Is it witchcraft or other non-related health conditions

This weekend I went to spend the weekend with my cousins at my maternal ancestral masimo. As we always did we sat over a calabash of traditional brew. In the ensuing discussion we raise the issue of witchcraft and the general belief amongst our people. When we grew up we knew that all female adults were witches. Witchcraft activities were nocturnal and as such all old women in our neighbourhood were to us practicing witches. I carefully listened to stories that we reminisced about and I started wondering if really the stories of these elderly ladies being witches were true? I just wondered why it was just women who were prominently practicing witchcraft. If there were men ever identified as wizards such number was very insignificant. I wonder if this wasn’t also influenced by the patriarchal nature of our traditional society. Our society has and remains biased against women. Why should all the bad cultural traits and social ills be attributed to our mothers? What is even interesting was that while the general understanding was that old ladies and grandmothers were witches, none of us the youth ever believed his/her mother or granny was a practicing witch. As I sat here amongst my cousin I again in deep thought began to question the practice of witchcraft, if really older women could risk nocturnal risks to visit other homesteads to “lowa”. Were these just innocent people sleepwalking? I am still to be convinced that these elderly women didn’t suffer from sleep disorder and suffered what is called parasomnia. According to Wikipeadia this is “a category of sleep disorder that involve abnormal movements, behavior, emotions, perceptions and dreams that occur while falling asleep”. According to the Arlington, Virginia (US) based National Sleep Foundation, sleepwalking, formally known as somnambulism, is a behavior disorder that originates during deep sleep and results in walking or performing other complex behaviors while asleep. “Sleep walking sufferers may simply sit up in bed, walk around the house, or even leave the house” and in some extreme cases try to drive or partake in other activities that could endanger their lives. It is clear that sleepwalker’s eyes in the process would be open though not necessarily that the things they see appear similar to when they are awake. Studies reveal that they are inclined to think they are in a different environment. A study reviewed by the Foundation’s Mark Maholwald show that sleepwalkers tend to go back to bed on their own and “they don’t remember what happened in the morning”. As I listened to my age-mate cousins vehemently argue that there were witches when we grew up, I have this mind boggling desperate thinking. Were these so-called witches not sleepwalkers? At the time we grew up our medical system was still rudimentary such that other deadly conditions like dementia and /or Alzheimer’s were generally not known amongst us. I sat there disturbed and worried that may be all the old women were innocent sleepwalker and could have been falsely or wrongly accused of some art they were never exposed to.