Witchcraft Murder Round-up

The Bulldada News Blog mentions an article about two women who were killed for suspected witchcraft in Papua New Guinea. There’s quite a bit of this sort of thing going on, and not just in PNG. A few recent highlights:

  • In Nigeria, two brothers beheaded their mother, believing that she was magically responsible for a string of misfortunes in their lives. A son of one of the brothers was living in the same house; he was beheaded as well, presumably to keep him quiet.
  • The government of the South African province of Limpopo has created a special unit to investigate witchcraft, ritual murders, and “related activities.” Premiere Sello Moloto commented, “In the recent past, we have seen the escalation of these heinous acts of crime in an uncontrollable manner.”
  • Suspecting an 81-year-old Kenyan man of murdering his three grandsons by witchcraft (they were killed after falling into a collapsed septic tank), a gang of his fellow villagers beat him to death and set his body on fire.
  • Representatives of the Catholic Church, the Anglican Church of Kenya, and the Council of Imams and Preaches of Kenya have condemned the killing of suspected witches. Bishop Julius Kalu stated, (and it’s hard to argue with this) “It is against the principle of peaceful co-existence to lynch someone for suspecting them of witchcraft.”
  • On the other hand, “scholars” from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (also in Kenya) are concerned that even though witchcraft is destroying the Catholic Church in Africa, the church continues “to dismiss the dark arts as mere superstition, thereby unwittingly assisting the devil.” Theologian Michael Katola wants priests to understand that they have the power to confront these evil powers . . . otherwise the Catholic Church will start losing members to evangelical movements that offer exorcisms.
  • In Kokrajhar, Assam, India, a man was arrested for beheading a housewife. After his arrest, he claimed that she had practiced witchcraft, and that two other men had participated in the murder.

It may be time to start translating The Crucible into a few more languages.

books miscellanea religion

A High Weirdness Update

J. R. “Bob” Dobbs It’s been eighteen years since the publication of that auxiliary tome of Subgenius sacred aesthetics, High Weirdness by Mail. It was a perfect core sample of the peculiar, and still makes for bemusing, slackful reading.

You may have looked sadly at your copy and said to yourself, “My, I sure do wish that someone would update this book for this modern era of email and those new-fangled hyperlinks.”

You, my friend, are in luck:

  • The Church of the Subgenius has made available the research of Friar Synapse as “The Return of High Weirdness by Mail.” It’s a “where are they now” of the organizations mentioned in the original book. Happily, the “where” seems to be largely Internet-accessible, so you’ll have plenty of oddness to enliven your weekend. (I just found out Factsheet 5 may publish again. Huzzah!)
  • Reverend Modemac’s High Weirdness Project wiki extends the mission of the original work into an “interactive directory of the differently-saned,” and includes a Bulldada Newsblog.  This latter often burbles up topical oddities that might be missed if you aren’t following alt.slack as closely as you should.

Remember: JHVH-1 is a space alien, and still threatens this planet!  Praise “Bob”!

games religion

. . . Gang aft a-gley

flow.pngReally. You were going to have a nice post on would-be messiah Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, recently self-promoted from reincarnation of the apostle Paul to second personification of the big J. himself (though he seems a bit conflicted . . . he nattily sports a ‘666’ tattoo on his arm, according to MSNBC). Thanks, reddit, for the link.

But, reddit giveth and reddit taketh away. I’ve just lost two very enjoyable hours of my life playing flOw, a well-crafted, ambient game where you guide a stylized micro-organism through the sorts of challenges that face most micro- and macro-organisms: eating, and avoiding being eaten. So instead of reflections on cults and prophet motives (a salary of $98,000 plus perks, to start), you get a link to an aethetically appealing time-waster. Such is life.

discordianism religion

Persistently Vegetative Martyrs

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am episkopos of a Discordian splinter group, the Order of the A.’.A.’. (The true A.’.A.’., of course; all other claimants can be safely ignored.)

It is written in the Principia Discordia:

It seems that Zeus was preparing a wedding banquet for Peleus and Thetis and did not want to invite Eris because of Her reputation as a trouble maker.

This made Eris angry, and so She fashioned an apple of pure gold and inscribed upon it KALLISTI (“To The Prettiest One”) and on the day of the fete She rolled it into the banquet hall and then left to be alone and joyously partake of a hot dog.

This is true as far as it goes, but it is our fervent claim that, during that feast, Our Lady Eris did not roll a golden apple among the guests there present, but rather a golden eggplant: the Aboriginal Aubergine. Despite the self-evident nature of this assertion, it is accepted by surprisingly few people.

The principal task of the A.’.A.’. is keeping up with the Smiths. (The Joseph Smith, Jrs., that is.) Discordians have an ever-increasing number of Saints: anyone properly deserving can be declared a Saint Second Class. (There are four higher degrees of Sainthood, but they are typically reserved for fictional characters.) Despite these relatively lax standards, Discordianism still lags well behind the Mormons in total number of saints.

To rectify this, members of the A.’.A.’. must create as many new saints as possible; due to the difficulty of finding deserving human beings, it is permitted to canonize vegetables. Further, it must also be noted that the credibility of a faith can be increased by having a large number of martyrs. To this end, it is appropriate to eat the vegetable in question.

Further catmas shall be forthcoming.

All hail Discordia!


Red Magic, Molestation, and Bishop Wanjiru

I had to read this article from the Standard (Nairobi, Kenya) twice to get the full effect: “Chaos in Church as Bishop’s Guards Attack Journalist“. It seems that Margaret Wanjiru, formerly of the Redeemed Gospel Church and presently Bishop of Jesus Is Alive Ministries International, is embroiled in a rather peculiar sex scandal.

Other than a sudden unexplained power blackout at her church — during which she sneaked out of it — her minders molested a photojournalist sparking off mayhem at a press conference she had called to apologise to Kenyans.

The bishop — who is caught in the horns of a love triangle and at the swirling centre of a debate about her dark past practicing witchcraft — is said to have watched the entire attack on Standard photojournalist Ms Rebecca Nduku without twitching a muscle. One of her bodyguards is in custody at Kamukunji Police Station while the other two are said to have melted into thin air. Four journalists recorded statements at the same station.

The tales of witchcraft from her past (which she herself recounts) are quite attention-catching:

She brags how she once bewitched a woman who had attempted to mess up her business: “One woman tried to play poker with my business enterprise, the same woman who had introduced me to Black Magic. I bewitched her and she went bonkers.”

In a lengthy interview, Wanjiru said the woman started roaming the streets in rags, and picking up dirt while eating food remains from dustbins.


She said the woman had attempted to use Black Magic on her unaware she had graduated into White and Red witchcraft.

Lovely stuff! While searching for a bit more information about Red Magic, I happened across this gem of an article from the September 1, 1952 edition of Time Magazine. It begins:

Black & Red Magic

In the British Crown Colony of Kenya, while 3,000 coal-black tribesmen, huddled in a kraal, watched in awe, a goat was slowly beaten to death and buried alongside a virgin ewe. After that ancient rite, supposedly strong magic against evil, an official representative of the Great White Queen Across the Waters pronounced a solemn curse against the Mau-Mau. The Mau-Mau (rhymes with yoyo) is a native secret society which has lately been worrying the British.

Ah, reportage.