Witchcraft





The higher castes do not believe in witchcraft. If a man is ill they

give him medicines and if he dies in spite of the medicine they do

nothing further. But all the lower castes believe in witchcraft and

know that it is a reality. The Santal women learnt the craft first

from Marang Burn by playing a trick on him when he meant to teach

their husbands. And now they take quite little girls out by night

and teach them so that the craft may not die out.



We know of many cases to prove that witchcraft is a reality. Pirthi

who lives in Pankha's house was once ill: and it was an aunt of his who

was "eating" him. One night as he lay ill the witch came and bent over

him to take out his liver: but he woke up just in time and saw her and

catching her by the hair he shouted for the people in the house. They

and the villagers came and took the woman into custody. When the

Pargana questioned her she confessed everything and was punished.



Another time a boy lay ill and senseless. A cowherd who was driving

cattle home at evening ran to the back of the house where the sick boy

lay, after a cow which strayed there. There he found a woman in a state

of possession (rum) he told the villagers what he had seen and they

caught the woman and gave her a severe beating: whereupon the sick

boy recovered. But about two months afterwards the cowherd suddenly

fell down dead: and when they consulted a jan as to the reason he

said that it was the witch who had been beaten who had done it.





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