21 May 2011

Cambodian Black Magic

Get out, or you’re dead.

That’s the advice the villagers of Somkul have given to a 52-year-old man and his extended-family whom they are convinced are masters of black magic.

Townsfolk have been regularly falling ill with a fever- the fault of the magician according to the villagers-and the only way they get better, they say, is by buying a pigs-head and wine and offering them to the sorcerer’s favoured spirit.

This isn’t the first time the poor man has been accused of black magic; back in 1982 he also had to prove he knew nothing of the craft. 

Bizarrely and illogically, that proof constituted the pouring of molten lead onto his palm- the fact that his palm wasn't burned by the lead proved, his family claim, that he wasn't a sorcerer.

The family has every reason to be worried; with the help of top-village officials a suspected magician and his family were burned alive in Ratanakkiri province in 2002.

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