Prosecuting a Possession Priest
Case: Trial of Juca Rosa
Case Synopsis: In 1870, Judge of the 2nd District, Miguel José Tavares, received a letter accusing Juca Rosa, an Afro-Brazilian possession priest, of practicing false magic. Tavares prosecuted Rosa for “charlatanism” and fraud (estelionato), claiming that he was attempting to illegally and immorally profit by representing himself as a bearer of false magical powers. Rosa was ultimately sentenced to six years of prison and hard labor. This case module originated in the work of Paul C. Johnson.
Paul C. Johnson, “An Atlantic Genealogy of ‘Spirit Possession,'” Comparative Studies in Society and History 53, no. 2 (2011): 393-425.
Thomas H. Holloway, “‘A Healthy Terror’: Police Repression of Capoeiras in Nineteenth-Century Rio de Janeiro,” Hispanic American Historical Review 69, no. 4 (1989): 637-676.