Dance of pots and pans - supernatural experiences

 Supernatural experiences of the people which I have highlighted in Ceylon Today and their reappearance in two London-based websites have inspired some of the readers who, in turn  have encouraged me to dwell in such stories. Although some do not believe in such theories, still they write and say how they enjoy reading other's experiences. This has given me enough ammunition to continue with different experiences of the supernatural.

Man in national dress

Susantha Wijesinghe says a few moons ago he returned from Padiyapelella, after work, towards Hanguranketha quite late in the evening. It was a winding road through coconut estates with the river below with rapids on to his right. He had suddenly spotted “a man adorning a similar attire to that of the late S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike with a blue Satake around his shoulders at a corner.”

 The man was apparently playing a flute facing the river. The flute is a beautiful sounding woodwind instrument which can be played as part of an orchestra, band or enjoyed on its own. The flute is also the oldest known musical instrument that dates back to 3,000 years found originally in parts of Western Europe.

 Susantha had reduced the speed of his moving vehicle thinking it was a mentally disturbed person and continued his journey home.  Upon reaching home he met with a friend, who worked at Ceylon Tobacco Company in Hanguranketha, Hewahata , and his wife who were paying a social visit to his  house in the evening.

 During their social intercourse Susantha revealed his experience on his way home a little while earlier about the “mad fellow in a national dress playing a flute.” To his amazement his friend had burst into laughter exclaiming, “Ah! Then you also saw the flute man!”

 Later Susantha learnt from his friend that it was a common occurrence where all lorry drivers, including a number of people who have passed that particular spot had seen this ‘flute man’ in the same pose. He maintains that it had to be an apparition because had it been an optical illusion, surely there was no way for so many people seeing the same thing over and over again in the same spot and in the same pose!

 He also describes how the pots and pans in the house they lived in at the time made a big din. The house had been definitely haunted. When he and his family were relaxing in the afternoons in the garden they could hear the falling sounds of pots and pans on to the kitchen floor. He would then rush inside only to see every utensil in its proper place as stacked before in the kitchen pantry.

 This unusual unnerving horror had  been taking place daily exactly at a specific time of 5.30 p.m. When such turbulences became overbearing, Susantha had approached their neighbour (‘the late Anuruddha's girlfriend's family’) seeking some solace. Regrettably the news had appeared to the neighbours as something comical, laughable and wacky. However, he had later come to realize that even their previous inmates of the house had experienced similar grisly events with the haunted spirits or boothayas, which forced them to leave the place. It made matters worse when he learnt how the previous tenants of the house had shot and killed a cobra right in front of the main door

 Myths on cobras

There are many beliefs and superstitions about snakes, which vary from culture to culture. Some believe that a snake's entry into a house means a peaceful and a blessed omen for inmates. Such a cobra is never killed.  Others consider the cobra as a peace patroller sent by the family's ancestors. In any event to kill a cobra is generally regarded as inviting disaster. When a cobra is killed some people believe that it may affect the health of the head of the family or an unexpected disaster will befall on the family of the killer.

 Finally, when Susantha contacted the local manager of the grocery shop with his problem of numinous experiences, the Mudalali had arranged a Bhikku with two of his friends and some of Susantha's friends to gather outside the house sharp at 5.30 p.m.

 When they heard the tumbling noises of pots and pans coming rolling down they rushed inside the house to see none of the utensils had moved an inch! Naturally he was subjected to some cynical looks and every one stared at him in a suspicious manner and doubting him whether he was staging a sensational spectacle.

 Overnight Pirith

However, he had managed to prove all the sceptics wrong when he organised a religious ceremony to bless the house with an overnight Pirith chanting by Bhikkus which ended in the morning with the process of invoking blessings and protecting the house by burying holy Pirith water and Pirith Nool (put inside four pots) at the four corners of the house, as well as hanging another set of blessed pots from the four corners of the roof. Attaching Pirith Nool on their wrists protected all family members and those who attended the ceremony.

 Once Susantha took the bhikkus back to the temple and returned home, lo and behold! There were no more noises of pots and pans falling from heights, and all the spooky ‘goings-on’ virtually had come to a full stop and the family was able to settle down to a trouble free life thereafter.

 This goes to show whether one likes to accept or discard such occurrences as falsehood, optical illusions or hallucinations where the human brain plays games at times on the weak minded individuals, there has to be a spiritual world unseen by man for people to hear and experience unnatural or ghostly encounters.

 Christians call it the purgatory.  Having said so, it is equally known that Christian priests do exorcism. Buddhists generally seek the assistance of exorcists (Kattadiyas) and perform thovile; bhikkus chanting overnight Pirith is believed to be the sober way to protect a dwelling without involving boothayas from the spiritual world.

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Tilak S. Fernando 


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