I was barely twenty-five when I first heard of ngải. I had no idea what it was, or what it did. The only thing I knew about it was that it was a spooky thing some people kept in their homes when they wanted to be granted a favor. A friend heard that I had never seen this plant before, so he offered to take me to the home of his cousin, who actually had a ngải living in her house. I agreed immediately, as curiosity is a Tao Babe’s middle name.