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The witch (Source: buzznigeria.com)

The witch (Source: buzznigeria.com)

Witchcraft or Spellcraft is a complex concept and is difficult to define. It often occupies a religious, divinatory, or medicinal role. It is present within societies and groups whose cultural framework includes a magical world view.

In broad terms, witchcraft means “the practice of, and belief in, magical skills and abilities.”

Witchcraft is often exercised by a person who claims to have the necessary esoteric secret knowledge, or by designated social groups.

The concept of witchcraft and the belief in its existence has existed since the dawn of human history. Even today, witchcraft continues to play an important role in modern societies.

A witch often casts a spell to carry out a magical action. A spell could consist of a set of words, a formula or verse, or a ritual action, or any combination of these. Spells are cast traditionally by many methods, such as:

  • by the inscription of runes or sigils on an object to give it magical powers;
  • by the employment of magical herbs as amulets or potion;
  • by the performance of physical rituals;
  • by incantations;
  • by binding a wax or clay image or puppet of the person to be magically affected;

and by many other means.

Rationalists and scientists do not place any credence to witchcraft or the existence of magical powers. Scientists, mentalists and psychologists can explain the paranormal effects arising from most cases of witchcraft.

A year ago, the Oyo State Police Command in Eleyele, Ibadan, arrested two men for killing a 42-year-old woman. The suspects claimed the woman was afflicted with Magun, the legendary African curse. One of the suspects said the woman he made love to, started vomiting. She then fell down from the chair, somersaulted and died. So, he decided, in his wisdom, to behead her, and cut off her two hands.

The Yoruba Area in Nigeria.

The Yoruba Area in Nigeria.

The Yoruba is an ethnic group of southwestern Nigeria and southern Benin in West Africa. They are one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa. The Yoruba language is a tonal Niger-Congo language.

Most Yorubas are superstitious people.  They do not entertain adultery and have developed powerful juju,  the Magun, to deal with it. The Nigerians fear the Magun.

Magun” is a Yoruba term which literally means “Do not climb” or “Do not touch.” It is an inconspicuous way of saying: “Do not have illicit sexual relations with a person.”

For the Yorubas, the Magun is a legendary curse or spell invoked on unfaithful partners, especially on women. They believe that if a person afflicted with this curse has illicit sexual intercourse, the couple would suffer various afflictions such as headache, seizures, etc. Eventually, both illicit lovers would die. They believe that the curse could be averted only by performing a counter-ritual.

Modern medical science has tried to disprove this claim. The idea of the existence of such a curse has provoked several debates, amongst the scientists and rationalists. Yet, several (west) Africans still use Magun to curb the excesses of their unfaithful spouses.

The Yoruba people do not believe in the occurrence of post-coital stroke. Because of their superstition many patients have been denied medical help. They are often taken to the local witch doctor or to the worship centres. The woman is often subjected to intimidation, abuse and physical assault. In the index case in Ibadan, the innocent woman was killed by the person who had sexual intercourse with her.

The Yoruba claim that the victims afflicted with the curse will die in pain and public ignominy in one of three different ways:

 1. By “Cock Crow” or “o ma ke bi adiye“. The victim would crows like a cock or would continue to vomit blood or a reddish substance like blood.

2. “Water of Heaven” or “omi orun“. The victim keeps drinking water till death. Some believe it is because the victim has incurred the wrath of Sango, the mythical god of thunder, and has to drink water to quench his burning thirst.

3. The male genital gets stuck in the female’s vagina, otherwise called “won lepo“. The adulterous couple become jointed after sexual intercourse.

It may sound comical, but several (west) Africans still use Magun to curb the excesses of their unfaithful spouses.

Penis captivus

Stories of getting stuck during sex have been with us for centuries, and some of them might just be true.

Recently, a man, the father of three children, from Iwowo in Ogun State, Nigeria, had hurriedly left home without eating the breakfast prepared by his wife. He arrived at a hotel on Apana Street, in Ifo with his female lover wearing a full ‘Hijab’, a religious garment worn by female Muslims. He booked the room for one-hour.

When the hotel staff noticed the couple had stayed longer than one-hour they called the couple through their intercom. When their calls were not answered, the staff decided to check the room. They knocked on the door which was locked from the inside, but no one opened the door. The hotel manager then asked his staff to force open the door.

Inside, they found the lifeless bodies of the man and his lover stuck together due to penis captivus. The woman was still in her ‘Hijab’. A packet of sex-enhancement tablet, Viagra, was lying beside the dead couple.

The police source at the Eleweron command Headquarters of Ogun State Police Command said they suspected heart failure. But questions were raised: “If it was heart failure, how come it happened to both the man and the woman?”

So, the age old Magun superstition held sway. “There is some power at work here. I think it must be Magun, placed on the woman by either her husband or by someone else,” a policeman said.

The 2012 Kenyan incident

In 2012, a case of penis captivus occurred in Nairobi, Kenya.  The following video shows a crowd gathered around a house in Nairobi, where a couple was  experiencing penis captivus. The reports say the unfortunate calamity occurred after the cuckolded husband invoked the help of a witch doctor. The couple regained their liberty after prayers. The adulterer promised to pay the cuckolded husband 20,000 Kenyan shillings (US$225, £140) as punishment for sleeping with his wife. The video ends with the man going to an ATM to draw the promised punishment money.

In 1933, Walter Stoeckel speculated in a manual of gynaecology that penis captivus affected only adulterous couples engaged in illicit sex. He reasoned that the fear of detection presumably contributed to the force of the woman’s muscular spasm. This opinion is no longer held by present day experts on penis captivus, but recent media reports of penis captivus in Nigeria, Kenya, Malawi, Zimbabwe and the Philippines, all concern adulterous couples. More often public humiliation followed clandestine meetings.

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