Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Dem people "believe"

Very superstitious, writing’s on the wall,
Very superstitious, ladders bout’ to fall,
Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin’ glass
Seven years of bad luck, the good things in your past.

When you believe in things that you don’t understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain’t the way

Superstition - Stevie Wonder


Just the other day Kami was blogging about superstitions and then yesterday I saw the article at the bottom of this blog in the Barbados Nation online and felt the need to share it. I would just post the link but the Nation webpage takes way too long to load even with highspeed.

Some folks really take this superstition thing serious. Me? Well my mother always tell me that them people dat "believe" (short for believe in the supernatural, obeah and spirits and such) really need to seek Christ. I've heard of folks back in the day going to the obeah man who told them to go to the four crossroads and sprinkle duppy dust at midnight or go and take a bush bath or walk backwards into the sea reciting some strange secret incantation but I didn't realize that these practices still occurred. My thoughts are although there is a lot of unexplained stuff out there I cant get with these superstitions. In fact to me the role of Obeah Man seems like one of the sweetest cons perpetrated on people in these days and times. Easy money for a fellow that can make someone believe that they are haunted or possessed or someone has put a spell on them. I was thinking that if things don't pan out in my chosen field as a fallback plan I should open me own obeah man business. Mek people walk into Lake Ontario backwards or put lil set a fireplace ashes in a ziplock an sell it as duppy dust but no I cant be so bad....yet

Anyway this story is an extreme example of when people "believe" too much. Pretty sad story in a way actually.

Link to Nation Story here or just read below.

Sex Ritual To Cast Out Demons - Tuesday 11, January-2005
by Roy R. Morris

There’s an old saying: Don’t judge a man ’til you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. Keep this in mind as you read this article.

Early last week I received a call from a woman who asked me to help her with a problem. I have to admit that while speaking to her I kept asking myself “how silly can a person get?”

But as I replayed the conversation in my mind over the week, it occurred to me that my judgment was particularly harsh. When I did a full interview, my disposition changed dramatically.

Andrea is 27 years old, but her level of reasoning suggests she is much younger. Her mother died when she was a baby. She attended secondary school until she was just 13 years old. She has not been to school anywhere since then. At the age of 14 she was raped.

The information in the preceding paragraph is purely for the purpose of setting the tone for her actual complaint.

In Bajan parlance, this simple girl “believes”. She believes that a woman who wanted a relationship with a previous boyfriend “put a curse on her”. She said she suffered intense bleeding during every episode of sexual intercourse after being “threatened” by the woman and attributes it to obeah. According to her, no doctor has been able to explain the bleeding.

But that was just the start. Andrea said she was constantly fighting at night with “little men” who had sex with her, tried to choke her, whose faces showed up in picture frames, in mirrors, even on the corn flakes box. She said she could not enter her home at Black Rock without seeing the face of a woman in the ceiling.

She complained of clothing turning up other than where she had put it, food disappearing from the fridge and table, people knocking at the door but seeing no one when she looked out.

The young woman said she went to church after church but found no relief. “I guess I was not strong enough,” she rationalized.

That was when, she said, a girlfriend of her brother drew her attention to an ad in The Nation, with someone identifying himself as a high priest offering assistance with situations such as hers. For $1 000 he offered to cast out her evil spirits and “cleanse the house”.

Andrea said she begged and borrowed to come up with the money, after the “high priest” shuffled some cards at her introductory visit to his home near the Ministry of Public Works, invited her to pull three and they all pointed to her imminent death.

The problem was that none of the “cures” worked. He then determined that the demons had inherited her jewelry and they too had to be brought to him for cleansing. As time passed and neither relief nor her jewelry returned, Andrea said, she was told the four rings, three bracelets, two chains , earrings and anklet were so deeply possessed they had to be buried to “get rid of the spirits”.

Still she believed in the man.

With nothing changing, he apparently determined it was time for the heavy stuff. According to her, she was told a ritual would have to be performed on her body and it would involve intercourse. For the first time, she said, she questioned his course of action, and was told she should not see it as sex, but the casting out of demons.

At the end of the “ceremony” which also included her performing oral sex on him, she said, she was told there were a total of seven demons, and that session had successfully removed one. She had to come back for six more sessions. She went back to have two more demons cast out, then came to her senses.

Since then, she said, her attempts to retrieve her jewelry and money have been met with threats of both physical and spiritual harm – enough to keep her quiet.

I spoke with Andrea’s brother, who “confirmed” he knew of her dealings with the so-called high priest, but only “at the end”. I also spoke with her grandmother, a devout Christian, who told of “bringing the Scriptures to her to help her fight the evil she was facing”.

They both described Andrea as “a very simple” person who had been taken advantage of. Neither have known her to be involved in the taking of illegal drugs.

Is it possible that an adult who consented to sex, and who willingly gave money to another adult to provide a service, can now reasonably cry foul?

I raised the matter with Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin and respected criminal lawyer, Ralph Thorne, both of whom “strongly” believe that if the facts are as she outlined then she was raped.

According to Dottin, rape can be by physical force or false pretense, adding that based on past court ruling, “a person can vitiate consent by fraud”, and that is what appears to have occurred in this case. Under the Theft Act, he added, he believed the man could also be prosecuted for fraud in relation to the jewelry and money he took.

Thorne said: “I am in absolutely no doubt that if things occurred the way she said then it was a case of rape. As you said a defense lawyer would argue consent, but I believe such a case can be successfully prosecuted.”

The commissioner’s advice was for her to go to the nearest police station and make a complaint.

This matter still presented one serious dilemma for me – how do I make contact with the “high priest” to get his side of the story,when I am satisfied that to do so would almost inevitably lead to him using fear to stop her from making a statement to police – as had occurred in the last.

Right or wrong, I considered the matter and decided that the greater good would come from offering her the protection of the time to make the complaint.

I will end with the words of Commissioner Dottin: “What this points to is an apparently increasing tendency by too many in our society to prey on the weak and simple among us.”

Need I say more?

11 comments:

Melody said...

That woman meet it inna life, eeh, Jdid! If she does go to de police, what then? Seems hers is more ov a mental problem than a legal problem. De newspapers are irresponsible in printin' some kinds ov advertisements. Some people believe every word in print is legitimate, and they're de ones who get caught by those ads.

Scratchie said...

JDid,
i seems that this goes on everywhere. I've heard similar stories here. Unfortunately some of our people are brought up to place high regard to this sort of thing...fear Miss Whoever because she has special powers...blah blah blah.
I hope the young lady gets her justice.

Jdid said...

sadly I dont see much hope of justice. the lady probably still believes in that stuff so she will prbably be fearful of going up against the obeah man in court. he's going to walk away scotch free with the jewellery, the money and the assualt

Abeni said...

Wow.But would she press charges? I think she may be too embarrassed to go to court.But plenty people still believe in the obeah man.There is this Grenadine island that people associate with the practice,Carriacou I think.I suppose evil spirits and things are around but I don't believe obeah men got any power

Zantiferous3 said...

To me this story is sad, but it is a true testament to how TRUE faith will make you do crazy things. She had complete and utter faith in this person and they were only out to harm her. That's a damn shame. It is such a violation of trust. How do people like that sleep at night? I don't get it.

bajangirls said...

Wow. I saw something like that on Dr. Phil and people truly believe that these obeah people (of course, Dr. Phil didn't call them obeah people) can do them real harm. It's shame that someone would prey on another's weakness, but, that, unfortunately, is the way of world. Some people are disgusting creatures.

mocha71 said...

I believe there is good and evil in this world. Evil measures can never achieve postive results.

Anonymous said...

Sad, these people who 'believe' exist aplenty here as well.

I think you have stimulated me to tell a story....maybe tonight or tomorrow. We will see. Dr. D.

o said...

chuh man on dese obeah people dem. I curse dem all out inna di name of JESUS, the only saving name.

People need to believe in God from JUMP.

obifromsouthlondon said...

boy you gotta come to Nigeria where I'm from. Man go to church to pray for good health. then roll on to Mr. Obeah just to make sure. Obeah man live good you know.

I accept parts of alternative religious/spiritual systems. the cheap, quack "magic" practitioners piss me off.

Years ago had some woman stop me and my boys in street and say how some wicked duppy is following me and wants to harm my claat. how if i do nothing my first youth will be frog thing!! my friends were on some "son take her serious" shizzle. I'm like yeah right whatever. please. if duppy is so bad let it show it's dutty face.

Jdid said...

yes Dr D I waiting to hear this story you have. i hope ya aint tell nun a ya patients to go obeah man, lol