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Outlook is bright for Bali's 'rain stoppers'

Shamans earn big fees at events, from weddings to global banking conferences

Balinese high priestess Ida Resi Alit. People line up for hours at her home near Ubud every day to receive her blessings. (Photo by Ian Neubauer)

DENPASAR, Indonesia -- On the popular tourist island of Bali a prolonged drought has been followed by heavy rain. The tropical downpours can be sudden and drenching -- even stopping traffic in their wake. But the weather is a godsend for the island's mystical "rain stoppers."

Using meditation and prayer to communicate with spirits, who allegedly control the weather, and plates of fire whose rising smoke is thought to push clouds away, these shamans are paid hundreds of dollars a time to help ward off the rain at weddings, outdoor parties, golf tournaments and building sites -- any event where clear skies are essential for success.

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