A 73-year-old woman was killed, burned alive in a remote Amazon village, for “being a witch,” Peruvian authorities are saying. The woman was accused of making a number of villagers ill, and, taking matters into their own hands, the villagers democratically decided not only that she was a witch but also her fate — death by fire.
The Daily Mail reported this week that a septuagenarian woman, Rosa Villar Jarionca, was burned alive after being found guilty of “being a witch” by 40 of her co-villagers. It was believed that the elderly woman was responsible for several members of the village, which is located in the Amazon rain forest in the Shiringamazu Alto area of Peru, developing cases of cramps. The 73-year-old was subsequently tied to a tree and set on fire, killed by being burned alive for engaging in witchcraft.
An armed contingent of 20 police arrived at the village three days after Jarionca was convicted and set afire. Investigators say that villagers were still burning her remains when they arrived. However, according to Hugo Mauricio, prosecutor of the district Puerto Bermudez, investigators were able to identify the woman by a bone that had survived intact — recovered on September 20 — following three days of continuous burning, an attempt to eliminate evidence of Jarionca altogether.
“We found what appear to be totally burned human remains. She is believed to have been burning for three days in order not to have remains.”
There is also a video reportedly depicting the burning incident. In the blurry video, a man appears to be moving what looks like a large container over a huddled figure prior to a young man rushing in and tossing a match.
According to witnesses, Jarionca was allegedly tied to the trunk of a tree and then surrounded by branches. She was then doused with a flammable liquid and burned alive.
According to the Daily Mail, authorities actually recovered documentation of Rosa Villar Jarionca’s conviction and sentencing. Written in Spanish, the documents read that “by agreement of the majority we have decided to eliminate this lady.”
The majority in this case was the greater part of 40 individuals who sat in judgment of the woman. The documents were drafted and signed by village authorities, who wanted the punishment of Jarionca to serve as an example to the community and the surrounding area.
Peruvian authorities say the matter is still under investigation and that they are trying to identify all that were involved in the incident.
Killing witches, as it turns out, is not just relegated to centuries-old stories of burnings at stakes and drownings or the occasional sensational recounting of a rural and benighted community in remote parts of the world. In fact, accusing and killing individuals for suspected acts of witchcraft is still fairly common.
India Today reported last week that a woman in Bengal confessed to killing her brother, 55-year-old Raju Minj, for, according to her, practicing witchcraft. Chandmuni Minj, 35, told authorities that she and four men drowned her brother in the Kathiya River on September 22, because, as India Today put it, “he could predict future and whatever he had predicted had come out to be true.”
Statistics from India’s National Crime Records Bureau reveal that witch hunting has accounted for 2,000 deaths throughout the country from the year 2000 through 2012.
The Daily Dispatch of South Africa reported that eight elderly women have died as a result of “witch killings” in the past five years in Ndibela village, which is about 40 kilometers (almost 25 miles) west of Pretoria. More than 50 elderly women and children have been killed in the Transkei region in attacks in the past seven years where the victims were in some way accused of being a witch or engaging in witch-related activities.
[Featured Image by Firma V/Shutterstock]