Best thing for him really, his therapy was going nowhere… Hannibal Lecter – Silence of the Lambs


On a humid June day in 2003, my former girlfriend and I took a ride up to Norcross, GA to see a Hypnotherapist who lived just off of Spalding Drive on Spalding Hollow. It would seem that the anti-depressants I was taking for my bipolar disorder were not working and we were seeking alternative treatment to alleviate my symptoms. We were not getting along and were willing to try anything if it would help. My girlfriend had been taking classes from the “Doctor” and thought that hypnotherapy might work. I was skeptical but willing to try anything especially since she was footing the $700.00 bill for the session.

We arrived at a Tudor style house. It was pleasant enough but I still had a sense of foreboding. We walked up the sidewalk, went to the door and rang the bell. I expected Lurch from the Addams Family to answer the door but instead when he door creaked open on its hinges a sweet old lady answered the door and bid us to please come inside. I assumed it was his wife. It seemed like a normal dwelling. There were no chicken feet or talismans hanging around. We didn’t have time to drink it in because once we entered the foyer, the nice lady yelled, “Charles, they’re here.”

I heard a muffled voice from upstairs say, “Send them on up.”

We ascended a flight of stairs and walked through an open door into a large office filled with a desk, filing cabinets and other various office sundries. Off to the right conspicuously was a comfortable chair facing a very comfortable looking couch with pillows from end to end. There was a copious amount of diplomas, certificates and awards adorning the good Doctor’s wall. I guess it was designed to make you feel comfortable but it had the opposite effect on me.

I was introduced to the Doctor and pleasantries were exchanged. My girlfriend took a seat to observe the proceedings her being a protégé of the good Doctor and all. The Doctor began to explain the procedure and what I could expect.

The Doctor began by saying that in the universe and on earth there are energies, spirits, demons and other earthbound entities that can psychologically and physically attach themselves to a person and drain them of their energy. There are many different reasons why this happens. Earthbound spirits are ghosts that attach themselves to you because they are attracted to your life energy. Demons and other satanic forces attach themselves to you for the sake of evil. Past life attachments are past life experiences attached to your psyche trying to right a wrong that has happened in the past. He explained that there are other entities or clusters, elementals and earth energies that attach to you for various reasons. He went on to explain that it wasn’t really necessary for me to understand them all. I just needed to understand the concept and any of these earthbound entities could be the cause my depression, anger, confusion, erratic behavior and other afflictions. He then explained that he was going to perform a series of non-invasive tests on me to determine what kind of entity or entities had attached themselves to me.

He first had me stand facing him with my feet shoulder width apart. He stood facing me. He had me raise my left arm into the air over my head and extend my right arm perpendicular to my body forming what resembled a backward “L”. He felt my left armpit as if to feel the lymph nodes. He then checked the veracity of my left arm by trying to move it back and forth. He then did the same to the other arm. Next he held his hands about three inches from the top of my head and moved them around as if to examine some invisible energy field or aura. While he was examining me, he would occasionally utter, “Hmmm” or “That’s interesting.”

He had me open my mouth and looked at my tongue. He shined a flashlight in my eyes and examined them a mere three inches away from mine. Then he made me jump out of my skin when he exclaimed loudly, “Ah ha!”

After that part of the examination the Doctor took two small iron rods from a felt bag. The rods were twelve inches long and then curved ninety degrees at one end for another two inches forming an “L.” He stood facing me about five feet from me. He held the rods so that the small part of the “L’s” were between his thumb and forefinger and extended straight out from his body pointing at me. He then walked very slowly toward me until the rods crossed each other about two feet from me. He said that that was odd. He did it again with the same result. The Doctor did it again and again with the same result. He repeated this ten times in all. He had a very serious look on his face. The premise of this exercise is similar to that of an Ouija board. The rods were in theory crossing each other when my energy field was strong enough to repel them. It would have been just as easy to manipulate them with ones thumb and forefinger just as one could move the Ouija on the Ouija board. It was at this point my radar first pinged. I must admit that I went into this therapy session with an open mind and was a willing subject. I wanted it to work. I just thought he would hypnotize me and then suggest that I not be depressed just as one would suggest one stop smoking if that was their affliction. I was open to the point of being naïve about the spirits but the “divining rods” were a red flag.

Directly, as abruptly as the tests began they were over. The Doctor was satisfied. He had his diagnosis. He had me sit in a chair and stood in front of me to deliver his opinion. I was thinking, okay, maybe he has found a ghost or a dead relative attached to me. I never in my wildest dreams would have expected what came out of the Doctor’s mouth next…

He said, “Son, what we have here is a clear and classic manifestation of demon possession.”

I was shocked. He went straight to demonic possession without passing go or collecting two hundred dollars. I felt bad but not “possessed by an unholy entity from the bowels of hell” bad. But my girlfriend paid $600.00 for this so I was determined to see it through. I asked the Doctor what he wanted from me. He explained that I was to lie on the couch and get comfortable. He was going to sit in the chair and hypnotize me and when I was fully under he was going to exercise the demon and send it back to hell where it belonged. I said that I was okay with that as long as nothing-creepy ala The Exorcist happened. In my opinion we had already crossed the line into creepy about a minute before.

So I got comfortable on the couch while the Doctor took a seat. I have to say that the couch was one of the most comfortable couches I have ever been exorcised on. The Doctor told me to relax and then began talking to me in what I euphemistically refer to as the “CRV” which is an acronym for calm reassuring voice. He said that I should start by picturing a lake that had no ripples on the surface. I should picture a lake totally devoid of motion. He then started by telling me to relax my fingers. I should feel the tension release from my fingers. Then I should concentrate on my lower arms, upper arms, neck, face, forehead, legs, feet, toes, back etc. He walked me through my entire anatomy instructing me to concentrate on relaxing that part. He told me that my mind should be blank. I should put all thoughts aside. He used my name to start every sentence. It didn’t occur to me why until later.

This went on for about twenty minutes and as God as my witness I was an eager subject trying hard to do what he was suggesting. I did feel relaxed and had a sense of wellbeing. But then he told me that he was going to count backward from ten to one and when he reached one he would clap his hands three times and I would be hypnotized. I thought to myself, “okay here we go.”

The Doctor counted, “Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one…”

The doctor clapped his hands three times. The sound reverberated in the room. Then the doctor said to me, “I am no longer talking to Joey, I am talking to the demon who has taken possession of his body. Do you hear me demon?”

Now at this point I had a choice. I could have told them that I really didn’t think this was working. Maybe we should try this again. I don’t think I am hypnotized. But where is the fun in that? I mustered up the scariest and most demonic sounding voice I could conjure and said, “yes, I hear you asshole.”

“You are in this body without permission and an abomination. I command you to come out and go back to hell where you belong.”

“No, I like it in here.”

“I command you demon, leave this body and return to hell.”

[email protected]#k you asshole. You’re not the boss of me.”

“Demon, identify yourself. By what name are you called?”

“Ask your mother asshole! I f#$ked her last night.”

I even spoke Latin to really convince him he was conversing with a demon. He said, “What gives you the right to possess this body?”

“Deus ex machina!”

"Sic semper tyrannis!"

"Igne natura renovatur integra!"

The Doctor and I went back and forth in his manner for thirty minutes at least. It was exhausting. I was about to break character and laugh but it was so absurd. I thought my girlfriend needed her $600.00 worth so I never relented. Finally after another ten minutes of back and forth another option for the demon appeared on the table. The Doctor said, “Demon, if you won’t go back to hell will you travel beyond the astral plains, sit on a rock and contemplate your existence for eternity?”

Really? A loophole?

The demon replied, “ That sounds nice. Okay I’ll do that.”

The Doctor said, “Then it is done. I will count to three and you will leave this body and contemplate your existence for eternity. One, two, three…be



The Doctor then said, “Joey, you are clean. I will count backward from ten to one and you will feel fresh and wide-awake. Your afflictions will afflict you no more.”

The Doctor counted backward from ten and clapped his hands and I pretended to wake up. I asked what happened. They relayed the story to me and I feigned disbelief. I told my girlfriend that I felt like a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I was upbeat and happy. I shook the Doctor’s hand all the while thinking that he was a charlatan and a snake oil salesman. I wanted to hit him but my girlfriend was so overjoyed I resisted the urge. I wanted to call him out but decided I was funnier to just let it ride. I wish I could remember his name so I could expose him for the quack that he is but I can’t recall.

I just chalk it up to experience and laugh to myself. I had $700.00 worth of fun. This experience really happened. Every word is true. Steer clear of new age hypnotherapist types and my message will have not been in vain. I just hope it made you laugh as much as the Doctor laughs on the way to the bank…

Read next: Never In the Cover of Night
Joey Huffman
See all posts by Joey Huffman