The Sunday Mail
Stranger than fiction
IN folklore and religion, hell is often portrayed as a place in the afterlife where evil souls are subjected to eternal punishment.
Some religions portray hell as a place of never-ending fire, where souls are tortured in red-hot flames. As a result of this, images of fire have become synonymous with pain and suffering. In scientific terms, a fire is defined as a process in which substances combine chemically with oxygen from the air and give out bright light, heat and smoke.
Veld fires as well as fires caused by electrical faults and arsonists all contribute to death and destruction of property.
In fact, throughout human history, fires have literally created “hell on earth”, in the process claiming human lives and destroying properties worth billions of dollars each year. Although the origins of most fires are known, mysterious fires have also been reported across the whole world.
In the Bible, Prophet Moses saw a bush which was on fire. However, it was not burning! lndeed, humankind has always been subjected to unexplained fires.
But while the fire that Prophet Moses came across was ‘‘harmless’’, the same cannot be said about other mysterious fires.
Recently, our sister paper the Chronicle, reported that a fire, whose origins remain a mystery, claimed the lives of five members of a Bulawayo family. The same paper also reported that five houses belonging to members of the same family were mysteriously gutted down over five consecutive days in Zhombe, Midlands province.
In July this year, it was also reported that a Tsholotsho family was haunted by mysterious fires that burnt down four homesteads belonging to its members.
This reportedly happened in Mpilo Village, about 90km west of Tsholotsho Business Centre. In Plumtree, three homes belonging to members of the same family were also mysteriously burnt down in three consecutive days. According to a report in the Chronicle, this happened in the Madlambuzi area.
The report stated that the family had previously suffered from the same tragedy in 2010 and 2013 when four homesteads were reduced to ashes by the mysterious fires. Starting out of nowhere, the mysterious fire destroyed one home after the other. Villagers suspected that the fires were out to destroy a particular member of the family, who was said to have been present each time the fires broke out.
The Manica Post, our other sister paper, reported that in Mutare, three huts were destroyed by a mysterious fire in Maoko Village, under Chief Marange.
According to the report, the Matope family, which had been terrorised by mysterious fires since the beginning of the year, was left homeless after a fire whose origins is not known gutted their homestead.
As was the case with the fires in Zhombe, the huts were destroyed in three consecutive days. The source of the fires remain unknown. In all the cases involving mysterious fires, members of the community were hesitant to give the affected families refuge, resulting in the affected people staying in the open for long periods.
Neighbours and relatives are said to have feared that the fires could also destroy their homes if they provided sanctuary to those affected. And the mysterious fires have often left both traditional healers and prophets completely baffled. They have often failed to provide solutions to the problem. Madzibaba Gamba (Martin Madzura), a prophet based in Harare, said the majority of the mysterious fires are a result of witchcraft.
“Mysterious fires are caused by goblins. Some people acquire goblins with the intention of getting rich. Such arrangements usually backfire, resulting in homes being mysteriously burnt,” Madzibaba Gamba said.
According to Madzibaba Gamba, cases involving mysterious fires can be solved. “Most people are aware of the fact that mysterious fires are signs that something is wrong within a family. But the challenge is that most families do not know the causes and the possible solutions,” Madzibaba Gamba said.
“There are spiritual ways of dealing with the mysterious fires. Certain rituals are conducted at the affected homesteads, putting an end to the miseries associated with the fires,” he said.
The thought of a “fiery fire starting by itself” can send chills down the spine of many.