The family didn't have a house when my
father was in his twenties. Therefore they had to rent a
house for the big family to live in. That landlord's surname
was Tang; his eyesight was rather poor, so others called him
"Xia Guozi" [which could be something like "Blind Joe" in
English]- many people in the village were known by their
nicknames. Nobody knew his real name.
One day, Blind Joe was sick and lying in
bed. No doctor could heal him. His brother-in-law and two
other relatives were all shamans, but they could not heal
My father was living in the east hall;
the landlord usually resided in the west hall in Northeast
China then. He saw that there were a lot of people in Blind
Joe's room, but only went over when he heard that the sick
person was dead and was soon to be put in a coffin. It was
in the afternoon. My father felt for Blind Joe's pulse and
said, "This person isn't dead. What's more, he'll wake up
when the sun is about to set." The others did not believe
him, " How do you know?" My father told them to wait for
half a day before putting Blind Joe in the coffin. When the
sun was about to set, the man indeed sat up, just like a
normal person. This made some people afraid. In Northeast
China, there were stories of sick people's corpses being
possessed by spirits and coming back to life.
After he woke, he stood up. My
grandfather was still alive then; he stayed in the north
room. There was a clay chamber pot on the floor for my
grandfather's convenience at night. Blind Joe grabbed it and
tried to smash my grandfather on the head. My father rushed
over and snatched it away from him. Quite a few people came
to help my father when they saw this, but they still could
not subdue him; for some strange reason, his strength was
enormous. My father blew on his face three times. Blind Joe
ran from the north room to the south room, then lay down,
mumbling, "I'm done for this time! I'm done for this time!"
After about four hours, he got up again. The others still
could not restrain him, for he was too strong. His wife told
them to chain and lock him up so he wouldn't hurt anyone.
They did as she asked. When my father saw this, he visited
the District Magistrate and told him, "Blind Joe's wife told
us to chain and lock him up." The District Magistrate
replied, "It's okay. Since his wife asked you, no one will
blame you if anything happens."
The next day, they found another shaman
from the west of the village, who also had some supernatural
powers. He looked into the case and explained what happened.
Blind Joe had a younger brother. One day Blind Joe went to
collect some money that his brother owed him. However, his
brother was out; only his wife- Blind Joe's sister-in-law-
was home. She asked Blind Joe, "Can you wait a few days?
Your brother is not home, and I'm going to give birth soon."
Blind Joe would not hear of it. He even threatened his
sister-in-law with a knife. She was nearly due to give
birth, and he scared her to death-literally. His sickness
was due to her seeking revenge after her death. This shaman
later chased the spirit away and Blind Joe's sickness was
cured. He was only in his twenties then, but he eventually
lived past the age of eighty. If my father had not looked at
him and told the others that he wasn't dead, he would have
been put in a coffin more than sixty years earlier.