PAPUA New Guinea has some history of being associated with the supernatural.
Our forefathers believed in magic, practiced it and passed it down through the generations until they were challenged by the arrival of missionaries in the 1800s.
Most people in PNG believe in Sanguma, the local term for witchcraft or black magic, and anyone you ask has a story to tell. The belief is widespread among the highly educated and the illiterate – a connection shared with some African nations.
Supposed witches have been tortured and burnt by groups of men often supported by village elders. The torture is somewhat common in most parts of the country.
However some women who died were later found to be innocent and others carry the scars as evidence of this brutality.
Non-government-organisations claim that the killings are baseless suggesting that, when a negative situation befalls someone, the victim looks for vulnerable people to blame and as a result women fallen victim.
But most eyewitness accounts to these acts of violence suggest otherwise.
Eyewitnesses say black magic is real, that it has been part of our culture for a long time and it will remain long after we’re gone, whether you believe in it or not.
An eyewitness recently recounted a case where a woman was accused of murdering her nephew through the use of Sanguma.
When questioned by relatives, she said she had removed the heart of her nephew and ate it because her brother – the nephew’s father - did not support her children with school fees leading them to drop out of school.
The nephew had just graduated from a national high school and had been selected to attend university. The accused confessed and as a result was brutally tortured for three days - but her body remained unharmed, according to the source.
The source recounted that the woman was tied with chains and dragged by a vehicle for long distances but there were no traces of blood or any marks on her skin. This baffled the relatives of her nephew – who were also related to the accused.
According to the eyewitness, the relatives then built a pyre from old tires and told the alleged witch to sit in the middle. She humbly complied with their request.
The relatives poured kerosene over her and the tyres and set them alight. They surrounded the fire with bush knives and waited for her to scream in pain but no sound was heard.
After the fire had died and was in ashes, they checked for her remains but could not find anything that suggested she had been there – no remains of bones or charred body parts.
Sadly, the cursed nephew passed away several days after – just as the alleged witch had predicted.
The eyewitness said that the alleged witch is alive and well in her village but the question remains about how she escaped the fire and the bush knife wielding men surrounding it? No one could have escaped that, remarked the eyewitness.
How can you explain a disappearing act like such? Can humans fly? Or could she actually be a witch? Well, there is a possibility as witches are said to exist –there is supposed to be a lot of evidence in an assortment of literature around the world.
Black magic is believed by many people in PNG and around the world. It has a history that dates back thousands of years. So why do many people in our modern age refuse to acknowledge its existence? Is it not real? Are they still blind when the practice surrounds them and continues to thrive?
Why do they say that only primitive people believe in it? As humans, do we not believe what we see and feel?
Here is a question to ponder - what is the fastest growing religion in America? If you guessed Christianity, you’re wrong. If you said Islam, you’re right to some extent. But the correct answer is witchcraft known simply as Wicca which continues to grow at an astounding rate.*
According to writer and publisher of the Economy blog, Michael Snyder, Wicca emerged as a faith in the middle of the 20th century, but the origins of many Wiccan practices are centuries old, and some researchers believe that certain aspects of Wicca can actually be traced all the way to ancient Babylon.
Wikipedia defines Wicca as a modern pagan witchcraft religion and there are more than 200,000 registered witches with approximately 8 million unregistered practitioners of the dark arts in the USA – this is according to Michael Snyder, compiled from various reliable sources.
Black magic, sometimes referred to as dark magic, is the use of supernatural powers for evil and selfish purposes and is often said to be the wicked version of white magic.
Christianity suggests there is no such thing as white or black magic – only magic; and mankind is prohibited from practising it as it has connections to the devil or Satan. Islam also identifies the devil, whom they refer to as Shaitan, with all those who oppose Allah.
Other non-Abrahamic religions contain figures that have similarities to the devil, such as the Buddhist demon Mara and the Zoroastrian spirit Angra Mainyu. Supposedly all religious sects associate their devil character with negative connotations except one – The Church of Satan founded by Anton Szandor Lavey, also known as the ‘Black Pope’.
Lavey founded his religion to glorify human carnal desires and pleasure. According to his introduction to his satanic bible, he saw Christianity as a sect that thrives on hypocrisy and was filled with people still eager to experience their fleshly pleasures.
Black magic only works according to your beliefs. For example, we cannot cast a spell on a white person and expect the same effect as upon a Papua New Guinean. Still, white people will be prone to their own kind of black magic which includes witches, sorcerers, hexes, spells and so forth..
All types of magic are the same and based on secret knowledge which includes the use of herbs, alteration of forces of nature and secret or real names of objects in your surroundings - but there is more, to delve deeper into the dark arts one has to know the unpronounceable name of a chief demon.
Your beliefs play a major role in allowing you to be vulnerable to the impact and effects of black magic - what is implied is not for one to believe in magic but to acknowledge its existence, practice and impacts in societies all over the world and in PNG as well.
* Mormonism not Wicca is in fact the fastest growing faith group in America (US News & World Report). Hinduism is the fastest growing religion in Australia (Australian Bureau of Statistics). Islam is the fastest growing global religion (Pew Resarch Centre) - KJ