When I was a small girl living in Jamaica, I remember a woman who was the daughter of my mother’s friend. The friend’s name was Miss Brown and her daughter’s name was Marie. People called her mad Marie. Jamaicans are very descriptive when it comes to naming people, they do it according to their looks (Black Gal Marlene, Fatty Blossom), profession (Cookie or Tailor, Gunman, Thief), or even how they act, even down to an ailment. If Jerry broke his legs, he would be called Bruk foot Jerry. Mad Marie resembled a younger and slightly lighter in complexion Nina Simone. She used to be a teacher, my mother told us, and from what people said, someone obeahed her because of how fast she was excelling in life. This is what Jamaican people call, bad mind. She was a victim of obeah because others thought she was not deserving of who she was, her education and her god given talents. Whatever they did to her by way of obeah, it attacked her sanity, rendering her insane according to her actions. I remember once, while sitting on the veranda with my mother and her friend Miss Ruth, Mad Marie had came through our gate.
She was dressed okay, sort of clean looking, she tried to put herself together it seemed, although her short hair was dirty and visibly so. Yet she had an air of dignity about her, you could tell that she was educated and was brought up well. She had great manners and displayed it. She had gone to good schools this is what my mother told us, and was brilliant. It showed in how she acted (although deemed mad by all, and she was) and she was speaky spokey, this is how Jamaican people describes one whose speech is proper and perhaps foreign accented. She asked my mother for a drink of water and my mother sent me to the back to get her a cold glass from the fridge. My mother always got edgy whenever crazy people came about, and there were quite a few in our community there in Jamaica. She told me when I became an adult and once asked her about this, her reasoning was that they were unpredictable and they could hurt anyone they chose to and get away with it because they were not of a sound mind.
Marie drank about three glasses of water that day and my mother hid that glass away, telling us that from that day, the glass belonged only to Marie and we should never touch it. She stayed in the yard the whole day, talking and laughing to her imaginary companions, while I sucked my thumb watching her, curious and sad at this woman who spoke good english and with a lovely almost english accented voice. She did not speak patois as we did, and at odd times she would even correct our speech, smiling and chiding us to speak better. In the evening Marie finally left, but came back for her shoe. She said that she did not realize that one foot of her shoes was missing and she was certain she left it in our yard. My mother was doubly on edge and got all of us to quickly search for Mad Marie’s shoe. She kept rambling that it was important for us to find this mad woman’s shoe, because she did not want Marie “fi bun dung we house.” The shoe was found next door, and all was well as Marie left with a promise to return a next time.
I have seen many people who others say were victims of obeah, and as I grew into who I have now become, Obara Meji, I have helped many victims of obeah. Obeah is real and it is no joke. Now let me be clear. Obeah is a wild terminology, and by this I mean, it can be labeled upon a person who is of very benevolent character as well as one who is of a very malevolent character. It is a word synonymous with Jamaica and Jamaicans and many people have their own philosophy as to the etymology of the word itself. Obeah is the same as Voodoo, Juju, or what is known as witchcraft. These words create a certain fear among many, but I am amused by it all. No, I am not amused as in believing that it does not work or exist. What amuses me is the fear and dread these words create in people who terrorizes the benevolent Jesus (who is supposed to be resting in peace) for his blood by pleading and bawling dung de place for it. The Blood ah Jesus! Christians behave oonuh self man cho! This is not the post to go into the history of Obeah, Voodoo and all these mysteries. I have covered this topic many times in various ways. What I want to do today by writing this post is give you a small snapshot as to how it works. To all who did not know Obeah (spiritual work) is different from Traditional work (Ifa/Orisha). Follow me into a short story as I share with you just how this very great phenomenon works when it is being done for revenge or in doing bad. As I have said before, it is a wild word because many people group all practitioners into the same basket, regardless of the practitioners benevolence or malevolence.
Frankie was a fellow who liked to smoke and drink. He worked hard in the days as a janitor at the hospital and in the evenings when he came home he would shower and go hang out next door with his friends smoking and drinking stout which was his favorite drink. He liked Ganja, good ole Jamaican Ganja, you could smell it from miles on out, and Bobo dread, the local supplier of all, was the one who would put aside his own for him for when he came from work. This was his enjoyment in life, and he told everyone who would playfully chide him on his love for drinking and especially ganja smoking, that this was his only fun in life, as he worked hard and did nothing else.
Mawga Dog was one of the men who also hung out in the same yard with Frankie and others, gambling, playing dominoes, smoking and drinking. There was something about Frankie that Mawga Dog never liked. He spoke to him, laughed and drank with him, but he just did not like the man. Frankie had a good job and would come and hang out in the evenings with all the men. He would often times buy everybody drinks and even pay for the pound of ganja that they all would smoke in the chilom pipe, and Bobo dread saved the best draw for him always. Mawga Dog heard that Frankie was even in the process of buying a car, although it was Scatta Shot’s old Peugeot but it looked decent and worked very well; and the other day Desrene, a girl that Frankie was seeing on the low, told Miss Millie who told Fathead that Frankie had purchased a piece of land in the country and was building some houses there. Frankie had never even given him, Mawga Dog, one dollar yet. Not a dollar for his hand, and yet “dem bwoy deh so lucky fi ah buil’ all house” thought Mawga Dog as he eyed Frankie from where he laid on a fallen tree limb not far from where everyone gambled.
Mawga Dog had gone to the country from last week to see his wicked stepfather Murderer. Murderer was a well known Obeah man who was Mawga Dog’s mother’s husband. The mother had died when Mawga Dog was a teenager and so he was left to grow with him until he left to seek his own way in Kingston. They had kept in touch, while Mawga Dog was in the streets and before he went to prison. Life had not been too kind to Mawga Dog, who had tried a life of robbing and looting and was shot up by the police when he tried to rob a brinks truck. He was sentenced and imprisoned for twenty years, because during the robbery he had shot and wounded a police officer. He had been out for two years and was now a runner for Bobo Dread and his ganja business while he lived in Miss Martin’s Fowl coob (Fowl coup).
The visit to Murderer was to obeah Frankie. Mawga Dog just felt as if Frankie was too progressive while he had nothing, Frankie did nothing to him, but Mawga Dog was like most human beings in their ways and thoughts, projecting their short comings unto others and not taking responsibility for their own lives and mistakes. Mawga Dog was jealous of what he believed was to be his life instead of Frankies. He could have been somebody, had life been kinder to him, he thought, but “look pon dah fool deh ah mek it while me ah suffa” this was his thought daily. He felt that Frankie had no right to hang out with the rest and not be like the rest of the men who were mostly out of work and did odds and ends jobs to survive, but because of his work status (he had a good job) he was given nuff respect and looked up to, even by Bobo Dread, who really was the Don about the place.
Mawga Dog went in and had a sit down with Murderer, who did not like the boy for nothing. He tolerated him because of the memory of his mother, who Murderer had to kill to use her in his Obeah work. No one knew and because of this he felt he owed her this much. He listened to Mawga Dog’s complaint about Frankie and promised to kill Frankie for him. It was nothing to Murderer, after all this was his work, killing. This was the side of the road he chose to walk and it had paid him well and he even had the Prime Minister and his friends as clients. They paid him well and Margaret, Mawga Dog’s mother, was his main spirit to work with, and she worked well. Mawga Dog told Murderer how Frankie owed him some money and bragged to people that he would not pay him and was planning to set him up for prison again, knowing that because of his records it would be easily believed. Murderer knew these were lies, but smiled and wished he had killed this vicious boy the same time he killed his mother, but he knew that the boy was not strong enough for his work, even now, he was a weak little man.
Mawga Dog left three days after he had arrived, confident in the fact that Frankie would soon be a dead man and he would not have to see him again, laughing, drinking, gambling, smoking, showing off on them, on him who had nothing. “P&**Y Hole yuh!” he thought as he hitched a ride back into town.
Frankie had been coughing for a week now and each time he coughed his breath felt as if it would stop. The cough was dry, and it sounded as if his chest was hallow. He coughed, and coughed, and coughed, all the while suffering in doing so as it was hard to breathe also. His Co-workers told him to go to see the doctor, after all he worked at the hospital. But he refused and thought he would cool off the smoking for just a little while. The coughing continued and Frankie was now forced to go to the doctor, for now he was spitting up blood. All sorts of test were ran on Frankie and all came back negative, there was nothing found. At nights Frankie could feel someone pressing his chest, and his chest muscles tightening, he had become rail thin and could barely eat. He was hospitalized, and the doctors searched while they treated him with all sorts of medication, unsure of what really was the problem. The doctors spoke amongst themselves, puzzled at the quick descent of Frankie;s health. They had looked over his medical records which was as recent as a month ago, and he was as healthy as a horse. Since he work in the hospital, it was important that all employees get full physicals every so often and Frankie’s was only a month ago. All tests showed nothing, absolutely nothing. By now, word had spread about Frankie’s illness and that he was a shadow of his former self, some said that he was dying.
The doctors finally told him that he had acute Bronchitis, and that it was very severe. By now Frankie could not even speak and had to wear a mask with flowing oxygen. He prayed for death because to breathe caused too much pain.
And his prayers were answered. As soon as he was told the diagnosis, Frankie died.
The news quickly spread and everyone mourned Frankie. Mawga Dog, pretended to care, but he rejoiced secretly in his heart, “Yuh f**k*# yuh!” he thought.
Murderer knew the exact moment Frankie died. He always knew when a “lick” connected. One day, the spirit of a healthy Frankie stood before him looking sad. Murderer told him that he had no use for him and even though he sent him on to his world, he, Murderer was not responsible, and he showed Frankie who was. The picture he drew for Frankie was Mawga Dog’s picture. Frankie looked and could not say anything. He was nowhere, he was lost and needed directions. Murderer told him to walk west and he would be caught up to where his people were. However, he must know that he, Murderer, was not the guilty one. Frankie left.
Murderer, as with most Obeah people who kill for a profit, made sure to declare himself not guilty of Frankie’s death; this is explained in the Christian bible, when Pontius Pilate who sentenced the Christ to be crucified, washed his hands in absolvement of his death, in other words metaphorically removing the blood stains of an innocent; But this is not possible, the Universe cannot be fooled.
Mawga Dog, who is the wicked and evil one here in this story. The one who plotted and carried out the death of the innocent Frankie, justified his need to kill him by telling Murderer, the executioner of the Obeah, a lie. Murderer, who knew that Mawga Dog lied, but having a need to kill (mostly because he worked with these entities who he had to keep working), did the work without a conscience to this person he never knew.
Frankie was a smoker and a drinker, so the spirit who was sent after him, studied him and realized that he had a habit, one they could use to kill him and no one would suspect a thing. The spirit became the smoke that flooded his lungs and became the cough which gave him the discomfort in that he was unable to breathe, which eventually was the cause of death.
When a “blow” is sent out by a competent obeah person, as Murderer was, a spirit is given the job. It is energy, malevolent energy, being paid and sent out. This malevolent energy has to do what it was paid for and so it must study its victim. It will see the victim’s habits or vulnerabilities. If it is a food addiction the victim has, then most often it will be food that kills them, if it is a love of driving fast, then it is an accident they will meet, if it sex, then the death will come through that medium. If the victim is fearful, it is the quickest and easiest way for them to be hit, because now anything can be the tool used, because fear weakens the spirit of the victim and strengthens the work of the Obeah man and his agent. He will allow your fear to work against you.
Mad Marie was made to become just what people called her, crazy. Yet, although she was now insane, because of Obeah, she maintained who she was even in her sick mental state by teaching and correcting bad grammar. The used her own mind against her, making her confused to the world and how she perceived it. She could no longer function as “normal” people did, but in all he madness, she was dignified.
There should be a part two as I have so much more to explain, but my fingers are tired as I am not a great typist, so there will be no part two, but I hope you now catch a glimpse of how Obeah works.
A kì í dàgbà jù fún ohun tí a kò bá mọ̀. /
One is never too old to learn what one does not know…….Yoruba Proverb!
[No age limit to learning]
Everything comes when it must, and everything happens for a reason, do not hurry your life, what is destined for you, cannot escape you, just keep the faith, be patient and be prayerful, filled with compassion, kindness and respect for all, let these qualities be among your name, God will fill in the rest…..Obara Meji!
All religions are valid as long as it teaches peace and love….Obara Meji
There are no disappointments in life, only lessons learned!….Obara Meji