Transcript of 11th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. Peter Hossfeld, Friday, October 3, 1997 at 5:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Peter, I haven't seen you for a while now. How've you been?
Mr. Hossfeld: Not great. And I really don't know how you can help. It's just a shot in the dark, coming here at all, but I don't know what else I can do.
Dr. Balis: What's the matter? Can you talk about it?
Mr. Hossfeld: Well, I tried, the last time I saw you, remember?
Dr. Balis: You mean when you told me you thought you were under some kind of a curse?
Mr. Hossfeld: Yeah. I left before you could give me one of your patented rational explanations. So what are you going to tell me, it's a drug interaction, an after-effect of epilepsy, or just something my poor deluded brain cooked up to keep itself amused? I was left sort of wondering which it was going to be.
Dr. Balis: Before we start trying to explain it, do you think you could backtrack a little and tell me what's been going on?
Mr. Hossfeld: Remember I was telling you I'd been invaded by some kind of an entity who could take control of my body, even my thoughts? It hasn't gone away. It comes on as the moon gets full, then sort of fades out until I'm feeling almost normal--like now--then it starts getting worse again. Maybe it jumped aboard when I was tripping so blissfully between dimensions--like some ghastly parasite you pick up on your travels.
Dr. Balis: I thought you were associating it with a curse, and that infected bite . But your hand looks a lot better; it seems to have healed up just fine.
Mr. Hossfeld: I should have cut it off then, before the curse took hold. Now it's sealed into my flesh, and it just keeps getting stronger. Maybe this is something that thrives on cursed souls, hollowing them out from within. Soon I'll be the vehicle it drives around our world, and everybody else will have to hear the horrors it's been whispering in my ear. Don't let that happen, Doctor. Please kill me first.
Dr. Balis: Have you been hearing voices whispering to you?
Mr. Hossfeld: Just one voice. And what it says is so horrible, I can't take much more.
Dr. Balis: Horrible like how?
Mr. Hossfeld: Like I'm walking down the street, and I pass a mother walking with a two-year old kid. And the whispering starts--"Do it, do it now!" and I get an image--it's me, tearing the child's throat out with my teeth, while the mother looks on in total shock. Then it fades, and I haven't really done anything, but the mom is giving me a funny look, and pulling her kid a little closer.
Dr. Balis: But you haven't actually done anything violent?
Mr. Hossfeld: Not really--not yet. But what's going on? I was never like this--I couldn't even watch violent movies; they still make me sick. Am I turning into some kind of monster? Is there anything I can do about it? I can't take much more of this. I'm afraid to go out anymore, I'm afraid of what it might make me do. I can't eat, I can't sleep. It's wearing me down, I can feel it.
Dr. Balis: Calm down, Peter. I know you feel upset about having these unwelcome thoughts and impulses, but there's a lot of things we can do. Remember, you've had a lot of time to brood over this fixed idea of yours, and blow it up out of all proportion. Curses really only work on people who believe in them, and you seem to have a lot of faith in this one. I know you feel guilty about your break-up with Serena, but can't you just accept what happened and go on with your life? There's no need to punish yourself like this. Coming in to talk about it is a good first step, though.
Mr. Hossfeld: So you're saying this is all in my head? God, I wish I could believe you. Can you give me a transfusion of rationality, a drug to send these evil thoughts and images away? I'll take it--I'd try anything at this point.
Dr. Balis: I wish it was as simple as that. There might be some drugs that could help, and daily therapy could do you a lot of good. If you feel you really are on the point of doing something terrible--and that sounds like what you're saying--a hospital stay might be something to consider. Does that sound like something you'd be willing to try?
Mr. Hossfeld: It sounds sort of restful--but do you think once they got me in there that they'd ever let me go again? I'm really a mess--I haven't told you half of it.
Dr. Balis: Go ahead and tell me the rest then.
Mr. Hossfeld: Remember I told you about Eliza and me, that time she touched me and the thing inside me started raging at her, driving her off in tears?
Dr. Balis: Yes, I remember. But I thought you'd made up after that.
Mr. Hossfeld: We did, sort of. But I was pretty nervous after what happened, and I didn't want to stir anything up. So I didn't call her for a couple of weeks, hoping I'd get myself more together, be able to help with her problems instead of just loading her with mine. But all that time the moon kept getting bigger and bigger, and the control I thought I had seemed to be slipping away. I started getting these images of her--not like I know she really is, but like some kind of prostitute, leering and slutty. Like she'd be spread out like one of those porno shots, playing with herself, and teasing me, daring me to act like a man and give her what she wanted. And this whispering voice kept nagging at me, saying "You can have her, just take her, she's begging for it. "
Dr. Balis: You did say you've been looking at a lot of pornography lately. Don't you think a little crossover into the rest of your thoughts should be expected?
Mr. Hossfeld: Maybe. But I was never like that, even in high school when all the other boys were sex-crazed. I always thought of the girls as people pretty much like me, I never turned them into sex-objects; maybe that's why they liked me. And Eliza is the last person I'd ever think of that way. So finally I did call her up--it was pathetic how glad she sounded when I talked to her. I guess she'd been missing me--she really didn't know when she was well-off. The moon was half-full when she came over, shining into the room where we sat on the couch trying to make small-talk, and I could feel my control slipping away, as if my aura was suddenly being eclipsed by a stronger one. I had to struggle to keep my voice sounding normal, my hands from trembling. It was a cool night but I was sweating real bad, this terrible-smelling stuff seemed to be pouring out of me. And then I couldn't help it, I grabbed her. At first she seemed to relax into my grip, but then...she saw something in my eyes, I guess, and knew it wasn't me that had her. She couldn't believe it, kept saying "Peter, let go, you're hurting me--stop it, you're scaring me--what's the matter?" It was the hardest thing I ever did, getting him to let her go, but at last she struggled free. I managed to keep him bottled up while she sort of hovered around, asking was I okay, was I having a seizure or something. All I could manage was a choked-off scream: "Get out. Get out of here now before it kills you!" I guess she believed me then; she ran off into the night.
Dr. Balis: Was that the last time you saw her?
Mr. Hossfeld: I wish. After that, the images got worse, lots worse. I'd see her in all these provocative poses, then I'd grab at her and she'd come apart, like she'd been dismembered. Then she'd come to me as just a head, or missing her arms, or with pieces carved out. And all the while this awful whispering kept on in my head: "Give that whore what she deserves. Slice up that little slut. Show her what happens to cock-teasers." She called me up a few times, wondering if I was okay, actually hinting she'd like to see me again--I could hardly believe it. Ultimately, I had to tell her to just leave me alone, that I couldn't see her any more. It really hurt to say that, but I had to. Who knows what might have happened? And so far, it's worked, she's left me alone for the last couple of weeks. I really miss her. For a while there, I thought she was the one person who could save me. But I love her too much to let her come near me right now.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. Do you really think you're capable of harming her?
Mr. Hossfeld: It depends on what you mean by me. I never wanted to hurt anyone, her least of all. I still love her, maybe more now than ever. But I've been invaded by a thing that detests me so much that whatever I love, it automatically hates. And I think it would destroy her just to demonstrate its power over me, and crush my feeble attempts at rebellion once and for all. That would be the very worst thing it could do, and it realizes that. That's why I can't sleep at night. I know it's waiting for its opportunity. In the old days, they would have known what to do with somebody like me: a silver bullet, a stake through the heart, dismemberment and burial at some lonely crossroads. What's the approved modern therapy for demonic possession?
Dr. Balis: I don't think we usually call it by that name these days, but there are some things we can do. If you're willing, I could check on the availability of hospital beds. It sounds like you need rest and some fairly intensive therapy--more than you've been getting so far. We probably should have done this sooner, but I was hoping you'd pull out of it on your own. Did you ever get a new job, or have you been spending all your time alone in your apartment?
Mr. Hossfeld: I haven't been alone, I've got lots of friends all over the net. Really, I've been socializing a lot more than I ever did before. It's easier finding people who share your interests when you've got the whole world to choose from.
Dr. Balis: I was just thinking that if you aren't employed you would have more time to deal with these issues, without being afraid of losing your job.
Mr. Hossfeld: No, I don't have to worry about that anymore. Did I tell you I'm suing SII for violating my rights as a disabled person? I called in to a radio call-in show on illegal termination, and the lawyer that was talking agreed to take my case on spec. She says the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits exactly what they did to me and that a big company like that ought to have known better. She's real confident about it.
Dr. Balis: Well good for you--at least you're fighting back. That's a good sign. Uh, we're out of time here, but I'd like you to stay in my outer office while I make some calls. I know of a really nice place where I think we can get you in, maybe even tonight.
Mr. Hossfeld: Okay, I'll hang out.
Dr. Balis: Great. I'll talk to you soon. Just make yourself comfortable, okay?
Mr. Hossfeld: Okay, see you later.
Dr. Balis: See you, Peter. Let me just make these arrangements and I can go over there with you. Just read a magazine or something, and I'll be right with you.
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

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