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The ‘Catholic Witchdoctors’ of Bolivia

By Jake Wallis Simons

On the vast plains of the Altiplano plateau in South America live people who believe in magic.

Many of the Aymara — an ancient, indigenous race found in Bolivia, Peru and Chile — suppose that on Tuesdays and Fridays, ordinary people become vulnerable to harmful spirits and the evil eye.

That’s why on those days they stay awake and on their guard until dawn. And that is why they get together and smoke.

“When you exhale the smoke, you send back the evil spells to the sender,” says Raphaël Verona, a Swiss photographer who has just released a new book of photographs of traditional Aymara communities.

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