A number of years ago I was asked to come and share my personal testimony at a Church that ministered to the gay, lesbian and transgender community at inner city Surry Hills.
It was a very interesting experience in many ways. Firstly, I got to hear the stories of the people. Once couple that I spent a lot of time with had both had gender reassignment and hormonal therapy. They had previously both been married and had kids, then felt they had been a living a lie for all their lives and began the process of living as the opposite sex. This caused great turmoil in their families and eventually the relationships broke up. After the surgery, they met each other and married as man and women, having once been the opposite.
It was while talking to this couple that I heard for the first time a real experience of pointing the bone, which is an aboriginal method of cursing somebody.
In the lead up to that story, I found out a number of things. The person who was now reassigned as a female, grew up as a male in an Aboriginal community. He was very bright and intelligent and from an early age teased for being effeminate. The other thing that stood him out from everyone else was that his uncle was the kadaitcha man (or witchdoctor) of the tribe and had chosen his nephew to initiate into the ways of the Aboriginal spirit world and religious system, passing on his knowledge and power through ceremonies that they were unable to share with me due to tribal law.
I was told that one day a number of boys had been teasing the young man about being effeminate. In his anger, he pointed the bone at the boys and pronounced a curse on them. And he said within a short period of time both died, one from drowning and the other from other causes which I can't recall but was also 'accidental'.
This could be put down to simple coincidence as the boys did not fall down and die on the spot or were struck down by a instant malady. But is a very interesting coincidence which the teller of the story attributed to the power of kadaitcha.
"Then everyone knew I had the power and no-one ever teased me again" the now adult version of the boy told me.
The community was struck by fear and awe of what they interpreted as a supernatural power. Instead of being bullied, he was esteemed by the tribe..
"Can you still do it, do you still have the power" I asked?
"Oh yes, once you are initiated it never leaves you, no-one would dare hurt me again".
It was almost an awkward moment as the look on the persons face was one of smugness and arrogance - there was no remorse for what had happened (if indeed it did happen).
To break this strange moment I asked permission to pray with them, thanked them for their story and moved to the next group.
It was a very strange context hearing this story from person of large male build dressed so daintily and obviously born male but with long hair and dressed as a woman. But then the tale got even stranger.
The Pastor asked me how the conversation went. I told him it was amazing to hear the stories and great to pray together.
"You would never realise this, but in the 1960's "X" was part of the program that put the Lunar Module on the moon. He is an absolute genius with science, mathematics and physics. The family lived in the USA for years but then he lost most of his eyesight and ability to walk to diabetes and had a breakdown due to the issues with identity. You can't judge someone by how they look or the issues they have had in their lives".
No, you certainly cannot.
This story is not proof that pointing the bone works. It is one persons interpretation of the events. But is is evidence that belief in it's power existed well into the 20th Century.
And in light of it being a story about taking revenge on bullies, it is also a great opportunity for me to share a quote from Jesus in relation to how people treat us and vice versa.
"I tell you, love your enemies and do good to those who hate you..."
One of the most difficult challenges ever issued. Yet imagine what the world could be like if we managed to do that.
God bless you - Pastor Baz.