Witchcraft : Mode of Operation and Manipulation Vol. 3, No. 20

There is this interesting ancient poem of 15, 693 lives written in dactylic hexameter called the Illiad of Homer. The story began when Chryses, Priest of Apollo, went to the camp of the Greeks to ask for the release of his daughter whom the Greeks captured and gave to Agamemnon, one of the Greek warriors, as concubine. At the refusal of Agamemnon to let go of the damsel, Chryses asked Apollo to avenge him. The operations of Apollo towards the inflicting a plague upon Greece were confirmed by Kalchas, the soothsayer.

Not just in Greek, it is generally believed that the most wicked operation of witchcraft is the ability to kill a human being which most of them do confess when they are arrested by the power of God.

Could it then be that God is no longer the owner of life? Omoyajowo’s description on this could be very frightening. According to him, “the activities of witches are comprehensively against the society, hence mischievous and dangerous to progress.” He further stated that witches practice spiritual cannibalism by feeding on human meat and victims are often fastened to a tree with a rope round his neck and butchered for witchcraft feast. In his words, “witches may begin by eating the lungs… they may also cut their meat from the leg and so give the suffer ulcer. Witches are believed to have special taste for human blood. The effect on the victim whose blood they drain by spiritual means is that he becomes lean and wears away gradually till he finally dies” (Omoyagowo A; “What is witchcraft.” In traditional religion in West Africa, (ed.), E. A. Ade Adegbola Ibadan: Daystar, 1983, p. 320). Omoyagowo, who was also affirmed by Offiong, D. A., in his book “Witchcraft, socery, magic and social order among the Ibibio of Nigeria” (1995. 84) also maintained that witches inflict material loss on people. They can cause wasteful and unreasonable expenditure or money. They can manipulate normal people into drunkenness and drug addiction. In Africa, witches are blamed for most of the road traffic accidents, snake bites and barrenness. “They can cause abortion by removing the child from a pregnant woman’s womb. And taking it to their nocturnal meetings to feast upon. They can similarly cause impotence in men by removing their testicles.” This is to mention but afew.
With regard to their mode of operation, Sogolo posited that witches are capable of turning themselves into other bodily forms; they can change into animals (birds, leopard, snakes etc.). they can fly at night in their various incarnates, and travel great distances instantaneously. They can even turn themselves into disembodied spirit forms, able to kill or harm a victim while their bodies remain on bed (Sogolo, G., Foundations of African Philosophy, Ibadan 1993, p.100).
On the issue of their time and places of evil activities, it is also believed that it is both nocturnal and diurnal. Witches conduct their official meetings by 3am in market places, village hall, school premises and on top of such trees like Iroko, baobab, and silk cotton. Witchcraft meetings are spiritual and there is no research evidence of physical meeting. On the mode of travelling, Omoyajowo is of the view that some turn upside down and walk with their feet in the air, others somersault to increase speed. Some are said to fly naked, having rubbed on their bodies a certain ointment which makes them invisible. Some walk to meetings on spider’s web; some ride on animals like black or white and spotted cats, toads, dogs, rats, and bird families (Omoyajowo, 312). According to Mckay, Hill and Buckler, “for centuries, tales had circulated about old women who made nocturnal travels on greased broomsticks to sabbats or assemblies of witches, where they participated in sexual orgies and feasted on the flesh of infants” (Mckay, J. P., Hill, B. D. and Buckler, J., A History of Western society, from Antiquity to the enlightenment, 1987, p.494).
In the final analysis, it is also worthy to note that in possession of witchcraft spirit and witchcraft initiation, there is a clear-cut dichotomy between half and full participation. The former is an unconscious act while the later is accepted by the victim. In some communities, giving of witchcraft to another without agreement is considered as the highest form of wickedness which one person can do to another. Hence, we ask, could it be that some people are not aware that they have been bewitched to perpetrate evil on others including their families and friends? This shall be part of our discussion in the next series.

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