Dancing with the Dead No. 13

A well-known plant used in the practice of voodoo on the island of Nevis is the Dieffenbachia sp., whose sap causes temporary paralysis of the larynx. Literally one’s vocal cords are shut down for a period of time. Some farmers use the sap to ward off theft by rubbing it on their fruits and vegetables – an exhausting task. Rewards are great however when a ‘cursed’ villager, the thief, is found to be speechless.

Dancing with the Dead No.11: Montserrat No. 2

As John and his wife sat at breakfast on their first morning, John said to me that he sensed there was an angry spirit on the island. To this I replied that that must be the volcano, and explained about the tragedy of the nineteen deaths in 1997. He said, no, that he knew about the volcano, but that it was something more than that.

Dancing with the Dead No.10: Montserrat

She was just about to continue on to the bathroom, when a tall cadaverous gentleman approached her with his hands held out towards her. In a trance, she stepped into the drawing room and her small hands were lost in his large hands. As she had often done with her grandfather, and as so many children do when dancing with an adult, she put her bare feet on the top of gentleman’s shoes. He spun her around into a whirl of dancing, drawing her further and further into the crowd of partygoers. The music played on.

Dancing with the Dead No.9: ST. VINCENT & THE GRENADINES (1955 – 1962)

Suddenly a cry rang out and I was almost thrown to the ground. There was a huge stampede as every last person fled in terror. I couldn’t see or hear what had happened to cause such a reaction, but if everyone was running away, something terrible must have happened. I ran along with the crowd, panting, until I reached the car and quickly drove home.

Dancing with the Dead No.8: Grenada (1951 – 1955) No. 3

For years I puzzled as to why our house roof remained intact and I finally asked Mammy. It was not by chance or good fortune she said. Through the years she had learned to open one window on the lee side of the storm, and when the eye passes over, during the lull, close that window and open a window on the opposite side of the house. In doing that, the build-up of pressure in the house is released and so the roof stays on. Of course this would not work if a hurricane-spawned tornado struck, but it did not happen to us, thank God!

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