Without a doubt, Fiji is home to great weather, friendly locals and the most beautiful beaches in the world. It is also the home to the afterlife, ghosts who won't leave this paradise island of Fiji.....or, who simply can't. Fiji is truly captivating.
The island country located in the South Pacific ocean, was also known as 'Cannibal Island' at one point in history. In fact Captain William Bligh’s longboat crew kept rowing past the islands after they were booted off the HMS Bounty in 1789. Bligh wrote in his log “I dare not land (on Fiji) for fear of the natives.” Cannibalism was practiced in Fiji for hundreds of years before dying out in the late 19th century with the coming of Christianity and British colonial rule.
Reverend Thomas Baker was commissioned to Fiji by the London Missionary Society in 1859 to help reform natives. He lived near the coast for six years with tribes who had had considerable contact with Europeans, and who had, to a great degree, embraced Christianity and given up cannibalism. This was not the case with some of the tribes of the interior.
In July of 1867, Thomas Baker led a party to spread Christianity into the interior of Viti Levu. Unfortunately for Mr. Baker he ran into the local Chief of Navatusila. It was then that Thomas Baker presented a British comb as a gift, in an attempt to persuade the Chief of Navatusila to convert to Christianity. When the mighty chief refused, Baker decided to take his comb back, accidentally touching the chief's head as he did so. This was taken as a threat and offense in Fijian customs. Sadly Thomas Baker and eight Fijian locals were clubbed to death and eaten in Nabutautau, on Fiji's main island of Vitu Levu. Eating an enemy was considered the ultimate humiliation, and some victims were kept alive while body parts were sliced off and cooked in front of them. The cannibals even slow cooked the boots for a week with bele (a spinach like vegetable) but they were too tough for them to eat. Yikes! Didn't anyone tell Thomas Baker not to discuss politics or religion with a stranger? Really could have helped him out here.
His death is said to have cursed the natives who took part in his murder and their tribe. The local villagers felt that any of the bad things that happened in their tribe were attributed to his murder more than 100 years ago. Fed up with their bad fortune, and convinced their ancestor's cannibal past was to blame, the village extended an offer to Baker's relatives to attend an apology ceremony to try and lift the curse once and for all. To end this curse, the local natives held an elaborate ceremony and gave gifts of woven mats, a dozen highly-prized whale's teeth, and a slaughtered cow to 10 Australian relatives of the Rev Thomas Baker. * Insert sound of crickets here * Just saying.
For now it seems as if the curse of Mr. Baker has ended....