Tanimbar Medicine in Unmapped Magazine

I’m absolutely delighted to say that my essay on Tanimbarese medicine has been published in the wonderful Unmapped magazine. The essay is about witchcraft, possession, strange octopi that lurk in the stomachs of their victims and crazed Indonesian nuns with syringes. Unmapped is available by subscription, for £2 a month — and it’s a wonderful publication, so do think about signing up.

Here’s an extract:

It is a terrible thing to be a witch in the Tanimbar islands. The soul of a witch is light, unanchored. A witch has no ballast, which is why witches can fly from place to place, shuttling to the distant island of Ambon on their night flights to buy bottles of beer, or entering the bodies of others and causing them mischief. But to be without anchor in the turbulent seas of existence is a curse, and so the witches of Tanimbar long for something, anything, that might be heavy enough to lend them weight, even for a short while.

You can read the rest here.

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