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Possession in Amsterdam


I believe Shankar was sent by God to assist me.  He came directly to my table on a wine and cheese cruise of the Amsterdam canals when my French friend and her daughter were about to return to Paris.  I had brought them to Holland for a holiday and had, instead, opened a terrifying portal into some psychic event that even today chills me to recall.

My friend had been a roommate in England when she and a third friend I had met there went with me to board a flight to Australia to meet my husband and complete our migration. 

We three had all been broke, traveling in our youth, and Amber and Ghislaine had gone on to Israel to a kibbutz I had worked in the year before.  I had been there with my husband as we worked our way around the world, and my stories of all the young men we met caused these two girls to depart on one of the first El Al flights after the Yom Kippur War to Kibbutz Degania Aleph on the banks of the Jordan. 

As they hoped, they found partners.  Ghislaine married hers – a French artist who lived on a state grant while they traveled to homes and graves of Impressionists artists while he wrote about his own impressions.  We corresponded over the years when major events  like her marriage and the birth of her daughter occurred.  Before the Internet, these letters were spaced out over many months.

When I worked on the North Slope of Alaska in 1986, I had both time and money at last, and had also recovered from cancer.  I was feeling particularly blessed when I received a letter from Ghislaine that saddened me – her husband had become a mercenary in Africa and had run off with a punk who told their child that Ghislaine was actually not her Mother.  My friend was poor and lonely and I was rich and happy. 

Due to a psychic event in my garden that I can describe but not fully explain, I decided to use my great blessings in a positive way and share my bounty with this friend from a decade past.  She wanted me to visit her in Paris but those were days of student violence in the streets and I wanted to go to a once-every-ten year floral event in Amsterdam, my favorite city. 

I offered to bring her and her daughter, at my expense, to Holland for a treat.  I would fly them up and train them home, as the child, age 7, had never traveled on either mode of transport.  It was going to be a reunion and happy holiday.

The first sight of my friend at the airport was shocking.  I had expected age and her life to have taken a slight toll although we were both still in our early 40s.  What I saw at the arrivals gate was a woman who looked exactly what she later confessed to being:  a witch.  Her hair was orangey-brown and the kohl around her eyes made them stand out, even at a distance, in a frightening stare.  She told me later that she had taken to witchcraft to retrieve her husband, not as a true Wiccan religious path. 

That night she became, as best I can describe it, possessed  by some evil spirit in a manner that seemed right out of The Twilight Zone and which only she and I experienced.  Her child, asleep beside her, did not stir as my friend screamed and flayed on her bed with me mostly on top of her trying to hold her still and “bless” her with signs of the cross.  She has always said I saved her from madness that night. 

The story frightened me from any connection to psychic studies for years, although I continued to have many opportunities.  I moved us the next day to a Christian hotel – Ghislaine was a lapsed Catholic and went directly to a church the morning after the event while I explained to the hotel why I was breaking our reservation during the height of the tulip season.  Not the real story, of course.

The last night of their trip we made the typical lighted-canal boat trip where benches face a table and there is seating for four.  As we were three, a dignified Indian man asked, very politely, if he could join us.  I was grim, as he later told me, and he did not know what he had done to deserve such treatment, thinking I was simply prejudiced. 

He could not know that the source of my friend’s fit, she believed, was the Tantric Guru she had known in India who told her he could control her and “make” her come back to India any time he chose.  They were lovers and she had experienced something like what had happened to her in the hotel while on a bus trip with him to Nepal. 

As in Amsterdam, when she began to scream, no one had heard her.  Having been in India, I knew this could not have been possible in ordinary consciousness, when everyone on that bus would have been involved in the experience.

So when Shankar sat at our table I was prepared for another hysterical event and wanted to protect the child who was, this time, wide awake with the wonder of the boat ride.

Nothing like that happened – when we parted, he gave us his card and told us he had been attending a Nuclear Medicine Conference.  He was on his way back to New York where he worked at Mount Sinai Hospital.  We politely parted company and I lost the card.

About a year passed before I received a call I could hardly understand from Ghislaine.  She was hysterical, asking over and over if I recalled that terrifying night in Amsterdam.  As if I could ever forget it.  I thought she must have had another event.  She had, to a lesser degree, had several “events” but no one had been there to help her. 

She was afraid she was losing her mind but more so, that she was under some sort of evil spiritual spell.

She had tried to contact the Guru to find out if he actually was involved in the event and she had also tried to discuss it with rational people who thought she was simply crazy.  She needed me to confirm that it had really happened as she told it.  It certainly had.

The reason for her hysteria was not actually that event, however.  Her daughter had gone for a visit to the father who was living with the punk girlfriend in Dijon in the south of France.  While there, she ran after her ball into the street just in time to be hit by a car.  As she bent for the ball, the bumper hit her squarely on her temple and she had been in a coma for days when Ghislaine called me. 

She desperately needed me to come to France to calm her down, she said.  The punk was trying to get her to release custody of the child and let her be put away so the father would not have to pay any more child support.  The father was drawing occult signs on the child’s favorite doll. 

This was more than I could imagine in a realistic sense.  I flew to Paris and went to see the child, now in a hospital for charity cases far on the outskirts of the city.  She was out of bed and rampaging through the wards, trying to pull IV’s out of the arms of other children and throwing temper tantrums that could not be contained. 

There was not a mark on her beautiful little face.  Her brain had been “shaken” inside her skull but she did not appear to have an actual injury.  Instead, she had hemispheric damage and later developed epilepsy. 

Her energy seemed to come from some unknown source and when Ghislaine was later able to take her home she became frightfully violent.  Ghislaine was a small woman and this was a prepubescent child.  Her strength was like an adult – a very enraged adult.  When I saw her in the hospital I was hoping she would recognize me.  She made fearful faces at me.  Ghislaine felt that “whatever tried to get into me that night in Amsterdam has gotten into her instead.”  I could believe it was true from the little I saw.

On another trip, I had a female physician friend studying sports medicine in London who took time off to come with me to Paris.  She had no idea of what to do for the child.

Then I recalled Shankar.  Ghislaine had kept his card.  I took it and when I returned to the US I called him and told him the story.  I wanted his help in seeing if the child was being correctly treated.  I had the notion that we, the United States, had the most up-to-date medical information available and that perhaps the French were lacking in treatments for head injury.  This was the man I had treated badly in our brief meeting in Amsterdam and now I was demanding that he become involved.

He only reminded me of that later, when he graciously let both Ghislaine and me stay at his home in Scarsdale.  At the time, he simply tried to politely explain to me that he was in Nuclear Medicine and could be of no help with head injuries.  I told him that he was somehow, metaphysically, a part of this event and that he HAD to help us.  He later told me that I was so forceful that he felt he had “no choice”. 

When I brought Ghislaine to New York, he was to have met us at the airport.  We missed him, even though he had come all the way from Scarsdale and had a very busy schedule. 

Ghislaine had brought all the medical records and x-rays from France but the child could not come.  She was totally out of control and it would have been impossible for her to fly to America.  Shankar arranged appointments for us with head injury specialists in New York and Boston, all free of charge.

 He certainly was the hero of this story.  He gave us a place to stay and did his best to convince me that there was no other-worldly entity involved in this event.  He had not been there, so he could not know how untrue that was for me.  But he did all he could for us and Ghislaine went home knowing that except for therapy, France was as up-to-date as America in head injury treatment.  We were both satisfied in that sense, but that began a decade of my studying various therapies, some more appropriate than others, to treat the little girl.

Later I paid for a trip for Ghislaine to go to India to find Bikie, the Tantric Guru.  She did not.  Instead, she stayed for two months in Dharamshala, current retreat of the Dalai Lama, where Tibetan medicine is practiced.  They produced a formula of herbs to treat Sophie’s epilepsy but France would not let it go through customs and took it from Ghislaine. 

I am sure that she looked even wilder when she returned from India and I can hardly blame the French officials from keeping anything she might be carrying.  However, the Tibetan doctors cured her (in one month) of her high blood pressure which she had developed from all the stress of the crisis with her daughter.

Between her mother and me we did bring her “back” farther than had been predicted but she retained many injury-related characteristics.  When she proceeded no further medically, she was placed in a “home” in the south of France where retarded children lived. 

Today Shankar is a Professor of Radiochemistry and Radiopharmacy at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York.  He is also the Director of Research in Nuclear Medicine and Chief of Radiochemistry at Citigroup Biomedical Imaging Center of WCMC.  He left Mount Sinai Hospital in 1997 after 17 years in residence there.  In 2007 he received the Berson-Yalow award from the Society of Nuclear Medicine for his contributions to the science of Nuclear Medicine.

This is a great man – professionally and personally. 

This post first appeared on Daily Observance, please read the originial post: here

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Possession in Amsterdam


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