“Like flowers and thorns”

Young Proctor poet Brandon Johnson writes to ease his mind


PROCTOR — Min Hyuk Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea, with some challenges.

Adopted by Herb and Lisa Johnson as a baby, he was given the name Brandon Johnson.

It soon became clear that Johnson was not only autistic, but also battled psychological challenges that made him angry, erratic and emotionally unstable. Much of Johnson’s challenges can be traced back to his neurological underdevelopment as a newborn suffering from malnutrition.

Johnson is now 19 years old and has written his first book of poetry, “The Tiny Lights In Our Orbit” is a slim self-published volume containing 47 poems borne out of Johnson’s discovery of writing as a tool to control and ease his mind.

Brandon Johnson, 19, is a writer from Proctor who has published his first book of poetry.

Photo by Lee Kahrs

But it took some time to get there. A student at LiHigh School, an independent grade 8-12 school in Poultney, Johnson was in his early teens when he started hearing spirits communicating with him. He started playing with a Ouija board in an attempt to harness his gift, but the practice became an obsession.

“It almost screwed up my life,” he said in an interview at the Proctor Free Public Library. “It gave me the curse of unlocking the gift. It was a year of stress.”

It got to the point where Johnson could not function and was experiencing psychotic episodes. He said there were too many spirits trying to communicate with him, all the time. He ended up at the Brattleboro Retreat psychiatric and addiction hospital for three weeks to get the help and counseling he needed to rein in his psychic experiences.

It was right after his stay in Brattleboro that he met Bill Gee, a spiritual response technique consultant.

“He had like a party line going through his brain,” Gee said of the spiritual communication Johnson was experiencing. “They would not leave him alone.”

It was Gee who taught Johnson how to block out the lower density communications and gain more control his experiences with spirits.

“Inaccuracy leads to lower vibrations,” Gee said. “And those spirits use base emotions, which are generally inaccurate. Because he was addicted to the Ouija board, he was unable to use it constructively. It’s easy to get so lost in the non-physical world that you lose touch with the physical world.”

Johnson also discovered that writing on a keyboard while he was channeling helped him control the experiences better. When he showed Gee what he was writing, the idea for the book was born.

“I saw poetry,” Gee said. “I was like, ‘OK, this is helping him focus.’ Having the ability to say ‘I’ve had enough, it’s time to turn it off.’ The writing is the only thing that ever worked for him.”

The act of writing spoke to Johnson in a way nothing else had before, especially when he started going through his work with Gee and editing a compilation of poems.

“I felt like a writer,” Johnson said. “It was a valuable process, to write something down and send it to Bill.”

The young poet is also taking prescription medication that is helping to control his brain, but he says that writing is the real lynchpin to his psychological health.

“If I didn’t write, I would be hospitalized more often,” he said. “I wouldn’t have the off switch.”

For about $2,000, the two were able to self-publish “The Tiny Lights In Our Orbit” just before Christmas 2019. It is available on Amazon for $9.99 and on Kindle for $2.99 and has sold more than 50 copies.

Brandon published the book under his Korean name, Min Hyuk Lee.

“My first impression of Min was that he was a young man who was remarkably connected to angels and spirits,” Gee writes in the book’s forward, “but who was also deeply afraid of the world that he had uncovered.”

Gee worked with Johnson for about a year, from the time he was 17 to 18. In January, Brandon told Gee he wanted to stop seeing him therapeutically.

“My guardian angel told me it was time to move on,” Brandon said.

Since then, Gee said he has two new, young clients with the same challenges Brandon faces.

“I think it’s fair to say that Brandon is in a better place now,” Gee said. “This kind of thing is challenging for anyone. We all have our own superpowers.”

He added that for young people in particular, spiritual communication is a formidable challenge without the proper support.

“It can be extremely scary for young people because they are aware and being able to channel and focus it into a creative outlet, and having people around them who won’t dismiss them or judge them is so important,” Gee said.

Number 23 in Brandon’s book speaks to his poetic take on his experiences.


The challenges you face grant yourself dreams on the meadow.

Across a glade of flowers leading to a patch of roses.

The flowers are beautiful to the senses,

But to envelop yourself within the bramble cuts the skin

And spills your blood on the thirsty ground.

We must untangle our bodies

From the blanket of thorns we have created,

And allow the healing waters of the spring

To restore our wounds.

“There are tons of people like me, in jail,” Johnson said in the interview. “My journey was like flowers and thorns.”

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