“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” – H.P. Lovecraft
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone, there will be nothing. Only I will remain” – Frank Herbert (Dune Chronicles)
“Fear cuts deeper than swords” – George R.R. Martin (A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire)
I think I saw a ghost.
I was on the veranda, staring at the green shrubs and thinking about nothing really. It was on a Sunday afternoon, a few minutes after the breeze blew the hat off my head. I was staring at the green shrubs while munching on a medium carrot when I beheld the ghost. The sound that heralded its appearance wasn’t the normal swishy sounds that I hear in movies. There were no visual effects that preceded its appearance.
The image of the ghost had a blurry outline.
It wasn’t the ghost of the young woman that died at our center last week. I was partaking in a rural medical outreach when she was brought in dead by some young men, with a bunch of wailing women behind them. She bled after delivering her baby, one of the young men had told me. He blamed it on ndi ufu anya that were after the woman. As for me, I knew what caused her death. And it wasn’t ndi ufu anya that caused it.
The image of the ghost appeared near the place the GeePee tank stood.
It was a wailing ghost.
It wasn’t the ghost of my father – The Kind Joe. It couldn’t be, I said to myself. He must be resting in peace and wouldn’t want to bother me. Seven years had passed since he had gone to rest.
I stood up and stared some more at the image of the ghost. As I made to walk towards where it stood, my phone rang. Grrgh, Grrgh, Grrgh. I picked the phone and stared at the screen. An unknown number. This is strange, I thought. Besides, I knew I changed the ringtone about a week ago. Katy Perry’s Dark Horse was the new ringtone. As I turned, the ghost was no more. And then I felt a hand tap me on my shoulders. Grudgingly, I opened my eyes.
“Nwoke m, wake up jor. I been dey call your name since. What is wrong? Wetin dey paa? You been don dey sleep since one in the afternoon. Now evening don reach. The malaria still dey worry you? Do quick quick, the others dey wait for us outside”, Lasso said and started fiddling with the book on the table. Nena was laughing all the while beside the door.
I stood up and rushed to the bathroom. Water on my face, CHECK. Brush my teeth, CHECK. Body Spray on my flesh, CHECK. Fancy shorts over the boxers, CHECK. A tee-shirt over my torso, CHECK. Gym gloves, a pair of trainers and headphones inside the knapsack, CHECK.
And then we left.
On the corner of the street, we saw a large crowd gathered. I took care not to hit anyone. Fela’s Confusion was playing on the car stereo, so I couldn’t hear CJ shouting from the lane on the other side. Nena tapped my shoulder and pointed towards CJ’s direction. I lowered the volume of the song emanating from the stereo and wound down the glass.
“Oga Baruu, gud’ev’nin Sir. Where all of una dey go this cool evening?” he asked.
“O boy, we dey head for Gym o. Make these muscles comot wella. You suppose know na”, I replied.
“Hahahaha…e be like you wan resemble bouncer. You wan add extra muscle on top the one wey you get before. I been think say na beer parlor una dey go sef”, he said.
“Noo, no na Gym we dey go. Wetin dey happen for area? Why many people gather for this place?” I asked.
“Na one man like that o. Him been thief person manhood. Na e people come arrange am, beat am well well, make him return the manhood”, he said.
“Manhood? Which kain story be dat? Person thief another person manhood? Wetin him use thief am?” I asked.
“Oga Baruu, you know say you no dey believe all these kain story. Na spiritual somethin’. Dat one pass you. The man dey lucky sef say dem no burn am. Na police people wey come just save am”, CJ replied.
Pheewww…TRAGIC! In this 21st century, a grown adult with a fully functional brain would believe that another would ‘mysteriously’ steal another person’s penis. This scenario reminded me of a similar case I read on the blogosphere. An Indian man was given the beating of his life after he was accused of stealing an okada man’s private part in Lagos.
In all honesty, it is a pity that in our contemporary African society, folks still attribute events to ‘mysterious’ powers. And it keeps getting worse as the days go by. It is as if folks in this part of the world have made a covenant with stupidity.
One time, a colleague told me an infamous story. He was on call and an elderly man was rushed into the emergency room. When he came to examine him, he recognized the man: he was a patient of his who was on management for a chronic ailment. But then, this patient was always notorious for not being compliant with his medications. He examined the man and realized he was gone. So he calmly told one of his sons that his father is no more. The guy let off a heavy scream. He told the others that they would go quickly to accost the man that ‘finished’ their father. According to him, their father had an argument with a member of their umunna and that member of the umunna promised to deal with their father. But personally, I believed (and still believe) that what killed the man was the uncontrolled chronic ailment he had.
People fear what they don’t understand. And with every new generation of folks that arise, these same inglorious cultural dictates are transferred to them. No one is making any attempt to free himself from its shackles. Religious institutions are not even helping matters. It is these same men of God that would advice a member of their congregation not to heed the doctor’s advice on an issue. But when shit hits the fan, they’d promptly blame it on God’s will. Is it his will that we continue to wallow in ignorance and suffer?
Females accused of witchcraft are stripped and lynched and afterwards, their carcasses are burnt. And the perpetrators of these acts are educated folks that would commit these ignoble acts as well as circulate the videos while ministers of the Lord stay by the side, encouraging them while chanting “suffer not the witch to live”. Tell me – are we any different from the barbarians in the medieval times? Are we different from the blood-thirsty folks of the dark ages?
Grown men believe that a ‘witch’ could stare continuously at a person and all of a sudden, steal the person’s heart away. Adults would gladly pour pepper into the eyes of a convulsing child. Folks actually believe individuals could turn to bats, owls and cats and proceed to attack others while they sleep. In all honesty, I don’t even know what to blame this dim-witted trend on. Maybe, there is an unknown genome (yet to be discovered) lurking somewhere in the Negro that succeeds in twisting the mentality of the African race. The religion that was brought to our society to foster unity has been used to perpetrate evil worse than the ones it fought. Florence Nightingale would be rolling over in her tomb in sorrowful agony.
Ridding ourselves of these pointless beliefs would do us more harm than good. The more we wallow in these beliefs, the more we push ourselves back by many centuries. Some might label me a confused folk ignorant of the ploys of devils and demons. But I’d willingly continue in my perceived spiritual ignorance than lynch my fellow man for allegedly stealing another man’s manhood. Capisce!
Now Playing: El Manana by Gorillaz
Word to Mutha: This work is STRICTLY the opinion of the writer. No Love Lost; No Love Found…It is what it is!