hồn ma, wandering souls

Discussion in 'Reincarnation, Religion and Spirituality' started by landsend, Mar 11, 2019.

  1. landsend

    landsend Senior Registered

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    The Vietnamese people hold a belief that if a person dies violently, prematurely, and subsequently fails to be buried in ancestral land, then the person becomes hồn ma – wandering souls. The wandering soul is vengeful, full of hate, full of hurt. Restless, they are angry at the living. They are angry, because their lives were cut short. Most of all, they are angry at being forgotten.

    This is a belief that shapes Vietnamese culture, even in modern times. It has been documented by anthropologists, and there are many accounts that remain mysteries, and defy explanation. One of the more interesting accounts I heard about, through a radio series the BBC aired a while back was the following: (available UK only - https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00h35kj) (transcript for those elsewhere: https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/archived/encounter/wandering-souls/4057898#transcript)

    Mai Lan Gustafsson: Sam was an American I met. He’d been injured during the war; he had lost a limb. He returned to Vietnam in the ‘90s to live. He felt he needed closure. When I met him he had a Vietnamese girlfriend. He was working as a mechanic. He seemed quite happy; he said he was happy. He was adjusting very well. He loved the country, loved the people. But he was possessed by the spirit of a North Vietnamese soldier who had died in the same area where Sam had lost his limb back in 1968.

    The girlfriend was telling me how at night Sam had these terrible dreams, these night terrors. He would be so violent in his shaking that their bed, which was a very heavy wooden bed in traditional Vietnamese style, it would move across the floor it was that bad.

    Cathy Fitzgerald: Did the tone, the manner of his voice change?

    Mai Lan Gustafsson: Oh yes, very much so. That’s why we were afraid. It was Sam’s voice, choked with rage. I have never heard anyone so enraged before. Just shocking, because Sam is a very quiet person, humble man—not timid but mild-mannered—and then to have him raging in perfect grammatical Vietnamese with anger: it was shocking. The worst thing, the most disturbing thing to the girlfriend and to Sam was that he didn’t know how to speak that language in life.

    And the spirit was very specific about what it wanted. His mother was not able to receive his death benefits because he wasn’t officially dead, hadn’t been returned, he was just missing. So his old mother was living in extreme poverty. And the reason her son had chosen Sam to haunt is that when Sam was injured, as he was being helicoptered out, one of his American Army buddies gave him a souvenir to take with him: the ID card of a North Vietnamese soldier that they had killed during that battle.

    Cathy Fitzgerald: And so what happened? What happened after that?

    Mai Lan Gustafsson: After Sam went to the mother of the dead man who was possessing him, they became friends. The mother was very glad to know what had happened to the son, she didn’t blame Sam for her son’s death, and they became very close. When Sam married his Vietnamese girlfriend the mother of this man sat at the head table and has kind of adopted Sam as her son. They maintain a relationship and it all started with night terrors.


    After reconciling with the mother of the deceased Vietnamese soldier, Sam ceased to have night terrors.

    This got me thinking.

    In fact, the whole radio show has got me thinking.

    In a lot of ways, since I’ve been young, I’ve been living my life possessed. When I was very young, I didn’t have words for what this was. My severe phobias were my dark secrets. The knowledge of my gender was my darkest secret of all.

    There was a crisis when I hit my teens, and I became dissociated, severely depressed. My theory behind this is the same theory and reasoning as to why psychotic behaviours and psychic phenomenon are prevalent in young teenagers, around the age of twelve when the hormones kick in. For instance, most poltergeist activity happens around young teenagers, notably young girls—usually around the time of the menarche.

    In primitive societies, it is known that this is a sensitive, vulnerable period where the energies of the emerging person are very ‘open’. It is my theory that most of those who show marked changes during this time would have been trained as shamans or healers. In our society, the answer is usually to medicate. This might work in some extreme circumstances – but are we missing the point? Are we missing the unique talents of these individuals? Is this one of the reasons why our modern society is so sick?

    I was ‘wise’ beyond my years. At the age of fourteen, I felt I’d lived it all, seen it all, done it all, and I did not want to participate in this world. But, most of all, I felt that if I was here, I was here for a reason, even if that reason was not clear to me. Even though ‘here’ didn’t make any sense. When I tried to relay this feeling to my peers, they mocked me and called me ‘Gandhi’.

    I can’t deny that I’ve seen, heard, and perceived things in this world that most would have trouble believing. But, most of all, I feel lost. Like a broken limb, my days wander by aimlessly. I repel people. People, for no apparent reason, attack me. They instantly dislike me. I put people at unease. I trust no one. I am a rock.

    A large part of my energy is trapped, shut off. It has been like that for years, since those crisis days. My soul, like the the Vietnamese hồn ma is wandering. It is mine – yet a large part of it is else where. That is why my presence feels a million miles away, because it is a million miles a way, through space, through time.

    If we dissolve those barriers of space/time, that energy is still there. It is in Tay Ninh, in the swirling dust of the trucks coming into base. It is in the kerosene crap hot smells, the damp humidity of a thunder storm, in the dagger sharpness of a man thrusting himself through me, a bullet throbbing through my left arm, the jungle sounds way up high, the bush, the bush, the bush, dark, dark eyes, and her helplessness beneath me. Those pot-bellied kids, those crying old Papa-san hands, liverspotted, wrinkled, pleading. The gut-wrenching emptiness that follows that which should never be done, but it is. The blood that just don’t wash away. It’s lying in a cage somewhere, soiling itself, stick thin. In an estranged wife, Christmas day, she’s a million miles away, and you know your marriage is gone, and never was. Crying inside, you still love her, but it’s gone, and never was just like the smoke in your hand. It’s your kid, holding his hand, full of scarlet blood. The blood dripping down his wrist, crying, the kid is crying, just like they cried, and the blood… and the driving, the driving to get away, to drink away the sorrows, but nothing touches. You drive right up to their doorstep, poise your fist to knock, but stop at the last minute.

    It’s the river you stared at, way up in the mountains where Peter’s rests, and you know, just one drop to the depths below and it’ll all be gone. But you haven’t the guts.

    It’s a brother who takes you fishing, sits with you, and doesn’t say a god-damned word of war, only peace, and here, and the lake, and the trees, and the crystal clear mountain sky. It's a brother you never got to say goodbye to. But he saw you. When you heard the ukulele, and the soft lullabies, you yearned to be by him there in paradise without knowing why you wanted to go back there, there where you have never been.

    In the wandering he saw you, just as you were, so strong, so young, and smiling, where he sat withered, and frail. Death shining through the rain.

    Now, what do I do? Where do I go from here? Am I possessed, or reclaiming my soul? My energy – my life.

    I’ll close this with a quote from the BBC radio show, from an American veteran of the war.

    Spent two years in the army, I have an honourable discharge and a Purple Heart. I came home very angry, very, very, very angry. I was drinking an awful lot of alcohol and doing an awful lot of drugs, trying to just, you know, block a lot of things out.

    I don’t believe in closure. I think closure is denial. And it’s: ‘I’ve got closure so it’s all in the past, didn’t happen.’ Well, it’s not in the past. The past is with you always.

    ....there’s a lot more here than westerners can grab onto. That feeling is… you cannot deny it; it’s physical.

    Cathy Fitzgerald: What is that feeling?

    Jim Doyle: Actually, it’s peace.

    Cathy Fitzgerald: Jim Doyle seems at home in Vietnam. This is his twenty-first visit since the end of war. He doesn’t believe in closure, but he’s found something here that helps him live with his past.

    Jim Doyle: There were people who are walking around today who are wandering souls, because they haven’t found that missing part of themselves. And I think deep down inside they know where to look, but they’re afraid to look because there’s alot of bad images in their memories. When I returned here, the bad images are replaced by wonderful, beautiful images. And it’s not closure; it’s… there’s a completeness.

    Cathy Fitzgerald: Accepting all of your past.

    Jim Doyle: Exactly.
     
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  2. KenJ

    KenJ Assistant Archivist and Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    This is what I felt a year or so ago about John Tat's BB character. Similar things are written in the book 'Thirty years among the dead' by Dr. Carl Wickman. Ideas like that seem to make a lot of sense, but I still wonder, it's a bit like claiming "the boggy-man did it". I've read of poltergeist (noisy ghost), but fortunately haven't encountered one.
     
  3. landsend

    landsend Senior Registered

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    I see it more along the lines that trauma disconnects us from our essence, whether that trauma is from the present life, or a previous one. It stops us from living fully, here, now. One doesn’t have to be dead to be a wandering soul. That’s been proved to me in that I have memories of my previous life brother when he was ill with cancer, a memory where he saw me in my past life form and acknowledged me. I was fourteen at the time, in this life. Looking back I recall it was around that time I had an incredible longing to go to Hawaii. Needless to say I found out much later that is where my previous life brother lived out his final days.

    Also curious that my dad bought from a charity shop a carved ‘Long life tiki’ tourist trinket made in Hawaii, which he gave to me at that time. I kept it in my room on the side for years. Put it in storage away, took it with me when I moved house, found it in my attic and now it’s on my desk again. It’s a little reminder of paradise and those I love that can’t be in my life anymore.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  4. Tinkerman

    Tinkerman Administrator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Thank you landsend for an interesting and well written thread ... fascinating topic. ~T
     
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  5. CanSol

    CanSol Senior Registered

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    I think those of us strongly affected by our past life/lives are wandering souls in a sense
    We struggle to find a semblance of a balance between the lives, living in the here and now is difficult when you long to be somewhere else in another time, whether with family or in combat, it's my battle buddies that I miss the most

    Many say to find closure from the past life/lives but what if your past life/lives are too interwoven in the current and are a part of who you are? Ignoring some of my past lives is impossible, they demand attention on different moments of the year and they're a part of who I am today
    I've been to and live near many past life sites where I've been, fought and one where I died, none have brought me closure just more memories, emotions and a hard time of once again needing to say goodbye to my fallen comrades
     
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