It was Holy Week and my son was three years old when a series of strange things started happening one Monday night. My son and I slept in the same room in the same bed, and about midnight our peaceful sleep was broken when he woke up suddenly and started crying.
I asked him “What was the matter” but he just cried harder and rolled out of bed onto the floor, when he calmed down a little, he asked me to take him out to the porch, which I did just to console him. It was never clear to me why he chose the porch, I assumed he had simply had a bad dream and wanted to get out of the room, we went back to bed around two in the morning.
For the next three nights, he woke up the entire house the same way he did that Monday. My mother, out of frustration, told my godmother about what was happening to her grandson, and my godmother got in touch with a distant cousin whom we hadn’t met before. She was known as Sister Gina (not a nun but she is a very spiritual person), Sister Gina came to our house and before long she was sprinkling salt in our garden, by the windows and at the kitchen back door as protection against the entity that was bothering my son.
She also put live burning coals in a small aluminium basin together with incense (we call them “insenseo and kamanyang”) to smoke or cleanse all the rooms in our house and the surroundings just before sundown.
That night Sister Gina stayed over to observe my son’s behaviour, again he started crying, and I thought he was having another bad dream, so she came in and put a silver medallion on his forehead, as she did this the photo of the Holy Family that we kept on our alter toppled forward. Sister Gina told me later that my son was being possessed. This went on for three days, and each day she came around to check on us, not ever expecting any money for her help because she is not allowed to receive payment for any of the help she gives.
Sister Gina has helped many people with similar cases to mine, then she asked me to take her to the spot where I would take my son to play, so I led her to the wooded area at the back of our compound and showed her where he plays under the Santol and the Mango trees. She was silent for a while then told me that the entities, black dwarves, living in the mango tree, were angry at us because we disturbed their sleep during the day. They took revenge for keeping them up when they’re supposed to be resting so they started pricking my son’s back to inflict pain, then it would be our turn to get a disturbed sleep.
That afternoon as Sister Gina walked around with the burning incense she called to me and showed me the coals that she was carrying had caught fire suddenly, then announced that she caught one I assumed that it was the entity that had been hurting my son. I was so relieved and thought everything was over, but we had to call her again when the next night my son suddenly started crying and wanting to get out of our room again.
When she arrived the next day, I saw the startled expression on her face, she told me she had seen something extremely ugly peeking through the window which opened into the kitchen. This sounded strange to me, though I decided not to say anything, then turned and said she’d be back the next day.
Late next morning, as I was coming down to the kitchen, I saw my Mom looking from outside into the kitchen window then I heard my brother’s bike (which no one was near) at the far side of the kitchen making a loud metallic noise, but I did not dare to look to see what the sound was, so I simply put some utensils in the kitchen sink and went up the stairs into the dining room and closed the door behind me.
Later that day when Sister Gina arrived we both went to the kitchen and sat beside each other at the table and were just having a normal chat, but I could tell by her expression that something else was going on. My son was in another room with one of my brothers when the rest of the family gathered with us, Sister Gina made a phone call to her friend and mentor to ask about the entity she had seen and when she finished the call she asked us out of the blue,
“Whom do you know around here who has had an abortion?”
At that moment, it was like a light switch flicked on because my Dad and I knew immediately who it was. It was a memory that I had put to the back of my mind, but I remembered clearly that my cousin had shown my brothers and our playmates the spot where his sibling had been buried. The grave was just a few steps away from the same mango tree where the black dwarves dwelt.
I knew back then what an abortion was, but I never really understood the gravity of it because I was just a child. The crude burial ground even had a small crucifix to mark it’s place, but it was unkept and looked like it had been forgotten, at that moment I understood why I had been hearing the chairs moving around at night when we were all in bed. She told us that the spirit of the child has been asking us for help for a long time, she is distraught knowing that she was just buried and abandoned and the woman who had done this to her had gone on to have two more children whom she had kept and raised.
Sister Gina named her Angel, she told us that Angel’s birthday was February 18 and had she lived Angel would’ve been in her mid-20s, we would have been neighbours as well as friends. The next day Sister Gina held a small ritual for Angel at her burial site, it was about 30 feet away from the house, which I watched from afar. When Sister Gina had finished I went up to our bedroom where Mom was doing some tidying up.
That’s when I thought I would speak to Angel myself, so in a moderate voice I said: “Angel please stop scaring my son he is your cousin”, my mother affirmed this to Angel as well. Mom and I then left the bedroom and went out to meet Sister Gina as she was coming back towards the house. Sister Gina told me that Angel had heard me and had told her what I said, “Please stop scaring my son he is your cousin”.
Some years after that day, I took flowers and I lit a candle on Angel’s grave, as it was still in our backyard, Sister Gina came by not long after that and told me that Angel wanted to thank me for the flowers because I, at least, remembered her when her own mother did not. We were all able to live in peace once more, now this reminds me to get Angel some flowers again for the next All Saints Day.