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Throwback: Story of Aramatu; A Dead Woman Whose Head was Singing in Ondo in 1974

Can you still remember a strange woman whose head was reportedly singing after her dead body was reported to be disturbing and terrorizing the whole community and its environs?

This incident happened in a small town called Ipele in Owo local government area of Ondo state in 1974.

Ipele is located in a tropical rainforest, the town is directly 93km east of Ondo town, 90 km north of Benin city and 65km west of Auchi.

Photo: Aramatu 
By road, Ipele is about 15km from Owo and 60km from Ondo state capital, Akure.

Aramatu was a very powerful woman in Ipele community, Owo, Ondo State. She was said to be appearing everywhere for one and a half years after her death. When her body was exhumed she was still fresh. People who bought her body parts returned them.

The whole town was in confusion as people ran helter-skelter. The old and the young could not sleep with two eyes closed again. Those who could not bear it any longer fled the town both the indigenes and non-indigenes including the White men who bought her head were said to have returned it when it was disturbing them in the night.

During this period, the whole town was in confusion as people ran helter-skelter. The old and the young could not sleep with their two eyes closed again. Those who could not withstand it both the indigene and non-indigene ran for their lives.

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Farmers abandoned their farms land and hide their cutlasses and hoes. People could no longer go to the farm very early in the morning and those going to night market resorted to selling at home.

According to the story, the small ancient town was destabilized, fear gripped everybody only the bold and powerful hunters could go out in the night.

When the town gradually reduced in numbers, the elders put heads together and met the community head, the Monarch, Oba Ogene .

A meeting was held on what to do and the best solution was to go in “Native” way to resolve the calamity.


According to the story, when the news spread that a woman called Aramatu who had been buried for about one and a half years was sighted in broad daylight and at night walking, talking and terrorizing the residents.

The name, ”Aramatu” sent fears and shivers into everybody’s spine. During this time, you dare not mention her name, it is sacred, it is attached to evil.

According to sources, those who went on hunting usually saw her in the bush and she would be asked how they were faring while she would ask nursing mothers whose children cry in the dead of the night to breastfeed their babies.

It was also gathered that before the people woke up in the morning she had swept the whole compound.

She will go to the farm saluting the farmers who were working on the farm “well done”.

It was gathered that the first people to sight her were the hunters who came to report of seeing the strange dead woman.

Sources also said that some young men who sighted her at the mosque while coming from a night party said they saw a woman with a gaslight but could not see her legs

They later claimed that the woman went after them and beat their chest, and when they got home they started vomiting blood and later died.

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Some sources said Aramatu do go to some neighboring market like Omolege and Elegbeka markets to sell her provision and she would sell to unsuspecting buyers who did not know she had died.

Aramatu continued her business as a normal human being for a very long time until when a man went to her stall to buy cigarette but met her praying at a mosque.

The man called her that he wanted to buy cigarette but since she did not want to break her prayer so she did not answer him but continued her prayer this made the man got annoyed, hissed and left.

Aramatu ran after the man and slapped him for hissing on her. When the man got home and narrated what happened not knowing she had died, but after being told that the woman she narrated her story had died, he started vomiting blood and died.


When the situation became unbearable, the elders commanded the hunters to dig up her grave, but to their surprise, her corpse was still fresh. It was exactly how she was placed in the coffin that they met her, and they had buried her over one and a half years yet she didn’t change and the body did not decay.

The plaited hair on her head was clean. It was learnt she asked her hair be plaited when she was sick before she died


According to reports, rituals and sacrifices were offered and the body was exhumed and was found fresh. The white cloth used to wrap her was as white as snow. Not only that, some said in the grave where the dead woman was buried she had constructed a big extra room there, thus having a room and living room, and she pushed her coffin somewhere in the grave.

According to reports, the Ugbamas [ set of age grade] took the corpse away into the bush called Igbo Omo Oba where witches are buried and the dismembered body was buried there.

After the body was exhumed and cut into pieces, it was gathered that some men took parts of the severed body away possibly to use them for other things.

Later rumour went round that Aramatu’s severed head was bought by a white man who took the head away secretly.

According to rumour the White man who bought the head could not keep it any longer as he said the head used to sing at night and the buyer had no choice than to return it back to the man that sold it to him.

It was gathered that the head of Aramatu was taken to the forest and Acid was pured on it. And this ended the calamity in the town.


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