Spirit in the sky…

I saw this report in the newspapers the other day…

Spirit of the Coin 1

…and it reminded me of an eerie experience that I had in the late 70’s or early 80’s when I was teaching in Kanowit, a small town upriver from Sibu.

It was such a hassle coming back on weekends as the road was unsealed – all rubble and if you were in a non-airconditioned car, by the time you get to Sibu, you would be covered from head to toe in dust. Taking the express boat, non-airconditioned too at the time and very noisy and smoky, was cheaper but if it was one that would go zigzag all the way down the river to pick up passengers on both sides of the river banks, it would be quite an ordeal and might take as long as 3 hours to reach Sibu.

One weekend, I stayed back and went over to the students’ hostels to chat with the teacher-wardens and the students there just to pass the time. There, I saw some boys playing with a coin on a piece of paper which had a maze of Chinese characters arranged in no particular order in a circle. I asked them what they were doing and they said that they were telling their fortune.

When they asked me to join in, I thought there wouldn’t be any harm engaging in such child’s play just for the fun of it. They asked me to put my finger with the rest of them on the coin…and they started calling for the spirit of some deceased person to enter the coin. Lo and behold! The coin started to move around on the paper!!!

Spirit of the Coin 2

They asked me what I wanted to know but I did not have any question in mind. So they asked what I was in my previous life. The coin went round and round and stopped at a Chinese character. The boys promptly told me that it meant “soldier”. Then, they asked what rank I was holding as a soldier. The coin started to move again and eventually stopped as another character, one that I knew meant “small”…and everyone had a good laugh over it.

What we did not realise at the time was that somebody had been sweeping the floor and had left the broom by the door. When the boys thanked the spirit and asked it to go back to where it belonged, it refused…and the coin kept going round and round and round on the piece of paper. The boys said that we had to keep our fingers on it and must not let go. Then, one of them noticed the broom and shouted to somebody to get rid of it. After that had been done, they apologised profusely to the spirit for offending it and asked it to leave…and after a while, the coin stopped. Phew!!!

Those of you who have seen the horror movie, “The Exorcist”, starring Linda Blair would know that the girl in the story ended up being possessed because she was playing with an Ouija board. So, do you believe in such things or are you of the opinion that it is all utter rubbish or a figment of one’s imagination?