November 26, 2007 / 6:01 AM / 12 years ago

NZ woman drowns, girl's eyes gouged in exorcism: paper

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - A New Zealand woman drowned in a family exorcism ceremony and her younger cousin had her eyes gouged by relatives in an attempt to lift a curse, a newspaper reported on Monday.

Janet Moses, 22, had her eyes scratched and water syringed into them before drowning in front of 40 relatives during the exorcism ceremony in October, the Dominion Post newspaper said.

Her 14-year-old cousin also had her eyes gouged and water poured down her throat to get rid of a devil the relatives said they saw in her eyes.

The girl nearly drowned and was taken to a hospital where she underwent surgery to restore her vision.

The family believe that the curse started when a family member stole a stone-made lion statue from a local pub, the Dominion said.

“It’s a homicide inquiry so I can’t comment further,” a police spokesman told Reuters.

Reporting by Kazunori Takada, editing by Jeremy Laurence

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