Dead Man Tells No Tales but Beliefs Prevail: Death Mythology [Infanticide]
1 Believing in Sorcery Death Brings 10 More Dead
Beliefs in supernatural powers, especially sorcery, had literally brought misfortune to the believers. Statistics shows that for one death that occurred naturally, there would be ten or more deaths either by direct execution for witchcrafts or by torture to prove the victims innocence (Frazer,1911).
One more impact of the belief in sorcery, which is much sadder, is infanticide.
Infanticide was quite common world-wide since BC times until the late of 19th Century. For instance, up to 50% of newborn infants were killed in some area of Fiji. In San Cristobal, the Solomon Islands, the firstborn was considered ahubweu and often buried alive. There were some other ways to kill the infant; according to Robert Malthus, the natives in Darling River region of Australia either blow on the back of the head, or strangle with a rope, or even chocking with sands. Similar practices were adopted in Hawaii and Tahiti (Wikipedia, 2008).
In Ugi, the Solomon Islands, women performed abortion or infanticide too. The reported reason was that it was easier to buy a child from the bush people. However, S. Milner, author of Hardness of Heart/Hardness of Life, believed that the reasons of infanticide could range from punishment and shame to poverty, famine, revenge, depression and insanity and superstitious omens (Wikipedia, 2008).
Although, I have never read a formal document about infanticide in Thailand before, infanticide were present in folktales. For example, the Prince Golden Shell narrated that the prince was born as a shell. The sorcerer predicted that he was a bad omen and thus, the King had to either kill or exile both his mother (the queen) and him. I have brought this story up just to support the argument that believing in sorcery could cause infanticide. However, for those readers who wish to hear the rest of the story, I would briefly tell you that the prince and his mother were exiled. After that, he learned magic, went through heroic adventures to prove himself a noble man.
All in all, infanticide and massacre discussed in this section was the result of the belief in sorcery as the cause of death and that no one would die unless assaulted with sorcery. In other words, they believed that there was no such thing called natural death.
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