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Friday April 24, 2009
Aum ShinrikyoFalun GongFLDSPolygamyRNB RoundupScientologyWitchcraft:
RNB Religion News Roundup The RNB Religion News Roundup for Friday, Apr. 24, 2009 includes items about Scientology, Aum Shinrikyo, Korean cult leader Jeong Myeong-Seok, the continuing popularity of Aum Shrinrikyo’s jailed cult leader, and China’s on-going ban on Falun Gong.

Also: • A US state must pay benefits to the wife of a Jehovah’s Witness who died after refusing a blood transfusion  • A killer turned pastor upsets his victim’s son  • Nigerian preacher speaks out against witch hunts  • Vampire story gets demoted…

Plus: what do you see? Pareidolia?

Wednesday March 25, 2009
Gambia president Yahya Jammeh Victims of a purge on witchcraft in the secretive west African state of Gambia have told of horrific ordeals including rape after being force-fed potions inducing hallucinations.

According to Amnesty International and anonymous police sources in Gambia, as many as 1,000 people have been kidnapped and held by so-called witch hunters backed by armed men carrying out orders from the Gambian authorities.

Tuesday February 3, 2009
Lawrence Douglas Harris Sr.Witchcraft:
Lawrence Douglas Harris Lawrence Harris, 26, who had an interest in witchcraft, told police his two stepdaughters had died when a spell he cast to protect their teenage brother reversed itself, killing them. His attorneys attempted to prove he was legally insane.

But after two weeks of testimony, jurors took only a couple of hours Thursday to find Harris guilty of two counts of first-degree murder.

Friday January 23, 2009
Lawrence Douglas Harris Sr.Witchcraft:
Lawrence Douglas Harris Police testified they took black and white candles from Harris’ home last January, along with bells, a necklace, and several books on Witchcraft.

The knife Police found in a master bedroom closet tested positive for Alysha Suing’s blood and Larry Harris’ fingerprints.

Sunday January 18, 2009
Lawrence Douglas Harris Sr.Witchcraft:
Lawrence Douglas Harris Officer Williams said Harris became more upset — hunching over, dry heaving — when firefighters brought the girls’ bodies out of the house.

Officer Charlotte Gorter testified that when she asked Harris what he thought could have started the fire, he told her it might have been a consequence of a spell.

Harris said he practiced witchcraft, Gorter said, explaining that a spell might have reversed.

Friday January 16, 2009
Lawrence Douglas Harris Sr.Witchcraft:
Lawrence Douglas Harris After more than a year of preparation and several delays, a jury will hear from attorneys and witnesses today as the double-murder trial of Lawrence Douglas Harris Sr. begins.

Harris, 26, is accused of killing his young stepdaughters during some kind of ritual. He has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers will try to prove that he was legally insane when the crimes were committed.

Tuesday January 13, 2009
Lawrence Douglas Harris Sr.PaganismSatanismWitchcraft:
Lawrence Douglas Harris In the basement, officers find candles, Larry’s ritual knife, stained with DNA from one of the girls, a symbol of Baphomet, representing Satan and believed to have occult power, bells and an amulet with an inverted pentagram — all items used in rituals described in “The Satanic Bible.”

Larry tells police he has a spell notebook in his and Marla’s bedroom closet. The notebook contains drawings from the book “Pagan Ways,” references found in the occult fiction book “Necronomicom” and page numbers corresponding to “The Satanic Bible,” including one specific spell.

Thursday January 8, 2009
Papua New GuineaA 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

Monday November 24, 2008
Nigeria children 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.”

India 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.

Saturday October 25, 2008
alleged witch 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.

Thursday October 16, 2008
Thomas MutheeWitchcraft:
Thomas Muthee 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]

Wednesday October 15, 2008
Witches 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.

Thursday October 9, 2008
Witch 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.

Thursday October 2, 2008
Wicca 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.

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