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Mambo

 

Back in the mid-70's a buddy of mine bought some remote, high elevation acreage in Butte County, CA. It had been a Christmas tree farm at one time. One year he gave me permission to cut a tree on his property. It was getting dark and I came across a huge Douglas fir or pine tree stump that had a ceramic plaque attached to the base of it. My first thought was that the plaque commemorated the size of the tree or something along those lines. It was too dark to read it. Anyway, I pried it off and threw it in the back of my Jeep, thinking my buddy would probably like to have it. I took it home and placed it in a flower bed behind a retaining wall outside my kitchen. It was the night of Dec. 20th.

The next morning I heard water running in the bathroom. I went it there to find the water running in the sink and the bathtub. I certainly didn't turn it on and neither did my wife, and we're the only two in the house. I hear my wife yell from the kitchen. All four burners on the gas stove were blazing. My mom called later and I told her about the strange goings-on. She told me to go look at the plaque I brought home the night before.

It was a brown lacquered clay plaque, about 12"x8", like something made in a home kiln. The inscription read:

"Agatha. A morning person and free spirit. Left this earth on Dec. 21." Don't remember if there was a year.

Below that, across the very bottom it read "Mambo". From the bottom to the top, on each side, were two black King Cobras in an erect position with their tongues extended.

For a few years after that strange things like I described above would occur on Dec. 21. I still have the plaque. It's still out there in the flower bed. A fence has been built over it now. I thought about taking it back to where I found it, but quite frankly, I'd never find the spot again, and I don't want to touch it.

Things were calm for a few years. Then one rainy afternoon in late Dec. We heard the unmistakable sounds of someone creeping along in our attic, above the living room. The deal is, no one can walk upright in that section of the attic. We live in a wood-framed house that's over 100 years old in an old Gold Rush town, so strange creaks and groans aren't unusual, but this was definitely something walking very slowly above our heads.

The latest was my computer getting unplugged every two or three days. It's plugged into a power strip from above, in a tangle of wires... No way that sucker could could come unplugged by itself. But it did, time and again.

Never have felt threatened in any way, so we can live with whatever it is. That's my story.

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by yourghoststories.com. Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, jsapair, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Unexplained (2 stories) (121 posts)
 
1 year ago (2018-07-11)
Hi Jsapair, interesting account. Is the stump still there? I would have probably put it back there, if moving it caused these anniversary disturbances.
AugustaM (5 stories) (897 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2018-07-10)
Wow, Valkricry! Home run! That's a tidy bit of sleuthing right there! *applauds*
valkricry (45 stories) (3050 posts) mod
+1
1 year ago (2018-06-30)
jsapair,
I don't know if this will be of interest to you. But I did locate this tidbit.
Https://www.familytreenow.com/search/death/results?first=Winifred&last=Conway&citystatezip=california&rid=0s2&smck=GxaHSRDBtUX4hfVvyBhJfg

Full Name Winifred M Conway
Gender Female
Birth Date 20 Aug 1913
Death Date 26 Dec 1969
Death Location Los Angeles, CA
Birth Place Washington
Mother's Maiden Name Seymour
lady-glow (11 stories) (2446 posts)
 
1 year ago (2018-06-29)
jsapair - thanks for posting the picture, though different to the way you remembered it, it's very interesting and well preserved.

I hope the activity at your place won't increase after handling the plaque.

I really enjoyed reading your experience and the thread of comments.
jsapair (1 stories) (4 posts)
+3
1 year ago (2018-06-29)
Just for insurance:

[IMG]http://i66.tinypic.com/16bzjo3.jpg[/IMG]
jsapair (1 stories) (4 posts)
 
1 year ago (2018-06-29)
OK, let's see if this works. Thanks for the link. Doesn't look like a clickable link to me, so let me know. If it works I'll have comments afterwards.

<blockquote class="imgur-embed-pub" lang="en" data-id="a/uQhkx9z"><a href="//imgur.com/uQhkx9z"></a></blockquote><script async src="//s.imgur.com/min/embed.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
valkricry (45 stories) (3050 posts) mod
 
1 year ago (2018-06-28)
jsapair,
You can upload your pictures to a service that allows sharing:
Https://imgbb.com/
Https://imgur.com/upload
Http://tinypic.com/
Are a few that come to mind. Then simply post the url to it in comments.
Can't wait to see it!
jsapair (1 stories) (4 posts)
 
1 year ago (2018-06-28)
Augusta M, I agree. I brought the headstone into the light and took a picture of it. Not exactly how I remembered it but close. Its been decades since I've seen this thing. The woman's name is Winifred MacDonald Conway. (Not Agatha).8-20-1913, 12-26-1969. (I had 12-21 in my mind). Could very well have been 12-26 when the strange occurrences began. Oh, and the "Mambo" on the stone is spelled "Mombo".

Now, how do I attach the picture? I don't see an attachment utility.
AugustaM (5 stories) (897 posts)
 
1 year ago (2018-06-26)
Given what I have read - just treat it with honor and respect and maybe say a prayer for her. I don't feel that there is any true evil bound to the thing.

I think it is good to unearth it - being forgotten seemed like one of the worst possible options for the deceased and that makes sense to me.

Keep us posted and I look forward to the photographs.
jsapair (1 stories) (4 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2018-06-26)
Thanks for the comments. First of all, I'm not positive that what I related as to the contents of the text on the plaque are accurate. I was going by memory. It might not even be 'Agatha', for instance. I do, as I stated before, still have possession of the plaque. It's laying on its back in a flower bed and a fence has been built over it. It would be easily retrievable though.

I could retrieve it and take a picture of it. I've just been leery of disturbing it, quite frankly. But, to justify my claims, maybe that's what I'll have to do. Give me a few days to bring it back into the light and snap a photo. I'm a little uneasy about this.
AugustaM (5 stories) (897 posts)
+2
1 year ago (2018-06-25)
First off, I just went through to proof read this and realized how very LONG it is! I am so sorry in advance - I did not mean to cook up an entire thesis on the topic, I swear!

I spent some time searching the internet with various query combinations hoping to find a decent lead that might she's some light on the situation. I do think that the plaque is of the voodoo religion and that assumption guided my searches. I was not fortunate enough to find anything referencing a Mambo (Manbo) Agatha in California or anywhere else but as the religion is typically performed in secrecy due to prejudice and negative stereotypes, this didn't really surprise me. However, as voodoo and Catholicism share some crossover given the way voodoo as we know it today evolved- the Catholic identity of Saint Agatha may have some significance:
"St. Agatha. Christian. Sicily, ca 100. Patron saint of nurses, wet nurses, firefighters and bell-makers. Portrayed holding a dish of breasts (her breasts were cut off). Bread blessed on St. Agatha Day (5 February) protects houses from lightening." (http://susanmckee.com/glossary_saints.html)

Next I wanted to see if I could find any significance to the apparent burial beneath the evergreen tree in voodoo belief. In Western culture, the evergreen is seen as a symbol of immortality and everlasting life since when all else goes into decline with the approach of winter, it stays lush and green - that's why homes are decorated with evergreen boughs during the holiday. As Christianity adopted this tradition from paganism and as voodoo evolved under the influence of the Catholic church, it may be that there is some significance there but I could find no specific documentation to back that up in my Google searches. However, I did find some information regarding voodoo burial practice that may be helpful:

"Vodou practitioners believe that the soul enters the spirit world immediately after death. But for seven to nine days it stays close to the body. This is a hazardous time for the soul because an evil practitioner or a practitioner with a grudge can steal the soul and keep it from reaching peace.

After a week has passed, the Houngan or the Manbo performs a "Nine Night Ritual." This rite frees the soul from its ties to the body and allows it to go to a place of dark water, where it stays for a year and a day.

At the end of this time, a priest performs a ritual called the "Rite of Reclamation" to transfer the soul into a clay jar called a govi. Then he or she destroys the govi in a ritualized way (for instance, shattering it at a crossroads). This sends the soul to the community of ancestral spirits. The spirit then enters the body of a family member or friend... The spirit later reincarnates 16 times and then enters the spirit world for good."

(http://blog.sevenponds.com/cultural-perspectives/the-mystery-and-magic-of-haitian-vodou-funeral-rites)

As you seem to be dealing with a spirit attached to this plaque, I looked further into the path the spirit is believed to take after death and there are other explanations as Voodoo is practiced in different ways in different regions. This reference a slightly different take, which I find potentially revealing in your particular case:

"It is very important to Voodooists that the body never be left alone even while the Catholic funeral may take place... The main reason for this is that the spirit of the person can get lost if not properly guided and can get into all kinds of mischief... The main purpose in guiding a spirit is to control its destiny in a sense. Voodooists believe that inside a person resides two spirits that they call the "ti bon-ange" (little good angel) and the "gros bon-ange" (big good angel). On the ninth day after death, the ti bon-ange is released and faces God and accounts for his sins, the gros bon-ange remains on earth as a ghost to haunt wherever he has lived and died. After the traditional ceremony, Déssunin takes place. Déssunin is a ceremony that, in essence, removes a person's "mait-tête" (master head or the Loa that resides in one's head)...The next thing that happens is the Hogan [priest] takes possession of the Loa and either puts it into a special jar (pot-tête or govi) or passes it to a special family member. Once the Loa is removed then the wake may take place... The main aspect of importance in the death and burial though is to disorient the dead so they cannot haunt the living. When the wake is over then the coffin is taken to the burial site. In Haiti, people are normally put into tombs... Once buried then the Novenas (Catholic prayer rites) start. Family members pray and an altar is presented with pictures, crucifixes and flowers. They also place food on the ground. On the ninth day the prayers become very intense and then the food is thrown close to the home. At this point, the soul of the dead is said to have moved on..." (https://www.scribd.com/document/18264354/Death-and-Dying#close_user_settings_menu)

Given the explanation above, I am lead to a few ideas as to what may be going on here. First, the article failed to say hat ultimately was to happen with the "gros bon-ange" - perhaps it is meant to stay behind indefinitely and that is the entity that has taken up residence in your house. Or perhaps something either went wrong or a a step as skipped during the burial ritual and her spirit neither became properly disoriented or detached from her earthly existence and has remained to haunt the living.

As Voodoo places a heavy importance on the reverence of ancestors in their religious practices, I was left with one last idea. Take this passage for instance:

"Tombs or graves in Haiti are usually equipped with a special alcove in order for the living to leave food (and gifts) for them, but it can also be set on the ground before the graves. Families continue to do this periodically through the years (Courlander 39). They may continue to pay respect for the dead by either leaving food or gifts on All Souls Day (...) or other special occasions. The dead are not forgotten but become part of another community, which is in turn celebrated..." (
Https://www.scribd.com/document/18264354/Death-and-Dying#close_user_settings_menu)

Perhaps her spirit is disquieted because by tour action, she risks being forgotten and going for eternity uncelebrated with no community. Perhaps a family member came to the tree to pay their respects, saw what was done and sent a prayer to the "Bad" Loa (not bad in a sense of good and evil but more as defense vs offense) to redress the injury done to their family and it is one such Loa in your home and not Agatha at all.

So what to do? I am no paranormal or Voodoo expert- I merely did a little research and shared what I found. But based on that, I'd say you have two options. The best, in my book, would be to attempt to return the plaque to where you found it and leave a gift and food (bread, perhaps, given St. Agatha) and say a prayer for her. If you absolutely cannot find the tree, then do the best you can at home. Perhaps affix the plaque to another tree and make her a member of your "community" - the point seems to be that the dead not be forgotten - so show her she is neither forgotten nor intentionally disrespected and take care of her "burial" site the way a family member would and leave offerings now and then. After you have gone with one option or the other, do a good cleanse and shielding of your home. That's the best advice I can think give...
Socracy5 (1 stories) (40 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2018-06-25)
Jspair,

My prayers for the well-being of your family, curses always brings home an atmosphere of desperateness but there is nothing in the world that doesn't have a cure.

I would suggest you to perform a cleansing and rituals by any local priest professional in cases of black magic and curses if you believe this to be one else you could consult a psychic well experienced in destroying spells, which I believe happed with you, you see in many cases the spell bounded by the curse is the one which affects the most, actually they are the emotions of a person attached to any object which was once close to their life, like the tree in case of Agatha, and these imprints or the emotions are the ones which linger rather than the spirit of the actual person. I hope this helps.

Regards
lady-glow (11 stories) (2446 posts)
-1
1 year ago (2018-06-24)
"Mambo, que rico Mambo

Mambo, que rico es es es!"🎵🎶

Perhaps Agatha enjoyed listening and dancing Mambo and the tree was some sort of memorial.

Jsapair - thanks for sharing this interesting experience.
Would it be possible to take a picture of the plaque and post it here?
Zaruje (13 stories) (171 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2018-06-24)
Wow. This is quite creepy. My grandma always told us to not carry any objects found anywhere back home with us for it might be cursed. I'm not saying what you took home was cursed (I hope not). You did say, you don't feel threatened. But what if that's the start of something bigger? I do hope you and your family are safe and sound.

Thanks for sharing!
LuciaJacinta (7 stories) (246 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2018-06-24)
Very strange. There is a connection between cutting the tree down and the date of Agatha's passing. My question though is was the plaque old looking at the time or new?
Jubeele (18 stories) (776 posts)
+2
1 year ago (2018-06-24)
I was wondering about the significance of the word "Mambo" on the plaque. It means "priestess" in the Vodou religion in Haiti. Their Vodoun symbols or veves feature snakes. They have a benevolent serpent god Damballah-Wedo, a creation spirit, who is the father of their other divinities. His wife is Ayida-Wedo, the "Rainbow Serpent", a loa (spirit) of fertility, rainbows, wind, water, fire, and snakes.
Https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mambo_ (Vodou)
Https://msu.edu/~williss2/carpentier/part1/damballah.html

Alternatively, the mambo was also a Cuban dance popular in the 1940s. It was called "conversation with the gods". It was a fusion of swing and Cuban music, and the inspiration for the cha cha and later the salsa.
Http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Mambo

I think it is interesting to note that no one felt "threatened" by the activities. I wonder when was the plague first taken from the Christmas tree farm? Is the farm still there should you wish to return the plaque?

Agatha might be the "free spirit", fond of dance, who hitched a ride with you and followed you home. Perhaps you should light a candle, say a prayer or a few kind words to wish her well and to be finally at peace. 😊
sushantkar (16 stories) (523 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2018-06-24)
At some extent I would say the same what Rex-t had said. But I would also like to add my own thought in it that might be Agatha was a natorious nature spirit which someone had bounded with that tree. Also the signs of cobras were bit unusual as unlikely in estran culture, in western culture snakes are sign of evil nature.
I might be wrong though but it just came to my mind.

Regards
Rex-T (4 stories) (252 posts)
+4
1 year ago (2018-06-24)
jsapair,

If this spirit is attached to the plaque, then I feel sorry for the spirit. I liken the events that you have described to bringing home a stray puppy. It always comes at a cost. That cost is that you have become responsible for Agatha.

Somebody in the past mounted that plaque on a giant tree stump in the forest for a reason. If you can't get it back to the Christmas Tree Farm, then why not mount it on your fence and perhaps arrange to have it blessed and help Agatha to move on.

I know you'll make the right choice.

Regards,
Rex-T

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