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South Africa Fans Pin Hopes on World Cup Witchcraft

A bit of magic could boost Befana Befana

(Newser) - A bit of magic just might boost South Africa's chances in the World Cup. That's what practioners of muti—a Zulu word referring to traditional medicine and witchcraft—are hoping as they brew concoctions of plants and animal parts in a bid to help the second-lowest-ranked team in the competition,...

Talk-Show 'Sorcerer' Wins Saudi Reprieve

Lebanese man dodges beheading—for now

(Newser) - A TV talk-show host condemned to die by beheading for "sorcery" by a Saudi court has won a reprieve. Officials, however, gave no indication that his sentence would be commuted, or that he would be released. Ali Hussain Sibat offered predictions and advice on a call-in program in Beirut...

Help Wanted: Witch, Good W/Potions, $75K

(Newser) - A British tourist attraction is seeking to conjure up a new resident witch, the BBC reports. Wookey Hole Caves has advertised for a witch willing to live in the site's caverns and practice her—or his—trade for an annual salary of $75,000. Applicants need to have strong cackling...

Tanzania Opens Trials in Killings of Albinos

Dozens arrested in 40 murders; body parts used for witchcraft

(Newser) - Tanzania is trying seven people for murdering albinos and selling their body parts for use in witchcraft, the BBC reports. Dozens have been arrested in some 40 murders over the past year and a half, but so far no one has been convicted. Witch doctors sell “albino potions” for...

Abuse of Child 'Witches' Burgeoning

Growing number of kids suspected of witchcraft worldwide

(Newser) - Children dubbed “witches” are facing increasing abuse in Nigeria and elsewhere, advocates say. “They would take my clothes off, tie me up and beat me,” said a 14-year-old, whose grandfather concluded he was a “witch” 2 years ago when he cried at the threat of being...

Pope to Angolans: Convert Witchcraft Believers

(Newser) - The Pope urged Catholics in Angola to reach out and convert witchcraft believers frightened by “evil powers,” the AP reports. “In today's Angola, Catholics should offer the message of Christ to the many who live in the fear of spirits,” a fear that can lead them...

'Witch' Burned Alive in Papua New Guinea

Girl said to spread AIDS; outbreak fuels such sorcery killings

(Newser) - A young woman accused of witchcraft was doused with gasoline and burned to death on a pyre of car tires in Papua New Guinea, reports the Telegraph. The girl, aged between 16 and 21, was accused of spreading AIDS to one of her murderers in an extra-marital affair. Black magic...

Murders Terrify Tanzanian Albinos
Murders Terrify Tanzanian Albinos

Murders Terrify Tanzanian Albinos

Killers sell body parts for use in witchcraft

(Newser) - Tanzanian Albinos are living in fear, "unsure of waking up in one piece," said one, as 30 have been killed this year for their body parts, the Guardian reports. Their pigment-free hair, skin, genitals, and extremities are used in witchcraft to bring enrichment, a “stupid belief,”...

Downturns Spark 'Witch Hunts' Against Elderly

People lash out during tough times, researchers explain

(Newser) - "Witch-hunting” is a hot term these days as angry Wall Street investors pine for revenge—but in some countries they take it literally, Tim Harford writes in Slate. In Tanzania, Bolivia, and India, elderly women are often targeted as witches when resources are scarce. Tanzanian women are killed by...

Congo Probes Witchcraft Stampede Deaths

13 killed after accusations of sorcery provoke fighting, panic

(Newser) - Accusations of witchcraft led to a deadly stampede at a soccer game in the Congo, the BBC reports. Fighting broke out between rival teams after players from one team accused the rival team's goalkeeper of casting spells. Police intervened but were pelted with rocks by the crowd. They fired tear...

Swiss Pardon Europe's Last Executed Witch

Housemaid accused of casting spells was beheaded in 1782

(Newser) - It's 226 years too late to restore her head to her body but the Swiss have decided to restore the good name of convicted witch Anna Goeldi, the Independent reports. Goeldi, the last person in Europe to be executed for witchcraft, was tortured and killed after being accused of casting...

Kenya Mob Torches 11 for Witchcraft
Kenya Mob Torches 11
for Witchcraft

Kenya Mob Torches 11 for Witchcraft

'Sorcerers' accused of casting spells on villagers

(Newser) - A mob in western Kenya hunted down and killed 11 people they accused of being witches and wizards, AP reports. The gang went from house to house with a list of suspected sorcerers and the spells they had cast. The eight men and three women, most over 70, were lynched...

Africa's Child 'Witches' Abused, Abandoned

Superstition, poverty take ugly toll on Angolan, Congolese youth

(Newser) - Thousands of children in Angola, Congo, and the Congo Republic are being abused, abandoned, and even killed after being accused of witchcraft, the New York Times reports. Such accusations—born from tribal superstition and poverty that leaves some families unable to care for children—are a "massive" problem, sending...

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