A few years ago, my family took a short holiday to a city we’d never visited before in Asia.
I have two sisters, and the youngest one has always been a little distant and timid. At the time of this story, she was about 7 years old. On the first day of our holiday, we visited several shops selling handcrafted souvenirs including small toys, keychains and jewellery, which had been made by the local indigenous people. I wasn’t feeling very well, so I stayed outside at most of the shops we visited.
At one of the last shops we visited, my youngest sister exited after a long time spent browsing inside, and told my parents she’d seen something she wanted very badly. She described it to be a ‘cute’ snake toy that was made out of wood.
My dad doesn’t like spending money on unnecessary items, so he dragged her away from the shop after much persuasion and a weak promise that he’d buy it for her before we went home. For the rest of the week-long holiday, my sister would not stop talking about this wooden snake toy. Day and night, she reminded us of how ‘cute’ it looked and how my dad had said he’d buy it for her. It drove us crazy and my parents finally gave in and agreed to purchase it, thinking that it was just one of those little kid whims.
On the last day, we went back to the shop and my dad went in alone to buy this toy. He came out carrying a cheap pink plastic bag that had an ominous mass inside it. He tossed the bag to my sister who was sitting in the back seat of our rented car next to me and my other sister, and we watched as she reached into the bag and pulled out this horrible wooden thing. It was very long, carved skillfully out of glossy light brown wood and its body was separated into many small ‘sections’ sort of like a centipede, so it appeared to be able to curl and pose realistically.
Right away I felt repulsed and my eyes followed the snake body from the tail up to it’s head. I couldn’t see its’ face but I could see the top of its body was like that of a king cobra, and there was a large red dot painted right on the part that spreads out like a cape near its head. At that moment the only thing I could think about was how terrifyingly realistic it looked. My mother turned to see what this snake toy was and she screamed. She begin yelling at my dad asking him why he would ever buy something like that. She exclaimed that she had no idea it looked so real and that it looked horrible.
My other sister and I were suddenly gripped with fear and begin yelling too, and it felt like a dark and malevolent presence was now suddenly in the car with us. Meanwhile, my youngest sister was still holding the snake, seemingly mesmerized by it and oblivious to the commotion around her. Now, we were actually due to head to the airport for our flight home in a few hours, but my mom ordered my dad to take us straight to the airport.
Once we were there, she grabbed the snake forcefully from my sister’s hands despite her angry protests and stuffed it back into the plastic bag it had come in. She ran over to one of the empty luggage trolleys and I remember how she threw it into the trolley’s metal basket with such force and hatred that a chill ran through me. We all argued with each other the entire way home, my mom blaming my dad for buying that ‘thing’. For the next few months, there was a significant change in my youngest sister’s behavior.
She began acting very strange and would keep blinking her eyes hard and repeatedly, staring into space and was generally unresponsive to everyone, even to the people closest to her.
She looked traumatized. When she eventually came out of it, my mother told me that she thought that the snake had a negative entity attached to it, because she is able to sense spirits and has had many experiences with the ‘other’ world. I believed her. My youngest sister is sweet and innocent, and I think that ordinarily, she would never want something like that toy snake, even if it was given to her. Whatever was in it, it must have attached itself to her when she saw it because she was so shy and withdrawn, and in my culture, we believe that spirits are most attracted to people like that because they tend to be more vulnerable to negative energy.
I just remembered this true incident today, and a chill ran through me when I remembered how oppressed and scared I felt when I saw that snake and the strange spell it had on my sister.