Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Witchcraft Wednesdays: Trapped In "Witch Camps", No Flying Baskets & Murderous Witch Doctors

Accused witches in a Ghana "Witch Camp"
Here's this week's update on the dangers and absurdities of witchcraft. It's part of a weekly series I'm rolling out.

I'll start with a plug for an awesome interview with African Freethinker, Human Rights activist and scholar Leo Igwe - who is on the forefront of combatting destructive witchcraft beliefs.

For Accused Witches, A Last Resort

He's speaking in detail about the fascinating and sad phenomenon of the Ghana Witch Camps. These are like refugee camps for those who have been accused of being witchcraft - women, men and children. It's devastatingly sad.
... it's being complicated by Pentecostal Christianity and also the traditional or local adaptation of Islamic beliefs. 
(See below for proof of this very phenomena in Nigeria.)

Some of the children at the camp were abandoned at birth when the mother died in labour. Because they were born with evil magic! This is the peak of harmful superstition! It's unbelievable! Listen to it!

There is an excellent article by Ruth Choji about the dismal child witch situation: Nigeria: Child Witchcraft - Myth or Reality?
Pastors who are desperate for money and fame have not helped matters as their parents and guardians take these kids to churches to be ministered to by wicked pastors. In the name of exorcism, some are taken to shrines where traditional medicine men give them a mixture of concoctions to make them confess to being witches.
The article paints a sad picture of innocent children who, after being branded as witches for any number of reasons, are tortured and killed in exorcisms. There is also a short comment from a very unenlightened Christian pastor:
Pastor Isaac Dakup of Solid Rock Gospel Church differs, according to him, "the Bible has commanded us not to let the witch live. So, if you know somebody is a witch and you have proofs, then she or he should not be allowed to live. Exodus 22:18 says, "You shall not permit a sorceress to live and Leviticus 19:31 adds, 'Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God'. These verses show clearly that witches have no place in a society where God wants his people to prosper. By the power in the name of Jesus, we have been given power to deliver witches and wizard. So, if this deliverance is a bit tough, it is not because pastors are mean or wicked, but it is to save the person and those he is destroying their lives. In this context, we don't kill people because of the finish work of Calvary, but we can save them through the power in the Blood of Jesus.
A bit tough? Killing someone is about the harshest tough love there is. And the opinions of an Islamic teacher are also provided - just to balance things out.
Alh. Gambo Biu, an Islamic teacher also stated that Islam abhors witch-craft noting that, "it is written that,the glorious Quran 113:1-5 says, I seek refuge with the Lord of the Dawn From the mischief of created things; From the mischief of Darkness as it overspreads; From the mischief of those who practise secret arts; And from the mischief of the envious one as he practises And they follow that which the devils falsely related against the kingdom of Solomon. Solomon disbelieved not; but the devils disbelieved, teaching mankind sorcery and that which was revealed to the two angels in Babel, Harut and Marut ... And surely they do know that he who trafficked therein will have no (happy) portion in the Hereafter; and surely evil is the price for which they sell their souls, if they but knew (Al-Qur'an 2:10)'. I must also say that, Some Muslims believe that the Jinn can possess a human, thus requiring Exorcism. Still, the practice of seeking help in the Jinn is prohibited and regarded the same as seeking help to a devil".

Remember that story out of Zimbabwe about the two women who found themselves magically transported over 400km on flying basketsWell, it turns out it was all a hoax.  Who would have known?

This has pitted scientists against traditionalists.
"The sensational new revelations could provide a key to a puzzle that had perplexed a nation and pitted scientists – who dismissed the idea of people flying 400km in winnowing baskets – against traditionalists who insist witches can fly."
I don't know how can scientists prove they didn't fly in their winnowing basket! Eh? Eh? Take that, scientists!

Anyway, it turns out that a prophet (con man), Alfred Mupfumbati, wanted to look like a powerful prophet by having a bunch of witches crash land on his front yard.  So he offered five women money to go with his scheme and pretend to be witches. Two sisters agreed to play.

The plan was that after the initial witch attack he would set up a special shrine that was so super holy that witches would never fly over it again. He would offer his air space protection services for a fee, I guess. Like a kind of Witchy Strategic Defence Initiative.

The police and prosecutors are apparently in hot water for actually believing these women were real witches and fearing to even touch their witchy paraphernalia.  Well, it's nice this as all settled.

I've got a four year old son and I send him off to pre-school. I'd like to think that his teachers are rational enough not to believe witches exist, that these witches caused their kids to go blind and then go pick up some axes and chop said suspected sorcerers to death. Well, this isn't the case in India.
Sasan police said the main accused, Girigobardhan Guru (45), a teacher in a Welfare school near Belpahar, held the deceased and his wife responsible for the loss of vision of his seven-year-old daughter. 
He and two of his relatives attacked the woman with an axe. Her husband was also attacked as he tried to rescue her. The accused chopped his hands and legs. He died on the spot

Also in India, twenty-one-year-old Mohammed Ashiq had epilepsy since he was a child. His symptoms were being managed well using the prescribed treatment of a regular medical doctor: Ashiq was able to lead a normal life with ongoing treatment of Dr Shankar.

Well, this wasn't good enough for his parents. So they took him to a witch doctor who poisoned their son to death. Thank you, superstition.
Meanwhile, Abdul Kunhi has taken Mohammed Ashiq to a witchcraft practitioner who is known by the name Tangal a few days ago.  Tangal has given Abdul Kunhi some powder and asked him to give that to Mohammed Ashiq by diluting in water. Tangal also reportedly said to Abdul Kunhi, to stop medication of Dr Shankar.  As per the instructions of Tangal, Abdul Kunhi abruptly stopped the medication of Dr Shankar and only gave medication that was given by Tangal to Mohammed Ashiq.  However, the health of Ashiq deteriorated from the next day.
Abdul Kunhi called Tangal and informed the latter about the deteriorating health of Mohammed Ashiq, but Tangal assured him not to worry.  Abdul Kunhi trusted Tangal and continued with the medication to Mohammed Ashiq whose conditioned reached critical stage that he had to be taken to a hospital in Mangalore.  However, Mohammed Ashiq breathed his last en route to hospital.  The family expressed anguish over Tangal, because of superstitious belief the youth died.
I would think that this Tangal fellow needs to go to jail.

This seems to be a problem in India. A woman got lynched by some tea garden workers. A girl apparently got ill and so the woman tried to treat her. The girl, apparently, did not get better -- so they decided the woman was a witch and beat her. So much for trying to help.
The child was later taken to another priest who alleged that the woman had practised witchcraft following which the villagers lynched her to death, the sources added. 
Not exactly a happy ending. It's a shame they didn't take the poor child to a real doctor. Perhaps it would have cost too much.

It seems that witchcraft is appealing to gangster in South Africa. 
The power of the gangsters relies on consulting traditional healers and for them to stay powerful, they must use muti as a protection.
Muti seems to be a term for traditional medicine.
The gangster said witchcraft is used to keep gangsters powerful and to escape from dangers such as being killed by rival gang members, being caught by vigilante residents, arrested by police and to be stronger than his fellow gang members in the same group. 
They also cast spells before they appear in court so that they could escape from being convicted and sentenced by magistrates and judges after they committed the serious crimes that is part of their day to day activities.
A traditional healer is interviewed as well in this article - a sangoma.  A sangoma is like a good witch in that they are in it not for their ancestral calling not for money. Apparently, if a sangoma strays from the righteous path, the ancestors will no longer favour them and then they'll be forced to use witchcraft.

I'm happy to say there is a single commenter to this article and he calls this whole thing bunk!

Well never mind, then. You drop one irrational superstition and replace it with a sky man in the clouds superstition.


  1. Great idea, it sounds similar to the Religious Horror Show feature that I've been running for years, although mine is much more general in scope than yours. We really need more people to get the word out on the evil and horrors of religion and why it's got to be stopped.

    If you want to see what I've done:

  2. Cool! I'll check that out.

    The thing with witchcraft is it never stops providing highly unusual and nonsensical stories that are both tragic and funny in a dark sort of way. The posts practically write themselves. But my goal is to make people aware that there is a serious problem here that can only be solved with education.


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