Friday, April 11, 2014

Shape-Shifting Crocodile Wizards Plague Zambia

When David Icke writes about shape-shifting lizards ruling the world, I don't think that this the sort of thing he's talking about. Still, in the African nation of Zambia a rash of crocodile attacks is being blamed on shape-shifting wizards who transform themselves into the creatures in order to stalk victims. According to local folklore, the wizards then remove organs from their kills and use them for charms and other magical operations.

While ecologists and conservationists are attributing the escalation in the crocodile attacks to human-induced disturbance of the eco balance, the locals believe that the assailants are actually human beings who turn into crocodiles using witchcraft to kill others for ritual purposes. The Ng’umbo people believe that the assailants and their sponsors remove some organs from the victims, which are used in charms for boosting business. The remains of the victims are usually recovered in a horrifying, mutilated state with some members missing.

This is giving Chifunabuli member of Parliament (MP) Mutaba Mwali sleepless nights. Dr Mwali, who is Deputy Minister of Lands, says traditional leaders are living in fear of people who want the Witchcraft Act amended to give them leeway to attack suspected witches and wizards. He said villagers are accusing the chiefs and headmen of failing to identify and punish people they suspect of turning into crocodiles.

To me, transforming into a crocodile seems like an awful lot of trouble to go to just to get your hands on some body parts. Gangs in Tanzania have been known to kill victims and sell their body parts with no shape-shifting involved whatsoever. Furthermore, it's not like transforming is going to help an enterprising wizard get away with it, as they're suspected every time a crocodile attack happens. It probably would work better for a wizard to transform into a completely different person to commit a murder, which if you think about it has to be a lot easier than turning into a crocodile.

But really, what's going on here is superstition run amok. There's no way for an accused wizard to prove that he or she can't transform into a crocodile, after all, and thus they become a convenient target for the inevitable local grief and anger that follow an attack. Zambian leaders need to stand up to the populace and keep the laws prohibiting witchcraft persecutions in place. Vigilante witch killings will only make the situation worse.

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