A woman in rural Papua New Guinea was bound and gagged, tied to a log and set ablaze on a pile of tires this week, possibly because villagers suspected her of being a witch
, police said Thursday.
Her death adds to a growing list of men and women who have been accused of sorcery and then tortured or killed in the South Pacific island nation, where traditional beliefs hold sway in many regions
Increasingly Nigerian children accused of witchcraft are tortured, murdered or abandoned. The director of one child protection agency says the teachings of some churches are partly to blame.
“Churches have strong influence on people and some church leaders get some parents to sheepishly believe that their kids are witches and wizards. This is the focus of most of these churches, which have departed from preaching righteousness and salvation of souls to stigmatisation of children as witches and wizards.”
A belief in witches and the evils purportedly wrought by them – from famine to sporting failure – is widespread among tribal communities in the country’s impoverished rural hinterland.
It is estimated that 750 people, mostly elderly women, have been killed in witch-hunts in the states of Assam and West Bengal since 2003.
Also: Some academics claim that witch-hunts are an economic phenomenon.
Related: 16-year-old girl was beaten to death by villagers.
A student accused of assaulting a teacher with water and a lighter because he believed she was a witch
who needed to be purified was ordered Thursday to undergo a psychiatric examination to determine whether he is competent to stand trial.
Darin Najor, 20, of Ferndale is charged with misdemeanor assault and battery.
A Kenyan pastor who prayed to protect Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin from witches is being criticized at home after it emerged that his chief claim to power – that he forced an evil, spell-casting woman from town – was false.
The woman in question is preaching just down the road from his church. [video]
Campaigners are seeking a posthumous pardon for the men and women who were executed as British witches centuries ago.
More than 400 people were put to death in England for alleged witchcraft, and over 2,000 were executed in Scotland, before the 1735 Witchcraft Act put an end to the trials, they said.
A 20-year-old man is facing an assault charge after allegedly accusing his English literature teacher of being a witch and then pouring liquid on her.
The man also threatened the teacher with a cigarette lighter and cigarette.
A Southeast Arkansas woman who argued she lost custody of her son because of a judge’s perception of her alleged practice of Wicca
lost her appeal Wednesday before a divided state Court of Appeals Wednesday.
In a 4-2 ruling, the appeals court affirmed a decision granting custody to the child’s father, though the judges disagreed on whether the lower court considered the mother’s religious beliefs.
A football player’s alleged use of black magic has sparked a deadly riot at a stadium in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
As is the case elsewhere in Africa, many Congolese hold traditional animist beliefs and use spells, fetishes and charms to practise witchcraft
, often combined with other religions like Christianity or Islam.
The old-fashioned attitudes and hierarchies of churches are causing a steep decline in the number of female worshippers, according to an academic study.
The report claims more than 50,000 women a year have deserted their congregations over the past two decades because they feel the church is not relevant to their lives.
It says that instead young women are becoming attracted to the pagan religion Wicca
, where females play a central role, which has grown in popularity after being featured positively in films, TV shows and books.
Prosecutors say 26-year-old Lawrence Douglas Harris Sr.
, who faces two counts of first-degree murder for allegedly killing his 8- and 10-year-old stepdaughters in January, was practicing satanism and carefully planned the killings as a part of a spell or ritual from “The Satanic Bible.”
Shortly after the girls’ deaths, police said Harris told them they had died during a spell that “had gone bad.”
Dozens of suspected people were killed in western Kenya in the 1990s, amid allegations of sorcery. Several cases were also reported in recent months in neighbouring Tanzania, forcing President Jakaya Kikwete to order special protection for albino, who were being murdered and mutilated for good luck by with-doctors.
The number of practising Wiccans and Pagans behind bars in Canada has tripled in the last five years.
Jerrie Hildebrand fights against the misconception that Wiccans and Pagans are somehow fundamentally different from Christians, Jews and Muslims — a belief she says was held and accepted even by Salem officials until recent years. In truth, said Hildebrand, they come in all forms: gay, straight, businesspeople and artists, family leaders and singles. “We’re just regular folk having a life,” she said. “So we’re just like any other faith community.”
Witches get more respect than they used to here in the Witch City. That was a recurring theme among about 40 witches, pagans and Wiccans at a city-sponsored forum held Saturday night to educate the public and challenge stereotypes about their religion.
“It’s a situation whereby one neighbor’s actions or behaviors are clearly aggravating other people on the block. However, it does not appear that these behaviors are in violation of the law, nor does it appear that the religious practices of the family have anything to do with the neighbors’ frustrations with the family,” said Capt. Richard F. Gutch, commander of the 123rd Precinct.
The hunt for supposed witches — whose alleged crimes were sometimes no more heinous than being near when someone got sick — took the lives of thousands of men and women across Scotland over centuries.
A pregnant mother who was hanged to die alongside her husband after being blamed for sorcery delivered her baby prematurely while struggling to free herself.
In central and southern Africa a mixture of folklore and evangelical Christianity in some communities has spawned a fundamentalist belief in witchcraft and possession by evil spirits, one that blurs the line between traditional medicine and extreme religion through the entire continent.