- Associated Press - Thursday, June 28, 2012

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Court officials in Zimbabwe say two self-confessed witches who claim to have flown on a magical grain-threshing basket are to undergo medical and psychiatric examinations.

Prosecutors said Thursday that two women were arrested earlier this month after they were found naked in the yard of a home in the town of Chinhoyi, 70 miles northeast of Harare, the capital. The women are charged under witchcraft laws carrying the penalty of a fine.

In local belief, the flat, traditional hand-held winnowing basket is the equivalent of a witch’s broomstick in Western fable.

Officials said a Chinhoyi court on Wednesday set another hearing for July 11 to hear medical reports and testimony from tribal healers.

The middle-aged women claimed the basket “ditched” them in the yard after a naked night ritual nearby.

Belief in witchcraft and tribal superstition is common in Zimbabwe.

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