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Welcome to our WEIRD FACT OF THE DAY...
Villagers apologize for eating missionary
After eating an English missionary in 1867, contrite villagers in Fiji are now eating humble pie and want to say sorry.

Rev Thomas Baker, from Playden, East Sussex, was cooked and eaten by the people of the remote mountain village of Navatusila.

They only thing left of Mr Baker, a clergyman with the Wesleyan Methodist Church, were his leather boots - and they even attempted to chew them.

The people of Navatusila believe they were cursed because of the actions of their cannibal ancesters. They have no electricity, no passable road leading out of the jungle, and down the years they have suffered a series of misfortunes.

In a bid to break that curse they have invited the cleric's descendants to attend a special ceremony of atonement, where they plan to offer an apology for the sins of their ancestors.

But whether it will break their run of bad luck is another matter. They have apologized to no avail before, when they presented the Methodist Church of Fiji with Mr Baker's overlooked and partly chewed boots in 1993.

The 35-year-old Mr Baker is the only European to have been cooked and eaten in Fiji. His death helped to create an image of missionaries as blundering proselytisers who ended up in a cooking pot as the natives' next meal.

- October 15, 2003.


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