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The Trader Of Death

Having had a surreal experience in Borneo, Sadhu Dah chronicles a tale going over a master of death that he encountered in the rural area of Ranau, Sabah.

Ok, I had a surreal experience. This is what I can talk about. Some time has passed and I have been able to process this, but the bulk of this post is a journal entry I wrote and I will elaborate further with what I have processed since writing the journal entry.

What I'm about to say may sound absolutely crazy to some, but there are some intensely magical people in this world that defy mainstream logic of what is considered possible. I met someone who was local in Sabah and he told me about a man said to perform miracles. This miracle man would only allow people to come visit him in the evenings, he is said to never go out during the day time. He lives in a bamboo long house style hut. He was to be found outsie Ranau in the outskirts of a nameless village of sorts in the mountain range of Kinabalu. Closest location I can give is Kalapek, which is where I was originally staying. This place is as remote as remote gets.

The man with miraculous powers is said to have brought 6 dead children back to life... He is both equally feared and worshipped here in the Ranau area of Sabah. In order to be granted a meeting with him I had to abide by a few rules of which were a little concerning safety wise being in a remote region of a foreign developing country with nothing other than strangers around me. I had to leave my phone in the locals car as he said I was not allowed to take it with me to make sure I did not record anything or take pictures. I tried to argue, but I honestly had no real options to contest with him as he was my sole contact for the miracle man and my only ride to get to him.

Here is what I learned, my Malay and Bahasar is not fully fluent and the guide with me was largely quiet until the end of our encounter. I am not sure if this was because of fear, superstition, or respect. I only picked up bits and pieces of what the mysterious shaman was telling me as he explained bits and pieces of his story and what he does for his community. He did a lot of drawing pictures in the dirt of crude images with a stick to explain things to me that I was not grasping through translation.

"He is a trader of death. A merchant that deals in souls."

He is a trader of death. If someone dies prematurely he can give them half of your remaining life expectancy and it's shared with the freshly deceased person and they are brought back to life. Only someone willingly offering can make a trade for someone else and the traded years must come from their life and not be an offering on part from someone else's life.

My adrenaline is triggering slightly as I write these details and remember the scents and sights of that evening...

He offered to show me with an assortment of freshly dead animal carcasses laying in makeshift cages of bamboo with twine bindings. I observed mostly birds clumped in heaps and noticed some tails and fur, mixture of reptiles and small monkeys from what I could tell. I initially refused thinking this would come at some cost to me in a way I may not be aware of and I was on guard as my senses were screaming and my gut was saying you need to move, but the curiosity paralyzed me and I took in the experience with acknowledging nods and small movements as we came to a little table he had and some black liquid substance in a bowl. He invited me to drink from the bowl and motioned to a cup to fill. I looked at it and knew better, I have no idea what the concoction was, but at the very least it would have gave me a roaring stomach ache, and at the worst maybe something beyond my imagination.

"The look of his eyes were glossy, his smile seemed crooked, there was an intention there I could not place."

After politely declining the drink he proceeded to take one of the very obviously dead birds from the mangled mound of death and cupped it into his hands while blowing into it. To my amazement, he sprung to life and flew from his hands into the jungle very much so not in a state of eternal slumber anymore. The look of his eyes were glossy, his smile seemed crooked, there was an intention there I could not place. I remember thinking he felt proud of himself in that moment, that stood out to me.

My guide began telling me a story of how this shaman had given life back to a young child that had been dead for hours after drowning in a nearby spring, the mother made the deal with him and the child lived another 7 years before dying on the same night as the mother. I had no evidence to merit the story as being true, but in the context of the situation I was in and all that I had witnessed up to this point, it did send chills down my spine.

Without much more happening that night, we left sometime later and were quiet the whole ride back, once I got my phone and was dropped back off at my place, I quickly updated one of my teachers and he let me know that was a bit of a foolish trip to take. While strange and not necessarily a negative or positive experience, I removed the contacts number from my phone and decided I would let the shaman and that night just become a memory and not to revisit that place again. To this day I can't point it out, but something just didn't sit right with me over the whole encounter.

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