Nationality: African American
Occupation: USC Student
Date of Performance/Collection: March 23, 2015
Primary Language: English
AU is a student at USC majoring in Anthropology with a minor in Journalism. She will begin her graduate studies next year at USC Dornsife. She is also a co-worker at the United University Church [UUC] working at the front desk. The story that she told me comes from her African origins.
Transcribed from Audio Recording:
So what’s the story? Like…
So basically there’s kind of this um folklore about um people that live in rivers state and that is kind of called a delta state and it has different types of nigerian ethnic tribes which include um the ogoni tribe um and the uwera tribe and so you know nigeria is divided by lots of tribes and so there’s kind of this folklore of people that live near the river um nigeria is a very like um spiritually heavy um nation so when you talk about um you know demons and angels it’s a very real thing and there’s this kind of story about when you live near the river there are certain spirits that inhabit the river and they’re not nice spirits they are usually demons that inhabit the river and they call it um and they call that kingdom the marine kingdom where a lo tf those mermaid spirits um inhabit the river and stay near the river causing issues whether it is causing shipwrecks or or um granting people wishes and so um so i heard of a story a long time a go and his goes along with other stories of women but if there is a women that is barren and she is not able to have children um she can go to the river and she can um go pray and cry at the river saying that she wants to have you know a child and she doesn’t know how to go about getting a child but she really wants one so then a spirit will appear will usually appear in the form of a human um and they’ll say yes you can have a child but once you have that child that child belongs to our kingdom. to the marine kingdom and they said that um theres a lot of different types of like demons in marine kingdoms in nigeria um theres one that deals in the shrines theres kingdom in you now the mountains and the bush but the marine kingdom is said to be the most wicked um thats where the meanest spirits are and um so once you know you make that deal with the spirit they are the most stubborn and the most resistant to let go um of that promise or pact that you made originally with them so people theres more fatalities with um with people who make pact with those people in the kingdom the marine kingdom um and so you know a women will go and have her baby but then once the baby turns becomes you know is born they start manifesting supernatural powers they’ll start seeing things at night they’ll start seeing different spirits the most seen spirit that you can encounter with is um sometimes the parent forgets that that was the pact that they made and so when their starts you know manifesting all these things or having issues or being violently sick you know they try to go and get them healed by like Christian pastors and stuff um only to find out that the child is inhabited by a demon and that the demon has inhabited the space of the child um and so that requires this like really intense christian deliverance and deliverance meaning that um you know its a nicer way of putting exorcism um but um those spirits of the marine kingdom usually show up as humans but um most of the time like their true form is in the form of mermaids and mermans and um fish heads with human bodies you know it its really fantastical like crazy and um but yeah its just one of those stories in nigeria um where if you ever meet someone from rivers state you kind of give them a side eyed because you don’t know…
If they’re human.
If they’re human or not. You don’t know what pact they made.
This story brings to mind the stories of changelings who are left behind in exchange for human children. Later in life when the child left behind starts to experience differences they realize their origins and go back to their people. There is a common thread of other realms and the pacts that they make with humans and the price that they will have to pay in exchange for having their wishes fulfilled.
For more information on this mythology this site may be helpful: