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.