The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga notebook six

caption: black magic
medium: notes
person: Me-shou/ of Wakching
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 13.9.1936
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 28.8.1936-26.10.1936
refnum: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: (92) Wakching 13/9/1936
text: Informant: Me-shou, Balang gaonbura.
text: Black magic:
text: If a man wants to kill another man he makes a small wooden statue and at night cuts off its head, pronouncing the enemy's name, and then buries the statue (in the village). Even within a village men kill each other like this. At present Melo, the young gaonbura of Bala, is suffering from such a magic. They don't know who did the (93) magic, but think somebody across the frontier. Now he made the counter-magic. He made a small statue and one cock was fastened alive to it, then the young man drags it at midnight all through the village. First they took omens (with leaves) what animal (if cock, dog or cat). Some young men of Bala hid at the path outside the village, and while the young man (of Bala too) drags it along the path near the wood-houses they rushed out and speared the statue and the (94) cock. They are dressed as if they were going to war. They cut off the head of the statue and then they dig a hole just on the road where the people pass every day and bury the head of the statue and the head of the cock and cover it with a flat stone on which the people tread whenever they pass. The rest of the cock and the beheaded statue are burnt. Then they go dancing to their morung and beat the drum as if they had taken a head. (95) The man who drags the statue and cock first cuts off their heads, then the others spear it. When they call together the men they say: [konyak] When the man cuts off the head he says: [konyak] (96) that means: "the words spoken by the Dzui Ang, Mon Ang, Leang Ang shall be repulsed by the skin, without entering the body".
text: In former times this black magic was done a lot in Wakching too, even against fellow villagers. The Angs of Chui, Mon and Leangha make it still often because they are frequently in war. But this is a dangerous (97) magic. It is said that people don't get children who make it.
text: There is another magic with the hair of an enemy. His hair is burnt a little and then given into some food or drink offered to him, or even into pan leaves - or the hair is put to some damp and marshy place, as to a spring. (98) The man who starts with making somebody ill or to die does not drag the statue round the village but does it in secret in his house (without killing a chicken) but he gives some rice and madhu, and some spit of pan to the statue before cutting off the head.