Reports of genital theft have spread like an epidemic
March 25, 2013 11:08 AM Subscribe
posted by not_the_water (52 comments total)
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"Elaborate greetings are the norm, I’ve found, when one enters a Central African village. So it was a surprise when I noticed that many people weren’t shaking hands the morning I arrived in Tiringoulou, a town of about 2,000 people in one of the remotest corners of the Central African Republic, in March 2010. I soon found out the reason: the day before, a traveler passing through town on a Sudanese merchant truck had, with a simple handshake, removed two men’s penises
"Genital theft is neither new nor confined to Africa. Similar panics afflicted Central Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. (Malleus Maleficarum
, a book-length jeremiad against the dangers of witchcraft from 1486, includes a discussion of sorceresses who “take away male members” and keep them in birds’ nests.) And in 1967, an outbreak of koro—the belief that the penis is retracting into the body—overwhelmed hospitals in Singapore. [...] But here I was in Tiringoulou—a dusty, peanut-growing hamlet so small and poor it barely has a market. If penis snatching had previously been a city dweller’s fear, now it seemed that not even the remotest places would be spared."
"...Mysterious indeed. But perhaps no more so than certain afflictions that are less strange to us in the West. If penis stealing seems beyond-the-pale weird, consider what people in Tiringoulou might think upon hearing of Americans who starve themselves near to death because their reflection in the mirror convinces them they are fat."
Related: 'Perplexed ... Perplexed': On Mob Justice in Nigeria
. Malleus Maleficarum previously