Travel memories shape our lives, in good and bad. I want to tell you about a case of the latter and then add some positive conclusion.
When my wife was not yet my wife, she went on a business trip to Marakesh, Morocco. It was an annual sales&marketing kickoff meeting on which work meets leisure and vice versa. One of the leisure activities was a visit to a local bazar, meaning large shopping place with lots of stands and small shops full of Arabs offering their goods in their typical way. She went with a group of about six people, most of them men. She was a bright blonde and gained attraction everywhere. Her companions have rejected several serious offers for her being exchanged for one or two camels. It was difficult to find some typical local souvenir that would fit the aircraft luggage on the way back – they have seen several carpets shops and found it rather difficult to leave without a 3×4 meter persian carpet under their arms. My wife was particularly fond of a shop which sold large wooden animals – she is an addict to cats of any kind (live as well as wooden) and she was overwhelmed by one which was that huge that it simply looked straight into her eyes.
Nevertheless they found something interesting eventually – shop with dance masks. My wife bought one African mask with happy face and that was it.
When back home, she hung it on the wall in her sleeping room. It did not take too long before she started having strange health problems. Her head ached and she was loosing interest in anything. To shorten it enough, she visited the herbsman whom her parents had been seeing in the cases of any infections or other health problems. He had examined her and found out that the African mask she had brought with her from Morocco was spreading dangerous offensive spirit and advised her to throw it away. When she did it, she rapidly recovered and the problems never returned.
So she focused on collecting wooden and ceramic cats since then. We had to get rid of several of them as they were charged with bad spirit as well but it was never that intensive as with the African mask from Marakesh.
I personally collect things without ethnical connection when traveling. They might be commercial but I do not mind. I mean products typical for the location like colored glass plates from Murano, bottles of red wine from Provence, hot pepper powder from Hungary or some Prague souvenir with motive of the Astronomical Clock. These are safe.
If you still believe you cannot live without some ethnical souvenir from Africa or Pacific it is good idea not to display it in your bedroom. Better place it into some part of your home where you do not spend too much time – corridor, corner, wardrobe and such – so that the probable bad spirits can not harm you (too much). Or leave those things where they belong to.