appear shortly."
      We waited with bated breath.
      And, why am I talking about this in a chapter on evil? Oh, you'll see.

But I'm getting myself into a tangle here. Let's go back to the premise of this chapter: I believe that I've seen evidence of the divine, of a "creative intelligence". If so, if there is, we must surely ask if there evidence of a supernatural malevolence? And again, there is no reason to believe so a priori. Even given a God, perhaps we can explain evil in terms of human selfishness, malice, and stupidity, Yeah, it's God's experiment with quantum and Darwin, and it all comes out Auschwitz.
      Oh, Auschwitz. I came across this picture in the new York Times a few years back. There were three camps at Auschwitz, a death camp, a work camp, (Teresa's mother, Wanda, a Pole, spent time in the Auschwitz work camp.) and a holiday camp - yes, for Germans.A picture at the holiday camp, this of the secretarial staff from the death camp, and the commandant (chief butcher, with his pipe), taken by his adjutant. My jaw dropped. I tore the picture out and carried it around for many days. (4) Then I painted Happy Auschwitz. {arrange for happy Auschwitz to be well placed} What's it doing here. Oh, light motif on evil, and showing off. Showing off: arrogance and pride. One of the seven deadly, which I think goes to show how context, and detail, determines the depth of the sin.

Wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony, the seven deadly sins. Hmm? Wrath is "extreme anger". (5) Greed is "Intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food." Oh, go on, surely we can throw lust in there too.
      Oh, and anger is not in itself… bad. It's the malicious or thoughtless expression of anger that may be beyond naughty. Can we also bag pride, greed, lust and envy as selfishness?" he parsed. So we've got malice, selfishness, sloth/laziness, and stupidity: Yes, the church has left out the big one… it is stupidity that feeds all the others.
      I think, the Buddhist are nearer the mark. The Buddhists say the three kleshas, three poisons - greed/desire, hate/aversion, delusion/ignorance - are the "roots" of suffering.

There is another concept here I can't find the word for: a limitation (or ceiling) on intelligence and understanding - like your chicken is smarter than a frog, a dog than a chicken, an ape than a dog, a man than an ape. How to express this, these limitations, in a word? "Ignorance" comes close, but I'm going to call it "subtelligence", for now. My favourite example of this is a puzzle that I call "walking camel". Psychologists call it "the eight match problem", but I was introduced to it as "walking camels".
      Two camel trains meet on a mountain ledge just wide enough for one camel to pass: and these camels will not go backwards, but they can jump/climb over one camel. The two camel trains come to a stop with just one camel space between them.
      So you lay out eight matchsticks, horizontally, four to the left heading right, four to the right heading left, with one space between them.
                        -----o -----o -----o -----o          o----- o----- o----- o-----
Then you do the puzzle, quickly, so the person you are presenting it to sees that it can be solved…
                        -----o -----o -----o         ------o o----- o----- o----- o-----
and so on…
Most people can not solve this puzzle! I have meet a couple of people with super high IQs (in the 160s) who could solve it (and I once presented it vertically and the puzzler then had no problem!), but most people take an hour, two hours, or longer. There is one spot in the manipulation where people do the wrong manoeuvre over and over again. Yet the puzzle is actually super simple. We just can't see the obvious. (I think it is an impetuosity that we suffer from. We push forward where we should hold back.)
      The 8 match problem, "walking camels", demonstrates that we have evolved, not to see logical truths, but somehow to muddle through and survive with faulty logic. Subtellegence. If we can't walk camels, how can run societies?

But there is something else in the mix. A blind faith in "leaders" that plays havoc. Milgram's famous experiment showed that a majority of people would comply with instructions given to them by an authority figure, a man in a white coat, a leader, even when they believe their actions might harm or endanger others: they will torture and kill when instructed to do so. (6)
      I've been talking grandly about malice, and selfishness and subtellegence, when Milgram seems to tell us that people will just obey and do as they are told. We're like worker ants.

My friend, Tee, was saying (that the Hindus say) that sloth, lazyness, is the king of sins. It allows all the others. Is it from laziness, or fear, that we comply with poor norms of behaviour? Is it from laziness that we don't have the perseverance to try to mend the world?
      Scott Peck (famous for his book "The Road Less Travelled"), is a Christian Psychotherapist. In his book "The People of the Lie", which is a study of evil, he says that the Christian concept of "sin" is a falling short of the mark, a failure to meet the ideal, and that it is just natural, quite human, to sin. It is the denial of sin, of errors, that is gateway to evil, he says. The denial of (and compliance in) harm.
      I fear I'm positing questions and not answering them. And here's another.

Koshima Island: In the 1950s, in order study the behaviour of macaque monkeys on Koshima Island, some Japanese ethologist (7), left out food, yams, on an observable beach to draw the monkeys there. So they weren't exactly observing behaviour in the wild, but they thought it would be the next best thing. Certainly it was convenient, and it turned out serendipitous. The monkeys started to frequent the beach where the food was left, and then one day one of the monkeys, a young female the ethologist's named Ito, started to wash the sand off of the yams. Soon other young females and juveniles of both sexes started to imitate her, and gradually the behaviour spread. The older animals, and adult males in general, did not learn the new behaviour. (8) (and for a footnote about the "100th Monkey", see 9.)

The ethologists also saw a behaviour which I call "the Tyrant's Option". Some time into the experiment, after the yams, the ethologists started leaving rice on the beach. Again a young female (a niece of Ito, as it happened) came up with an innovation. She scooped up a handful of rice and with it, inevitably, some sand. She took this down to the water with which she was familiar from washing yams. She threw the handful of rice and sand onto the water. The sand sank, and she skimmed the rice from the surface. Again the behaviour spread gradually through the troop as young females and juveniles of both genders copied it. (10)
      The Tyrant's Option: The dominant males did not copy the new behaviour, but they would go into the water when the other monkeys were busy separating rice from sand, and they'd exercise the Tyrant's Option: they'd take what they wanted. They'd wait for another monkey to throw the rice onto the water, and skim the pickings.
      It's selfishness and ignorance that sponsor the tyrants option. Subtellegence doesn't see that the tyrant's option, selfishness, brings harm to all, tyrant included.
      The Tyrant's Option - force and threat of force - while it has soured the world, by some criterion, it has been a winning strategy till now. Now it threatens not just the victims, it threatens the planet.

I don't have a good segue back to Maddox, Nature's editor, and his investigation of Benveniste's lab. Arrogance and the closed mind as our segue? The implications of Benveniste's ultradilution work are revolutionary, a paradigm shift, it there ever was one. There are a lot of people who would rather fight than shift. Nature, the journal, as part of their publishing arrangement with Benveniste, said they would "arranged for independent investigators to observe repetitions of the experiments." The team of "investigators they sent consisted of James Randy the Magician, to look for sleight of hand; Walter Stewart, a biologist and statistician who had made his reputation as a figure crunching fraud-detector; and the editor, Maddox himself, who had a background in physics. It did not, however, include a cell biologist who might understand the nuances of Benveniste's experiment. The team had already made up their minds (as Walter Stewart wrote in "Omni"). They knew there had to be a problem with the experiment because in their view the experiment was impossible. In the lab, Beneviniste and his team demonstrated the phenomenon to them three times, but the Nature team had determined before hand that it was an impossible experiment, and not knowing what else to doubt they decided that they couldn't trust Beneveniste "blind". The visiting team therefore insisted on adding their own "blind" to the procedure. To do this they introduced an extra manipulation of the samples (they moved the samples into new tubes). Of course this added procedure might or might not effect the outcome of an already delicate experiment. The investigating team sealed their extra code in an envelope, wrapped that up in silver foil (to foil X-ray eyes), and stuck it on to the ceiling of the lab with a video camera trained on it! When, in this one trial, this new variation of the experiment no longer worked, Maddox announced that the whole affair was a delusion, or a fraud. Such is the stature of the journal, Nature, that the "expert's" pronouncement was treated with gravity. "In our view, ultradilution should not work. Therefore it does not. Trust us. We've looked. We've tried it." (I paraphrase.) This was all every unscientific, yet here the matter rests. (11)

Let me amplify a little on my gripe against Maddox. At the time of the Benveniste/ Nature kafuffle (June July 1988), Nature invited germane commentary. You may recall, in chapter two, I spoke about an ultradilution phenomenonwith DNA dot-blots, an anomaly that another lab at the U of T stumbled upon. In May1989 they submitted a paper on this phenomenon to Nature. Nature sat on it, did nothing for four months! and then, when asked about the matter, then "reviewed" and rejected the article. I will come back to this, but for now just want to say that Maddox part in this story is way beyond naughty. What motivated him to treat the matter as he did (destroying Benveniste in the process)? Pride? Arrogance? Egotism? Studidity / Subtellegence? I'm sure he would say there was no malice, yet I consider him, with his auto-da-fé, one of the great villains of scientific history.
      How does that stack up against the genecides? Petty stuff?
My friend Nando was raised in the south of Mexico, in Chiapas, near the Guatemalan border. In his teens, I think in the nineteen eighties, there was a refugee camp near by (in Mexico), for displaced Guatemalan "Indians", Mayans. Nando would go there most days with gifts of food. There were about 150 refugees in the camp. One morning when he arrived, he found them all shot dead.

Then why don't I believe that there is a Satan, Dark Lord? Well, I'm being stubborn. I haven't seen explicit, concrete evidence of Lucifer. And I was rationalising, as I prepared to write this chapter, that and creature or entity with an intelligence of any order of magnitude greater than ours, would see that there is no profit in malice. But then, but then as I was preparing to start writing the chapter, many days, it began to seem as if the Dark Lord might be nibbling at me. And again, let me say, I will come back to this. But I want to finish this chapter with a somewhat lengthy description of another involvement I've had with a victim of satanic behaviour.

My Multiple Friend.

I met Jus after he phoned me to see if I could help him with a rib injury he'd sustained at the gym. "Marsha recommended you. I'm a Multiple Personality too. Will you see me?"
      Coming into the office Jus announced, "You don't have to worry. We had a conference, twenty six of the leading personalities, we held a conference in the waiting room just now and we've agreed not to harm you." D'you know, I never had any fear with Jus, though he was six foot four and a body builder when we met, though some of his "alters" were as rough as tumble, perhaps foolishly, I felt safe.
      Jus had "put out" a rib working out at the gym. It was new for him to want to fix it, to want to avoid pain, to heal, but he had decided that he wanted to heal all the pains and, oh boy, that was some task. He had started taking therapy with the head of psychiatry at McPherson University Hospital. "We've discovered one hundred and five alternative personalities, so far, by hypnosis, Dr. Mann and I. I have more alters than any other Multiple on record."
      Healing, pains - Jus told me he had spent his summers fishing on the high seas. One summer he broke his thigh bone a few inches above the knee. "Snapped it clean through. I walked around on it for six months. The doctors couldn't believe it," but Jus had spent that half year in the personalities of several alters that felt no pain.
      The year Jus came to see me I ended up with five patients with Multiple Personality Disorder, five MPDs, in my practice. It started with Marla, who came for a low back problem and stayed for some CranioSacral relaxation/counseling. She was a "multiple", but not, on the surface, dramatic. Her alters were lots and lots of frightened infants that stayed hidden in public. Marla felt comfortable with me, and she sent Jus, who she knew from a self-help network. Then Jus sent two friends, acquaintances. And there was another, a fifth MPD, I discovered in my practice, or maybe I "generated" that one...
      I started reading about Multiple Personality Disorder. It's a survival technique when the mind is just overwhelmed by horror. You can "sequester" the emotional trauma, the torture, the fear, like an oyster sequesters grit in a pearl. The MPD walls off a person, a personality. A strategy to partition the pain away from consciousness. How separate are these alternate personalities? I mean, we all have separate personalities. When you talk to your mother you are a different person then you are when you talk to your friends. When you are alone in bed at night you are a different person again. But these different personalities share memories. Not so the MPD's "alters". They are separate, walled off. Alters have even been documented with allergies not shared by the other personalities. They are, to all intents and purposes, separate people.
      It's a sign that something may be going on, says Dr. Putnam (the expert), when you find cloths in your closet that you don't recognize.
      "You can't imagine how strange it is," said Jus, "to wake and wonder how the flat-screen television got there. To wake up in your boarding house room and wonder where you are and how you got there."
      Why was I so fond of Jus? He was pleasant with me, considerate, and I considered him a hero in his way, that he would now embrace his pain to mend such hurt. And he seemed fond of me and he was ever so respectful.
      So we worked with Jus' rib, and then we worked with Jus. We? Me and mostly Jus himself. I rarely met his alters.
      Jus' story. Justin Coffin's father was a Satanist, or so Jus said. There is a hotbed of Satanists on Vancouver Island. It's the satanic capital of Canada.
      "What about the Ottawa valley?" I asked.
      "Oh yeah, but Vancouver Island's the place."
      If you swear allegiance to the Devil, Jus swears, the Devil will give you anything you want… in the short term. But you have to seal the deal with blood - not your high school slash your finger. No. The blood of a relative, and all their blood. A murder, perhaps of your child. Then the Devil will give you millions of dollars, or sex, or power. Whatever you want, and quick. There are quite a few, true, Satanists, though there are a lot more low-grade imitators and dabblers too.
      One of the reasons Jus trusted me, and worked with me, was to do with an incident that happened around that time, that I related to him in the context of getting things by just asking. I'd come across a Buddhist sect - the Nichiren Buddhists - many of whose followers claimed that if you said their mantra and asked for something, the universe would deliver. So I asked for a new patient: "Nam myoho renge kyo": and the phone rang. And then it range again. That didn't feel quite right - to get what you want just by asking - so I stopped saying the mantra. And because of that, Jus trusted me.
      Jus was a victim of severe childhood torture. "Here, look at this scar. My father hammered a nail through my hand just there. Nailed me to the table. Some times he'd put me in a freezer, with the power off, but pitch dark, for hours on end. I used to like that. That's when Jesus would come to me, and take over. Just a calm black void and bliss. Safe."
      "Was Jesus one of your alters?"
      "At times. When I was a kid. When I was safe."
Multiple is a strategy for the overwhelmed, the tortured. "When I was eleven years old my Pa put a gun in my mouth and made me fuck my mother."
      Torture. You may want to skip the next two paragraphs. On Halloween the Satanist convene for their high mass. "Yeah, they'll sacrifice some babies. But more are offered to the devil for possession. It's an honor to offer a child to the master for him to possess. They only do this with kids till they're six years old. So, so this happened to me once a year till I was six." They would fuck me, fuck the child - the congregation would bugger, or fuck, the child - until 'it left its body.' Then they'd call in a spirit to take possession."
      "I can remember leaving my body, hovering up near the ceiling, in the corner, and watching them bugger me. And they know when you leave your body. I watched them call the spirits in. Saw the devils entering my body. I have six entities that share my body that still possess me. One of them, the last one they called in, is the Devil himself."

Jus' father died when Jus was fourteen. "He buried something before he died. Buried something in a chest in the woods. I met an Indian medicine man not long ago. A wise and powerful man. He said that chest is important. That I need to retrieve it. To open it. I'm trying to get the courage to go out to B.C. and do that. But it frightens me."
      It took a while for Jus to find that courage. Meanwhile he came to see me. I do a lot of CranioSacral Therapy which is deeply relaxing and can be transformative in many ways: physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually. {*footnote: I've written about this in other places: a short description of CranioSacral Therapy and a lengthy discussion in Mind Body Dialogue in a Clinical Practice.} And though I didn't often see Jus Coffin "switch", nor meet many of his alters, I did meet some.
      Once, a man that looked very like Jus, but with a quite different demeanor, arrived for his appointment. A much gruffer dude introduced himself. "I'm Jude. I'm one of Jus' protective personalities," he said proudly. In a deep, hoarse voice he explained that just before arriving Jus had witnessed a couple arguing, fighting, and though the woman was giving her partner more grief then she was getting, Jus had quite a "thing" about men abusing women, his mother having been so sorely used. So he switched and Jude laid the poor fellow out cold with a couple of punches. He had bruised his hand some. Would I do acupuncture for it, he asked. I gave him some homeopathic arnica, but sure, acupuncture could certainly dull the pain and probably speed up the healing. "Do you enjoy sticking needles into people?" he asked.
      "Not particularly."
      "Me, I like hurting people," he said pounding the injured fist into his palm. "They should know what it feels like," he said grimly.
      "I'm going to put a couple of needles in your hands, in Hoku for the pain," I told him. "And one in your head, Baihui, to calm you down."

is amazing. My teacher, Jayasuaria, calls it "the Valium point". When I needled Baihui, Jude's eyes flickered. He twitched and switched back into Jus. "I hope Jude didn't scare you."
      Jus told me that he and Dr. Mann had uncovered two homicides and he feared there might have been more; lowlifes he had fallen in with, who had tried to cheat him some. A dumb move. Jus felt they had it coming, but he was also remorseful. Part of the reason he now wanted to heal. As I've said, I viewed his attempts at integration and redemption as quite heroic.
      At this time Jus moved to a room in a new rooming house. Moving in he felt unease. Though the walls had been painted white since the last occupant, he could sense Satanic designs, graffiti, that the last occupant had painted: he was sure he sensed, or saw, this under the new paint. And there was a lingering smell of demonic candles. "They use black candles with human fat in them. Human fat, or in pinch a black cat's, though you can smell the difference."
      Jus asked if I thought I could "clean" the room. He said his Indian medicine man had said that I could. I wasn't brimming with confidence about this, but I said I would try next week, when I got back from Blue Skies. Blue Skies is the most wonderful of folk music festivals. Only two thousand folk can camp there. That's what the field, the space, would sustainably support, so the tickets are allotted by lottery and the community is the cream of what would be the "counter culture" if the counter culture were still alive. (And it probably is. It's us old liberals, and a lot of wonderful new crazy kids.)
      At Blue Skies I met a young man with a sound grounded presence, though he called himself a white magician, a wizard, and a "shaman", and only the last in quotation marks, because, as he explained, "I'm not a Siberian. I mostly trained with the Lakota." Nonetheless, for all these words, I still had a good feeling about Tim and I asked him for his advice about cleansing Jus' room. Tim gave me a formula wherein I would call on all the entities, forces, powers (an inclusive list) that were not "pure" and dancing in the light, to leave and stay away. It was in a sort of spiritual lawyer's language and I can only paraphrase, for I can't, now, find the text.
      I told Tim I was a little tremulous about ordering the spirits gone in my own name. Couldn't I do it in Jesus' name, or some great dude?
      Tim said, "When you go into that room you are going to be the most powerful presence there. You just order them gone. They'll go. But you've got to dot your "i"s and cross your "t"s, cause they're squirmy. They are literalists and they are looking for loopholes."
I smudged Jus' room with cedar. I smudged it with sage and sweet grass. I said the formula with steadfast conviction. And we smudged a can of paint for Jus to paint again.
      Later Jus told me that when I had smudges him, he could feel the entities in him, the Devil and demons, shrink away from the smoke. They did not like it. They still had a power over him, particularly the "Devil" did, who he would reward Jus for doing things he wanted with orgasmic paroxysms. Jus, and most of his alters, could resist the "Devil's" urgings often easily enough, but the rewards had some allure.
      And the smudged, cleansed room? Better, but Jus was never comfortable there.

Then Jus was gone a while. Months later he came back to my practice. He'd been to B.C. Had dug up his father's chest. Nothing of importance in it. A let down.

Jus had told me how once in therapy with Dr. Mann, he had changed, like a werewolf, into a hyena headed creature. Literally. Dr. Mann had fled the room,
      Dr. Mann, said Jus, was trying to arrange for an exorcism. He had corresponded to, and talked with, a branch of the Church, a Vatican committee that dealt with such stuff, and they were working on it, the bell, book and candle thing, but… but there was a lot of paper work, bureaucracy, and 'training'. They were meeting with Jus. Had been meeting with him to prepare him but they had told him it would take a long time to prepare him, before he was ready. Perhaps a year. (Did he have to repent all his sins before they would begin?)
At this time, and this will date it for me -1994, '95 - I was working with a spiritual healer, R.D. R.D. would come to my office Wednesday evenings to treat her patients, and some of mine. I had seen her work with "possession", exorcising entities (though half the timewhen she was asked to do this, she discerned rather that the person asking was delusional - that it was "all in their head"). I asked Jus if he was interested in meeting R.D., and they arranged to work together.
      R.D. talked with the entities, dialogued with them one by one, inviting them, guiding, facilitating their leaving. It seems that ghosts or entities that take possession of people (usually people who are in some degree incapacitated, so you'll find these hungry ghosts hanging out in bars, for drunks, and hospitals, waiting on their chances, or so Tim the "shaman" had told me), these entities are souls in dread of passing on, fearing hell fires. R.D. explained to them that it wasn't like that. That Earth is a school and our lives are lessons, and it wasn't fire and brimstone they'd earned as the wages for their sins, but remedial classes: come back and try again. And she'd convince them to leave. Well, it took the first hour's session to convince the first three. The next two traveled on easily, quickly, in the next session, but the "Devil" was hard to move. He was hanging on for dear life. They talked at length. R.D. would speak and then listen. Finally she arrived at a tactic that began to make an impact. "You don't want that body," she cajoled; playfully, but disdainfully, she taunted him. She explained to me later that this sixth entity was quite a dandy. He'd been hanging round in one body, then another, for decades - an Edwardian dandy - and he was indeed mortified to be confined in such a low class person, body builder though Jus was in those days, and quite a handsome man. It was this disparagement of Jus as an unsuitable host that finally did the trick. The Devil (he called himself the Devil to Jus. To R.D. he was Damien)… Damian was, actually quite bored, and he decided he might journey on.
      "Look over there, by the willow tree." R.D. eyes glanced over to, and through, the corner of the room. "Those three angels. They're here to guide you… No. No, they're not here to punish or confine you. They just look like angels. That's how you picture them. They're spirits. They have no form, no real form… Over there by the tree, by the stream. They're waiting."

"Well, Jus," I asked when he came to see me next, "do you feel different? Did it work?"
      Jus wasn't sure. "But it was sure weird. You only heard one side of the conversation. I heard both sides!"
      Jus said he still felt the devil in him. R.D. insisted the Devil, Damien, had left and that Jus was just so used to the shape of him that he felt him still. And, she thought, Jus still desired Damien's strength and power in some degree.
      Jus felt he was still possessed.

How do I know any of this is true? Jus once showed me a copy of a letter Dr. Mann had written to the church council concerning the possible Church exorcism they were planning. (I later met Dr. Mann in connection with another patient and he was indeed head of psychiatry at McPherson's.) Written on McPherson Hospital letterhead the letter went on to describe Dr. Mann's conviction that something unworldly was indeed happening (he had to convince them that it really was "demonic possession" and not just delusions). He wrote that he had seen Jus' visage change physically into a wolf's head.
      "It wasn't a wolf," Jus said, with distain, as I read. "It was a hyena, and besides, how would he know. He ran out of the room when I started to switch."

The third year I was working with Jus, for the changes were slow and while his work with Dr. Mann was steady, his work with me was intermittent… the third year he was no longer a fit bodybuilder. He had run to pudge… he was pudgy and he'd become a little sallow. (Well, he was haunted.) He was now living with a sweet, sweet woman, Jenny Hu. She came to sessions with him a few times. Spoke with an accent. Worked for bell Telephone. A slightly built, attractive woman, and so caring. She doted on Jus. But Jus was doubtful about the relationship: felt that it wasn't good for Jenny. Some of his alters, Jake and Jordan, were rude to her. He feared for her.

My final chapter with Jus involved the "healer", R.D., again. R.D. was then a student film maker. She wanted to make a "short" about Justin the Multiple for her film course. A documentary. He agreed. On camera he changed and switched, and switched: mostly babies and toddlers. With the older of these he'd talk in a silly baby voice. "I'm Jimmy. I'm a good boy." With the younger, he'd "goo" and "gah" and dribble. Vulnerable innocent infants. Sad. I'd not seen any of this before with Jus.
      I was rather conflicted about this documentary project that we shot at my office. It felt a little exploitive, unfeeling, to me and I feared it might tarnish Jus and my "therapeutic relationship", even though it was not, directly, my project. It might have been difficult for me to veto. That would have needed some balls, and I was "conflicted". I don't know if Jus, or any of his alters, also felt this disquiet, but it was the last time that I saw of Justin Coffin.

Did I mention that, that year when I first saw Jus, that I worked with five MPDs. Marsha, who referred Jus to me, was a young woman, a low ranking executive in a large corporation. Her alters were all sniffling, mewling babies. Then there was Bitter Betty, came to see me just four times. There were four alters, all equally disgruntled and angry.
      And Richard. I don't know about his alters. I only meet the nicest, most considerate man. But the stories he told… we'll come back to this at the end of the chapter, in half a tick, with a poem: Tell Me Christmas. The stories Richard told made me wonder what had happened to me, and this poem, about his trauma, starts with that question, that contrast: what happened to me?
      And finally Lisa. Hmm? Tha's a long story. We'll see. The poem…

Tell Me Christmas

something happened

again and again
and each time
it was like
it could be the end

he said
he felt
that she
demeaned him
she certainly found
that he tore her apart
he'd do it
and she'd do it back
a tennis match
they ate each other

most days
were up and down
till out of reach
endless beaches
from the morning
like eternities
and this or that
would happen
glad things
and bad things
and things indifferent
endless beach
till I'd stub my toe
on a rock
or on fate
a sudden sound
of accident
everything's changed
and you can't
go back

for Christmas
daddy came in
dressed like Santa Claus
he ho ho hoed
and pulled a shotgun
from his Santa's sack
the whole universe
he shot the fugging turkey

what do you do
for an encore
after something like that?
well he doused
the Christmas tree
in kerosene
and burned down
the house

and I sit here
and wonder
what happened
to me

tell me Christmas
went away




(footnote: add to the list of sin - cowardlyness)

chapter 5: karma

and  click here: for contents and chapter one