Thursday, September 26, 2019

Kenyan Body Lotion Spell

Usually stories about witchcraft in Africa are depressing enough that I don't want to report on them. All too often they involve "witchcraft panics" and the like that result in the deaths of innocent people. But this story is mostly just funny. Apparently there are witches in Kenya casting spells that make people - or at least one criminal defendent - steal body lotion from local markets. Needless to say, the explanation was not taken seriously by the courts. He had previously been convicted of stealing the same brand of body lotion from the same store.

The 70-year-old suspect was caught with two bottles of lotion valued at Ksh1,720 which he had stolen from a local supermarket. Macharia, who is serving a three-year probation sentence, said the offence he committed on September 20, could only be blamed on witchcraft. He explained to the court, with certainty, that he had been bewitched by someone from his village.

The accused had been sentenced earlier in August for stealing the same brand of lotion from the same supermarket, pleading guilty to the charges. "I am very sorry for the offence and I cannot tell why I keep stealing the same lotion from the same supermarket," Macharia disclosed.

Magistrate Merisia Opondo, who sentenced him in August, was shocked to see him back in court having committed the same crime he was accused of. "At your age, it is shameful to be committing such offences," Magistrate Opondo said. Macharia promised to go back to the village if the court forgave him but Opondo forwarded his case to another magistrate.

So I guess in Kenya, "a witch made me do it" is actually a thing. Fortunately, though, the court doesn't take it seriously. That's good, and hopefully we won't see this incident escalate any further. Casting spells at people to make them steal body lotion seems like a pretty ineffective use of magick, despite the humor value. It seems to me that any spellcaster who can do this successfully should be able to do things that actually benefit them as opposed to doing little more than getting a neighbor in trouble.

This is especially true in Africa, where casting spells carries significant risk - you would think that if you were going to take that risk, you wouldn't just do it for a few laughs.

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