Alleged witchcraft practitioner,

Associated Press, Sep. 16, 2002

SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico – Unidentified gunmen burst into the home of an alleged practitioner of

San Cristobal Bishop Felipe Arizmendi, whose diocese includes San Juan Chamula, condemned the attacks, reminding residents that “taking justice into one’s own hands could spark a spiral of violence that nobody can stop.”

Several other accused witches have been murdered in Chiapas over the last decade. In 1996, a mob beat and hanged a man they accused of drawing his victims’ souls into bottles and hiding them in a cave. As many as 12 other men were hacked to death with machetes in Chiapas in the 1990s, reportedly as punishment for practicing witchcraft.

While faith-healing and pre-Hispanic rituals are common in Chiapas, many of the state’s largely Indian residents also have a strong belief in, and fear of, reputed practitioners of black magic who allegedly provoke illness or death among their neighbors.

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This post was last updated: Friday, December 16, 2016 at 9:47 AM, Central European Time (CET)