As some of you might have surmised by now, I do carry an interest in the supernatural. I do think that there are benevolent and malevolent forces as work in this Uni-Verse, which exist alongside with us but we cannot quantify them yet (i.e see, touch, hear), only because the mathematics and physics for recording such entities is not quite there yet. Maybe in time we’ll get there. If we ever do, I’m willing to bet that it’ll be the Russians who do it first. They’re quite open-minded about scientifically researching these sorts of things.
For whatever reason, there seems to be “centers” of such activity where people still practice the forbidden and black arts. I’ve never had a run-in with such persons nor do I wish to, but I have heard of stories among some of my friends. Stories of brides from these regions who marry into wealthy families in distant cities, never gets along with anyone in the new family, and one by one, people in the groom’s family mysteriously and suddenly die off and the bride is finally left with the house and all the money and then returns back to her people after the husband finally passes on.
There are many places around the world where the country folk still speak in whispers of either fear or awe about certain individuals and their powers. I don’t know all of these places and I’m sure there are dozens of them in places like Africa and Haiti alone, which have strong traditions of vodou and Santeria. These places are usually rural in nature and the people are superstitious. Perhaps it has something to do with living closer to the elements and being less in contact with 16-lane freeways, shopping malls, Cheez Whiz, and psycho-therapists.
Le Berry(or Berri), France
The legends around Berry go back to medieval France as early as 1275. We have all heard about the Spanish Inquisition but other parts of Europe were also subject to inquisition including France, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy. The trials of the inquisition led to some being banned from the area or worse yet – beheadings.
The Inquisition was responsible for a witch-hunt which resulted from the torture of several accused witches, who in turn confessed the identities of other supposed witches… charging them guilty. The accused were then forced to walk down the street in clothing associated with heretics, where they were then burned alive. The Inquisition also had a habit of tricking people into other confessions by promising that if they co-operated, they would be set free. Many cases were built upon gossip and he said/she said. Accusations brought up by neighbors were sometimes enough to get you burned.
The town of Berrichonne, has a famous witchcraft museum located on an ancient farm dating to the XIX century.
Witchcraft is part of everyday life in Berrichonne even now. Country witches still practice here though most of the magic seems to be of the healing, love potion variety and not the human sacrifice type, thankfully.
Mayong, Assam – India
From time immemorial, the Mayong region of Assam has been famous for supernatural stories. It is said that people came here from far and wide to learn black magic and the villages and tribal communities in this area still deeply believe in this stuff. Much of it has to do with illiteracy but no doubt the history of the region still affects the people here.
In its heyday the magic of Mayong was feared world over so much so that the word magic became synonymous with Mayong, however no one knows exactly how magic entered this land. Ferdinand Ossendowski in his book, “Men, Beasts and Gods” relates that the Gypsies originally got their magic from the underground city of Shambala/Agartha and brought it up to the world but because they misused it, were kicked out. Was Assam their first stop?
Although many ancient scriptures have described Mayong as the place of black magic and tantricism, it still doesn’t have a well documented history. Even now, the people of Mayong are followers of these folk beliefs. For solving their day-to-day problems they still depend on “magic” and their indigenous herbs. According to some stories centuries ago, it was believed that by reciting certain mantras, human beings were shape shifted into animals, some mantras turned bullets into nothing and others hypnotized tigers. Distance healing by cutting only a handful of plants while chanting some secret word, chanting mantras to attract the amorous attention of someone in particular, mantras to move immovable objects and mantras to actually fly were all part of the scene.
However today these feats are unheard of, for in order to achieve such a high level of ability one needs to go through a lot of patience, dedication, hard work, meditation, and study to practice magic. And of course many of these superstitious beliefs collapse under scientific scrutiny. You can still see some tricks which may make you do a double-take like fortune-telling via korris (sea shells) , palmistry, future prediction via a piece of broken glass. A few household at Rojamayong and Buramayong still posses some of the manuscripts and practice it in a lesser form. Even the few who may be practicing it are reluctant to reveal anything.
Those old sorcerers never wrote anything down, the teachings of black magic passed orally from generation to generation. However, even up until a few years ago, human sacrifice was still happening among tribal peoples in the Brahmaputra valley region.
Here is an excellent article on why some of this so-called “black magic” needs to be eradicated. This one is pretty good too.
The history of the Hatay province is a rich but confused one. These days with the fighting going on in neighboring Syria, literally next door, it makes it a difficult place to visit and yet this is one region of Turkey I have yet to explore and am itching to do so with a fine-toothed comb.
Practically anyone who was someone in history came marching through this area at some point or other, including the ancient Assyrians, Phoenicians, Romans, Greeks, Alexander the Great, St. Paul, St.Peter, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard the Lionheart, the Knights Templar, Crusaders on their way to Jerusalem, Ottoman Turks, the French, the British and Laurence of Arabia. With ancient churches, and ruins of temples, fortresses and castles littered about the countryside, this area is a true paradise to lovers of history and myth. Modern day Antakya sits on top of the ruins of ancient Antioch. Iskenderun is very close by to the ancient port city Alexandretta, established by guess who?
The region is known within Turkey for spells, hermits, sages and miracles. When I was living in Turkey, a few of my students from this area told me of a famous holy man, a “hoca” (ho-ja), I can’t remember his name and I’m not even sure if he is alive anymore but apparently he had only to look at your name on a piece of paper and it would be enough to ensure that neither snakes nor scorpions would ever bite you in your life. This area also seems to have a high concentration of children being born with immediate past-life memory. The Turkish form of black magic is called “Muska” and usually involves Arabic verses of the Koran written backwards and being left in secret or hidden in places to negatively affect certain people.
Personally, I’m of the persuasion that it’s best to leave things we don’t understand fully alone. While I am all for investigation and inquiry, there’s also the question of karma and blow back, which is why I think spell-casting is bad news in general. I don’t see anything wrong with praying or meditating and inviting for some insight on our own journeys but manipulating these forces, usually for selfish, self-centered ends, is normally a recipe for disaster.