Category: Superstition

French village seen at threat from Apocalypse sects

Bugarach The tiny southern French hamlet of Bugarach has drawn scrutiny from a government sect watchdog over droves of visitors who believe it is the only place in the world that will survive a 2012 Apocalypse.

So many people in France believe that the world is about to end that a government agency today alerted the country to the risk of mass suicides by converts to prophesies of imminent Armageddon.

Witches and miracle healers still rule roost in superstitious Balkans

It might sound weird, but even in 2010 the brooding Balkan countries can’t shake their addiction to psychics, clairvoyants, soothsayers and assorted ‘white witches’, all of which are still doing a roaring trade, from Bulgaria to Translyvania.

Every second Bulgarian who took part in a survey for the Sofia television channel BTV said they believed in supernatural powers, and especially feared a curse being put on them. Professor Ljubomir Halachev confirmed in the programme that “trust in psychic powers and second sight is widespread in Bulgaria”.

The apparently unchallengeable claim by Bulgarian clairvoyants and psychics to paranormal powers rests on the world-renowned reputation of their late peer, the seer Baba Vanga — who is claimed to have predicted, before her death in 1996, a number of world events, including the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the death of Princess Diana, the break-up of the Soviet Union, the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US – “two American brothers would fall under attacks by birds of steel” – and the sinking of the Russian nuclear cruise-missile submarine Kursk.

“Miracle” baby gives hope in Russian Muslim south

Baby Quran hoax A “miracle” baby has brought a kind of mystical hope to people in Russia’s mostly Muslim southern fringe who are increasingly desperate in the face of Islamist violence.

From hunchbacked grandmas to schoolboys, hundreds of pilgrims lined up this week in blazing sunshine to get a glimpse of 9-month-old baby Ali Yakubov, on whose body they say verses from the Koran appear and fade every few days.

Abuse of child ‘witches’ on rise, aid group says

Children accussed of being witches In many African countries, as in other parts of the world, children are blamed for causing illness, death and destruction, prompting some communities to put them through harrowing punishments to “cleanse” them of their supposed magical powers.

Pastors have been accused of worsening the problem by claiming to have powers to recognize and exorcise “child witches,” sometimes for a fee, aid workers said.

In Russia, faith healers are tested and licensed — by the federal government

Kremlin So far, 130 healers, including Fadkin, have passed the service’s voluntary testing program, which promoters in the government say can determine whether someone has the inherent ability to cure. The program is limited to Moscow, but a Russian lawmaker is pushing to extend it nationwide and make it mandatory.

Skeptics scoff at the notion that such testing is meaningful and criticize the government for lending credibility to people who claim paranormal powers.