Laubscher, B J F - Outa Jantjes and Grietje, the girl who could throw stones and lift vases with her mind
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
B J Laubscher – Where Mystery dwells
One day during school holidays Outa Jantjes told me that the bone-thrower was coming to see him after attending to a coloured girl named Grietje who was possessed by an evil spirit……
I learned that Grietje was the daughter of a fisherman. At least he had married her mother when she was a little girl. Actually the story was that Grietje was illegitimate and the child of a Sicilian fisherman. I went to their house on my way to do some rock fishing. I found Grietje an attractive coloured girl of the near-white group. She had long eyelashes which were of a fluttering nature and she was very shy. She looked slyly at one and more often down than up. Her hair was smooth, long and pitch black.
She was sturdily built but I could not miss the impression of coyness or mischief which her personality conveyed although she hardly spoke a word.
I was told by her mother that for no reason at all stones were thrown on the roof, and when they went outside not a living soul was in sight. Then invisible powers moved pots and pans and turned pictures round on the walls; the door was opened and banged in the middle of the night. According to her there was no other possible explanation but that Grietje was bewitched.
When I asked how and why? I was informed that they had gone to Velddrift to consult the bone-thrower but Grietje had not accompanied them and he had said that she was bewitched. I saw nothing abnormal while there and that evening I told Outa Jantjes about my talk with Grietje's mother.
He was as usual a storehouse of information. According to him the witchcraft and the queer happenings had only started because Grietje's stepfather wanted her to marry one of his crew, and she had set her heart on someone else. It could be that this spirit was protecting Grietje and preventing a marriage to please her father. I could not understand how a spirit could be protecting Grietje by throwing things about.
A few days later however I was fortunate to witness a display of stone throwing. I happened to be fishing off the rocks when I heard people shouting and running. The coloured people were terrified. Stones were raining down from nowhere, mostly pebbles of which there were myriads on the shore near the rocks but this was at least a distance of a hundred yards from the house, whereas the stones appeared to me to have been dropped from the air and not thrown from the ground.
There was not a living soul in the little stone cottage with its one door, kitchen with fireplace and two bedrooms with windows through which one could push a small child with difficulty. Yet from out of this little house pots and pans were being dropped just over the lower closed half of the stable door.
Grietje was there among the crowd very quiet and with a far-away look. Still there was a sort of sly coyness about her when spoken to. Then an Italian fisherman arrived. I knew him well and often sailed with him. He asked me to accompany him into the house which I did. The people outside warned us that "the thing" might attack us. The Italian was a big fellow and I felt quite safe in his strength. Inside the house he made the Sign of the Cross and told me that no evil spirit could venture near when that Sign was made.
There were so many unexplained incomprehensible and mysterious things happening that I was prepared to credit this Sign with the same power. Suddenly all was quiet. No stones fell on the roof, no utensil was moved. We looked everywhere even under the beds. There were five of them. Then as we were standing in the kitchen which also served as a dining room with its mantel piece covered with paper with frills cut with scissors and decorated with porcelain ornaments and figurines-a little vase lifted itself gently from among all the other ornaments. It floated up to the ceiling, tapped it several times and then suddenly hit the floor at our feet.
My companion leapt over the door and was out. I at least opened the lower door and walked slowly out while my over-whelming impulse was to run away as fast as I could. I was the son of the Seur. Somewhere within me was this command of tradition saying-"Don't be a coward in front of the servants."
My mouth was bone-dry and my hair stood on end, but I walked slowly with visibly trembling legs.
I found myself near Grietje and as she raised her eyes to look at me she gave a smile of derision. Now a strange thing happened; my fear gave way to anger and I walked back into the house.
Nothing further happened that day. Some days later there was again some stone throwing and movements of objects and all took place when no physical being could be held responsible. I felt that Grietje knew or was responsible. Perhaps she encouraged this power in order to get her own way.
Then the bone-thrower came while I was not at home or in that area and he burnt powders and drew a circle round the house; drove pegs into the ground and sprinkled some powdery stuff along the circle. He told them to send Grietje away to an aunt in Saldanha Bay so that he could hold the spirit in the circle until Grietje was gone. She left and all the stone throwing stopped. I learned later that the bone-thrower had said that it was not a bad spirit but one who came to help Grietje and that was why he had sent her away.
According to her mother the Bushman bone-thrower had said that Grietje had magic power which drew this spirit to her and held him close to her.