MOHAMMEDANISM AND WITCHCRAFT
BEFORE Frank became a Bishop, he wrote for U.M.C.A. a little tract, Are Missions Needed? and, while he acknowledged that there was good in other religions, he regarded them as only preparatory to Christianity. He examined the argument that Islam is exactly suited to the races which profess it, and replied:
No religion has suited a nation better than has Judaism the Jews; no nation has shown a stronger dislike to the Gospel than they. To all appearance Mosaism was their true light, God-given, and guiding them Godwards; yet it proved to be the case that their religion was only intended to serve them until Christ should begin to preach. So it came to pass that Judaism was tried and found wanting: it had not prepared its adherents to receive Christ. They killed Him, and in rising again He gave the final proof of His Divine Mission to fulfil all religions and to judge the spiritually blind. ... I am prepared to admit, and to admit gladly, that so long as the Church cannot make its way to Sokoto, the people of Sokoto will find in the religion of Islam that measure of guidance which God has meted to them. But on the day that Jesus is preached in that city, I am compelled to say--now is the day of judgment for Islam in Sokoto. Has it done its work for God?
Judging from his own experience, he was able to show that Islam was inadequate for the needs of Zanzibar.
A man should live for a time in such a city as this Zanzibar of ours, before he ventures to form an opinion against the need of Missions. Gather into one city Africans of every tribe and language, all alike set free from tribal custom and tribal law; mix with them the conservative Arabs, tenacious of their customs but powerless to enforce them on others; and bring into their midst the commercial life of Indian traders, and the rich attractive civilisation of the white man--there you have the setting for the moral problems with which Mohammedanism is asked to deal. Has it light enough to dispel the mental darkness? Has it force enough to control the bodily passions? Has it sweetness enough to make a future possible? And if the answer is that we in England have long since passed the stage to which the best form of Islam can raise a nation, then no one can rightly dispute my claim for Missions. Missions are necessary in the measure that the human conscience requires illumination.
The following passage is more characteristic of the man.
While I admit that the ultimate success of Missions must depend to a large extent upon the wisdom and reasonableness of missionaries, yet I cannot acquiesce in any line of action which starts from the assumption that there are souls whom Jesus cannot accept, who cannot love Jesus. Abdullah may be a good Islamite and prosperous as Arabs go, but my Master has need of Abdullah: He wants to be loved by him: therefore to Abdullah I must carry the message and press home the claim. No lover of Jesus dares to tell Him that there are reasons why He should not have Abdullah's love: he fears to be told, 'Get thee behind me, Satan; thou savourest . . . the things that be of men.'
But it was not the Mohammedanism in Zanzibar that was alone in interesting him. He was alive to the missionary propaganda from Cairo in the North. He saw that it was a race between the Cross and the Crescent, which should claim the allegiance of the native tribes.
There had been a time when Islam was unpopular, for it stood for slavery and was the religion of the slave-raiders. Slavery, however, has been put down, and its age-long associations are being forgotten. Islam is becoming attractive to the natives because it is linked with the cry of c Africa for the Africans, and down with the white intruders!' In The East and The West (April 1908), Weston explained the position.
The place of the Universities' Mission is no longer in the rear of the Church's army, but in the vanguard. The time is past when it was to be counted a band of devoted workers resolved to make reparation for civilisation's sins in a remote part of the continent. The time has come for men to understand that in East and Central Africa are to be fought the great battles of the African Church. Fifty years ago tropical Africa was a dying country, as Livingstone witnessed it; to-day it is living, and has already become the battleground of the age-long forces of evil, as they hurl themselves anew against the power of the Christ. . . . Two great dangers are threatening tropical Africa at this moment, the advance of commerce without religion from the South, and the still more determined advance of Mohammedanism from the North for the conversion of Central Africa to the obedience of the Prophet. The Mohammedans have appreciated, far more than the Church at home, the true causes of the weakness of the coloured races, and are resolved that Mohammedanism shall be the link between tribe and tribe that shall consolidate them against the white man's power and the white man's religion. It is not for us here to emphasise the danger to Europe of a Mohammedan Africa: these matters concern the Imperial Government. But it is our duty to summon English Church people to rouse themselves to the work to which our Lord is clearly calling them, to go straight through Central Africa with the Gospel of Christ--to build one barrier against the Mohammedans of the North, and to build one barrier against the progress of commerce without religion from the South.
A discussion took place at Frank's first Synod about the failure to impress the Mohammedans in Zanzibar. There was the Cathedral, but its witness was unheeded. It failed to attract. The reason for this was pretty obvious, and Frank explained it later at an Anniversary Meeting in London.
The tradition of the Mission had ... up to that time been that a young priest from England went to Zanzibar, and on his arrival became priest-in-charge of the Cathedral and the whole town of Zanzibar. He could not talk to any of his parishioners, but for six months he sat down as priest-in-charge. I have no doubt that he altered the services as is done in England: took off this and put on that. For six months he learned Swahili. The moment he had learnt it, he was sent up-country, because there was^ a need; and in seven years, I remember vividly, I saw thirteen different men in charge of the town.
To remedy this state of things an African priest was appointed permanently to the Cathedral, and Canon Dale, with his long experience and Arabic scholarship, became Chancellor of the Diocese and head of all the Mohammedan work on the Island, and this included educational work among Arabs, Indians, and Swahili,
While Frank was still Principal of Kiungani regular instruction had been given to the first class in the school in the Life of Mohammed, and the pupils had been prepared for the ordinary objections to Christianity and how they were to be answered. In the yearly examinations, those who did best in this subject were posted to places where Mohammedan propaganda was rife; but all this work was developed by Canon Dale.
There were two schools at the time in the town--one for children conducted by a lady, and one, a school for adolescents, conducted by Canon Dale himself. In the first many of the children became interested in our Lord's Life and were attracted by the religious atmosphere, but it was generally found that such children were speedily removed from the school. Canon Dale taught English free of charge on condition that those who came to learn also attended a Bible lesson. He did not expect great or immediate results, but he hoped that not all the seed would fall on barren ground. He believed in silent growth. So when on furlough he explained in the Church House:
I want you to be very patient about this Mohammedan work. I think the less we talk about it, write about it, or advertise it for the next twenty years the better. Let us keep quiet.
But the one person who could not keep quiet was the Bishop, and while Dale was on furlough all his arrangements were being reorganised in Zanzibar. Frank learnt that many pupils of both schools were blasphemous in the town about the lessons given them. This was no doubt true, and was to be expected, but it shocked him very much. When he saw something going wrong, he felt obliged to act, and act at once. He could not wait for Dale's return, and closed both schools. He did not, however, mean to give up the project of converting Mohammedans by educating them. He at once started on a larger scheme than any previously contemplated. He used the offering from the Pan-Anglican Conference to buy one of the largest houses in Zanzibar, and in it he started a High School to teach up to the standard of Oxford and Cambridge Locals. He appointed a capable teacher as headmaster, who added to his qualifications a gift for getting into touch with Arabs and Indians. Numbers came, and in this school no religious education was given. The school was a success, but it divided the missionaries on the Island into hostile camps. Many maintained that it was wrong to spend the money of the Mission on secular education, but a great deal may be said in favour of an indirect approach. At any rate, the Bishop was convinced that it was necessary, first of all, to get into friendly relations with Moslems and to allay prejudice. He hoped much from the discipline of the place and the examples of Christian teachers. They were able to insist on definite morals, and they were always there to answer any inquiries about religion. Others argued that the inevitable result of Western knowledge was to sap the faith of Mohammedans, and that it was wicked to do this unless at the same time we were giving them something that was better. The controversy waxed warm, personal factors entered into the dispute, and there was, of course, the mischief-maker who repeated in one camp what he heard in the other. Chancellor Dale returned to Zanzibar to find his own schools closed, a new school in existence, and a capable headmaster with whom he was in very imperfect sympathy. The Bishop was far away on the mainland, and the staff were at sixes and sevens. Everyone will sympathise with the Chancellor's very temperate protest.
I felt that if the Bishop had been content to wait until I returned to Zanzibar, the trouble need not have occurred. He was always so reasonable when you talked things over with him. He felt this divergence of opinion very much.
He did feel it acutely, as he felt all personal disagreements with those whom he cared for. He was also reasonable. He saw that it was impossible with a divided staff for his scheme to succeed. He began at once to plan new lines on which the school might be carried on.
First he suggested that, in the High School curriculum, lessons on the philosophy of religion should be included. The students were to be lectured on the idea of God, man's nature, and the fact of sin. These lectures were to be positive and not controversial. He hoped that they might prepare the way for the doctrines of the Trinity and the Atonement, though such teaching should not be given in school but only imparted to inquirers. He wrote:
We should not disguise the fact that we are out to conquer Islam; but I feel that we ought to get as many as possible under our influence, and give them right principles of religious thought, before we actually bid them choose.
This scheme, however, was rejected, and what was finally decided is contained in the following memorandum.
1. Our Day School shall become definitely religious: i.e. the fundamental purpose shall be Christian education. My wishes are:
(a) All teaching to be positive.
(b) All teaching to be, at first, historical, e.g. Life of our Lord, The Acts of the Apostles, or Church History.
(c) No reference to be made to Islam or the Koran.
(d) Christian ethics may be taught, but positively only.
2. Our Night School will become the secondary school for the town. Religious classes will be optional; i.e. a religious class may be held on a night not given to ordinary instruction, and all may be invited.
3. I want, at the start, to promise the parents of day scholars--
(a) That the children will hear nothing against Islam;
(b) That no boy will be admitted to Christianity without the full consent of his father or guardian.
This was virtually a victory for the opposition, and led to the resignation of the headmaster; but the Bishop was wise. He was infrequently in Zanzibar, and rarely for long. It was impossible for him to carry through a scheme which could only have been successful had he been able to supervise it. He had to discover a scheme which, if not the best, was at least one which the great majority of his staff could loyally accept and enter on with zeal.
Every Friday morning, in the Cathedral Church of Zanzibar and throughout the diocese, Mass is offered for the conversion of the Mohammedan world, but progress in Zanzibar itself is very slow. In 1911 the Bishop wrote:
The first convert from Islam whom I as Bishop baptised was cut off from his home life; another who was baptised previously is prevented by his family from following his faith.
Many converts, it is true, have been made there during the last sixty years, but most of them have been men who had recently come from the mainland.
In Zanzibar, Mohammedanism is an established religion. It is interwoven with the social life and traditions of the people. It may not exert much influence on life; it may be for most only a convention; but no one is harder to convert than the man who has never taken his own religion seriously.
It is true that there is much more tolerance than there was, but that is only indifference with a grander name. Men are willing to listen to debates on Christianity and Islam, and are not shocked or even angry when the arguments are against them. They find the argument interesting in itself and the conclusion unimportant. They never believed much or cared a great deal, but they see no reason for renouncing a religion which makes but few demands on their lives and has, at any rate, a social value.
This indifference to truth is allied with a deadened conscience. In Zanzibar there is little sense of sin, and the whole city is desperately wicked. The older Arabs were a splendid race: their sons are rapidly becoming degenerate, adding to their native vices those of the strangers within their gates. A cosmopolitan so-called civilisation is breaking down all restraints. Street preaching has been tried and it failed. Better work has been done in hospitals, and through ministering to the sick many hearts have been reached. There is, as elsewhere, a righteous remnant, and the work has not been in vain. Many secretly believe, but lack courage to make their profession.
Work has also begun in the villages, and schools have been opened at Bububu, Mahonda, and Dunga with success. The people working on the shambas are not so sophisticated and not so corrupt, and Frank had a vision of encircling the great heathen city with Christian villages, and believed that a city so beleaguered must in time be taken, but the numbers on his staff did not permit of any concerted movement towards this objective.
The Bishop addressed to the Mohammedans an important tract on the Being of God, in Swahili, in which he emphasised the unity of the Godhead in Christian theology, and then went on by means of analogies to show how reasonable it was to believe in distinctions within the One Being. He was enthusiastic about Canon Dale's translation of the Koran into Swahili, for few Mohammedans in Zanzibar can read and understand Arabic. Now that they have their own sacred book in the vernacular they can compare it with the Bible. They are no longer at the mercy of the teachers who hurled infallible texts at their heads with Thus it is written.
When the Bishop came home for the Lambeth Conference, he was eager to persuade Arabic scholars to come to Zanzibar, not necessarily as missionaries, and study Islam on the spot. He gained one valuable recruit, and no more. In 1920 he wrote to Bishop Hine:
Islam remains! It is very worldly, materialistic and Europeanised to a great extent. But a policy for the conversion of Islam I cannot see yet! Of course, the very slow change in our Christians is all to the good, but it will be long before they so illustrate the Christian life as to be in any sense a help to our Mission work. And against that is the European community--a very real hindrance. But I imagine we could do something if only a policy could be discovered. . . . Personally, I think our serious obstacles are: (i) The fact that there is no real brotherhood between white and coloured Christians, so that Moslems can't see Christ in the Church's social life. (2) The low standard of morality among European and African Christians in the town, and the same low standard among Moslems. (3) The fear young Moslems have of their companions and elders, which keeps back not a few from confessing Christ--in whom they secretly believe. I suppose that, in an ideal Church, we should so welcome and receive such converts as to lessen that fear and remove their difficulties. . . . We have still not an adequate staff for the serious tackling of Islam. I am inclined to think that while the Christians are very slowly opening their eyes to morality, and while the Moslems are slowly giving up faith in Islam, we should do well to set on foot a movement for a Bishopric of the Islands of Zanzibar, Pemba, and Mafia; and, when ready, get a man of the type from which the Oxford Mission to Calcutta chooses its Superior. . . . But the Islands have so few Christians, a man might well fear to accept them as his diocese.
If Christianity makes but little progress against Mohammedanism in Zanzibar, on the mainland it is otherwise. There Mohammedanism is a new religion, and, though there is incessant propaganda, it is conducted for the most part by very ignorant people. In 1910 a missionary, reviewing the situation, wrote:
Here, I think, in our district we shall win; because wherever the Church of God exists with its schools, churches, dispensaries and hospitals, it is not very long before the people of the country find out who cares most for them, the Christian or the Mohammedan teacher; and they have found in our district that the Christian teacher cares most.
But it was not only that the Christians cared more, it was also evident that they knew more. So a Mohammedan teacher tells of what led to his own conversion:
I was a teacher and had many pupils, but I only knew two chapters of the Koran and did not understand those chapters, for we do not understand Arabic. Then there came one only of your Christian teachers [a native] and began to teach boys in the village; and I saw that those boys understood more of their sacred book than I of mine, so I thought that was a better thing.
So, at the Anniversary in 1914, Frank said:
If you speak with Mohammedans, as we in our journeys do, in a friendly way, and try to gauge the power of their religion, you will find that they are entirely muddle-headed. They cannot explain to you what their religion is, but they are quite certain, many of them, that they are engaged in worshipping a prophet whose name was Mohammed; and when you tell them that it was founded to direct all men's attention to the one God, and to distract men's attention from the things of the earth, they will tell you, ' We do not know, but if you ask our teacher he will tell you what we worship.' You ask them why they wear the rosary round their necks with ninety-nine beads. They say, ' We bought it at the coast.' They do not know the ninety-nine attributes of God. However you catechise them, the only thing that you can get pat from them, that is true, is that they must not, and will not, eat pork.
The whole district of Magila, with Msalabani in the centre, has now been Christianised. In Mkuzi, once a Mohammedan stronghold, Christianity is dominant. The same may be said of all the larger stations, and Christianity is rapidly spreading throughout Zigualand. In the vast hinterland between Dar-es-Salaam and Lindi Roman Catholics are at work, and in the Ruvuma country Christianity is progressing faster than Islam.
This is very encouraging, but the Diocese of Zanzibar on the map takes in a large part of Portuguese East Africa south of the Ruvuma, and in this district no Mission work has yet been done. Very little is known of the country or its conditions, but every man who comes from there is a Mohammedan.
Mohammedanism, as the Bishop was ever emphasising, is a brotherhood. It may some day be again a brotherhood in arms. A native by becoming a Mohammedan is admitted to this brotherhood. Socially he rises in the world and is received as an equal. Mohammedanism recognises no racial difference or colour bars. This is for many its attraction, and is the source of its strength. Mohammedanism, again, makes very few demands upon its converts. The natives are already circumcised, native beer is not prohibited, and marriage customs are not interfered with. It is only pork which has to be renounced. Mohammedans are tolerant of witchcraft. In fact many of them practise it. For a Christian, magic is always the enemy of religion, and throughout his career the Bishop waged war on Spiritism. It was for him the outward manifestation of Satan's power.
The Bishop did not start into Africa with the assumption that he had only to proclaim his Gospel in order to free people from their heathen superstitions. Had he done so he would have known as little of human nature as some ardent ' Educationalists ' at home who believe that people will become better and wiser if only they know more facts. The Bishop went into Africa to assault and overthrow a kingdom of Satan, and about the reality of that kingdom he had no doubt. Living as he did in very close touch with spiritual realities, he was very sensitive to spiritual evil. Believing as he did in a spirit world, he regarded the necromantic practices of evil men with horror.
He was not, like a member of the Society for Psychical Research, able, with complete detachment, to analyse evidence, for witchcraft was all about him, wherever he went, poisoning the atmosphere--a hateful, unclean mystery.
He had no time to study the works of anthropologists, and I believe that he was somewhat indifferent to their records. He knew how a traveller with a note-book was likely to be misled through the strange stories told by his porters. The said porters did not intend to deceive, but invented their stories as they went along. They had no conception of abstractions and no language to express abstract ideas, and so it was natural for them to translate their most transient thoughts into myths appropriate to the occasion.
Frank was not primarily concerned with what a witch could or could not accomplish, or whether the manifestations she produced could or could not be explained. He was more concerned with witchcraft as a practical system. He knew what the witches pretended to do and did, and what the heathen believed was possible. He saw the horrible obsession which the occult had for certain minds; he saw its results in crime, filth and fraud, and he believed that the Devil was behind it, the father of lies.
No mischance of any sort happens to a heathen but it is ascribed to witchcraft. Nobody is ill but he believes that he is bewitched, nobody dies without his relatives asking who has overlooked him. An enemy may be known to be without magical power, but that is no guarantee that he has not paid for your destruction. The system breaks up families and disorganises social life. It renders everyone suspicious of his neighbour. It is an ever-present terror from which few are free. We may smile at the charms, potions, clay images, and arrangements of dead men's bones, by which a man tries in secret to satisfy his vengeance or his spite, but there is no doubt about the base passions and malignancy to which these practices minister.
'It is simply murder,' says Canon Dale, 'an attempt to kill another person from jealousy, or from a quarrel, or if he has many children and you have none.'
It is on these beliefs that the witch-doctor trades. He has generally some knowledge of herbs, can sometimes set bones and is master of a primitive surgery. He has still more knowledge of the weaknesses of humanity. He sells charms for everything. He provides medicine, love potions, and poison. He pretends to have spirits at his command, is a medium with the dead, and sometimes ventures to foretell the future. In many cases he can hypnotise his victims, and he is often a skilful conjurer.
He travels with an elaborate equipment of drums and lamps, and it is at night that he professes to establish contact with the spirit world. Fires are lighted, the circle is formed, the drums beat, and sometimes the horror is accompanied by the frenzied dancing of naked worshippers. The spirits when interrogated are generally obscene, and their directions conform to their characters. They generally consent to abandon some person whom they are supposed to possess, and the witch-doctor is suitably paid for the compulsion he has exercised.
Witch doctors have been frequently convicted of crimes, and repeatedly exposed as cheats, but we should not expect straight dealing from those in touch with evil spirits. Similarly, at home, mediums have been repeatedly detected in trickery and fraud, but those who frequent such people quite logically argue that individual lapses into deception provide no proof that communication with the dead is impossible. They have reasons, which convince themselves, that some mediums must be true.
I do not know what were the Bishop's views on the powers of witch-doctors. I only know how he hated all that they stood for. No patients were received into the hospitals until they were divested of their charms. All Christians were forbidden to have anything to do with magic or with the most innocent mascot. But Mr. Sinclair informs me that when Frank attended, by request, a meeting of the Protectorate Council and was asked his opinion about legislation against witchcraft, he replied that it would be a great mistake to recognise its existence by the enactment of a decree. He spoke with the authority of one who knew how the Germans had tried and failed to suppress it. He was firmly convinced that a spiritual evil could only be met by spiritual weapons.
The following instances will illustrate the Bishop's practice and the difficulties attending it.
Pemba is a beautiful and very rich island, with colonnades of clove trees. It is chiefly inhabited by the enfranchised descendants of slaves. They are nominally Mohammedans, but much addicted to witchcraft, about which some curious stories may be read in Central Africa.
In a few places there are small colonies of Christians, and both the Universities' Mission and the Quakers are at work there.
Now, close to the Mission station at Weti there was a house which became renowned -for its queer happenings. Clods of earth were thrown at people who approached it, but no one could discover whence they came. Similar clods fell on people within the house, and the inhabitants were distracted. The Bishop went to investigate and was hit between the shoulders by a great clod of earth as he approached. While he was inside a mass of mud suddenly struck the roof within and stuck there, though the only opening to the room was the door, from which it was impossible to hit the place. The Bishop talked to the man and his wife, and warned them that if this was a trick they would certainly be punished for it. Next morning he came with much ceremony and the spirit was solemnly exorcised. From that day onwards the trouble ceased. But shortly afterwards the woman fell ill, and some said the Bishop's warnings had preyed on her mind, and some said it was a judgment of God on her for her imposture; some said it had nothing to do with spirits but was a trick taught by witch-doctors to their disciples; but no one has cleared up the mystery unto this day.
Mbweni also, a village of released slaves, is much given to witchcraft. Most of the inhabitants are nominally Christians, but missionaries look on it as a heart-breaking place. Old women teach the young their secret lore, and there are no signs of witchcraft at present dying out. In 1910 the Bishop wrote:
Of all workers, none, I think, need so much sympathy as those who work at Mbweni, Mkunazini and Pemba. The mainland, with all its troubles and horrors, offers hopes and glad surprises that we never see in the haunts of the old Arab and Swahili slave dealers.
Now there dwelt at Mbweni an old woman who was reputed a terrible witch. She was even said to belong to a guild of devil worshippers who dig up dead bodies and eat them. Such guilds do exist in Africa, and they celebrate their infernal sacrament with frenzied dances stark naked. So much is true; but popular credulity goes on that the witch strokes the ground and the body-comes to the surface, and this allows of an accusation being made when it is obvious that the soil has not been disturbed. Now it was at first said that the old woman was a witch. Then rumour had it that she was a member of the hideous guild; and, finally, people confidently reported that she had dug up a young Christian who had recently been buried and that her guild brothers and sisters from all over the Island had been present at the feast. Then the Bishop interfered. He obtained an order from the Government to exhume the body, and it was duly found and had never been disturbed. This should have been the complete exculpation of the old woman, as the Bishop intended it to be. But no--missionaries had been explaining that many of the strange phenomena supposed to be shown by witches were due to hypnotism. So the believers in witchcraft now said: 'You thought you saw the body, because the Bishop willed you to see the body, but the body was not there.'
Applied science is sometimes double-edged!
My third instance has to do with no less a place than the British Residency at Zanzibar. When it was built, several native huts had to be removed and the inhabitants had to be provided for elsewhere. This naturally caused much resentment, and one of the dispossessed, an old witch, pronounced a terrible curse on the new house and all who should dwell in it. Out of the first three residents, two died by natural and well-ascertained causes and one was invalided home. The wife of the fourth resident soon after entering the house only just escaped death by the fall of a great chandelier. Then the Bishop intervened. He came to the house and solemnly blessed it; he celebrated the Holy' Communion in one of the rooms, and he prayed that every evil power and will might be frustrated. In the ten years that have since elapsed no untoward incident has occurred.
Here, I expect, many readers will cavil at this evidence of ' superstition.' They will say that the four events which followed one another at short intervals were all quite natural, and that they were preceded by an old woman's curse is pure coincidence. That may be true, but I am not quite sure about it. Rationalistic explanations are rarely complete, because physical science knows nothing of the will and ignores it. To illustrate my meaning, let us imagine that a man is discovered by the wayside murdered. The police surgeon extracts the bullet and can give a lucid explanation of the cause of death. Subsequently a revolver is found not far away, and another lucid explanation can be given of the mechanism by which the bullet was discharged. That is as far as science can take you, but detectives are on the look-out for the murderer, for someone who had a motive to kill and the will to fire the shot--but the physicist has no instruments by which the will can be measured--it is an incalculable force. So in the story we are considering, there is a succession of events which can be separately explained. They are unconnected with one another but for this--that they are all in accord with the expression of a personal will: may not that will have had something to do with them?
I don't know how far the Bishop believed in the efficacy of cursing--I imagine not much--but experience had taught him the amount of harm which one man with an evil will can do, and since he believed in a spiritual world, it was natural for him to think of how much harm an evil spirit may accomplish. But if he believed in the power of evil, he believed still more in the greater power of good. The strong man armed might keep his house, but a stronger than he might come and despoil his goods. Believing this, he went and called Christ into the house, and all was well. He believed in the prayer that our Lord taught us. He believed that it was right to pray ' Deliver us from evil and the evil one,' and he believed that God would hear and answer such a prayer. Some people say the Lord's Prayer and mean nothing by it: to believe, and say it, is a wonderful thing.
Lastly, we must note the Bishop's views on demoniac possession. For them he has been much criticised; and he himself did not spare those who refused to believe in the demoniacs of the Gospel. First of all, there is the fact that the belief is as prevalent to-day in Africa as it was in Galilee in our Lord's time. Mr. Keable writes:
However little there be of reality in devil-possession, the effects remain upon the lives of the people as truly as if it were all genuine: and it is at least noteworthy that missionaries (including medical men) who have been longest in the country are the most cautious in their pronouncement upon it. Even Christian native women--without known physical cause--sometimes exhibit those strange symptoms which have been noted since the days of Luke the Physician; and often act in a way contrary to their known character and apparently beyond their own control. I suppose our a priori belief or disbelief in the personality of the spirits of evil really determines our judgment.
For Mr. Keable, then, it is not a question which can be decided by science, and our answers depend on a pre-conceived theory of what is, or is not, possible. Dr. Howard writes to me:
While I was in the Mission I never had a case of supposed possession which was treated by exorcism, though we had a fair number of cases of patients who regarded themselves as bewitched, or put down the origin of their illness to witchcraft, whom we treated by ordinary medical means, coupled with the suggestion of residence in a Mission hospital.
Most of my cases fell into two categories:
(1) Patients definitely ill with some disease easily diagnosed by medical means, who were made much worse by the fear of witchcraft to which they attributed their illness. Such patients generally did well, treated on ordinary medical lines in hospital, away from their home with its associations of witchcraft.
(2) Cases of hysterical mania, such as are generally described by natives as possession by an evil spirit. I think that very often such cases are the result of some orgy--drink or bhang--which starts the process, with a great deal of hysteria added; and it always seemed to me that they should be treated by methods similar to those employed in England for hysterical cases, viz. separation from sympathising relations, rest, nourishment and curative suggestion, especially that supplied by the dominant will of the European attendant, who is known by the natives not to believe in witchcraft.
Dr. Howard's authority in such a matter cannot be questioned, and we can at once see that his first class has nothing to do with demoniac possession. We may be quite sure also that he correctly labels his second class as suffering from hysterical mania, and thirdly, we may be satisfied with the wisdom of his treatment. In fact, I believe the Bishop would so far have agreed with his old friend. But it will be noted that Dr. Howard's experience does not cover the whole ground indicated by Mr. Keable. We were left asking, what of the soothsayers or the persons with an alternate character? Besides, in labelling a disease as hysteria you have not explained it. There may still be a will behind the phenomena which is the ultimate cause, and that will may find its opportunity because of drink or bhang, which Dr. Howard believes are often contributory to the result. We know, in ordinary experience, how a man of strong will can dominate a man of weak will, and we know how susceptible people are to evil influence who have degenerated through vice or drink. If we also believe in another world with beings in it possessed with wills--and it is difficult not to believe this if we believe in our own immortality, it is certainly not irrational to believe that an evil spirit may influence a man, whose powers of resistance have been sapped, and produce results which may be labelled indifferently hysteria or possession.
The Bishop indeed approached the whole subject from another angle, Bible in hand. While admitting our great advance in physical knowledge, he maintained that our Lord was still our Master and Teacher in all that concerned the spiritual world. His insight into spiritual causes was superior to ours. He believed in demoniac possession and cast the demons out. He sent forth His Apostles with a commission to do likewise; and the Bishop could conclude: 'I have exorcised men with success.'
I believe that there were many occasions on which[he exercised this power, but here is one story which has been sent me by a nurse:
A Christian woman, possessed with a legion of evil spirits, came into the quadrangle at Msalabani and began shouting out Zigua, which was the language of the spirit. Padre Keates took her off to quiet her, and then the Bishop exorcised her in church. Afterwards he brought her to the nurse to be dosed with bromide, which shows how practical he was.
We none of us know the relations of matter to spirit or how they react on one another. In all early societies the priest and the physician are the same person, and our Great-High Priest was pre-eminently the Good Physician, so that both priest and physician should still look to Him as the source of their power. Many bodily ailments probably arise from spiritual causes, and much mental and spiritual trouble has its origin in bodily weakness. So our Blessed Lord said to the man stricken with palsy 'Thy sins be forgiven thee,' before He said to him 'Arise and walk.' It was in the same spirit that the Bishop dealt first with the woman in church, and then handed her over for medical treatment.
He issued careful regulations to his diocese. No one was to presume to exorcise, but after prayer and fasting confession and communion. The priest, or other exorcist, was not to go to a possessed person alone, but accompanied by devout Christians. It was to be made clear that the power to exorcise was not an individual endowment, but was a result of the Church's faith and prayer.
There is no doubt, however, that Africans believed in Frank's personal holiness. Even Mohammedans spoke of him as the great Shek, which locally means a teacher of religion. An old Arab who was ill sent for him to pray. The Bishop went and the Arab recovered. This was not an isolated case of the reverence in which he was held by those who had no inclination to become Christians. At Kitosia, he slept one night under a mango tree, when he went to choose and buy land for a new station. The Africans still tell one another that 'he collected all the spirits in the wood close by and took them away by his mighty power, for it was a devil-haunted place, and yet the Europeans live there in peace.'
APPENDIX TO CHAPTER VI
Since writing the above, I have received from Miss Voules, who has lived for many years in Pemba, a copy of the letter which the Bishop wrote to the Collector in Pemba on witchcraft. Also two stories within her own experience. The names of the Africans have been altered in deference to her wishes. The Bishop of Grantham and Dr. Robert Howard have kindly supplied me with notes.
December 12, 1914.
SIR,--I venture to lay before you the results of my enquiry into the cases of witchcraft that I mentioned to you a few days ago. But before it is possible to make myself clear, allow me to lay stress upon the prevalence of what, for lack of a more accurate term, we must call devil-worship. This is the native Pemba 'religion,' and so powerful is its organisation and so attractive its presentation, that there are very few people in the Island, to the best of my knowledge, who do not in one way or another share in it. Islam has long since succumbed to it, Arabs and Indians alike relying upon its powers and sharing its mysteries.
Thus it has come to pass that the 'Fundis' (i.e. masters or experts) of the Pemba religion have their hands upon almost every section of society, and make much money out of the people of all races and religions.
The ordinary matters of everyday life are surrounded by ceremonies and charms: no child is born who is not first consecrated in the womb to the protection and authority of evil spirits; every house is so dedicated and protected; and the wise man has medicines to protect him at every turn. Thus even the games of the people have fallen into the power of the Fundis: and what looks like an ordinary 'ngoma' (i.e. African dance) is, in most cases, an 'ngoma ' connected with spirits or witchcraft.
The chief ceremony popular with all is the devil-dance proper, and for this purpose people are often maddened by poison that a devil may be exorcised by the dance.
The devil-dance of the oracle is without doubt exceedingly common, and, with skilled Fundis, involves a form of mesmerism; the mesmerised person being held to be possessed of a devil.
This class of Fundis is open to no one who does not offer a relative or friend to be killed; and the guilds that they form are strictly guilds of murderers whose own end, unless they be rich, is to be done away by poison of some sort.
The guild proper is of skilled Wachawi and Waganga [wizards and witch-doctors]; but there is a second class of initiated who redeem their relatives from death by gifts of money or in kind. The lowest class is of disciples, each of whom has his own Fundi or teacher. From these disciples are gathered the initiated.
The oath of initiation is taken over a grave, and binds the man or woman to complete secrecy for ever, under pain of death.
The chief game of the initiated is a dance of naked men and women, ending in intercourse entirely free and promiscuous, even incest being allowed, and in all their lesser dances and games the filthiest songs, etc., are used.
The disciples enter what on the mainland would be a tribal rite: here, however, it is a recurring 'ngoma' that they play from time to time, dancing naked before all comers the Kinyago, i.e. the dance in the images of beasts made in grass; and in the woods, privately, they are shown the simpler forms of devil-power. [N.B.--I think the clod-throwing is among these first lessons. --E. M. V.]
All disciples with whom I have spoken tell me that had they not come out of it, they would have been called upon later to offer a human sacrifice and become Fundis. It is also necessary to point out the connection between these guilds and the stealing of corpses for the purposes of medicines and poisons.
In my particular district the chief Fundi, who is really dangerous, is a Moslem, by name K. N. The whole guild look to him. But our people (i.e. our Christians) have a kind of local branch, under one Fundi, S., and one Fundi, G.
It is impossible for me to name those who have given me information from inside, for were they known they would certainly be killed.
I have investigated the case of a woman, T. S., who was evidently driven temporarily mad by these Fundis and their poisons; and I have also interviewed several men who are either disciples or recently initiated members of the guild.
[N.B.--The Bishop says T. S. was temporarily mad; to this day she has never recovered her sanity, though she is no longer violently insane; and she absolutely refuses ever to set foot in Pemba again.--E. M. V.]
And herewith I enclose for your study a list of the chief Fundis who are Christians, whose presence here is exceedingly hurtful to the public welfare. There are others who, with those I have named, have come under Church censure for these matters; people who, I think, are able to forsake the guild and its works. But those whom I have named to you are in my opinion murderers in deed or in will, and their influence is entirely evil. They are really and truly dangerous to the common peace. They are proved to me to be Fundis of certain disciples whom I have questioned; they are certified to be wizards by an initiated member of the guild who has repented and made a clean breast of it; they are all named by the woman, T. S., as being present at the ' ngoma ' in which she was ' doctored ' to send her mad; and they nearly all live at or near the village from which T. S. was carried into safety by her friends.
All this I certify, and I most earnestly beg that you will lay this matter before the Resident, that he may exercise his discretion and authority in deporting them from Pemba Island, and in scattering them about in Zanzibar Island, where they will be recognised and mistrusted and so lose their power for harm.
I shall, of course, be ready to explain further by word of mouth, and also to be called by the Resident when I reach Zanzibar at the end of this week.
Yours very sincerely, FRANK ZANZIBAR.
In an appendix the Bishop gives the names of three Mohammedan and eight Christian Fundis, four of the Christians being women.
I find no note as to any answer made to this request of the Bishop's; the Christians mentioned, who are living, are still scattered about in Pemba. One woman, after her husband's death, came back to her religion and was reconciled--the Bishop authorised her admission to penance just before his death. She made a public confession of witchcraft. We are practically certain that since this at least one attempt was made to poison her. She was carried in here at death's door, with what appeared to be pneumonia, but it came on absolutely suddenly, and there was no fever with it. This is well known on the mainland among ' unlucky' babies, many of whom die of it. The old lady recovered, but has never been well since, and has now just died, November 1925. She was excommunicate for eleven years. The seven others mentioned were all excommunicated at the same time.
A nice young Christian woman, a communicant, and one of our steadiest and best, who was expecting a child, began to get very ill in other ways. She had a terrible leg with a very swollen knee, which might have been connected with her condition at the time, but one night her friends came to call the priest and the nurse to her, as they said she was dying and there had been foul play. We all went to the village, a mile or so away, and found her looking very wild and almost mad; but she recognised us and begged for prayers. Her sister-in-law, a teacher, had already been praying. It appeared that she had been in rather an excited state that evening, owing to the return of this sister-in-law, to whom she was devoted, from Zanzibar.
In the night she began screaming and roused the house, saying she heard 'bad people' (i.e. spirits) outside. Then she said, 'I see him! 1 see him! Go away and leave me,' and so on; and when pressed she named the person she saw, a neighbour of theirs, though not a near one, who had been notorious for dealings in the black art. She said, ' He is in this house. There! there! I see him.' (Later we heard that this man had tempted her to sin with him, and when she had refused--though very politely (!)--he had said, ' Very well, you will see!' which is understood as a very bad threat. That may have been on her mind, but it had happened some time previously, before she began to be pregnant.)
We calmed her as best we could, and next day she was brought down close to the Mission and the church, where she felt safe, and in due time her baby was safely born.
There was a great commotion, because on that night the sister-in-law had lost her head and, on hearing the man's name, had rushed to his house, crying out, ' You Pemba people are very bad people. Give me back my sister, save my sister,' and many people had heard her.
On the Bishop's next visit, while the baby was still unborn, the accused man came to complain that his character had been taken away by this proceeding of hers, and I well remember the masterly way in which the Bishop dealt with the case. The man demanded a public hearing and a public apology. No one believed in his freedom from dealings in witchcraft, and it seemed as if there must be a most terrific row. The Bishop in the first place had the meeting in church, and began by crushing us all to the earth with words about his sorrow and disappointment at finding the Christians of Pemba in such a state.
Then he said, 'This is not my meeting. I have not called you together, you are called by Petro. Petro, state your complaint.' When Petro had spoken, the lady who had accused him was asked to say that she had spoken in haste and anger, which she could truthfully admit; she was not asked to take back her words. Finally, the whole assembly of Christians was asked: 'Is there anyone here who, because of the words of this woman, believes Petro to be a wizard?' And as everyone had believed it long before, without any words from her, they all said 'No' and the meeting ended with an exhortation to Christian charity and the saying of an 'Our Father' together.
As soon as Mariamu was strong enough, her husband took her to Zanzibar; they were upset to find Petro's wife travelling by the same boat, and in church on their first Sunday in Zanzibar this woman came and sat next to Mariamu, as if on purpose. Mariamu was now quite well except for a slight lameness in what had been the bad leg. She stayed at Mbweni, the village of freed slaves four miles from Zanzibar town, with her mother. This village is very like Pemba, full of superstition and dealings in magic; the old women teach the young ones, so that these things never die out. At Mbweni she again became ill, though not in the same way. She was seized with trembling and great weakness, and spells of unconsciousness about 9 o'clock every night (these are said to be sure signs of devil-possession).
(From this point I use mostly the words--taken down at the time--of my informant, a very trustworthy African teacher, who was told the story by Mariamu's husband.)
'At last the spirit made himself known, speaking through her lips and saying "I am sent to kill this person." He admitted that he was a "djini," worse than a "pepo" (the ordinary name for spirit); a djini kills outright. Mariamu was taken to the Bishop, who was in Zanzibar, and was exorcised by him, after which she was perfectly well. But they (i.e. the old people, her mother, etc.) did not believe that the spirit was really gone, so they made a plan to drive him out, and they sought for a witch-doctor and found one. He said he must have Rs. 12 and a white goat, and the usual offerings in a wooden platter (i.e. as a rule bananas, groundnuts, and blue water-lilies). Her husband had meanwhile gone back to Pemba to arrange his affairs there, before leaving for Zanzibar; he did not know that a witch-doctor had been called in.
'At first a white goat could not be found, and while they were looking for one, all the trouble returned upon Mariamu--trembling fits, unconsciousness, etc.
'At last they found a goat, and the "Mganga" fixed his day for coming, and his hour, 3 o'clock. On the very same day the husband, Suleman, who had been called from Pemba when the attacks returned, arrived in the morning and walked out to Mbweni. When he arrived (about noon, I gathered), he found a great many people in the house, and Mariamu began one of her shaking and trembling fits, head and body shaking, for the first time in daylight. As Suleman entered he heard a voice speaking through his wife's lips, "I am coming, I am coming, I am coming," and the people said, "Probably the spirit knows this man."
'Suleman: "Who are you who are coming? "
'Djini: "I am a devil (shetani). I have come to kill this person."
'Suleman: "You and Jesus, which is greater?"
'Djini: "Jesus is greater, ten times greater, nor do I dare to stand before Him."
'Suleman: "Don't you know that this person is the child of Jesus?"
'Djini: "I am only sent (i.e. a messenger, same root as the word for apostle). I can't help having to do my work."
'Suleman went up to his wife and made the sign of the Cross on her face, and said, "Evil spirit, I command you in the Name of Jesus, come out of this person and never return."
'Mariamu was sitting in a chair; she opened her eyes very wide and stared, so that he trembled, and immediately she fell right over backwards (chair and all) and lay as if dead, no breath coming. Everyone was amazed and some said she had died. Even Suleman was much afraid and thought he had killed his wife.
'Then at last she began to speak: "Have you no faith? I gave the Bishop power to drive away this spirit, and then you went and consulted a 'Mganga,' and the devil had gone altogether by the power I gave to the Bishop; and when you went to the 'Mganga' I gave this devil strength and power to kill this person because of your lack of faith--and to-day, if 3 o'clock comes and that ' Mganga ' is here, by my advice this Mariamu must go to the sisters at Mkunazini (in Zanzibar town). When she sees the door of the sisters' house she will be whole, and let her not return to Mbweni. But if you use obstinacy and at 3 o'clock that ' Mganga ' comes, if he sees her face to face that hour will be the hour of her death."
(There was a pause. Her tone changed, and then the woman spoke in her natural voice.)
'"Have you heard these words? Those which I said are not my words, those which are mine are these: Now, at once, take me to the sisters' house at Mkunazini." And they went.'
The Bishop himself (I think, or in any case one of the sisters) told me that they took the woman to him again; he advised her then and there to make her shrift, lest anything in her should be helping the powers of evil. This she did, and he then took her himself to the sisters and gave her into their charge.
One of them told me how in the night Mariamu, streaming with perspiration and trembling, came to waken her, and said, ' Sister, my father, the Bishop, told me not to be frightened, and I am not frightened--but oh! I am afraid.'' However, after that night no more trouble came to her. She has had another child since and is as well as possible, and the nice sister-in-law tells me that if Mariamu ever gets at all slack about her communions, she always has a dream, in which the Lord reminds her of what is past, and bids her stir up her soul.
N.B.--This same sister-in-law told me that Suleman did not do the actual exorcism himself. I have not had the opportunity to ask Suleman himself about it. My story is as the teacher, Suleman's friend, told it to me.
She had been a member of a dancing-guild--women who whiten their faces to look like devils (who, of course, are all white here!) and dance naked in honour of the spirits. It is a very low profession. Then a nice young man from the mainland, a Mnyamwezi, came and ' married ' her. Then he began to attend the Hearers' class at Wete, and had scruples about his marriage, which was really no marriage at all. He was advised to try to win her to desire religion, and at last by prayers and exhortations he succeeded and she began to attend the classes. They had then been married eight years and they were really fond of one another.
Mama Juma then began to be troubled with a sort of trance, which came on every night between 8.30 and 9. A voice would be heard saying, 'I am coming, I am coming, I am coming,' and then, 'I am sent to kill this woman because she follows the religion of the Europeans. I am sent by So-and-So of such a place (a well-known wizard and dealer in charms about four miles from the Mission), and I shall go on coming until I kill her; but if she will give up the religion of the Europeans, then I will leave her in peace.'
The husband came to beg for help, and was taught an Act of Faith, and of defiance of the evil spirit, and told to say them and his own prayers whenever the spirit came. This he reported as doing some good. He himself proved his faith by accepting the Cross and being admitted to the Catechumenate at this time. But the attacks, though less frequent, did not cease, and presently he reported that they were worse than ever, so he was told to bring his wife to the Mission--they lived eight miles away--and she should be exorcised. The very afternoon they came in she had an ' attack,' though the husband had been quite certain that at the Mission nothing would happen. She was taken to church (being only a Hearer she had never been there before), and there she flung herself on the ground, writhing and trying to tear her clothes off. Finally she was exorcised, and after many prayers, penitential psalms, etc., she became quiet and lay down as if asleep. When she opened her eyes she recognised everyone, and after a short thanksgiving she went to the house provided for her.
That night all was quiet, but the next night, just as Compline was over in church, we were called to Mama Juma. During the attack on the day she came in she had been very sneering and horrible, saying: ' Come round me all of you. I know what you want to do; just come and see if you can do it; you never will.' This night attack was much the same, but she looked even more horrible, really satanic. I myself heard her (or it?) name the man who had sent the spirit, and that it had come to kill her on account of her religion. When shown the crucifix, she gnashed her teeth and tried to seize it, and made the common African sign of contempt (a sort of sucking of the cheeks). We prayed for about one and a half to two hours, but at last the voice said, 'Oh, very well, if you want me to go, I will go.' The Lord's Prayer was specially hateful to it, and it sneered at every clause, 'Oh, yes,' 'quite so,' 'it is so truly,' and so on.
Next day the husband had to go and get more food, and Mama Juma slept alone, quite unafraid, that night. On the following night she went to the house of a Christian close by, saying she felt very odd and would like to stay there, and by 8.45 or so she was again ' possessed.' Again we all went down to the house, and found her sitting up, looking very queer, but much less fierce than on the other occasions. This time, when shown the crucifix, she turned her head away (three times = African entire repudiation) and said, 'What has that to do with me? Where do I come from? Don't I come from heathendom? Well, then, that has nothing to do with me.'
Then suddenly, while we were praying, 'You know I'm another one? I have put out that Pemba one and I am quite another one. I am a Manyema.' (This was the woman's own tribe; she was carried off for a slave at three years old or so.) ' This woman was committed to me before she was born. But you need not mind me, I shall not hurt her, I am not like that Pemba one; she is in my charge.'
We answered, 'But she has chosen Another and wants no more of you, and you are afraid of Him. You are afraid even of His image, what then if you saw Him Himself? That is the One Whom this woman has chosen as her Lord, so you must leave her alone and go your ways.'
'Can a mother forsake her child? No, and no more can I forsake this woman, who is my child, placed in my keeping before she was born.'
'You will not be leaving her, for she has already left you, but you must cease from troubling her, for she has done with you.'
This sort of argument went on for some time. Once it spoke the Manyema language, but none of us knew it, nor did Mama Juma herself. I asked her next day. She came away too young from her own country. When asked to speak the Coast language, it politely spoke Swahili again, saying, 'Is this what you want?'
At last it said, ' Well, what do you really want me to do?' in a weary voice, as if tired out.
'We want you to leave this woman altogether and never trouble her again.'
'Oh, very well then; I will go my ways altogether' (a very strong word for this.)
Then she lay down for quite a long time, seven or eight minutes, after which she sat up and said in a very gentle voice, ' Fetch me a little water, my friends, that I may drink.' And when it was brought in a coconut shell, fixed on to a long stick, she received it in her right hand, but at once transferred it to her left (which would never be used for eating or drinking) in order to make with the right a large sign of the Cross before she drank of the water.
This was in December 1920, and she has never been troubled again.
N.B.--I should think Mama Juma was very likely a 'disciple'of a guild for witchcraft, as described by the Bishop. I was told it was a dancing guild, but probably I was told only what it was considered desirable for me to know, and no more!
NOTES BY THE RIGHT REV. J. E. HINE, D.D., LL.D., M.D.,
BISHOP OF GRANTHAM
When I was Bishop of Zanzibar, Dr. Weston was resident at Kiungani and at that time had had little or no acquaintance with African native life. I do not remember ever discussing cases of 'witchcraft' with "'him. It was after I retired and he became Bishop that he came into personal touch with matters of this kind.
I cannot say that I ever saw much of them myself. 'Wafiti' were persons one heard about but seldom met, and the evidence of their powers was not often brought to our notice. One case I remember of a Christian youth at Likoma who was said to be ' possessed with a devil,' and I hesitated whether to visit him and, as bishop, to exorcise the evil spirit which was believed to have possessed him or, as doctor, to treat his symptoms medically. It seemed better to use natural means before resorting to spiritual means, and I dosed him freely with simple drugs. He soon recovered without any need of other treatment. I should always do this in similar cases. In Pemba I have had instances of witchcraft brought before me. It was in the early days of the Mission, and the resident clergy in that island had not then perhaps learned what was found out later on about these local superstitions. These are so hidden and kept secret that you may live for years in a place without finding out how prevalent they are. We did, in Central Africa, feel that there was a great hidden native life around and about us of which we knew nothing. Maples felt that, and told me so once. As to the cases referred to in your chapter, I do not feel that I can give a definite opinion. No doubt some drugs like 'Bhang' (Cannabis Indica) have a strange influence on the victims who use it: and we should be very cautious in assigning a supernatural cause to symptoms which are really due to some toxic influence. The effects of the drug pass off, whether exorcism is used or not, though if exorcism had been used the recovery of the victim might easily be ascribed to spiritual treatment and not to natural causes.
The subject needs a great deal of careful investigation, and that by people of scientific training, qualified to take account of all sides of the cases under consideration, and free from bias and prejudice either way. There may be spiritual influence, evil as well as good, to which some are more susceptible than others. People in a primitive stage of civilisation are ready to believe in the reality of such influences (more especially of evil influences), and a little such belief goes a long way in its effects on their health. A man who firmly believes that he is bewitched, will show symptoms and suffer in body and mind because of that belief. We teach them to believe in good influences also, which are stronger than the evil, that the Holy Spirit of God is stronger than Satan.
We should not hesitate to follow primitive Church practices and rites if it seems fit to do so under the circumstances. Our ignorance is very great. It is a matter on which no one can dogmatise.
NOTE BY ROBERT HOWARD, M.D.
These are most interesting cases, and are admirable instances of the application of exorcism with apparently complete success. Both patients, one a Christian, the other an enquirer after Christianity, were convinced that their religious aspirations were being thwarted through the machination of the Devil and his agents; and exorcism enabled them to cling to their faith and to realise that Jesus was stronger than the Devil, and to conquer through Him. If the patients had been admitted to the Mission hospital, the same suggestion that witchcraft could not harm them any more would have been made to them, though doubtless not so forcibly. Much of each story reads extraordinarily like the usual account of a spiritualistic séance, and thus the narrowness of the line which separates spiritualism from dealings in witchcraft and the black art is emphasised.