In Newsletters of recent years, often Pastor Bercián has contributed stories, frequently about his adventures on tooth-extracting trips deep into the countryside. Clearly the Pastor has a flair for writing, and he enjoys doing it. Moreover, he examines details of life among the mountains with the attention to detail of a trained anthropologist. Here is one of his stories, after someone has translated it into English. It appeared in the March - April, l988 Newsletter:
Micaela was an Indian woman of about 50 years of age living in the Indian Colony of Rincon Chamula, about 5 miles west of Yerba Buena Hospital. This locality is famous because both the men and women drink quantities of alcohol distilled in a very crude manner. There is no shortage of witches, either male or female, in this colony.
Micaela, one of the very old witches, was brought into our hospital after being shot at close range with a shotgun. The shotgun blast left 52 buckshot in an area 8 inches wide and 5 inches high. The muscles were badly burned and the sternum and ribs were exposed.
We presumed that one of her clients, possibly one who had no results from her treatments, had tried to kill her, or possibly the family of one of her victims had tried to get revenge.
In reality these witches are not only used to cast spells to kill people, they are also used to cure people from such ailments as anemia or loss of appetite. The witch goes to the place where the patient was supposedly frightened by an evil spirit. The witch then, after drinking quantities of alcohol, takes control of the "evil spirit" and makes it remain in that place. The sick person is then supposed to be "curado."
You need to understand that in this area the witches use different materials for their "work" such as human hair (from the next victim), black wax from the forest, duck eggs, or a black rooster. Alcohol is indispensable (for the witch to drink), and a shotgun to fire at the moment of the enchantment to scare off the "evil spirits." They also use rosin from the pine tree in their incense burner to frighten the evil spirits.
This witch, Micaela, did not die at that time even though the flesh was torn off from the upper rib cage and the sternum. After two months of treatments with medicines and honey (covering the wounds) she was able to return to her home.
The Holy Bible clearly states: "There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consultant with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all these things are an abomination unto the Lord: Deuteronomy l8:l0-l2.
FINALLY: Three months after Micaela left the hospital she was visited by two young men, strangers from a distant village. These young strangers gave Micaela some gifts of food and then asked her to go with them to their village to "cure" a sick woman. Micaela, accompanied by her 9 year old granddaughter, expected to return the next morning. The next afternoon the granddaughter returned bedraggled and very frightened to report that Micaela had been stoned to death on the trail by the two young men. Micaela's sons found her cold body on the trail, with a terribly mutilated chest and head. Micaela had lived a sinful life and she met a terrible death. "Be sure your sins will find you out."