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Jungle Spirits

Posted by Penny Knight on 8 Jun 2016

Tags: Penny Knight, travel, A Knight Fulfilled, ebook, Borneo

During her year of travel, trekking and adventure, author and adventuress Penny Knight travelled solo in Borneo. She met many characters including Howard Stanton, a Brit who had travelled the world working in many different roles including as a hotel manager, a diving instructor and a rescue diver in the army, he had played rugby for the West Indies, and was an international Cabbadi player. He eventually settled in Sabah, northern Borneo to build his dream of an eco-resort. It was there that Penny met him after booking to stay at his accommodation. During a short trek Penny asked him why he left a tot of rum before they entered the jungle – Howard explained it was an offering to the jungle spirits. Curious, Penny asked him to tell her more…

'I could see that Howard truly believes you need to bless the land before you build on it and leave an offering before entering the jungle to ensure safe passage. He explained to me why…
Howard had been employed in Borneo to oversee the set up of a new hotel, sports and recreational complex. While he was there, he got to know and trust the team he was heading up. Then after about eight months, odd things started happening.

While giving a talk one day to his staff he was overwhelmed by a powerful feeling which made him feel empty and totally drained. He sat down for a bit and recovered but straight after took a call from his boss sounding worried and asking him to find Tommy, his deputy, in a hurry. When he did they both ran to the housekeeping department where people were chanting around a girl who was being held down by security while she screamed and writhed around on the floor. After a while, she recovered and all senior staff were called for a meeting to discuss what had happened. Howard heard the locals mention possession, spirits, demons, but he reckoned it was either something physical or someone trying to wreck the hotel's reputation and plans. This same thing then happened to several others, mostly young women, over the next few weeks so Tommy, who was highly respected as a religious man, carried out prayers, services and even exorcism. But, it continued, so they bought in other people - Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Pagan – trying anything they could to stop it. There was no change, the incidents carried on. Howard still thought that it was someone somehow trying to kill off the hotel competition.

Then one day, Tommy and Howard received a panicked call over the walkie talkies calling them to the same department. For the first time they were quickest to the scene and Howard was told to hold the girl down as she screamed and fought. She was smaller and a much lighter frame than even me and Howard had just finished a career in international rugby so holding her down should have been easy! But he told me that he recalls being physically lifted off the ground by an invisible force that seemed to have gripped her. She also started hissing in a deep unearthly voice. Security arrived, and Howard was allowed to stand down.

He shook for several minutes and despite being a very level headed and practical guy, he had to face up to what he'd just seen. He investigated and researched the local history and eventually found out that the land the hotel was being built had not been blessed before work started. Many of the plans for other buildings were scrapped. The hotel did eventually open, but there were ongoing reported incidents involving both staff and guests. From then on Howard has taken the need to keep peace with the jungle spirits very seriously indeed.'

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About the Author

Penny Knight

I grew up with a love of the outdoors and being active, so it was no surprise that I pursued a career in the armed forces. This was only cut short by my decision to have a family, but I carried on learning, eventually qualifying as an outdoor...

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A Knight Fulfilled

Outdoor leader Penny Knight found herself at the age of 48 quite content, with a great job in a beautiful location, two grown up children and surrounded by a loving family and friends. Time to throw everything up in the air then...! In 2013 Penny decided to give it all up, sell everything and spend a year combining her passion for travel with leading extreme challenges. Swapping security and home comforts for uncertainty and adventures, Penny headed off to see if she could make a totally different kind of life work - it was after all, going to be 'just for one year...'

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