Believers Come Against Sorcerers And Magicians
Nkoi and other witch-doctors had bamboozled the people of the Free Congo State with their deceitful art for years, but all that changed when Harry Guinness and other missionaries settled in the Congo. By exposing their tricks, not only were innocent victims freed, but the people as a whole, were free from the fraternity of witch-doctors.
On another occasion, some brass rods had been stolen, and the owner of them went to fetch a bonganga to find out the thief. An old fellow named Nkoi came along with a flat iron bell and a blue glass bead.
The palaver started without our knowledge, and when we went out we found it in full swing. We entered the palaver-house, where five or six hundred folk were gathered together, forming a circle round Nkoi. He chanted an incantation, bringing in the name of Eleku, and when this was concluded rubbed the bead on his bare leg. He then placed it on the bell and the bead fell off. This indicated that Eleku was not the guilty one, and a hum of approbation went round.
He proceeded in the same fashion with fifteen other names, and in each case the bead when placed on the bell dropped off. Then he brought in the name of Bompole, went through the same performance, and after shaking the bell the bead remained where it had been placed. This was proof positive that Bompole was the culprit.
The missionary immediately went and stood by Bompole’s side to prevent the crowd seizing and perhaps killing him on the spot. Then he faced the people, and asked that they would listen to him. He would finish the palaver. They assented, and very reluctantly the wretched old deceiver handed over his stock-in-trade to the white-man, who very speedily exposed the tricks by which the natives had been bamboozled for years. One side of the bell was thickly coated with grease, the other was clean, and when he wanted the bead to stick he, of course, put it on the dirty side.
There were roars of laughter when the process was explained . . . . This excitement was succeeded by angry murmurs, and I quickly escorted Nkoi to our house until the folk dispersed, and the next day he left the district and never returned. Nor was he the only one whose deceit and foolish tricks were brought to light by the missionaries, and before many months had elapsed we were troubled no more by the witch-doctor fraternity, though some still practised their arts in secret.