Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Ghost Story

My family is haunted by a dybbuk. It surely is. Once upon a time I called it the Mellicker Wraith. The acupuncturist called it a family Jinn. Whatever you call it, when it's hanging around, it does not bring out the best in us. My father was possessed, so was my aunt. From stories I heard from her, my grandfather had the same problem, and his father before him and on and on. Dybbuks figure heavily in Yiddish legend and lore. Mine is not the first family to be haunted in this way.

When the dybbuk is hanging around, we squabble. We argue, almost always about nothing important. The tone of the argument is hardly talmudic. We blame and belittle each other, humiliate, insult each other, sometimes face to face, sometimes behind each other's backs. Character assassination is the point. Sometimes after the haunting passes, we can't even remember what we were arguing about. Afterwards, we laugh about it, as if it's funny to be so cruel. It is such an evil dybbuk.

I drew a cartoon of the haunting years ago. I've searched and searched, can not locate it. I would love to see it again. Two of we Mellickers are chatting away happily. A cloud passes in front of the Sun and then we start arguing. It's the dybbuk argument, meant to be wounding - like a snake bite - not informative or enlightening as some arguments can be. In the cartoon one of us begins to flog the other one with a big whip, while shouting insults and humiliations. Then the cloud moves on, the sun comes out, and suddenly the conversation returns to normal. I wish I could find that cartoon! Oh well.

First there was the dybbuk, and then came the Holocaust. That is just the kind of energy these beings love. I believe it came in closer after the Holocaust. If it's possible for ghosts to be haunted by dybbuks, I believe my Holocaust ancestors are perpetually haunted by this spirit. It keeps them in a loop in which they remain wounded, unable to heal and move on. They're stuck in a loop of agonizing about portion sizes in restaurants. They seem unable to escape the suffering and loss of the Holocaust. It seems they have no sense of their lives before the war, nor can they acknowledge that it ended. They are tortured souls, these hungry ghosts. By the way I'm not the first person to come across hungry ghosts. The link is to the Wiki entry on hungry ghosts. Really interesting.

For the last few years, I've been haunted by the hungry Holocaust ancestors. The dybbuk is never far from that crowd, hence I've been haunted by it, too.

It happens. This link is to an article about how memories are passed down through DNA. I believe it. I believe I've been haunted. Creepy!!

Hungry ghosts can not be satisfied, especially by the likes of me - or - anyone I've ever known. I can not heal them, I can not heal the wounding of the Holocaust. And yet I've been drawn in, as if by tractor beam, to that dark storm of unfathomable wounding, over and over again. I started using Yiddish and Hebrew terms, even though I know neither language. All of a sudden, I stopped eating pork or shellfish (though I love both!)

I wanted desperately to go to Poland even though the experience would be horrible for me. I walked through the Holocaust Museum - twice. I got a tattoo, and most recently found myself in a swirl of mystical experience and energy during the High Holy Days. I've believed, for years, that I was paying tribute to the hungry ghosts with all the reading, thinking, travel and research I've undertaken. I see now it was more than that. It was a possession, a haunting. My aim was true, but I got pulled under. I was haunted by a very wounded aspect of my ancestry. Omg.

A few weeks ago my acupuncturist released my seven dragons, or so the treatment is named. After the treatment he said I was "in the grip" of a family Jinn. Then he shrugged his shoulders, said, "But it's gone now."

I think it has vamoosed! I feel very different since that treatment. I'm suddenly uninterested in the Holocaust or WWII. I honor my ancestors but have completely lost my enthusiasm for getting the Yizkor book translated. Maybe I'll get back to it - it doesn't hold center stage anymore. The spell has been broken; I'm free to move in other directions now. It sounds dramatic, I know. It is dramatic!

I've been looking at my tattoo as if I just woke up from a dream. I look at it and I wonder, why did I do that? I feel unconnected to it for the first time. I don't regret getting it, but it seems so odd. Shalom? I don't know Hebrew - what was going on? You see why I think I was in some way possessed? I got a tattoo! That is completely uncharacteristic.

It seems like another lifetime since my Seven Dragons were released. I used to want to tell the story of my tattoo to one and all, the heart wrenching story of the people in Visgordek, how they were killed. It's a good story but I'm no longer swimming in it. I'm not drowning in it. Not everyone on earth needs to know their story! I feel free.

In fact when the guy behind the fish counter at Eastern Market asked me if my tattoo was Klingon, I thought about it for a second, then said yes. Why not? It's not powerful to me anymore, it's historical. I wonder if that makes any sense?

Now the fish guy thinks I'm really cool. It is hilarious, the old lady with the Klingon tattoo. Yeah, that's me.

All hail the seven dragons! I too am released. It's a clean slate ahead. I am smiling.


  1. you did seem to be possessed by certain ideas. good the jinn is gone. they are not nice creatures.

    1. The acupuncturist said today my pulses were spacious. Yeah!!

  2. Wow, it must feel so good to be free. Maybe the intra family storms will be milder from now on? Maybe everybody needs a trip to your acupuncturist.

    I think it's hysterical that the fish guy thought your tattoo was Klingon! It doesn't sound klingon. Maybe you can invent your own new meaning for shalom.

    1. I told him it was Klingon for "bite me." Ha ha!!

      The rest of my family needs a trip to my acupuncturist which is never going to happen. They must follow their own paths. Me? I get to study something different now. I'm so excited.

  3. interesting always, Our Reya. I feel , not haunted so much as still very wounded, fragile but sassy. Such a huge wound...and oddly I seek comfort when I travel ,by finding the Jewish section of town, though I am SO not Jewish this time around. Thanks for this post, it is so thoughtful and joyful and deep.

    1. I do think you are touched by the energy of the Holocaust too, Linda Sue. I'm not sure the seven dragon treatment would be right for you. It surely would be interesting for you to talk to a healer about it. I know how powerfully affected you are.

    2. I don't feel touched by it anymore. Definitely not wounded or fragile. It feels very far away now. It's a good feeling.

  4. Still this far away , holds fingers and inch apart. Don't know any "healers" other than RN's...that's not going to work! Glad you are in the right place and feeling whole, Whew!

  5. The Holocaust pervaded so much of our popular culture in the 20th century. It feels more remote to me now than it did in the '70s or '80s or '90s. I guess as that generation dies it will pass into a less personal, less experienced history, for better or for worse.

    I love that the guy at the fish counter thought your tattoo was Klingon. Hilarious. And what a great response from you!

    Glad you're feeling free of your dark haunting.