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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Belief in Witchcraft, Magic Serves 'Basic Human Need,' Professor Says

Halloween is a time for children to dress up as witches, ghouls and goblins, but historically witchcraft was serious business, according to a Duke University professor.

Though people today might view witchcraft as mere superstition, it’s evident from anthropological literature that, for some people, the practice has served a basic human need, said Anne-Maria Makhulu, an assistant professor of cultural anthropology who studies the ongoing practice of witchcraft in Africa.

"We live in a bewildering world where we don’t have a lot of control. And we can imagine doing things through magic that we can’t do as ordinary human beings," said Makhulu, who is teaching a course this semester on magic and capitalism. Full Story

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