As usual, during Ramadan, numbers sheered off from the tiny remnant [of Muslim converts to Christianity], but in addition to the invariable social pressure brought to bear on Christians during special times of fasting and feasting, the women were becoming aware of another force as insidious as it was subtle. Black magic was commonly employed in North Africa: to cure a friend, kill an enemy, or drive a desired woman crazy with love. A sorcerer, by the use of charms (melted lead forms), sacrifice of birds, invocation of demons, hypnotism, or poisons, could work his or her will upon the object of concern.
A foreign concept to the western mentality of the missionaries, black magic was a constant threat to young converts who were becoming prey to the mixture of poison [or drugs] and magic as a means of dulling intellectual faculties and numbing the will. As Lilias became more familiar with these practices, she would come to recognize the sudden pulling away of the young converts as symptomatic of poisoning (secretly administered into their food or drink) which, she observed, made them susceptible to suggestion and satanic influences.
Friday, April 9, 2010
From A Passion for the Impossible by Miriam Huffman Rockness (page 160-161):