W3 Activity: Ghost sickness
I chose an article titled Ghost Sickness for this week’s activity on cultural bound syndromes. It talks about the cultural bound syndrome of ghost sickness and the Native American culture. It is believed that a person can have the spirit of a dead person attached to them in a negative way. This attachment drains the person which causes weakness, loss of appetite, nightmares, depression, fainting, and seizures. These symptoms are coined ghost sickness. It is said that a person can die from this issue because the spirit can draw the person’s soul into the realm of the dead. The article says that a funeral is the place that most people come down with ghost sickness. This is due to the fact that a dead person’s spirit will stay with the body until this ceremony until it chooses a new host to attach itself to. Children are thought to be effected by this sickness the most because Native American culture believes that their souls are not yet fully attached to their bodies because this comes with age. It is believed that there are a few ways to treat ghost sickness in the Native American culture. These methods involve tricking spirits. One way is to remove a body through a hole in the wall of a house. The logic behind this is that the spirit cannot return to the house the same way that it left. A trick to prevent this issue all together is to dress children up as adults when they attend funerals. Since they are the most effected, it is wise to try to preventative with them. A Shaman can also put an end to this issue by venturing into the spirit world to retrieve the ill person’s soul. The reality is that these symptoms can be related to issues like depression that could be treated in western culture with therapy. It is also possible that children are the most affected because their immune systems are not fully developed so they can be effected by a pathogen more than a grown adult.
Laycock Joseph. “Ghost Sickness.” Spirit possession around the world: Possessions, communion, and demon expulsion across cultures. 2015. Accessed: 06/03/15