It is sometimes asked what harm does belief in the supernatural/mystical/whatever do to society. Does it really matter if certain people believe in witchcraft, sorcery, gods (plural and/or singular) or fairies in the bottom of the garden? This story, which come from Nigeria, should illustrate some of the problems such backwards beliefs can have on society as a whole.
Police in Nigeria are holding a goat on suspicion of attempted armed robbery.
Vigilantes took the black and white beast to the police saying it was an armed robber who had used black magic to transform himself into a goat to escape arrest after trying to steal a Mazda 323.
“The group of vigilante men came to report that while they were on patrol they saw some hoodlums attempting to rob a car,” Kwara state police spokesman Tunde Mohammed told Reuters by telephone.
“They pursued them. However one of them escaped while the other turned into a goat.
“We cannot confirm the story, but the goat is in our custody. We cannot base our information on something mystical. It is something that has to be proved scientifically, that a human being turned into a goat.”
Belief in witchcraft is widespread in parts of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation.
Residents came to the police station to see the goat, photographed in one national newspaper on its knees next to a pile of straw.
So let’s see … two men tried to steal a car. One caught in the act, one did a runner while the other one took the cunning step of turning himself into a goat … and get arrested. The authorities arrested a goat based on backwards beliefs for which there is no evidence.