The Kamajors in Battle: Magic, Tactics, and Success
These accounts of events that took place in combat situations paint both complementary and contradictory pictures of the role played by ritual and magic. On the one hand, it suggests that the use of drug infused potions altered the state of mind of the fighters and made them fiercer and braver, and in the case described above, more difficult to command while under the influence of the potion. On the other hand it suggests a very strong psychological dimension, something of a placebo effect that allowed the ECOMOG soldiers to use the diesel instead of the magic water and, feeling sure of its power, face battle as fearlessly as had they had actual magical protection. The second story was, interestingly, told by the Kamajor in the van, who wanted to demonstrate the power of belief amongst non-Kamajors as well as within the Kamajor ranks. But although he recognized the tangible psychological effect the diesel had on the ECOMOG soldiers, he also maintained that the real protection stayed with him in the van where the magic water was kept.
KeywordsSecret Society Supernatural Power Magical Power Initiation Experience Intelligence Gathering
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