THE OLD OBEAH WOMAN
Many years ago a Christian religious man had been sent by the Archbishop of his church to take charge of a parish far into the interior of the island. In those days that portion of the island was basically unknown to outsiders and for the most part undeveloped. In that there was no presbytery the religious man had to get by until one could be built. In the meantime arrangements had been made for him to live in part of a small wooden house, of which one room was occupied by an old woman who lived there with a little girl.
The old woman was looked on with a great deal of dread by the people of the village as she was thought to be a practitioner of Obeah, a sorcerer-witch, a spell caster, and as such, commanded knowledge of many powerful, evil, and unholy tricks. The villagers hoped that with the religious man close by it would do her good, and possibly even induce her to go to church and change her ways. When the man moved into his part of the house and shown her room, he noticed that it contained some really handsome pieces of massive furniture. A tremendous family four-poster, with heavy turned pillars was in one corner near a ponderous mahogany wardrobe, and a large number of other bits and pieces of furniture pretty well filled the rest of the little room. The door of the woman's apartment opened into the man's room, which she had to pass through every time she went out of the house. This was a rather unpleasant arrangement for both, but it was shortly remedied by having another door installed in her room that led to the outside. The night after the man took possession of his room he heard a monotonous sound through the partition, as if someone was crooning a sing-song chant or mantra. This continued for over an hour, and more than once he felt inclined to rap at the partition and beg the old woman to stop her incantations. Finally, as the night wore on and he got tired and wore out he dropped off to sleep. The next morning after getting up and dressed, he noticed it was perfectly silent next door, and on listening attentively, failed to hear even one sound. Going out to look around he noticed the newly installed door leading to the outside had not been opened, as a chair he had placed against it was still precisely in the same position as he had left it. He then knocked at her door several times, with no answer. Fearing an accident had happened, he opened the door, and as it swung back on its hinges he was astonished to see the room was perfectly empty and swept clean. On examining the room carefully he found it only had two small windows besides the door that led into his room, yet every small scrap and piece along with all the heavy wooden furniture was gone.
From that day to this neither the man nor anyone living in that district have ever seen or heard anything of the old woman or of her little girl. How she moved all her heavy furniture out of that little room, has ever remained an inexplicable mystery. It would have defied any man to move the wardrobe alone, and even if the old woman had strength enough to carry the furniture away, she could never have dragged it through the man's room without disturbing him. However, these are the facts of the case, and no one as ever been able to explain them.
PEACE CORPS ZEN
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