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Observations placeholder

Kum-Hwa Kim – Healing a patient with TB



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Korean Shamanism – The Cultural Paradox – Dr Chongho Kim

The following is an episode appearing in many interview articles:

One night, one of my clients visited me and asked for a kut ritual, saying that her son-in-law was dying of advanced TB. The patient was a 33-year-old militia member and the ritual was the last resort for him.

When I got to his house, two medical practitioners from the military were looking after him. They caught sight of me and attacked me, 'Nonsense! How can a kut cure TB?' And then they left.

The patient was nearly unconscious, but he looked up at me now and then. I performed the healing ritual all through the night by myself. However, when the ritual was nearly finished, a lieutenant, who was the patient's superior, interrupted me. Holding his gun to my chest, he threatened me, 'Don't you know what the situation is? We often risk our lives even for a small amount of rice. What the hell are you doing with the precious rice? Making rice cake? Did you give the patient a medicine or a needle? All you did was just dancing with this rice cake. You deserve to be shot. Get out!'

I was really frightened. During the war, it was not rare to be shot dead by these officers. The patient's mother-in-law was also frightened. She begged the officer and said, 'It was me who asked her. I beg for your generosity!' The officer looked at the patient's face, and then said to me, 'I'll give you a time limit. When will he recover? Tell me!'

I was bewildered and answered, 'In two days.' The officer said, 'If he hasn't recovered within two days, I'll shoot you dead.' And then he left. I was so scared that my body trembled. However the patient did not show any sign of recovery until the second day. I prayed to the gods until my knees were peeled (mureupi dakkajidorok). At last, on the third day, the patient's mother-in-law came to me and said that he had stopped coughing up blood (gakhyeol - haemoptysis). So I only just saved my life.

The source of the experience

Kum-Hwa Kim

Concepts, symbols and science items




Science Items

Activities and commonsteps