Saturday, January 24, 2009

Nigerian Weregoats And Malaysian Weretigers

In Nigeria, a goat has been arrested for stealing a car:
The black and white animal was turned in to police by a vigilante group, which claimed it was an armed car thief who had used black magic to transform himself into a goat to escape arrest after trying to steal a Mazda 323.

"The group of vigilante men came to report that while they were on patrol they saw some hoodlums attempting to rob a car," Tunde Mohammed, a spokesman for Kwara state police, told Reuters.

"They pursued them. However, one of them escaped while the other turned into a goat," he said. While Mr Mohammed said he could not confirm whether a man had, in fact, turned into a goat, he did admit that the animal was in police custody. A photo of the goat, resting on its knees next to a pile of straw, was published in Nigeria's Vanguard newspaper.
A colleague was telling me this week that in rural areas of Malaysia (not Indonesia -- I checked with him), men who accidently get caught in tiger traps are often regarded with great suspicion, because of concern that they may be weretigers. I must admit to finding it kind of awesome that some people live in a world painted so colorfully by myth and legend.

But on the whole, this is a real problem. Much can go wrong in a justice system that relies on roving bands of vigilantes who believe in were-goats.


corvus said...

That reminds me of some other story I heard about an entire crowd claiming to see a cat turn into a woman after trying to hex someone. Or something. It was also in Africa. What's weird is that in both stories there are direct witnesses who claimed to see the transformations. So either people really are turning into werebeasts over there, or they are suffering from mass delusions.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you remember one of Pat Robertson's more outre pronouncements, about how we needed "sprit filled" police officers to use their special God-given ability to identify criminals and those who would do evil, like those demon possessed gay people.

It would have worked out something like this..