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In a horrific story coming out of Papua New Guinea, four women were allegedly tortured with machetes after being accused of witchcraft.

The video shows at least four women who have been stripped, tied up, burned and beaten. They are prodded and threatened with machetes while being questioned by a group of men…

Social media posts said the women were accused of “invisibly” taking the man’s heart, and then putting it back after they were tortured. In their attackers’ eyes this would also prove their guilt as sorcerers.

“There’s no real way they can prove themselves innocent,” one PNG source who has been involved in rescues of victims of sorcery-related violence, told Guardian Australia. “Once they’re suspected they’re basically done for, they’ll be tortured and maybe killed as well.”

One woman was said to have died, though that’s unconfirmed.

Even scarier is that this is not the first time we’ve heard a story like this. Not only did a similar (literal) witchhunt take place this past April, and this past January, and in 2013.

This isn’t a religious crime, per se, but it does remind us of the serious consequences in societies where dogmatic, irrational, superstitious thinking goes unchecked. Accusations are taken as gospel. And innocent people suffer because of it.

(Image via Shutterstock)

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.

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