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Encyclopedia > Witch doctor
For the song, see Witch Doctor.
For the hip-hop artist, see Witchdoctor.

A witch doctor (in southern Africa known as a Sangoma) often refers to exotic healers that believe that maladies are caused by magic and are therefore best cured by it, as opposed to science or developed medicine. Image File history File links Information_icon. ... A witch doctor often refers to healers that believe that maladies are caused by magic and are therefore best cured by it, as opposed to science or developed medicine. ... Witchdoctor, A.K.A. EJ Da Witch Doctor is a founding member of the Atlanta Dungeon Family collective which includes Goodie Mob, OutKast, Cool Breeze, Killer Mike, Big Rube, and others. ... A healer is someone who purports to aid recovery from ill health. ... The Sorceress by John William Waterhouse Magic and sorcery are the influencing of events, objects, people and physical phenomena by mystical or paranormal means. ... Part of a scientific laboratory at the University of Cologne. ... Medicine is a branch of health science and the sector of public life concerned with maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, treatment and possible prevention of disease and injury. ...


The term witch doctor is generally used with negative connotations, as implying that the people whom the witch doctor serves are primitive and credulous.


The term does not, as is popularly believed, mean 'a doctor who uses witchcraft to cure'. It means a person who treats maladies caused by witchcraft. The term was originally used to signify the cunning folk, practitioners of folk magic who sold their services to ward off witchcraft or turn it back upon the supposed sender. In English history, the cunning man or cunning woman is a professional or semi-professional folk magic user up until the twentieth century. ...

In the north of England, the superstition lingers to an almost inconceivable extent. Lancashire abounds with witch-doctors, a set of quacks, who pretend to cure diseases inflicted by the devil. The practices of these worthies may be judged of by the following case, reported in the "Hertford Reformer," of the 23rd of June, 1838. The witch-doctor alluded to is better known by the name of the cunning man, and has a large practice in the counties of Lincoln and Nottingham. According to the writer in "The Reformer," the dupe, whose name is not mentioned, had been for about two years afflicted with a painful abscess, and had been prescribed for without relief by more than one medical gentleman. He was urged by some of his friends, not only in his own village, but in neighbouring ones, to consult the witch-doctor, as they were convinced he was under some evil influence. He agreed, and sent his wife to the cunning man, who lived in New Saint Swithin's, in Lincoln. She was informed by this ignorant impostor that her husband's disorder was an infliction of the devil, occasioned by his next-door neighbours, who had made use of certain charms for that purpose. From the description he gave of the process, it appears to be the same as that employed by Dr. Fian and Gellie Duncan, to work woe upon King James. He stated that the neighbours, instigated by a witch, whom he pointed out, took some wax, and moulded it before the fire into the form of her husband, as near as they could represent him; they then pierced the image with pins on all sides -- repeated the Lord's Prayer backwards, and offered prayers to the devil that he would fix his stings into the person whom that figure represented, in like manner as they pierced it with pins. To counteract the effects of this diabolical process, the witch-doctor prescribed a certain medicine, and a charm to be worn next the body, on that part where the disease principally lay. The patient was to repeat the 109th and 119th Psalms every day, or the cure would not be effectual. The fee which he claimed for this advice was a guinea.

- Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds Charles Mackay (1814‑1889) was a British poet and journalist, son of a naval officer, born at Perth, and educated at the Royal Caledonian Asylum, London, and at Brussels, but spent much of his early life in France. ... Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds is a history of popular folly by Charles Mackay, first published in 1843. ...


The title of the priest/shamans of many of the African Bantu societies in West and South-West Africa is Quimbanda. This directly ties in with the Brazilian Quimbanda Cult, a Shamanic Witchcraft Tradition practised in Brazil. Sometimes called Macumba or even mistakenly referred to as Satanism and Devil Worship, it incorporates elements of African and South-American aboriginal beliefs and religion as well as Medieval European Witchcraft. Quimbanda is an Afro-American traditional religion found in Brazil. ...


The witch doctors in Africa, where they are given the politically correct title of "traditional healers", are sparking new controversies. Although in some cases they help the spread of HIV/AIDS by reinforcing or even starting myths about the disease, they are still respected and revered in their community. Many Africans, even educated and "westernized" Africans, believe that real witch doctors have the power to heal physical or psychological maladies, even the power to transform. Although there are charlatans, there is usually a witch doctor in every community that has earned the respect of the people, for better or for worse.


See also

Witch doctors were said to have eaten the marrow of children to achieve extremely old age. Some were said to have achieved ages of 250-300 years. Witch Doctors were said to have ruled in West Levin, Moore Sawn, South Bostonia, and Garnet Valley. Bomoh is the term for a witchdoctor in Malaysia. ... A curandero (or curandera for a female) is a traditional folk healer or shaman prevalent in Latin America, and especially in Mexico and in Chicano communities in the southwestern United States. ... Mātā Amritanandamayī Devi(माता अमृतानन्‍दमयी), is also known by Her followers as Amma, Ammachi or Mother (born September 27, 1953), was born Sudhamani in the small village of Parayakadavu (now partially known as Amritapuri), near Kollam, Kerala. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Quimbanda is an Afro-American traditional religion found in Brazil. ... A sangoma is a practitioner of herbal medicine, divination and counselling in traditional Nguni (Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele and Swazi) societies of Southern Africa (effectively an African shaman). ... Sathya Sai Baba Sathya Sai Baba (born Sathya Narayana Raju, circa 1926-1929) is a popular, controversial Indian guru who has millions of followers and hundreds of Sathya Sai Baba groups in many countries. ... The shaman is an intellectual and spiritual figure who is regarded as possessing power and influence on other peoples in the tribe and performs several functions, primarily that of a healer ( medicine man). The shaman provides medical care, and serves other community needs during crisis times, via supernatural means (means...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Witch doctor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (446 words)
A witch doctor often refers to healers that believe that maladies are caused by magic and are therefore best cured by it, as opposed to science or developed medicine.
The term witch doctor is generally used with negative connotations, as implying that the people who the witch doctor serves are primitive and credulous.
The term does not, as is popularly believed, mean 'a doctor who uses witchcraft to cure'.
Witchcraft - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3684 words)
The term "witch doctor" was in use in England before it came to be associated with Africa.
When a person was known to be a witch, the populace would still seek to employ their healing skills; however, as was not the case with cunning-folk, members of the general population would also hire witches to curse their enemies.
The term witch doctor, often attributed to African inyanga, has been misconstrued to mean "a healer who uses witchcraft" rather than its original meaning of "one who diagnoses and cures maladies caused by witches".
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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