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Fiji Time: 10:13 PM on Wednesday 16 April

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Haunting at the ancient village site

Avinesh Gopal
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

IT is the site of an ancient village that is said to have been ruined in 1819.

But there is nothing confirmed yet on how the ancient village was ruined about two centuries ago.

A documented account of what happened states the village was attacked by natives and all men were killed while the women were saved.

However, people living at the site now say they have no idea as to how the village of their ancestors was ruined. The site is of the ancient Buka Village which some also pronounced as Bouka centuries ago.

Nestled among mango trees and situated next to a river at the foot of the Nakauvadra mountain range, it is now the site of the new Buka Village which was established in 1990. With only four houses, the village has a population of about 30. The houses are occupied by four brothers and their families.

It is the same place that I used to often visit during my primary school days, with the school breaks spent in this part of Rakiraki.

The river used by the residents of the ancient village then was the same one where I used to bathe daily with other relatives.

But it was unknown to me then that the place where I spent my school holidays roaming around in is sacred ground, somewhat guarded by the spirits of the first people to settle there.

When I returned to the area after about 30 years for a different purpose, I felt myself on familiar territory, as it was the same area where my relatives once lived.

And what surprised me was the same eerie feeling that I always received when roaming in the area about three decades ago. It was only after a conversation with the new Buka Village headman, Jone Duicagi, that I realised the reasons for the eerie feelings then and during the latest visit.

Mr Duicagi, 54, his three brothers and their families have been living at the site of their ancestors' village for more than two decades now.

And whatever they experience in the village and the vicinity every now and then has somewhat become a normal thing for them.

The families moved to the site after problems within the church Mr Duicagi was attending.

He said the old Buka Village was ruined in 1819 but he was not aware how it actually happened.

"The first village of our people was Nabuloka, which was on the other side of the mountain facing the village entrance," he said.

"From the stories told by my late mother, the people shifted to this place because the land they were living on was sold to someone for a gun.

"Cannibalism was rife at that time.

"The chiefs of the old village were twin brothers, one of whom came down and settled at the ancient Buka Village.

"They were very dangerous people at that time, very big people who did not fear anyone."

Mr Duicagi said from the old Buka Village, the villagers moved to Naqorokawa and then to Narara, where many people died for reasons not known.

He said few people survived, including his great-grandfather Timoci Nagonena, who moved back to the old village site.

"As part of cannibalism, people were killed and eaten at the Kanakana bridge, which is some distance from the village site.

"No one stayed at this site after the old Buka Village was ruined. This is my mother's land, which she inherited from my forefathers who lived here centuries ago."

Mr Duicagi said living at the place where their ancestors lived more than two centuries ago was not an easy thing.

"This is the old village site and it's haunted. We often hear children crying and people washing pots in the river when actually no one is there.

"When we cook our food, sometimes it goes missing. Someone eats it because when we open the pots to check, there's nothing there.

"Sometimes, we can also hear people arguing but we can't see anyone in the village or in the vicinity. But I have seen other things."

Mr Duicagi, a devoted Christian who sometimes preaches in church, said he once saw a big bird in the village while his wife was cleaning outside their house about 2pm.

He said he was shocked when the bird flew away after some time, leaving behind different colours of powder. He still did not know what it was.

"I was shocked. And on the same day about 4pm, I was sitting outside the house with my two dogs when a whirlwind started right here where we are sitting now.

"The whirlwind moved for some distance and I could figure out that it was something evil. I just said that whatever it maybe, the power of God is with me and it just went away."

Mr Duicagi said his wife often kept his food for him whenever he went to church or to preach somewhere.

But whenever he returns home, sometimes there is no food left for him, saying it is eaten by someone or some people they cannot see.

"Last month, my son went somewhere and I was sleeping at home. His food was left in the pots and covered.

"When he came home, he woke me up and asked me if there was any food left. I just opened my eyes and told him it's on the table and covered, and I went back to sleep.

"He woke me up when he found the pots and containers of food left for him empty. My wife had made chicken soup and even the bones were not found anywhere near."

Mr Duicagi also said when he built his house, no one in his family could sleep in one of the rooms because of some unusual things.

He said his family members would always hear people walking in the house, talking and even snoring but they had not been harmed in anyway so far.

"There is no restriction in place in the village as far as the movement of people, including children, is concerned, especially in the evenings and night.

"Children play in the village area at night and nothing has happened to them so far. People even feared crossing this area in the daytime before.

"But although we feel, hear and sometimes even see things in the village area, people are going about their daily lives as we have become used to whatever we experience."

Mr Duicagi said there were some areas in the village where trees or any other plants could not grow big, despite them being planted several years ago.

He also said there was a spot in the village ground, which either appeared to be cursed or haunted in a very bad way, as nothing survived there.

* NEXT WEEK: The spot that takes lives.