Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/305

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Obeah in the West Indies.

in St. Lucia the men charged with the murder appear to be devoid of any degree of intelligence; there is not even cunning decipherable in their faces, which have been reproduced in a Barbados paper,[1] albeit that Montoute’s broad chin betrays the obeah practitioner, or else the murder might have come to be classed as one of ‘mysterious disappearance’ as well. Within the past twelve years several such cases have taken place here, and those missing have never been traced up to this day, while there have always been broad hints about hidden treasure in connection with each of these ‘disappearances’ given by people inhabiting the various localities.”

However this may be, I think I cannot better conclude my paper than by expressing the hope, now that the consciences of the public of our West Indian colonies and of the home Government have begun to realize to what terrible lengths any indulgence towards or weakening in the repressive enactments against this widespread plague of obeah may lead, that we may see the rapid disappearance of any objectionable features in its cult, leaving only, it may be, a harmless residuum that may still afford some interest to the student and lover of folk-lore.

J. S. Udal.

  1. This I have not seen, but I have here photographs of the three prisoners taken in St. Lucia.