MONDAY 6-17-2013

Jun 17, 2013 -- 7:45pm

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FUN IN POTTSVILLE - After hanging out at the S.O. Craft Brew fest, I headed to the old time tractor show in Merlin. Found a good antique radio project at a good price. Best of all, it's always great to see the 1936 Fairbanks Morse Crank up.


7:10 Dr. Merrill Matthews, Institute for Policy Innovation, Obamacare, $2000 deductible affordable? Wow.

7:35 Keith Trahern, Eric Schaafsma, Josephine County Republicn party - They're looking to roll back the county code changes.The Josephine County Republican Central Committee unanimously voted to endorse the referendum petition being undertaken by Citizens Saving Private Property, Wednesday, June 12, at their quarterly meeting.  The Referendum is to repeal the four newly adopted County Code Compliance Ordinances 2013. Read more on the referendum HERE.

8:10 Dr. Dennis Powers, "Visisting Past and Present", and it's the history of a spiritual healer in southern Oregon!

Susie Jessel: The Spiritual Healer

By Dennis Powers

People travel to or live in Ashland for different reasons, and for some it is as a place for different ways of healing. From the earliest days, Native Americans believed in the spiritual powers of the area’s mineral springs; Ashland’s Lithia water and different mineral-spring spas were an attraction from the early 1900s on. Although the mineral water demand and springs over time diminished in importance, the town continued to attract those who wanted non-traditional healing ways along with these practitioners.

Susie Jessel was unknown when she and her family moved to Ashland in 1931 to begin her healing practice. Area residents had no idea that she would become a magnet for people searching for help from different conditions that ranged from bad colds to arthritis and cancer. Over thirty years, countless thousands of patients filled the local hotels and restaurants as they waited to see the thin woman who became a nationally-recognized healer.

Born in 1891 in North Carolina, Susie was the last of nine children, her mother said to be 54-years-old at the time. She was born with a caul--or a membrane covering her face--that some believed by this she had been born with a gift. When her mother put the baby in the arms of others, she noticed that the infant seemed to have a healing effect. Susie’s earliest memory was that of her mother carrying her through the cornfields at night to be placed into the arms of someone who was ill.        

When Susie Jessel was older, the afflicted constantly called upon her to heal their various sicknesses. Susie tried to avoid this situation by becoming a schoolroom teacher, but she left this occupation when she met and married Charles H. Jessel. She was busy then raising their five children. During this time, however, a vision of Jesus came that called upon her to be a healer of the sick. She took heed.        

Leaving North Carolina, the family first moved to South Dakota before heading to Ashland, where she opened her clinic in 1933. Susie did not advertise or ask money for her services, and told her patients that she wasn’t a healer: She said she was only a vehicle for God’s work, but also said that her ability was given to her by “my Creator.” More and more people came to her clinic, as the word spread, and her overriding goal was to heal “suffering humanity.”        

A sign in the clinic read, “With God All Things Are Possible.” Mrs. Jessel came to her clinic every afternoon and stayed until the last patient was seen, which could be very late at night and turn into a 16-hour session. Bandaged or holding their head in their hands, the sick and inflicted sat patiently in her waiting room. Once inside a private room, Susie asked the patient not to tell her about their particular ailment. Letting her hands find the affected place, she passed them over the torso of the sitting patient, stroking the arms from shoulder to hands, as well as the legs if the trouble could be there.        

Often times, the veins on the back of her hands and arms would harden and stand up once over the location. She wouldn’t make a diagnosis, although perhaps commenting on the condition, and told the person when he or she could return home. A treatment took from one to three minutes, and could take different sessions before the patient’s condition was considered to be improved. No forcing, poking, or manipulation was done. The treatment ended when Susie walked over to a stand, wiped her hands on a wet towel, and her veins returned back to normal.           

After True magazine profiled her nationally in 1943, she was soon seeing upwards of 600 people each week. Numerous patients traveled thousands of miles to see the healing woman who had the touch. Time magazine wrote in 1953: “In a white frame building in Ashland (pop. 8,000), Ore. one afternoon last week, some 140 people packed into seats in a low-ceiling, fetid room, 30 ft. square. Many wore bandages or held to canes and crutches. Some bore the grimace of chronic pain. But all stood up when a thin, wrinkled woman in white nurse's uniform and fancy-print apron with prominent pockets came in. Faith-Healer Susie Jessel raised her arms toward a picture of Christ on the wall and said: ‘I dedicate my hands to the Lord…’”        

She accepted very little money, a dollar or less per patient tucked inside her apron. Larger gifts were either discouraged or returned; many seemed to give nothing but a word of thanks. Much of the money received was used to house and care for patients who didn’t have the resources to stay in Ashland for the longer periods needed for their treatment.         

One writer reported, “A count of autos, lined up on the street in front of the healing room, added up to 20 from states from Texas to Maine plus a number with Oregon licenses.” Charles Mayo of the Mayo Brothers clinic in Rochester, New York, was probably the most famous visitor to the clinic, and physicians in town shared or referred patients to her. A girl came from San Francisco to see the famous healer and benefit from Jessel’s treatment for her juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. She became better. When her family moved to Ashland, she set up a coffee shop next to the treatment room to serve Susie’s patients and stayed in town for her life.          

Susie died in 1966, but two of her children inherited her gift. Her son, Joe, carried on with her work until he passed away in 1975; her daughter, Alma, then took over. In Ashland, there are numerous non-traditional medical practitioners: from massage therapists, chiropractors, and nutritionists to herbalists, psychic healers, and reflexologists. Practitioners work with acupuncture, energy fields, crystals, past-life therapies, deep-tissue work, and other ways.        

Susie Jessel’s life and work stand out—and meet the passage of time.

Sources: Wing Anderson, “Spirit Healer Lauded by Thrice-Aided Writer for Lifetime of Service,” The Complete Aberree, vol. 10, issue 3, June 12, 1963, at Susie Jessel; Time Magazine, “Medicine: Straw for the Drowning,” September 7, 1953, at Story; Ted Taylor, “Heal: Ashland A Hotbed Of Offbeat Medical Practice,” Daily Tidings, July 29, 1990, at Ashland and Susie Jessel; Daily Tidings, “Susie Jessel: Village Healer,” August 13, 2005, at Susie Jessel's “Practice”.   

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