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SUNY Press, African Caribbean Institute


Geisel School of Medicine


My first experience with witchcraft in Africa occurred in March 1960 in Mombasa, Kenya, just as I stepped off the gangway of the MS Inchanga following a voyage from India. Next to the ship in a dockside kiosk I saw a newspaper with the headline, “European Geologist Attacked in Gogoland: Witchcraft Suspected.” It was the story of a 22-year-old British geologist, William Hanning, who had been prospecting for minerals in a remote part of nearby Tanzania when by mistake he dug into a burial ground. He was believed to be a witch, disguised as a European, out to steal body parts and to destroy ancestral graves.