Wednesday, 21 December 2016


Any low class criminal can be a sorcerer with a bit of treachery and a load of poison. Claims of sorcery can be the cover for vicious murders. Just blame the old man living by the river. No-one likes him.

There are sorcerers in every culture and every age. They are feared for the death they can bring to their victims. All sorcerers have an aura of fear and a mystique built up over the ages.

Women were the earliest victims killed as witches by followers of the Catholic church in medieval times, They were the village mid-wives and dispensers of herbal potions that threatened the dominance of the priests.

They died in waves of genocide over the centuries burned at the stake as the villagers watched. European culture featured wicked witches in black clothes and pointed hats riding on broomsticks.

Australian aborigines feared the Kadaicha man who brought death by pointed bone. This sorcerer would walk up to a house, put on his Kadaicha shoes. 

He would walk away with no footprints that leave the bush house. Aborigines are expert trackers. The family would be in terror that he was still in the house.

Sorcery has existed in Papua New Guinea from early times. Men and women died from poisons and fear.

An early missionary report in the Sepik stated that sorcery improved with the purchase of rat poison from the local expatriate store.

There are sorcerers in Papua New Guinea with women in the highlands and sangguma men in the Sepik. They can kill for a fee paid by a client mainly through fear and poison.

Victims can be waylaid on a jungle track and poison given, these days by syringe bought in the local chemist shop.

We are told that a victim can be killed with organs removed and told to come back to life to die a week later.

Remember the death of a white man in Wewak in the 1980s who was said to be killed by a sorcerer who changed himself into a wild animal.

There is a belief in Samarai of sorcerers who change into birds and fly out to kill. I once experienced this with Linda the woman I cared for with HIV/AIDS.

She believed that a Samarai woman waited as a bird at night to kill her. It was fearful to hear a bird walking across the roof at night, even for a white man.

We are told that there is now a view in the highlands that sorcery and killing have to cease. So-called sorcerers are being intimidated and forced to change their occupation.

Poison is the main method of killing. That is why PNG people do not allow strangers and even family to enter their houses. They fear that poisons can be sprinkled on clothes, toothbrushes, pots, pans and cups.

Battery acid has long been a means of killing by being sprinkled on food or placed in cups of tea or coffee while the victim is not looking. 

I knew a young highlands woman whose body was badly burned by battery acid sprayed on her clothes drying on the line. Any creep can do that.

The killing of so-called sorcerers in the highlands has reached high levels with the undoubted slaughter of innocent men and women for other reasons. Theft of land is probably the most common reason.

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