Superstition strikes again – fatally

I see the old “medicine-man-can-defeat-bullets” myth is still out there.

A Nigerian healer has been shot dead after encouraging one of his customers to test the efficacy of his bullet-proof charms.

Chinaka Adoezuwe, 26, was killed wearing the pendants around his neck after he instructed the man to fire his weapon.

The incident happened in the country’s south-eastern Imo state and police say the shooter has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Some Nigerian doctors claim the charms harness various powers and can cure  illnesses.

There’s more at the link.

It’s easy to mock such beliefs, but they’ve been around for centuries.  Native American shamans allegedly used them to encourage the warriors of their tribes to fight white intruders;  they were (and still are) common in African tribal religions;  and I daresay something similar may be found in the Far East and South-East Asian regions, if you look hard enough.  Hilaire Belloc put it unkindly, if succinctly, from the colonial point of view:

“Whatever happens, we have got
The Maxim gun, and they have not.”

I only met someone convinced by such superstitions on one occasion, when he attempted to put me en brochette with an assegai.  He was… ah… persuaded otherwise, not with a Maxim, but with a World War II-vintage Remington Rand copy of a Colt M1911A1 pistol.

Nevertheless, the same primitive superstitions are often encountered in the First World as well.  How many consult their horoscope, or check their biorhythms, or wear or carry a lucky charm of some sort (a rabbit’s foot, or a four-leaf clover, or something like that)?  How many carry garlic as a protection against vampires, or wear a cross or crucifix to ward off evil?  Such things are far more common than many would like to admit – and they’re generally just as useless as faith in an anti-bullet amulet.  In particular, the (mis)use of religious emblems is dangerously facile.  If you, yourself, aren’t fully living up to the requirements and expectations of your faith, why should a symbol of that faith protect you?  Something more practical (against worldly threats, anyway) might be a lot more appropriate.



  1. there are many forms of armor. True bullet proof armor can be worn and it provides protection from danger as best it cam. This does not mean the person wearing the armor is a fighter or a soldier.

    What makes a soldier powerful is not the tools he uses but his mindset. Without the belief that he can persevere no amount of armor will guarantee that the battle will be won.

    People in life use the various superstitions an talismans to 'armor' themselves in their lives. There is no tangible physical protection that these actually convey. It is purely the confidence that the belief provides that allows the believer to march forward into life.

    Ignorance is to not see the world for what it is. It is not stupidity but is the lack of knowledge. Then again, true knowledge can be argued as to its definition and purpose. Even so, we must acknowledge the danger and reality we see.

    Where a man puts his faith is what defines him. When you place your faith in a talisman or other piece of material you are only as strong as that object allows. For many, an abiding faith in God gives them the strength and confidence in their path.

    All people seek affirmation of their inherent selves. To walk through life unsure and afraid is to walk slowly and to stumble often and painfully. As a result, the average person looks for affirming aspects of their beliefs, or their lives.

    Confidence is the goal and the tool to attain the rewards is what we seek. To hold a deep abiding faith is one way to carry on and go forward in life. To cling to an inanimate object or an interpretation of the positions of the stars, or to ascribe to mysterious enchantments is a tool used by many others.

    In reality we are all ignorant. We truly do not know for sure what is to come. Having personal armor to face these uncertainties is one way of preparing. A colt M1911 and body armor is another. The common denominator is confidence.

  2. Excellent point(s). It's amazing how much superstition is still out there and active world wide!

  3. How many believe fervently in Global Warming? How many passionately believe that Solar and Wind power can supply a significant portion of the Nation's energy budget? How many believe, in spite of the record of the 20th Century, that Socialism will cause anything but mass-death and misery?

    Superstitions all

    1. Ditto. Not sure the customer should be charged with murder, sounds like faulty product testing to me.

  4. Political parties have their own brand of ju-ju or magical fetishes, such as waiving a bullet proof dinosaur at their opponents while intoning:

    Whatever happens, we have got
    Maxine Waters and they have not

    I’m sure that will be a great comfort to the embattled politicos come the midterms.

  5. In all fairness, crucifixes do appear to work at warding off vampires. When was the last time you saw a vampire anywhere near one? 🙂

  6. The old is new again.

    We buy Plenary Indulgences in the form of carbon credits, to purchase our way into the good graces of the church of AGW.

    We buy expensive mild snake oil that gives us diarrhea when we don't otherwise have it, to purge us of foul humours, which we call 'toxins' now.

    We eat vegan to recognize that all life is sacred because this pleases Gaia.

    We throw our babies into the furnace because Molach, now called Choice, and her priestess who took the earthly name Margaret Sanger. She assures us this is necessary and good because unplanned and unbudgeted children are evil.
    Especially the black ones.

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