as of October 2014:
> 1/3 of readers think I was spirit possessed
Here is the story:
After one year in Pakistan and India working on my philosophy/religion Ph.D, I moved to Kyoto, Japan and for the first three months my American girlfriend and I lived in a gaijin (foreigner’s) ghetto. These ghettos were run by Japanese folks who spoke good English and charged high prices for small rooms to those who did not have the language or cultural savvy to sign contracts and secure cheaper houses or apartments. Gaijins, by their own laziness, would often stay trapped in these ghettos for years. They were terrible places to learn about Japan because you were surrounded only by fellow illiterate foreigners. But fortunately, within three months we had both landed good English-teaching jobs and met a wonderful Japanese friend who helped us to find a place, to negotiate a contract and she signed as our guarantor so that we could move out of our ghetto.
Our new home was a classic Japanese house – with sliding shoji doors, tatami floors, a large court yard, a tokonoma and simple, clean woodwork. The house had a large attached building where the Obaa-san (grandmother) lived downstairs and we lived upstairs.
We weren’t there for more than two months when Obaa-san died. The Japanese funeral was fascinating. Obaa-san was laid out in her main room on a futon in her funeral kimono for two days. In the afternoon on the first day, guests lined up in front of the house to sign a guest book, greet the family members with bows and ceremonial greetings, and then to hand over envelopes with money. That evening was the wake where friends and family remained in Obaa-san’s room and sat around her all night on the floor drinking sake and socializing. The next morning Obaasan was incinerated and her ashes were interned at the family gravesite. The house then returned to normal but the downstairs was now abandoned.
We had only met Obaa-san briefly before her passing. But these meetings were nothing more than ceremonial bows — we never really chatted with her. Besides neither my girlfriend nor I spoke much more than a few words of Japanese and Obaa-san spoke no English.
The day after her funeral, I woke up in the middle of the night in utter confusion. I looked around the room and did not know why I was in that room. I did not recognize my girlfriend. I was scared. My girlfriend woke seeing me agitated. She could hear me speaking but did not understand me. I was speaking Japanese. I could hear myself, but did not understand myself and this confused me even more. I finally realized that I should lay down and sleep and maybe the confusion would leave. I fell asleep and woke the next morning remembering the whole incident vividly, as did my girlfriend. On going to our bathroom I was surprised to find the grandmother’s slippers. We had no clue how her slippers got into our bathroom because they were always kept in her side of the house. We returned them to the parents next door who thanked us for the slippers and for our patience with the funeral. We all bowed.
My girlfriend was shocked that I seemed to have spoken in apparently fluent Japanese that night. To further the mystery, it was oddly coincidental that we found the slippers of the dead Obaa-san in our living quarters. My girlfriend was sure I had been temporarily possessed by Obaa-san’s wandering spirit which hadn’t yet made its full transition to the next life. The merging of our spirits, she felt, caused us both our temporary confusion and fear and had me speaking Japanese — a language I had not yet learned.
That is how we understood the incident back then and how I told it for years. But even when I told the story, I only half believed my own words.
Related Link: My Supernatural Experiences !