The Dreaded & Deadly Voodoo Doll
The World of Voodoo
When most of us hear the word "voodoo", we automatically imagine images of creepy dolls stuck with pins and evil witches wielding their hatred against some undeserving victim. This is not a thoroughly correct representation of Voodoo. Voodoo is said to have come from Africa, carried to America and the Caribbean in the days of enslavement. More specifically and more famously, the practice of voodoo magic has much of its roots in New Orleans, Louisiana. There is much much more to the practice of voodoo than just voodoo dolls...cursed items that are meant to reek havoc upon some unsuspecting fool. Voodoo is basically a mix of Roman Catholicism and a traditional African religion in which there is one god and lower entities known as lwa (or loa) underneath of him.
The majority of the populations in Haiti, the Caribbean islands, and some in New Orleans are known to be Vodouisants. Just like other religions that have a negative conotation, such as Paganism, Voodoo has been given a bad rap throughout the centuries. While some of it seems "evil" or foreign to us, that doesn't necessarily make it evil...it just means that we don't know enough about it to understand it.
My belief is that the Voodoo Doll is a rare item to find stuck with pins and needles. Vodouisants do supposedly use these dolls as talismans or pendants of the loa, but they don't normally use these dolls as a means to inflict pain upon others. They also do not call them "Voodoo Dolls", they are known as Pwen. So where did this creepy idea of Voodoo Dolls originate? The answer is...most likely New Orleans...the perfect place for all things that go bump in the night.
New Orleans & The Voodoo Doll
So we have assumed that the idea of a Voodoo doll used to torture one's enemy has origins in New Orleans. What does New Orleans have to do with Voodoo dolls? Much of the slaves brought to America brought with them their African religions, which mixed with the Roman Catholicism faith over time. I believe that New Orleans is a magical place, in and of itself, so it is no wonder that the city is so notorious for all things creepy...including Voodoo Witches and their evil ways of revenge.
In fact, not only does New Orleans seem immersed in the darker side of Voodoo, many actually sell Voodoo Dolls to tourists for a quick buck! In Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches Trilogy, New Orleans is the setting and the twisted side of Voodoo is a main factor present within the story of a family of witches residing in New Orleans. Voodoo dolls are actually discovered by the protagonist, Rowan Mayfair, in the first of the trilogy - The Witching Hour. Traditionally, it is said that the doll is fashioned in the likings of the inflicter's enemy and then filled with stuffing containing the enemy's hair or nail clippings.
The use of voodoo dolls could actually stem from another "Heathen" religion in ancient Europe - Paganism. Though not referred to as Voodoo Dolls, these little hand-made dolls were called Poppets and were usually filled with herbs or charged with energy for a certain magical purpose such as protection or good dreams, etc. Some modern-day witches still use poppets in their magical workings and rites.
Unfortunately, the bad rap of the Voodoo doll makes the Pwen and Poppets seem ominous and wicked. This image will probably continue, as long as we have people selling them in New Orleans and movies portraying them in this light. While I believe that voodoo dolls have been used for vengeful purposes, maybe the whole idea of the magical doll has gone askew. They are fun to read about in a spooky story though!
A Creepy Voodoo Doll Story To Entertain You...
The room is unnaturally dark and quiet. The wind is howling outside of the single-paned window, seemingly mocking his unwelcome presence in her room. Where is it? He is anxious, palms sweating and hands shaking, he searches for the antique cedar trunk and finds it covered with a heavy purple quilt in a dusty corner of the room.
I shouldn't be here. I have to find it...before she comes back. His sweaty hands slowly lift the cedar chest's heavy top, and he tries his damnedest to avoid the inevitable creaking of the old bronze hinges. He's been sick for months, heart problems and random seizures that the doctor couldn't even begin to explain. Every method of medicine and modern attempts at health had been taken with no sign of his health stabilizing. Then one night he had received a random call...a call that changed his whole outlook on his illness.
There was a disturbed young woman on the other end of the phoneline, sighing heavily and muttering curse words under her breath. "You will pay for this, Schmidt. Mark my words, you will pay for what you've put my family through..." Those were the only two clear statements that Adam Schmidt could make of the woman's grumblings. After the phone had been hung up and he was left with his thoughts, he realized who the disturbed woman was...she was the daughter of his old partner. Partner in crime? No, partner in law enforcement...and they had sworn to serve and to protect the city of New Orleans...but his partner was crooked. Adam ended up telling the captain of his partner's criminal sidework and his partner was gunned down in a shoot-out with other officers. Adam had tried to convince him to turn himself in, to do the right thing for the city and his family...but he wouldn't listen.
Now his daughter, rumored to be a powerful voodoo witch, though she was a mere twenty years old. Now, here he was...in her very bedroom on the second floor, somewhere in the thickness of the most disheveled French Quarter's neighborhoods. This is crazy...maybe I'm crazy and Mary's right...but...I have to know if it's true. Just then, his hand brushed against something of a rough texture and small size. He pulled it from it's dark depths within the cedar chest and the moon's light shone down eerily upon the figure. A doll...about five inches in length, made of sac-cloth with black shoe buttons as eyes and what appeared to be black human hair sewn to its wily head. Turning the doll over, he noticed a date on the back...May 20th, 2007...the day his partner had been shot and killed by his own co-workers.
There was nothing more I could do for him...I did everything I possibly could to keep him from himself... kneeling on the hard-wood floor with the wind still whipping the trees outside, Adam decided to finally get the hell out of that house...with the grisly reminder of his "mistake" in hand. He had to take it...otherwise she would inflict more sickness upon him, eventually taking his life by means of voodoo black magic.
Suddenly, in a moment of sheer confusion and fright, the door to the young witch's bedroom flew open and a dim light from the hallway shone in on Adam. There she was...the witch...the girl who was keeping him sick and out for his life! "What are you doing here? You gonna sign your own death certificate!" her words seemed like vile spewing from a mouth ravaged by hatred and vengeance.
"Please! I loved your father, he was my partner and my best friend. I did all I could to help him...I tried to save him! Please let me be...I have a family...a wife...," he pleaded with her. He wanted her to see that he truly had cared for her father. In the dim light of the candle in her hand and the moon's light that shone in through the decrepit window, he caught a glimpse of her eyes...opaquely black and completely glazed over with rage.
Clenching the tiny relic of himself in his left hand, he prepared to run...and probably knock her out of his way in an attempt to escape this hell...this house so full of evil with walls and floors that seemed to seep with a desperate desire to snuff out his life. Before he could make his escape, the angry witch pulled something out of the back pocket of her long skirts...another doll! In her left hand she revealed a doll of similar looks to the one in Adam's shaking hand, and in her right hand she was holding a rusty knife...
Her black eyes were fixed on him as she plunged the knife into the doll's heart...ripping through the sac-cloth and the insides that had been stuffed with Adam Schmidt's hair and nail clippings...
A sharp pain in his left arm, followed by a numbing pain in his chest took him out...he dropped to the floor...dead. She looked down at him, with a contented smile on her tan face...and she gently laid the voodoo doll on his chest. "Now it's over..."
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© 2011 Nicole Canfield