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Mumbo Jumbo

A bogie or bugbear in the Mandingo towns of Africa. As the Kaffirs have many wives, it not unfrequently happens that the house becomes quite unbearable. In such a case, either the husband or an agent dresses himself in disguise, and at dusk approaches the unruly house with a following, and makes the most hideous noises possible. When the women have been sufficiently scared, “Mumbo” seizes the chief offender, ties her to a tree, and scourges her with Mumbo's rod, amidst the derision of all present. Mumbo is not an idol, any more than the American Lynch, but one disguised to punish unruly wives. (See Mungo Park: Travels in the Interior of Africa.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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