On the twentieth of October 2010, Mr. Africo Madrid (Ministro de Gobernacion) informed the public of a new law that bans the operation of soothsayers, witches and fortune tellers operating in this country. Can you imagine a government banning witches in this day and age?
A few days later the governor of the department of Atlantida went on television and forbade the celebration of Halloween, stating that it was not part of the Honduran culture and therefore should not be celebrated in this country.
I have a question for the governor. Did you know that more than eighty percent of all the citizens of Honduras believe in witchcraft? This may seem a little exaggerated to many of us, considering the time in which we find ourselves; but nevertheless, it’s true. Many other beliefs and practices, some associated with witchcraft and some not, are as prevalent as they are far-fetched. Let’s take a look at a few of them:
Did you know that …
Witches are more powerful on Fridays?
To ward of spells on Fridays you must wear your underwear wrong side out?
Discarded nail clippings, hair left on the floor after a haircut and especially a discarded tooth are powerful tools that can be used to cast evil spells on the original owner?
Ordinary table salt, if used with malice, can bring bad luck?
The hot froth (foam) expelled from the unlit end of a burning piece of firewood can cure bed wetting when applied directly to the navel of the bed-wetter?
If you cut lettuce with a metal knife the unused portion will become bitter?
To make a barren tree bear fruit, the tree must be whipped with a metal chain on the first rays of sunlight on the 24th of June (Saint John’s day)?
To make a barren lime tree bear, you must place a coral reef rock in the lowest crutch (forked branch)?
To make a barren papaya tree bear fruit, you must pound a rusty metal file into the trunk of the tree using a wooden mallet?
To rid a room of table flies you must hang a transparent plastic bag filled with water in the exact center of the room?
If you ever lift your hand in anger towards your mother, that hand will wither and dry up?
Sleeping in moonlight can cause facial paralysis?
Peeling an onion will ruin the cutting edge of the knife used?
When you catch cold you cannot shave or cut your hair until it goes away?
If you extract a tooth you cannot have sex until your gums are healed?
The container from which you drink a purgative (laxative) must be turned upside down or the medication will not work?
If you take a purge and the medication works you cannot take a shower for three days afterwards?
If someone with intestinal parasites looks at beaten egg whites, the eggs will fall (deflate)?
Some people have such strong vision that they can curdle milk with their eyes?
If you visit a newborn baby you must hold the child in your arms if the baby is to avoid the effects of the evil eye you may have?
For severe back pain you must get a first-time pregnant girl to massage your illness away?
For a sprained wrist to mend you must bind it with the elastic from the panties of a virgin?
Many more of these beliefs exist, and even more outrageous than these.
Instead of banning the operation of soothsayers and the like, maybe our politicians should begin with trying to educate the public. After all, as long as people think the way they do in this country, there will always be work for fortune tellers and such.
What fertile ground for those famous TV persons, “The Myth Busters.”