New Video: It’s Hard to Make Child Witches Funny

Support Leo Igwe via Stepping Stones Nigeria or IHEU

Support the West Memphis 3 Defense

Leo Igwe’s description of his most recent arrest

Martin Robbins’ report on child witches

And finally here’s the podcast I did with Ken Plume in which we come up with his new star sign

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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  1. This is the first time I’ve heard of any of this stuff. It is a blog full of thought provoking articles and will stay in my mind for a long time.
    I found myself shaking my head a lot. Followed links on West Memphis 3.
    Excellent blog, didn’t laugh once. Thanks Rebecca.

  2. Witchcraft trials, especially in Europe, were more about dispossessing those annoying old folks who wouldn’t die and let their heirs inherit, or finding a scapegoat for bad luck or incompetent leadership. The powerless always make the best targets.

    As for Africa being in some way more barbaric and primitive. Evolutionary biology shows no one creature is any more advanced or superior, all it shows is that a creature has evolved to fit it’s ecological niche. Anthropology shows the same, that a society has adapted to suit the local power structures and traditions of its citizens. No culture is ‘primitive’, all society is complex, but we can point out where individuals in that society are treated worse than others simply because they’re women, gay, children, poor, and we should.

    It’s not racist to say society X treats a minority badly, it is racist however to dismiss everyone that lives there to abuse simply because of an assumption that they are incapable of understanding or making moral choices. We can point at examples from our own society where we could do a far better job of making life better for certain groups too, we’re not exactly good.

  3. Been following these stories for a while now, and I never bought into it being just an “African” problem, especially considering video of Sarah Palin being “blessed” by some asshole “witch hunter” or Christine O’Donnell’s weird (and hilariously specific) “admission” on Bill Maher’s show.

  4. It’s not an African problem. I’ve been “delivered” by the wussy American standards, so there was no beating or murder. If people like my old pastor had that kind of political power, he’d beat people. My buddies dad had 9 kids so he could beat more kids. Its very real, but its very ugly and most people don’t like to think about it.

  5. And, btw, SRA panic wasn’t the only issue. Truly, truly horrendous police work, regardless of target also seems to play a large role.

  6. Lets not forget the daycare child molestation scare(s) that started in Kern, California that bloomed into major accusations of satanism and child sacrifices.

    Many people still believe to this day that these allegations are true, including some of those involved in the truly shoddy investigations.

    It is truly frightening how quickly a rumour, off-hand comment or accusation can result in a mob like attack. Mostly, because so many people don’t take a few seconds to step back and consider if what they are hearing/reading is reasonable, rational and responsible. I believe people should ask themselves that before re-telling a rumour, if you really must tell it. In most cases, you probably shouldn’t.

    I recall my adult aunt telling me that the neighbourhood bakeries Chinese baker used his urine in the bread dough every morning. She was told by someone else. I thought, “Holy crap, I’m related to this person?” Her other favourite saying was how East Indians were all lazy, and taking all the jobs. Just think about that statement for a few seconds. Unfortunately, lots of people simply do not seem to behave in rational ways. They spend their lives reacting, rather then thinking.

    Even if not in an actual mob, people have a tendency to think in ‘mob’ like way. What the majority of others do and say are acceptable, even if its actually a horror show.
    This is why in some societies ugly behaviour can become systemic, from the truly terrible to the less terrible. Germany’s death camps, or capital punishment for children and the mentally challenged, and in some small isolated villages in South America, cannibalism and the enforcement of beliefs through terror and torture.

    As the Japanese saying goes, ” its the nail that sticks up that gets hammered down.”

    Finally, as a circumcised male, I have to say, there is a big difference between being circumcised as a baby in a hospital, to having a young teen-aged girl having her clitoris cut off with a broken pop bottle and her vagina sewed shut with twine by some dirtbag who probably hasn’t washed his hands in weeks.

    Which is NOT to say that male circumcision is right, there are many ethical problems and medical problems Not all are done in hospitals, some boys have gotten STDs from the Rabbi who uses the old method of using his mouth on the boys penis. Why, I don’t know.

    But the level of degradation, terror and sheer abuse of the person, finally the actual reasons for the actual deed, are simply not equal. Not even close.

    It would only be close to the same if the doctors waited until the boy was between eight and 14, then cut off his entire penis with a broken beer bottle in the back of a bar on the filthy floor, and the doctor was actually an unlicensed bartender. Who spit on his hands before starting.

    My apologies, this has gotten way too long.

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