Mar 04, 2022 I Paul Seaburn

‘Cursed’ Grinding Mill Ruins the Life of a Zimbabwe Man

When one purchases a grinding mill, the last thing on their mind is whether the mill is cursed or not. One man in Zimbabwe wishes he had read the fine print or at least been warned when he purchased his grinding mill in 2019 – this week he claimed he’s homeless, broke and out of the grinding business after the mill allegedly burned down his house and granary and ruined his life.

“Every night, I would see the shadow of a man at the grinding mill. We have endured the scary occurrences for a long time. The shadow acts as someone guarding the grinding mill. At times the shadow would chase us.”

The problems for Phillip Mafemera of Mazarura Village in Nyanga began in 2019 when he bought a grinding mill from his neighbor, Charles Chibvuri. He told Harare Live that Chibvuri didn’t mention the grinding mill was haunted and the strange incidents began occurring almost immediately upon taking possession. Giving both the seller and the mill the benefit of the doubt, Mafemera first assumed it was a mechanical problem.

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Not the mill in the story but they're complicated machines.

“The grinding mill never worked ever since I bought it. Mechanics would tell me that it was in perfect working condition, but it still did not work.”

Since this is Zimbabwe, the next step was not to call a lawyer but instead to consult local “spiritual healers.” The unnamed healers told Mafemera they saw the shadow too – it was the grinding mill’s spirit trying to tell him it misses its old owner and wants to go back. Well, it was actually stronger than that.

“The healer told me that the grinding mill was telling him that if nothing was done to return it to its rightful owner, someone would die in my family.”

The mill tried to kill someone but failed, as Harare Live reports:

“A NYANGA man was left homeless after his entire homestead was razed down by a mysterious fire that started in broad daylight after he had been warned of the event by spiritual healers. Buildings that were reduced to shells include his bedroom, granary and the structure which housed the grinding mill. The family also lost the grain that was in the granary.”

No one was hurt, but Mafemera had nothing left … but the cursed grinding mill, which he dumped in some bushes. That’s when Mafemera got into trouble with something worse that the curse -- the law. Healer Madzibaba Anthony Chirangeni told him to grind some maize in the mill, then take the meal to the house of previous owner Chibvuris and perform some rituals. While he claims the rituals helped, they raised the ire of Chibvuris, who called the police.

“I was caught conducting the rituals and fined by the chief, but he also instructed the Chibvuris to take back their grinding mill.”

In a decision that sounds more like a TV court show, Chibvuri had to take the mill and return the three cattle Mafemera paid him for the mill. Then, Mafemera was fined six cows for showing up in a disguise and performing rituals without consent. (Is there a permit for this? Asking for a friend.) If this were a TV court show, everyone would shake hands, walk out the door and conduct a post-show interview. Harare Live had the interview with Chibvuri:

“He is also lying that the grinding mill caused mysterious occurrences at his home. The truth is that he can no longer afford to maintain it. When he bought the grinding mill it was in perfect working condition. He bought it from my father and I think he should have returned it to him and not to me as he is still alive.”

That seems uncalled for. After all, now he has the grinding mill back and six cows instead of three. Could he be complaining because he knows the grinding mill is still possessed?

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Maybe he should have brought some tortillas.

You can’t make this stuff up -- photo of the grinding mill here.

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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