THE GHOSTS WE NEVER SEE.
The Red Mama visited twice. Do not say her name with the Queen’s command of language in it for we would lose touch with the great visitor we knew. The title red mama had an accent from the lake side to it, think it made us identify with her better especially now that St. Peters Cape View was not very far from this side of the biggest lake in East Africa.
One particular "visitation" still lingers in mind. I was in class seven North then (current grade 7). The more serious ones were reading and others probably wallowing in thoughts but it was fairly silent this particular night prep. The silence was however abruptly broken by a shrill scream and the next thing I knew I was lying on top of others and others piled on top of me. "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, 'Jeso’...’Jeso...' Jeso...' I heard these unfinished prayers and distress calls somewhere in between my fear for death and my somewhat discomfort from the weight. Others asked no one in particular, What is going on? "and the answers to this would later on really surprise and humour everyone but given some of the stories that went around it was safe to act and think later except come to think of it being hurdled at the back in between the last two columns farthest from the door might not have been the wisest action. But cowards live longer, don’t they?
When the country lost 14 pupils from Kakamega Primary to a stampede, I recalled one of our own mini stampedes especially since one of the theories that have surfaced in trying to explain what happened is something I can relate to. Some pupils said they saw a strange figure that looked like a teacher with a cow-like head and that’s when they started running and tripping and falling. While this can be considered a mere theory, it reflects on scenarios that are almost real if not actually real in schools especially boarding schools and particularly girls schools.
St. Peters Cape View is a mixed school both day and boarding primary school. There were a few super natural stories that circulated. The common bathroom in the girls section for instance was to collapse anytime soon because it was said that it had been a burial ground before the place was turned into a school and therefore the spirits were not at rest. Funny how I finished my time there with the bathroom still intact and in 2020 (14 years later) when I asked a former classmate (a boy) the story he is oblivious of it. Now turns out all the Jesus and ‘Jesos’ had arisen because a girl in class six North had been sleeping in class and woke up from a bad dream with a scream .However ,because the atmosphere had been a little tensed because of our ghost in red cum mad woman in red clothes adrenaline hormone was triggered .I never saw the woman myself but it was said she came and would stand at a particular spot transfixed , a sight that was not very pleasing.
While my primary school ghost and supernatural story never got out of hand, a few Kenyan schools have had it rough with the ghosts. Especially in the year 2000: In Gitogo Mixed it is said that ghosts invaded the boys dormitory one night and beat them up and the subsequent night the girls dorm was showered with stones; In Kathuma Primary School in Kitui District evil spirits reportedly invaded the school and strangled the students as they experienced breathing difficulties and in 1999 in Muthetheni Girls ,girls claimed they were attacked by unknown forces that allegedly raped and beat them. Other schools with conspicuous stories include but are not limited to: Kambaa Girls, Wang’uru Girls, Gathigi Primary School, Kyanguli etc. Our ghost took the form of a woman in red and I think we were fortunate for that, others had them much worse: cats, snakes, rapists etc.
A few years down the line in my high school I heard more of these stories. Others said they saw nuns in white and heard them walking in heels along the corridors. Some nights were very scary because of the things being said. My bedmate Zainab (not her real name) stopped sleeping in her bed and joined me, she would cling to me like a small child as if I had how to help but I didnt. There were times it was said some girl possessed evil spirits and people ran whenever they met her in the dark and distanced themselves from her .2012 was particularly not a very good year for us some events fueled such thoughts : On 17th May 2012 when one of the students took her own life behind the workshop we had to call a father to conduct prayers and cleansing ,students kept saying how they met her after her demise and so on; in April when Monica dorm slightly got burnt it was said that the sisters in the convent attempted to sacrifice us but failed as there was no one in the dorm at the time and succeeded later on in September 2012 when we lost eight girls from Asumbi Girls Boarding to a fire tragedy. None of these claims has however been proven and till date I still wonder whether some of the theories ever got to the teachers and administrators.
A friend who is an alumni of Moi Girls Eldoret, class of 2012, Jane (not her real name) speaks of a church just across the road that was no ordinary church. It had (still has) a weird-looking cross that resembled the Star of David. It was rumoured that the church belonged to the Illuminati brotherhood. Sometimes we could see lots and lots of vehicles parked in the compound but most of the time we saw a woman who was always washing some clothes. We never saw her face as she never looked up, always concentrating on her washing. She further adds that there were rumours about ghosts hovering around in the dark but no one knew for certain.
When I read the story of the Ghost of Garbatula by Wahome Mutahi, I am tempted to think that most of the stories about seeing and hearing ghosts, stem from such naughtiness as portrayed by Mueni.
Although, some are of the opinion that these arise from substance abuse and hallucinations, some stories however sound too real but I am yet to experience or get anything well corroborated.