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This story happened when I was five years old. I used to be a creative and intrepid girl, or at least that’s what my parents told me. One day before Christmas, my family decided to visit my grandmother’s house. The house, which was built during war times, was old and tenebrous. I only liked to visit it when my cousins were there, so I could play with them.
I clearly remember how that day, after we got to grandma’s house, I started playing with my two cousins, but the truth is that only one of them was really there. My aunt always used to ask why I was talking to myself, and I replied, “This is my friend,” and pointed to my side, but she never saw anyone. My family thought that the friend they could not see was a product of my imagination. “It’s okay, this will pass, and in time she’s going to forget it,” they said.
However, that day my younger cousin could also see and talk to the child, so my aunt and the rest of the family got really scared.
“What is this child’s name?” They asked.
“Pablito,” I answered, and everyone fell silent, flabbergasted, because Pablito was the name of a cousin who had died before being born.
My family had a pastor come to the house and bless it, and since that day, we all believe in ghosts.
Many people in South America believe in shamans or healers, erroneously called wizards. These are people who are supposed to exercise the role of intermediary between the natural and spiritual worlds, allowing them to communicate to find the remedy to cure or the poison to make sick. According to my family, some shamans practice white magic, basing their healing power on the resources provided by nature and prayers to God. On the other hand, there are shamans who perform dark magic - basically those who communicate with evil spirits to hurt people.
But the reality is that I did not believe in any of this until some family members experienced real events related to shamanism.
The following story happened about ten years ago. It all started when my mother's cousin, Gripina, came to visit us from another city. My parents organized a lunch for her and her husband. Everything went as planned, and after the meal was over, they began to talk about banal topics. I didn't really pay attention to them until I heard a comment about another cousin, Sara, who was extremely sick.
“Her whole body is swollen, and she has a fever, and no matter how hard the doctors try to bring it down, they can't. She’s been hospitalized for several days, but the doctors don't know what is wrong with her,” my mother said.
“How strange, I had the same symptoms a few months ago and I spent two months in hospital. However, the doctors never found the cause,” Gripina replied. “In the end, they told my husband that there was nothing to do, and he’d better take me home to spend my last days with the family.”
Gripina went on to tell us the rest of the story. When she got sent home to die, her desperate husband remembered an acquaintance telling him about a miraculous shaman who cured people, so he proposed taking her there. “Hope is the last thing to be lost,” he said to her.
A few days passed, and Gripina and her husband went to the shaman, who lived far from the city, near a forest. They first saw a hut with a smoking chimney. The shaman came out and asked the husband to wait outside and Gripina to follow him inside the hut.
Once they stepped inside, the shaman began to recite some prayers while rubbing Gripina’s skin with a bunch of mysterious plants. He then doused her with a liquid that smelled of alcohol.
“You have come just in time,” the shaman said to Gripina.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“If you had waited just a few more days to come see me, we would not be able to do anything. Someone has done powerful witchcraft on you, and your soul is struggling to stay in your body.”
Then the shaman took Gripina to the river. He asked her to sit on a stone that was in the middle of the rushing water and took out two guinea pigs from a canvas bag.
“Now I am going to rub these guinea pigs on your skin. One is black, representing death, and the other is white, representing life. Then, I am going to throw them into the river, and whether you live or die depends on which of them is saved,” the shaman said.
The shaman threw the guinea pigs in the river, and they started swimming. The white guinea pig was struggling. It looked like the black one was going to come out of the river and be saved. Gripina began praying as hard as she could for the white guinea pig. In the end, the white guinea pig made it and swam to the shore.
“This represents your salvation and healing,” the shaman said to her.
He prescribed some natural herbal teas, and Gripina and her husband went back to the city. After just a few days, she regained her vitality and strength.
When she finished telling her story, all the people around the table were stunned.
“Is all of this true?” they asked.
“Yes, 100% true,” she answered.
My mother hesitated for a while but ended up asking her how she could contact this healer, to see if he could help my cousin Sara.
The following week they coordinated everything to go to visit the shaman, but Sara's situation had worsened. She was in intensive care, and they could not take her out of there. They communicated the situation to the shaman, and he understood and said:
“It doesn't matter, a picture of her is enough for me to know what is going on.”
My mother took the photo to him, and as expected, the shaman lit candles and began to recite some prayers. When he finished, he said:
“I'm sorry, but I can't do anything for her. Someone has been doing dark witchcraft on her for a long time, and as a consequence, her soul is no longer inside her body, and she will inevitably die.”
He handed my mother a sealed envelope and said:
“The exact date she will die is in this envelope.”
Neither my mother nor anyone else in the family dared to open it.
A few weeks later, Sara passed away. The whole family was devastated, and after her funeral, we decided to open the envelope. When we read the date that the shaman had written, we were petrified, as it was the exact day Sara died.
And that is how the existence of evil and benign energies was demonstrated, but not in magic as in the movies. Since we, human beings, are energy, we can absorb different types of energy. For example, there is the belief that envy is a form of evil energy that can affect people. Or how about the famous love bindings that make one lose their mind?
stories of home, memories, turning points
© Alejandra Sanchez
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Sanchez, Alejandra, "Supernatural Stories" (2023). Memories and Turning Points. 9.