WHAT IS A REAL VOODOO AND WHY WE ARE SCARED OF IT?
“Voodoo very old magic – possibly one of the oldest forms of all time. It’s often referred to as vodou or voudoun….
Voodoo worships the loa, which are literally spirits – like ghosts – but much more powerful”
-Amanda Carlson, Pure Blooded
Fabiola is 50 years old but so much tired from life. She is still a beauty, with her long dark hair but the light in her eyes has gone like it has never been there. She sits in her kitchen and smokes, breathing in the whole ash of the world, trying to find a peace she has lost long time ago. Fabiola Louis lives in Miami City and she was born in Leogane, Haiti, in one poor family that has been forced to give her for adoption. When she was only five, the honest and generous American family opened its heart for little Fabiola and offered her a new chance, in breathtaking and safe America. Since she was a teenager, Fabiola has had terrible nightmares. Her sleep was stressful and full of anxiety. She has never met the colors in her dreams but darkness and emptiness. The Johnson’s have been good and devoted Christians so they have never understood Fabiola’s demons. They have been so happy when she decided to move out in another apartment, after high school, working as a waitress in a local pub in crowdy Miami. This young American girl with Haitian background was so attractive that men didn’t want to miss an opportunity to invite her for a drink or even dinner. Fabiola Johnson was young, beautiful and passionate but her soul was dark, damned and veiled like the secret book of her grandmother Roseline.
Fabiola was 22 years old when she married 25 years old Patrick Louis. They met each others in the laundry service, at the time when they both have been dealing with lack of money, will and energy to create a better life but they have created a new life. Patrick was a truck driver and her family immigrated from Haiti enough fast that he was born in Florida. He has never seen Haiti in spite of fact that his DNA has the Haitian flame. He loved Fabiola in his own way but mostly because she was some kind of connection to his lost home land and the mother of his son. Patrick has been a womanizer and Fabiola has been his wife but not his universe. After they got Samuel, Patrick has been forced to work more and to take care of his family. It was not easy. Fabiola gave up on her job to be able to be a good mother. Patrick Louis has never been at home, driving miles and miles far away from his woman and his son, counting dollars instead of his family smiles. That was the inferno for all of them. However, Fabiola has forgotten her nightmares or they have forgotten her. Instead of evil creatures in her dreams, she has seen her handsome son with wide opened arms and chubby face. At some point of life, we can say that Fabiola experienced the happiness.
Samuel was 6 years old when his father, Patrick Louis wanted to divorce. He admitted to Fabiola that he has never loved her but he has loved Samuel. The artificial dimension of family has been broken for Fabiola so she started drinking, smoking and taking drugs. Not so much long after they have been divorced, the court has announced that Samuel will be by his father since the mother is not capable to take care of her child. Fabiola Louis was 29 years old when she lost her husband, son and all what she had. She jumped into the channel of prostitution to earn dollars for her existence but then, she met Cassandra. That woman was all what Fabiola hasn’t been. She was arrogant, alluring and so elegant aggressive. They were the same age but between them two has been a big distance in personality, life habits and expectations. Cassandra Ramirez has lived her life only for her own pleasure and other people have been like a pions for her. Nevertheless, they had something in common, in their veins have been Haitian blood. Cassandra Ramirez have been aware of it and proud of it, mixing her exotic origins with integrated American life style. Fabiola Louis has never been aware of her Haitian background till one night when they both have drinking their whiskey, talking about egoistic men and the failed destiny. Cassandra Ramirez has told to Fabiola Louis that she has a way to ruin the life of her ex-husband who took her daughter away. The common tragic family plot has merged two women into the one strong enemy for their ex-husbands. Mario Ramirez was a doctor and he married Nancy, his nurse. They lived in nice house, with their new baby and Cassandra’s daughter Stephanie. Patrick Louis has started his own truck business, married Cate and got his next son, Ronald. Samuel has been happy with his new mom but his real mom was unhappy and all what she was thinking about was a revenge.
Two years after the long girls weekend with whiskey and secret promises, Mario and Nancy Ramirez died in a car accident. Patrick Louis died from heart strike and his beloved Cate died from cancer. The children of both family have been given to social care. In spite of all, Cassandra and Fabiola have never gotten a chance to be again with their children but people have been scared from those two strange females. Nobody wanted to be around them or to be connected with them. The energy they have been radiating has kept people on distance, afraid or mad. What has happened in the meantime? Sarah Frost, the local journalist on her beginning, tried to find a story and to solve the puzzle. Where are the links between the horror end of two families and two women with Haitian heart? One night, Sarah Frost decided to open a book of Haitian voodoo and to play with a devil.
What is a voodoo actually? The origins of Voodoo could be found in the ancient African cultures and mythologies. It was born in Kongo, many years ago and in local language it means “spirit” or “sacred”:“Since Voodoo is primarily an oral tradition, the names of gods, as well as the specifics of different rituals, can change in different regions or from generation to generation. However, African Voodoo has several consistent qualities no matter where people practice it. Along with the belief in multiple gods and spiritual possession, these include: Veneration of ancestors; Rituals or objects used to convey magical protection; Animal sacrifices used to show respect for a god, to gain its favor or to give thanks; The use of fetishes, or objects meant to contain the essence or power of particular spirits; Ceremonial dances, which often involve elaborate costumes and masks; Ceremonial music and instruments, especially including drums; Divination using the interpretation of physical activities, like tossing seed hulls or pulling a stone of a certain color from a tree; The association of colors, foods, plants and other items with specific loa and the use of these items to pay tribute to the loa” The original voodoo is African but it has been modified in Americas and the Caribbean through the mixture of African roots, Native American cults and Christian straight denominations. What is very important to know that the core of voodoo is everywhere the same but the practice is different as well as the purpose and that is always colored with region where the voodoo is practiced.
The Haitian voodoo has been always the part of Haitian culture and tradition. It has been always something sacred in local ceremonies that have refused to be under the dominant colonial rules. Haitian public life has been shaped through the holy collage of politics, voodoo and social needs but Hollywood imagined demons and dangerous dolls that attack our peaceful daily lives. The bad image of voodoo has been made through the mysterious practice that has been always protected from public interest and never so much exposed because of fear of being accused for witchcraft. The new immigrants from Haiti have adopted the American life but have never forgotten their voodoo roots in past. Majority of them have come to U.S. bringing their own spells, stories and ghosts that have turned typical Americans into the suspicious neighbours. But, there must be something in that voodoo that is everywhere different welcomed, accepted, implemented or refused. Some researchers have written that voodoo is mostly oriented to wake up good ghosts and to establish a peace but there are those who claim that reality of evil voodoo must be studied and explained. One of them is Seth Barnes, explorer of world’s religion and blogger that has brought the experience of one missionary man from Haiti:” Voodoo lingers like a dark cloud over the atmosphere. Voodoo curses are the number one cause of death in Haiti. Ben informed us that once someone had been cursed, they are dead within 3 days. He saw many cursed people and never saw or ever heard of anyone making it past 3 days. Victims of curses are attacked with illness and when taken to the hospital they are asked if they believe there has been a curse put on them. When the hospital finds out they have been cursed, they refuse to continue giving them care and send them home because no amount of medicine can stop their fate. There is one exception. Curses are not effective on followers of Jesus Christ. Some of you are completely skeptical right now, which is exactly how I would have been before I was in Haiti myself. Our friend Ben earned the respect of many witch doctors in the area and was allowed to attend voodoo ceremonies.As man of God, he felt armored to be in such situations and would not recommend anyone that is not spiritually mature in their faith to attend a voodoo ceremony. He has seen people levitate across the room as they are possessed by spirits. He has had a demon look him in the eye and try to take his life. When He said the name of Jesus he watched the demon shrink back into the corner of the room like a frightened child.Ben told us about a local Haitian man that visited a witch doctor with the intent to curse a Christian man. The witch doctor did a ritual and then lifted a small mirror and asked ‘Is this the man you wish to curse?’ The mirror was completely blank.The witch doctor turned pale. After 20 years of practicing voodoo he had never experienced a blank mirror. He poured ashes around the mirror and prayed to an even darker spirit. This time when he lifted the mirror and asked the question, it was blank again. He prayed to an even more powerful demon, one he had never had to call on, and covered the edges of the mirror in chicken blood.This time when he lifted the mirror and asked the man that had sought his help ‘Is this the man you wish to curse?’ The man screamed and ran into the other room. The witch doctor looked into the mirror and there he saw the image of a hand pierced with a large nail and blood dripping from the nail down the outside of the mirror.”
Personally, I think that the strength of voodoo rituals depend on the level of believes by targeted people. If people are manipulated and raised in the society where the curse of voodoo is worshiped and taken for a real danger, they will keep following the pattern and accepting the fate of death because of devil work. On the other side, official religious people seek shelter in their own religion, accusing all others for being a slave of Satan. The truth is out there but the nature of voodoo must be scientifically analysed or at least we must try to insist on the logical framework. Some have shared the tales about the voodooists that pin dolls in dark places and that caused the pain and death of some people. In ancient magics, there is a good and bad force in the Earth and only the special human beings can control one of them or even both for their intentions. That is how voodoo works or how we should believe it works. The ordinary residents imagine the voodoo through the bloody dolls and opened graves but if the voodoo is really so powerful? The wrong media and fake news have the main responsibility for spreading the illogical fear among population. So many movies and books have been produced only based on the irrational theater of voodoo cult. After some time, people will accept the offered scenario and will believe in horror voodoo instead in their own common sense.
The latest information came out from Haiti where it is believed is found a super voodoo powder (zombie powder) that brings back dead people. Harvard professor Wade Davis has been himself in Haitian jungle and met Max Beauvoir, known as the ‘Pope of Voodoo’. Professor Davis has searched the material for his cult book “The serpent and the rainbow” but he has never managed to clarify how this King of the voodoo has been so magical and dangerous at the same time. Haitians have believed that he was able to make dead people alive which has turned him into the modern zombie creator. The witch doctor has passed away in 2015 and nobody saw him again in spite of rumours that there must be some powder of eternal life. If he had that key, he would have ensured his endless existence on this Earth. However, Harvard professor inspired thousand of zombie novels and movies, claiming that it must be something there able to control life and death in one moment of eternity.
There are the studies that have digged the cases of death due to the voodoo curse. The awakened evil spirits harvest their victims no matter where they are and what they do. The negative thoughts that we vibrate to someone can really affect that person and cause some kind of negative energy to follow him or her. Be aware what do you set free in this big universe because it can come back to you, like a karma. This is a rule of the universe and has nothing to do with voodoo from Haitian jungles. We all believe in what we are learnt to believe and we are learnt to have fear from the unknown things. The voodoo magic is one of them.
Fabiola Louis has never pinned the dolls imagined death for her ex-husband and his new wife. She has just hated him so much. Cassandra Ramirez has lived her life in the bitter sense for revenge. The both of women have never opened the forbidden book of Haitian voodoo spells but their object of hatred are dead. It could be accidentally or it could be linked but one is sure : do not wish the evil to someone else because you never know when the karma hits back and the hungry ghosts are ready to come to get you. Be a good vibration.
3 thoughts on “THE MYSTERY OF HAITIAN VOODOO: DOLLS AND SPELLS OF OUR LIFE”
Sarah’s remarkable article reminded me of two fictional female characters associated with ‘black magic’ of African Voodoo: the first is the beautiful black African succubus in the adaptation of ‘Heart of Darkness’ (1993), with the English actor Tim Roth portraying Charles Marlow and John Malkovich playing Captain Kurtz. The succubus employs here beauty and necromancy to manipulate Kurtz and try to kill Marlow.
Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) wrote ‘Heart of Darkness’ in 1899, after being in Western Africa and The Congo himself. It was around this juncture that another English author, H. Rider Haggard (1856-1925), wrote ‘She’ (1887); the second character that Sarah’s article made me think of.
Ayesha, the title character of the novel, or ‘She-who-must-be-obeyed’, was born over 2,000 years ago amongst the Arabs, mastering the lore of the ancients and becoming a great sorceress. Learning of the Pillar of Life in the African interior, she journeyed to the ruined kingdom of Kôr, feigning friendship with a hermit who was the keeper of The Flame that granted immortality. She bathed in the Pillar of Life’s fire.
According to H. Rider Haggard’s daughter Lilias, the phrase ‘She-who-must-be-obeyed’ originated from the author’s childhood and ‘the particularly hideous aspect’ of one rag-doll: ‘this doll was something of a fetish and my father, as a small child, was terrified of her, a fact soon discovered by an unscrupulous nurse who made full use of it to frighten him into obedience.’
As in Judaism and Christianity (i.e. the two religions that assimilated the African slaves), fear plays a definitive role in African Voodoo, and H. Rider Haggard made a parallel of this with his own childhood.
Like many of his Victorian contemporaries, H. Rider Haggard wrote on the assumption that whites are naturally superior to blacks, and that Britain’s imperial extensions into Africa were a noble, civilising enterprise. Ayesha, the English travellers, and the ancient inhabitants of Kôr are all white embodiments of civilisation, while the darker Amahagger in the novel, as a people, illustrate notions of savagery, barbarity and superstition.
Indeed, there is a strong Darwinian undercurrent framing the representation of race in ‘She’, stemming from H. Rider Haggard’s own interest in evolutionary theory and archaeological history. In particular the theme of racial degeneration is a prominent aspect in the novel. Moving into the fin de siècle, late-Victorians were increasingly concerned about cultural and national decline resulting from racial decay.
This issue would appear again between 1945-55, when the British government brought in thousands of black West Indians as a manpower resource for industry (i.e. filling the vacuum of the thousands of British soldiers killed during World War II). Yet, the West Indians managed to assimilate and carry on their spiritual beliefs (e.g. Obeah black magic).
In inclusive society represents all its religious components in an equal manner, but few do…
What an intriguing article, Sarah ! A very interesting story about the characters around the voodoo at the heart of the article !
This article reminds me of a few of your previous articles, such as Area 51, Ouija, Santa Muerte, and Medieval Alchemy ! In all of the aforementioned articles, as well as in reality, there is that sense of naiveté in credulous and gullible people ! So many people are willing to believe anything other people tell them, which is a sign of feeble-mindedness !
People should think logically in order to understand ! Any haphazard way of accepting an idea will be irrational and illogical ! This is why so many people believe in ghosts and ghouls !
as you said, Sarah, if that witch doctor had had the eternal elixir, he would have used it for himself !
Thank you, Sarah, for this wonderful article ! As always, both your writing and your illustrations are excellent !
Sweet blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thank you