In a previous post I questioned whether or not there might be a connection between Gu Syndrome and dissociation. Since then, I met separately with Dr. Heiner Fruehauf and Dr. Brenda Hood to discuss possession, Gu, and dissociative phenomena.
Gu syndrome is the cluster of physical, neurological, mental-emotional and digestive symptoms resulting from a parasitic influence in the body and may have been associated with spirit possession in China. My curiosity was piqued by the clusters of symptoms associated with Gu syndrome, dissociative phenomena, and “possession” and I wanted to know more about their relationships; specifically, could there be an etiology of trauma in the development of Gu syndrome?
Both Dr. Fruehauf and Dr. Hood were adamant that Gu syndrome is not a condition caused by traumatic shock and that it most definitely has a tangible parasitic influence; etymologically, the character for gǔ (simplified: 蛊, traditional: 蠱) depicts three worms in a pot. According to the site internationalscientific.org, the character represents “lots of insects 虫 in a pan 皿 of bad food – poison.” Dr. Hood did agree that that physiological effects of a traumatic shock could make an individual more vulnerable to parasitic influence or to “possession.”
Still, there are many similarities between Gu and dissociative conditions. I’ll be writing more on these topics in the coming months.