Finally, his unconscious was requested to take us back to one minute before the very first time that this reaction had taken place. He described the following story.
"I'm about three years old and my father is asking me if I would like to go for a ride to visit my grandfather in the country. I am sitting next to him in the car, and we are riding past many fields and farmhouses."
"We are pulling into the driveway of my grandfather's house."
At this point Bob began to show signs of fear: his forehead wrinkled and his eyelids fluttered furiously.
"What do you see right there?"
"I see many bales of hay piled up in the yard. In front of them is a red tractor. Standing next to the tractor is something that looks like a man but is very frightening. It is dressed from head to toe in a grey suit, and instead of a head there is a huge cylindrical metal mask with a glass plate where the eyes should be. In its hand it's holding the end of a long wire coming from a machine making lots of noise. From the end of this instrument there is a blinding light."
At this point Bob began to cry and to show signs of great fear.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"I think it's a monster with a death ray, and I'm hiding on the floor of the car. My father, grandfather, and the other men around are laughing at me. I feel very embarrassed, alone, and frightened."
Bob's signs of fear became even stronger.
"What's happening now?"
"My father and grandfather are opening the door of the car and they are dragging me out and calling me a coward and laughing at me. They are forcing me to look at the monster next to the bales of hay."
At this point the tears were running freely from Bob's eyes, and his nose had begun to discharge large quantities of mucus. His face over the area of his sinuses was red.
After erasing the image it was possible for Bob to become completely relaxed and to realize, with his adult mind, that what he was seeing was simply a man welding two parts of a tractor together. As a child his unconscious had picked up the tension and incoherency in the eye and nasal areas and attacked the protein molecules of the surrounding hay; thus his hay fever 'had begun.
Following a few days of reconditioning himself to various memories of reactions to hay, as well as various memories of feeling embarrassed and forsaken by people who loved him, his hay fever almost completely disappeared. His mind had been allowed to review a period of irrational fear and to reconstruct the memory along rational lines so that there was little need for the production of antibodies against hay protein.
Similar explorations and results have been obtained with allergies to food as well as to physical contact with various substances. Explorations focusing on attacks of sinusitis have produced similar findings and results. In each case a situation of high emotional tension was associated originally with the contact of a certain portion of the body with a foreign substance. Of course not everyone who has has a high degree of tension in a hay field will develop an allergy to hay. Whether this happens depends also upon the person's genetic makeup, emotional history, past contacts with this molecule, prior tension-producing events, and so on.