There I was sitting back and relaxing on my Air Niugini flight from Port Moresby back to Australia enjoying the kind of inflight service even other airlines talk about (sorry that’s Singapore Airlines), when one of the flight attendants paused in his meandering. He looked down, noticed my stylish Kokoda shirt and asked if I had indeed walked the famous Track. Smiling shyly I acknowledged that I had. He beamed and said that his home village of Alola was one of the ones on the Track.
Then he leaned closer and whispered conspiratorially that he was unable to return to Alola because his fellow villagers were jealous of his success and would kill him if he so much as set foot in the place. But they would not do it by machete, popular though they were. They would do it by magic!
Concerned, I asked about the welfare of his family. He smiled and told me not to worry as they were protected by magical guardians. Leaning still closer he then told me that, if things got really bad, he would turn invisible and kill his family’s enemies. Apparently this was something he had done in the past and could do again if the occasion demanded.
He then proceeded to tell me of one of his relatives who broke a leg. It was too far to get them to the city and too expensive to have the leg fixed, so the village shaman took care of it. Another villager was cursed by a rival shaman. This curse fractured their spine in two places. They were given four days to live. Fortunately the local shaman came to the rescue with a counter spell that restored their spine and all but brought them back from the dead.
There are several disturbing plaques on the Kokoda Track dedicated to people who have died trying to walk it. All are dated between 2006 and 2009. I was told that these deaths were not the result of heart attacks or dehydration, as was the official claim. That was just a cover up. They were all killed by magic. While walking the Track it is important never to be the last in the group. Always make sure there is at least one indigenous person behind you or you could also be magically murdered. I told him I was always up near the front of the group, which seemed to reassure him.
At this point one of the other flight attendants dropped by and suggested, in no uncertain terms, that he get back to work. I did see him again as we filed out of the plane. He smiled and assured me that I would be safe. I felt relieved but was that because he appeared to have cast a good spell on me or because the plane was back on the ground?
Dr. F. Bunny
As a footnote, when we approached Port Moresby a week earlier a definite smell of burning electrical circuitry could be detected wafting through the cabin. The pilot then proceeded to not so much land the plane as drop it like a rock onto the runway. That was when I could really have used a benevolent spell.