As I have mentioned before, I do not have standard TV in the house. All my viewing of paranormal shows is done online. Recently, I discovered a show on Netflix called The Haunted. In Season 2, Episode 6, entitled “Land of Misery”, we encounter a situation that I think serves as a perfect lead in to a discussion I have been wanting to have on this blog, namely, the issue of where to seek qualified help if you need it. These Getting Help posts will be ongoing as the blog goes along.
As I noted in my original Getting Help post, many people do not seek any sort of real assistance when they are faced with paranormal incidents that are beyond their capacity to live with. Much of the reason for this is the nagging question: who will believe me? This is often followed quickly by another question: even if they do believe me, who can help me?
In “Land of Misery”, The Haunted follows its usual formula. A family with animals moves into a new house. The animals begin to act strangely and the people in the house begin to have experiences that they can not explain. At this point though, the episode diverges from the formula somewhat in that, over a period of time, several animals on the property die of a stroke and one of the witnesses suffers a cerebral hemorrhage as well.
Surprisingly, the incident that drives the family to look for help is not the mother’s stroke but the death of her beloved horse, again of a stroke. Interestingly, the family ends up contacting a group known as the Native American Ghost Society, a group of paranormal investigators who also happen to be indigenous people. Long story short, one of the team seems to be sensitive to spirit energies and has a number of encounters in the family’s house and barn. Further research shows that the house in question is located on land that was disputed between two tribes and the leader of the paranormal group develops the theory that the house is victim to a prosperity curse thrown by one tribe against the other. The team leader pulls in a local medicine man to work with the spirits of that land and remove the curse. According to the show, this work was successful, at least in the short term.
I enjoyed this show because it stepped outside of the box and looked at the haunting as something more than just the activity of spirits in a location. Instead, this episode really looked at the history of the house and showed us the trail of death and financial hardship that was wound into the spirit of the land. Something drastic really needed to be done to help these people (assuming, of course, that the show was factual) and this paranormal team called in the expert from their culture: a medicine man.
Tribal cultures are a lot less hinky about accepting that there is a problem with spirits and, for thousands of years, they have had a subset of people in their midst whose job it was to deal with the spirits. These folks have a lot of names throughout the different tribes of the world so I am going to use the more generic term medicine person for these individuals. I have chosen not to use the more common nomenclature, shaman, because that word has become a catch phrase amongst a certain sector of the New Age who really have no idea what it means to give ones life in service to the tribe. And that, my good readers, is what a medicine person does. He or she does not go out and decide that he or she is going to become a medicine person. These people are either picked out by someone who is recognized as fulfilling this function in the tribe or the spirits choose them, often through a healing crisis which they barely survive. Once the new medicine person is recognized, he or she begins a grueling apprenticeship in which they learn the very unconventional skills of their “trade” – things like spirit communication and negotiation, journeying into the other realms, what might be termed exorcism, healing practices, ceremonial work and much more.
Again, this is not a position that any tribal member would want to fill. The medicine person, while respected, often lives on the margins of the tribal society and frequently has to fulfill commitments to the spirits that make their behavior seem odd to the others. The medicine person is really required to give their life to the tribe; they are expected to be “on call” for “doctoring” and other functions whenever they are needed. No vacations, no office hours and no afternoon breaks to play golf.
The people in this episode of The Haunted were fortunate that they “happened” to invite a group of Native people to evaluate their haunting. If you find yourself in a situation where you believe that there are hostile forces at work in your home or on your land, there are far worse people to have in your corner than a medicine person. Now, please understand that I am talking about a Native person who is recognized by other Natives as a medicine person; not some white guy with an abalone shell and some sage who has taken a weekend course and thinks he is a “shaman”.
A medicine person is basically a spirit advocate. He or she is quite capable of discerning what spirits are on the site, having discourse with those spirits and basically negotiating a treaty for you that will prevent further hostile action (as long as you abide by the terms of the deal). In extreme cases, the medicine person has access to helpers that will help him or her chase the entities from the site.
It is not easy to find a real medicine person, even if you are Native, but, if you can find one who is willing to help you, you have found a valuable ally and one of the few types of practitioners that I can recommend unreservedly for assistance with a haunting or other paranormal hostility.