WHAT started as a routine day on Wednesday for Mazabuka mortuary attendants turned into a traumatic experience when they scampered for cover after they heard a 'lion' roaring from the morgue.
The attendants had just taken a body of an accident victim in the mortuary but as they were going about their routine work, they heard a strange loud noise emanating from the area where they had placed the body.
As if to confirm that all was, indeed, not well, the lights in the mortuary also went off as they tried to figure out where the strange noise was coming from, prompting the attendants to run for life and call in police.
But the erie experience was not confined to the morgue alone as police at Mazabuka Police Station who had kept the bags for the accident victim had a hair-raising experience when they discovered a live snake, a human-like skull and other paraphernalia concealed in the victim's bag.
Police had to seek divine intervention from a local priest before the snake and the paraphernalia could be destroyed.
The accident victim whom police named as Patrick Phiri, aged 42, of Lusaka's Kaunda Square area, died in a road traffic accident on March 17, 2012 around Munali Hills.
The mortuary attendants had a bizzare sight when, earlier, they allegedly noticed that hair on the arms was visibly growing in amount as the body was being prepared to be taken to the mortuary.
According to Southern Province Police Commissioner Brenda Muntemba, who addressed journalists in Livingstone yesterday at her office, the terrifying situation at Mazabuka Hospital Mortuary caused panic among members of staff.
Ms Muntemba said Mr Phiri was travelling from Lusaka in a Canter light truck with several other passengers when the accident occurred around 16.30 hours.
Mr Phiri died on the spot while the driver and several others sustained injuries and were admitted to Mazabuka District Hospital.
Ms Muntemba said the police managed to locate Mr Phiri's wife in Lusaka's Kaunda Square and she went to Mazabuka Police Station on Wednesday this week to pick up the bag and other belongings of her husband.
"As you know, the police keep the belongings of accident victims so that family members could go there and pick them and in this case, we packed Phiri's belongings at Mazabuka Police Station after the accident and no one opened his luggage.
"When Phiri's wife came to the police station, she refused to open the luggage and said she had never opened the bag from the time she got married to her late husband," Ms Muntemba said.
She said the police insisted to open the suitcase and when the luggage was opened, they found a live snake inside commonly known as 'ilomba' concealed in a calabash as well as a leopard skull among several other charms.
"We then informed Latter Rain Global Church of Mazabuka Bishop Kenani Ndhlovu to help us since we suspected some satanic acts after which he came to the police station and led everyone into prayers.
"That is when the snake and all other things were set ablaze," she said.
She thanked the bishop and other people who came to the police station to engage in prayers, saying the situation would have been difficult to contain without asking God to intervene.