If you’re from Africa – and particularly West Africa, then superstition is no stranger to you. Odd events are often ascribed to superstition, like this spooky encounter I had one Monday night. It was way past midnight when my friend and I left campus. Although I love having the road all to myself, I prefer it in the daytime as opposed to the eerie stillness of the night. As we approached a four-way intersection, we were met by a very unusual sight – a huge fluffy white dog seated at the center of the road. It turned abruptly and stared at us as we waited for the green traffic lights. I felt uneasy under its gaze – you know that awkward feeling that raises the hair at the back of your neck? I double checked that the car windows were wound up tight and all doors securely locked.
“This is not a good sign, why is it not moving?” I whispered to my silent friend who didn’t seem bothered by it, her mind was preoccupied with laboratory experiments which had kept us up that late. I could hardly wait for the green lights to come on and even as we inched closer to this dog – it stayed put!
“Ha! man go see witchcraft for here today o” my friend finally spoke up, in Pidgin English, dispelling the myth that she was absent minded. Slowly and carefully, we made our way past this stationary dog and sped off. Amazingly, it still didn’t budge from its position at the center of the road. I kept a firm eye on it from my rear view mirror as we disappeared into the night, all the while thinking to myself, how very strange!
Confronting superstition – Is it just a mind game?
As luck would have it, upon arrival at home we realized we had forgotten the house keys at the department, eish! We had to go back through the now infamous ‘ghost dog’ intersection. But this time around, the dog had vanished! Being the good law-abiding citizen that I am (cough), I patiently waited for the traffic light to take its bloody time. Plus, I had the added pressure of being alert to any unusual apparitions, so I can pull off a Michael Schumacher racing stunt.
I was freaking out – what if the dog reappeared inside the car?! My mind conjured up frightful images of it parading right ahead of us on its hind legs! So I stayed alert and nervous the entire drive to and from campus, only finally relaxing when we got home safely. Perhaps it was injured or just needed some rest? I will never know. I wished the poor dog well, with the hope that it finds another resting spot next time for its safety sake. (But if I’m totally honest, for my sanity too).