Science, Spirits, and Common Sense: The Espiritistas of Upi

Abstract / Excerpt:

The time is the summer of 1961. In the dim light of three kerosene lamps, augmented by the glow of numerous candles, an elderly woman lays her hand on a young man's head, anoints him with a bit of menthol paste and prays for his bad back. She speaks of the magnetic fluid which is being transmitted through her hands from St. Francis and of the need of the young man to correct his ways. The twenty-some persons gathered in this rural house, neighbors all except for the parish priest who watches but does not actively participate, standing around the healer and her patient and praying silently. Earlier another woman, having made contact with the world of the spirit, has been the channel for a short moral homily, urging the young women of the community to dress modestly and to avoid cosmetics. There will be a few more moments of prayer following the anointing, and the little group will disperse. This has been a regular Thursday evening meeting of a spiritist cult which had been quietly, even clandestinely, formed in the midst of a thriving Episcopal mission in the remote Upi valley of what was then Cotabato province

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Source JournalTambara
Journal VolumeTambara Vol. 24
AuthorsStuart A. Schlegel
Page Count12
Place of PublicationDavao City
Original Publication DateNovember 1, 2007
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