Two stories of brainwashed people caught my eye today, both are excruciating examples of what people will do when they are unable to think logically for themselves.
This one is loopy! Its about the phenomenon called mass trance which is apparently pretty common in Indonesia.
LINA says she was 17 the first time she was possessed by an evil spirit. "My older sister went down first. She was screaming and her body went rigid and she couldn't move. Then the spirit came into my body, too," the former cigarette-factory worker recalled.
Reports of schoolchildren, young women and factory workers going into mass trances or speaking in tongues are common across Indonesia's vast archipelago.
# National television this month showed 11 students and five teachers in a mass trance in a classroom. About 50 female workers at a garment factory near Jakarta were reported to have gone into a collective trance last June, weeping and jerking their bodies around.
"Every society has some kind of culturally appropriate place for trance experiences, usually in religious settings," said Tanya Luhrmann, a Stamford University anthropologist.
"There appears to be a contagion element to trance, but it really requires some kind of willingness on the part of the individual," she said.
Religion, education and development have done little to budge widespread acceptance of the supernatural in Indonesia.
I was semi-stunned by the methods they used to bring some schoolchildren out of it......
When more than 30 students at Kalimantan's Pahandut Palangka Raya High School fell into a trance in November, they blamed a spirit in a nearby tree.
During the morning flag-raising ceremony, one of the girls started screaming and couldn't move. Soon her friends joined in until more than 30 of them were screaming and fainting, the deputy principal, Friskila said.
Some of the girls woke from the trance after a student played a Muslim prayer ring tone on her mobile phone. Others were taken by their parents to local witchdoctors.
"Often they are people who are very religious or under pressure. They were also from low socio-economic backgrounds," she said. Eko Susanto Marsoeki, the director of Malang's Lawang Psychiatric Hospital, said overwork was closely linked to mass trance incidents in factories. "Often it is a form of protest that will not be dealt with too harshly," he said.
Then there is this sad tale of what believers in sorcery do to one another.
A pregnant Papua New Guinea woman hung from a tree after being accused of sorcery gave birth to her baby while struggling to free herself, local media reports.
Nolan Yekum and her husband Paul were dragged from their house and hung from a tree by fellow tribesmen who accused them of sorcery after the couple's neighbour suddenly died.
Their ordeal occurred in Kilip village near Banz in Western Highlands Province, PNG's newspaper The National reported today.
The woman and her newborn baby girl, her third child, were doing well in Mt Hagen Hospital after two weeks in hiding, the report said.
I keep wondering, how will logic and reason ever penetrate these cultures?