Sorcery and ‘sanguma’ are real – I’ve got some case studies
Sorcery, science, modernity & decent human behaviour

Sorcery cannot be solved using Western instruments


RABAUL - Sorcery has been part of our culture for a very long time. It is as real as anything. The thing is it cannot be solved using Western instruments.

The West with its rationalism and empiricism will continue to wave it off as an illusion of the ignorant. But unless they experience what we experience, they will never know how to relate to sorcery.

Sorcery related cases will always be deemed "accusation based" as long as we use Western instruments to address them.

I spent a full year in a sanguma zone (a village in Lufa, Eastern Highlands) and I tell you none of the training I received at university prepared me for the horrors of sorcery.

The stories told, the confessions made by the sanguma women, the exorcisms... when you've seen it all, you realise that spiritualism is true and you cannot use logic or science to bring about justice. It's like there's a parallel universe to ours and through sorcery these women source its powers for ill gain.

From the confessions, a dark power drives them to attack other people. It's like an addiction that must be surfeited every now and then.

I am convinced that most of the headlines which read ‘falsely accused’ are misguided. The accused are in fact guilty but our courts lack the traditional and spiritual tools to administer justice.

There is a need to bridge the chasm between the courts and culture — spiritualism is part of our culture and it is not ignorant. Only then can justice be truly served.

I had to abandon research on sorcery because it got scary. The strange things that happened, it wasn't my mind playing tricks on me.

Brushing aside sorcery will not solve the issue. It's way too complicated.


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Michael Dom

Prove sanguma exist.

Prove God exists.

Good luck.

Meanwhile, accusations without evidence and objective facts should be thrown out of any rational court room.

Might save you if you're in the box.

Summary execution and torture should be punishable by the same.

If Christians want to go native then let's call up Moses and take a few eyes, hands and balls.

Philip Kai Morre

The evil spirit in the bible does not exist as literal translation as most uneducated pastors thin it does.

Sanguma is not evil spirits and we need to fully understand theology and denounce witchcraft or sanguma.

God did not create witchcraft or sanguma but it's the primitive belief system of the people that needs to be eliminated.

Baka Bina

We have serious problems when people who attest to live and breathe bible principles can shut an eye to the strength of the tenements of teaching espoused in the bible.

The bible states the lord overpowered all evil forces and if Papua New Guineans that go to church come back and say they believe in the powers of sangumas, then we are doomed.

My village has three churches, and we attend 7 different christian teachings yet we lost 7 people to interrogations and consequent killings.

I have been questioning my own beliefs over this. Why isn't the churches making inroads into our belief system and challenging it in a positive way. I don't have any answers but then again to read a comment here and juxtaposed it against what we read elsewhere, pains me.

All I can hope for is for the educated elite to actively work to discredit this belief whether it is real or not. The fear mongering is always started by the powerful in the village settings. it is always the moneyed, the educated that will take the stand against the weak and the impoverished.

You will never find a powerful person being accused of sanguma.

The western nations have elected to shove these beliefs to Halloween and to Hollywood movies and Harry Potter. We can do that too.

It just needs to take some effort from the educated with support from the moneyed powerful who can persuade the village elders and youths disregard the belief every time it raises its head.

Robin Lillicrapp

Interesting comments, Wardley. The annals of history attest to supernatural events. The record in Acts: Acsts 19:15 KJV - "And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know
And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame" indicates there are no "natural" defences against the likes of which you write.

Such defences as are available are themselves supernatural and not subject to human contrivance. They, indeed, relate to the relationship of an individual with the Saviour.

As you tend to point out, Wardley, trifling with the demonic is no small matter. The Acts episode highlights the folly of dealing with such from a position of pretended religion versus the indwelling power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

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