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Mu & a TreeI’ve seen a lot of unusual things here over the years; from my own visit to a Witch Doctor in the early days, to customs and superstitions that are unfamiliar to me.

The first morning after I had returned from Istanbul last week, we made our way to the village for breakfast. It was the normal affair – hot bread, great food, baby squeezing and catching up. After the obligatory quantity of cay, we stand up to leave. Sebiha is fast dressing baby Melisa who she shoves into my arms and Dursun follows us down the stairs.

“Where are we going?” I ask Murat

“Ayfer’s house” he tells me

When I ask what for he just smiles and says “you’ll see” hmmmmmmmmmmm

Helen and little Murat come bounding out of the door as we arrive, each wrapping themselves around my legs and pulling on my skirt shouting “Kym abla geldi” as I wonkily make my way into the house.

Ayfer greets us and shows us into the lounge where an ancient village woman sits; nut brown face wrinkled under a lilac swathe of scarf. I vaguely recognise her from village gatherings. I hear Ayfer tell Dursun that everything is ready and they wander into the kitchen. After a polite little chat with me, elder Zedayi stands and also goes into the kitchen, followed by Murat.

“Gel Kym” calls Dursun

With Melisa on my hip and kids on my skirts I too enter the kitchen.  On the kitchen side is a circular tray on which sits a mirror, a pair of scissors, a comb, an onion, some bread, a pile of salt and a battered tin cup filled with water. Zedayi is standing over the stove with a metal spoon in her hand which she is holding over the flame. Murat is on his knees. I’m flummoxed.

Whatever is on the spoon is now liquid and Zedayi nods to Dursun. Dursun takes the tray and places it on Murat’s head. “What the hell?” I think.

With a bang, Zedayi drops the contents of the spoon into the cup of water and it solidifies, forming a ragged lump of metal. I realise then that its gunpowder. Reaching into the cup, she takes the metal, holds it up to her eyes for closer inspection and mutters to herself. Back on the spoon it goes and she repeats the melting process. Again, once the metal has liquefied, she drops it into the water over Murat’s head and again, it makes a loud banging sound. Murat has managed to glance up at me and he has a grin on his face. He knows I don’t have a clue what’s going on.

Taking the now solid lump of metal from the cup, again Zedayi inspects the shape. To me it looks like a Monopoly token that has been stood on. She mutters to herself as once again she holds the spoon over the flame. This time, when she drops liquid into the water, it explodes. There is a collective “ahhhhhhhhhhh” around the room as she takes out the lump and holds it up to show a great big hole through the middle. Dursun places the tray on the side, Murat stands and everyone gets ready to go about their business as if nothing just happened. It’s like actors finishing a scene. 

We say our goodbyes and leave. In the car I wait for an explanation. “Well?” I say impatiently.

“Sihir” he replies

“Yes I know its blooming magic” I tell him, but why?

He then explains that he has been feeling hexed. Normally, when he is feeling the effects of the “evil eye” he goes to the Imam and slips him a few quid after which he returns home with little triangles of paper with words on that he hides in his vest. This time however, he felt it was powerful witchery and he needed de-hexing by the same.

As it turns out, this is not the first time. While I have been away, he has been twice. Apparently, if the hex is not dispersed (shown by being blown to smithereens or breaking apart and leaving a big hole) on the first attempt, (which should be a Wednesday), then it is necessary to repeat the process on the following Wednesday and the Friday after that; a three day process no less.

I thought the best story I would have to tell you this time would be about my going to Prison in Istanbul but no, Murat has out storied me and made it all about him. Pffffft