“If (the witch doctor) sees a spirit in the compound, you’ll have to take the children to beg in order to prevent the curse,” said Nikiema, who lives with his family in Burkina Faso’s capital city, Ouagadougou. “(The spirit) might not kill them, but he’ll do something to them. He can make them insane or something similar, or he can paralyze them.”

In her dreams, Eveline Zagre believes her two sets of twins share premonitions and make demands of her — buy a chicken, beg for money, reports the AP.

“Their spirits will enter your dreams and let you know what they want and then you have to get it for them,” she said.

Despite the burden of following their dream directives, Zagre considers herself doubly blessed. The 30-year-old mother of five is raising 3-year-old twin girls and 13-year-old twin boys in Burkina Faso – one of the West African countries where twins are revered for having special powers, like healing the sick, warding off danger, bringing financial prosperity and predicting the future.

The majority-Muslim country, with its strong cultural embrace of the supernatural, regards twins as the children of spirits, and the mothers of twins as specially picked to bear them. This deeply rooted perception stems from the days people could not scientifically explain how twins were conceived. In other parts of West Africa, twins are seen as a curse.

“People were afraid of twins because they couldn’t explain … why these children were born two instead of one,” said Honorine Sawadogo, a sociologist at the government-run National Center for Scientific and Technological Research in Burkina Faso.

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