I am not here to proselytize people to scientific belief, or empirical evidence, but, sometimes Science has the answer. Oyibo science, I mean, and not the African metaphysical science.
In 2013, I packed up my stuff, closed my office and flew – metaphorically, of course – to Lagos in pursuit of happiness and fulfillment. In my ill-advised flight, I forgot how astronomically expensive housing in Lagos is, and how annoyingly irritating it is to sit in traffic for hours on end. All I could dream about was reacquainting with the splendor of Victoria Island, visiting Ice Cream Factory and tasting all the different flavors on offer, and dancing on the beach with friends. Forgetting that: (1.) I can’t afford to live in Victoria Island like I did during Law School, (2.) traveling from Isheri to Victoria Island, just to eat ice-cream is impracticable, and (3.) my friends were, now, scattered across the globe, and there was nobody to dance on the beach with. Nevertheless, I trudged on, disregarding all advise to the contrary, and landed on my aunt’s doorstep in Isheri, begging for room and board, until I can settle. Having grown up in a modest bungalow, owned by my father, and having always had the liberty to fart or not – metaphorically, of course – it was not all that dreamy for me. I was a visitor, a guest, and I knew it. My aunt is religious and a bit pushy, so she succeeded in dragging me to many religious functions, where the prophets or pastors succeeded in scaring the hell out of me. I became religious. During one of the functions, at a 3-day crusade and deliverance service, I was scared shitless with the dire prophesies from the pastor. So terrified, I came home and started hallucinating. I have never been superstitious, but at that moment, I truly believed the deity in my father’s compound had surely come for me. Each time I close my eyes and try to drift to sleep, I would feel like a mac truck fell on me, and was trying to snuff the life out of me. It was scary shit! But, not as scary as the feeling that some evil presence was in the room, wanting to kill me. Omo, I left the guestroom I was occupying and ran to the kids room. I slept there for two nights, before I gave myself a fierce talking-to, and started attending Catholic masses where the reverend father does not work to invoke or caste demons. And, I fiercely decided that whatever it was that happened on those nights, I never want to feel like that, ever again!
When I came back to Enugu, I didn’t mention the incident to anybody. It was too humiliating to confess that I was that silly, lacking liver. My brothers would’ve laughed to no end. I just bore it as one of those incidents, and flushed it down the drain. Yet, I wondered: was there really evil forces after me? If so, what are they after? Who sent them? Where are they from? How they take know me? On and on, my brain whirled. So, imagine my exhilaration when my younger brother told me he had been having attacks similar to what I had experienced, and had researched about it and found out it was called “sleep paralysis”. A condition that can result from bad sleeping habits. I rejoiced like I won the lottery. Witches and wizards are not after me, after all. Once again, Science has the answer. An answer that is much more palatable than that given by religion, for how can I battle with an unseen, unknown evil, and hope to win?