Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Haunted Bells and Bowls

In the center is the spooky bell about which I have written. To the left is a statue of Manjushri. To the rear is my personal singing bowl. I have never met a person who could not play this bowl. Far right is something for my writer friends. It is an old Nepalese ink well. My kid's crystals and rocks are also lying about. (click to enlarge)

Top of the Bell

I have a new treasure in my collection. It is a creepy looking bell from a temple in India. One of my customers brought it and left it with me at a trade show. It seems odd to me that people would give ritual objects to me as I am selling so many of these things myself. But there are occasionally people who would like to get rid of a statue or some object that bothers them. They believe that I would either appreciate the beauty of the item, or that I can handle the malevolent energy that they associate with it. I tend to believe that objects only have the power that a person gives them. Fear magnifies and makes real the ghosts that would haunt a person.

Shortly after I received the temple bell, an Indian couple came to my table. The man said, "I know what that is. How much do you want for it?" Since I paid nothing for the bell. I said, "How much you pay?" Which is exactly what I hear so often while I am shopping in Nepal. It is a great way to get a commitment out of your buyer. While he was considering his offer carefully, a woman came to look at my singing bowls and I shifted into story telling mode.

"These bowls are used by the Buddhist monks in Nepal. They chant prayers for peace into them and the harmony of the bowl gives a tone to the prayer and helps to amplify the energy. The prayers are for peace and the enlightenment of all sentient beings. I find that people who do Reiki can often feel a great deal of energy when they encounter the bowls. Their arms float up and down as they feel the perimeters of the energy coming from a singing bowl." I said, in my well rehearsed way.

"I do Reiki," the woman said. " I know." I told her. Her eyes widened and she looked impressed by my psychic abilities. She and her friends had been hovering around my table earlier and talking about Reiki. I guess she didn't know that I was listening.

I picked up a bowl with a deep smooth resonance and told her to think of global peace while I played the bowl for her. She put her hands above the bowl. "Oh yeah! Oh wow, I can really feel that," she said.

The Indian man was still looking at the temple bell, turning it over and over and considering his offer. His wife was carefully selecting rudraksha beads, 'literally the tears of Rudra,' (a seed, which supposedly cures you of all kinds of sins). She asked me if they were real and where I got them. I described a shop near Freak Street in Kathmandu, Nepal, and that seemed to convince her of their authenticity.

I turned back to the woman admiring the singing bowls. "Can you tell me more about them?" She queried.

"I deal in mostly used bowls and often you will find the names of the bowls' former owners scratched into the edge of the bowls. Once, there was a woman who returned to thank me for a bowl saying that the bowl she bought from me came with three spectral monks. Presumably, these were the former owners," I said. "And then, when I lived in Maryland, I had a wall in my basement that was devoted to hundreds of singing bowls. One day, a friend of mine was in our house alone and she said that she heard some of the bowls singing by themselves downstairs."

"Have you seen ghosts and heard the bowls singing on their own?" she asked.

"No, but one day I played the bowls at a shop in Columbus, Ohio, for hours and hours. It was a festival and people would press their faces to the glass of the store and kept coming in to shop as long as I played the bowls. That night after I went to sleep, a large singing bowl appeared at the bottom of my bed and it began to chant a deep "OM." Three gnarled women's hands reached up out of the bowl and I could feel their claws dig into my calf muscle as they started to drag me off of my bed and into the bowl. I awoke, startled by the dream." I said. "But the bowl dealers in Nepal assured me that my vision was an auspicious event."

Everyone at my table was quiet and looking at me now.

"Sometimes people bring me interesting things at these shows." I filled the silence. "Like this bell here." I don't know much about it. I do know that it doesn't look like anything that I have seen in Nepal and there is an I-Ching coin tied to it, which is kind of strange. Maybe the woman who gave it to me thought it was haunted or something, so she gave it to me."

The Indian woman looked at her husband and said, "You are not bringing that bell into our house!"

Perhaps I said too much. I didn't sell the bell or the bowl, only a few rudraksha, but I had a great time telling the stories!


  1. I would love to come across your table!

  2. Oh well, you can't sell 'em all! But the stories that you have are amazing! I'm waiting for you to write a book! Really! (drumming fingers on table...waiting....)

  3. Many of us forget the beauty of the unknown in this world..this story reminds me..thanks..

  4. I think that the scary figures are intended to make unfriendly spirits stay away. I remember reading that sometimes people consider it threatening to complement their new baby...because it might attract attention of an 'evil spirit'. Where was that? Maybe you know? Interesting post. Check out my eariler post, I have a head wrap on! It made me think of you. <3

  5. Dear Lover, (I love writing that), I would love to have you at my table. Please bring the merlot and the stew, I will provide the entertainment.

    Hey Tulsa, I'll write my book when you write yours. My first book may be more about my youth than my travels.

    Rinchen, welcome, I will be visiting you. I think that you may have a lot to teach me.

    Hi Cynthia, absolutely, like the gargoyles of Notre Dame. Yes, there is a similar belief in Nepal that a new born baby boy should be dressed as a girl for the first year so that the evil spirits will ignore it and not take it away.

  6. You are such a magical story-teller.
    Yes, objects do seem to cary a little of their spirit with them.
    As regards the baby compliments.
    Yes, you should always say "What a gorgeous baby!
    Such a pity about the little freckle!" ( or something tiny and insignificant)
    If you say "What a perfect child!" the angels will take it away....
    I think this story is Italian but I go along with the sentiments.
    Don't tempt fate....

  7. Sometimes we open the door and little imps reach in to sway us. Objects can remind us what has been, or can be.
    As a Reiki healer I'm interested in the transference of energy, so the bowl is intriguing. I have what is known as hot hands, a very successful attribute in Reiki. But I'd love to have a singing bowl!

  8. The world is full of mysteries and strange energies that we will never understand. Our rational culture is quite odd for our species. Over time and throughout the world we have always been able to perceive the subtle energies - until the Enlightenment, that is. Now we turn away from the gifts of this amazing and mysterious world. So strange, at least to me it is!

  9. Ouch! I'm writing, I'm writing! lol

  10. You have no idea how much I love this.

  11. Hi dear friend Butternut Squash!

    Thanks for the nice words on my blog. I missed your lovely stories as well. There is always something valuable you always extract from them.

    Me too I would like to be at your table. I see that it would be interesting if you collect the best of your posts and stories + pictures and consider to publish it. I know that it is a long stretch but think about it.

    To the next time..

  12. Stories are indeed priceless. SOme human beings feel fear when they hear about ghosts. Other people are perfectly calm and sense spirit on a completley different level.