Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Is a voodoo doll like a person so you can like...hurt someone?

Interesting question, and one of the most commonly asked. Voodoo dolls in the New Orleans Voodoo tradition are meant to be used as focusing tools in ritual and meditation. However, because of the portrayal in popular media of Voodoo dolls are something to stick pins into in order to put a hex on someone, it has unfortunately become a common practice by those who are not true followers of Voodoo to use them in this way. Some people believe that you can affect a person in any way you want following the principles of sympathetic magic. Sympathetic magic suggests that you can influence a situation or person by imitating that which you desire. So, in theory, if you "harm" a Voodoo doll that was created to represent a specific person, then you will also harm the person that the doll represents.

There is a strong psychological component to sticking a pin in a Voodoo doll. It can actually be quite therapeutic for the one doing the sticking. If you are the intended target, just the suggestion of someone hexing you with a Voodoo doll is enough to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. In other words, if you believe things will go wrong, they will. Indeed, Voodoo magic is faith based, which means you have to believe in order for it to work. However, the idea that you can influence things to come simply by thinking about them has been challenged.

For example, several years ago, a team of psychologists at Harvard took "several dozen college-aged men and women, a fake Voodoo doll and an obnoxious man wearing a "Stupid people shouldn't breed" t-shirt...Each test subject and the confederate were ushered into the lab and seated at a table in front of a handmade twig-and-cloth Voodoo doll...For background, the experimenter told the pair they would be partners in a study of "physical health symptoms that result from psychological factors...in the context of Haitian Voodoo'" (Morin, 2006). Both partners were given a scholarly article on Voodoo deaths to read." The twist was that one of the participants was a confederate and instructed to act in an annoying fashion in the presence of the other participant. The other participant, coined the "witchdoctor" because of the role he was to play, did not know that the other participant was a confederate.

"The confederate dressed and behaved normally with half of the participants -- and very badly with the other half. He arrived late wearing the obnoxious T-shirt, and muttered, "What's the big deal?" when the experimenter said she was beginning to get worried. He tossed an extra copy of a consent form toward the trash can, but missed and left it on the floor" (Morin, 2006).

The confederate (victim) wrote his name on a piece of paper and pinned it to the voodoo doll. Both participants were then asked if they had any of 26 physical symptoms, including runny nose, sore muscles, and headache. The victim stated he had no symptoms, a statement overheard by the witchdoctor.

"The witch doctor was then left alone and instructed to think "concrete thoughts" about the victim. The researchers assumed that those participants exposed to the confederate in his offensive guise were more likely to harbor "evil thoughts" about their victim--an assumption that was later borne out when they asked them if they had thought badly about their ill-mannered partner. When the victim was brought back into the room, the witch doctor, again acting on instructions, stuck five pins into the Voodoo doll. The victim was again once again asked if he had any ailments. This time, he complained that he had a headache.

The witch doctor-participants were escorted from the room and completed a questionnaire asking whether they felt responsible for the victim's headache, whether they believed they had actually caused them harm and whether they actually had caused the headache. "The participants led to generate evil thoughts about their victim were more likely than the neutral-thinking participants to believe that they caused his headache" the researchers reported.

In fact, test subjects who had thought bad things about the creepy victim were, on average, twice as likely to feel they were at least partially responsible for causing the headache than those who had neutral thoughts, they found. "These feelings of responsibility were apparent on each of the individual items in the composite," they reported, indicating that evil-thinking participants were more likely to feel that they had caused the symptoms, that their practice of Voodoo caused the headache, and that they had tried to harm the victim" (Morin, 2006).

Check out this video. It is related to the present discussion and demonstrates the power of suggestion. Atheist, sceptic & mentalist Derren Brown challenges the beliefs of a New Age believer with the use of a Voodoo Doll.


Morin, R. (2006). Who do that Voodoo at Harvard? Pew Research Center Publications. Retrieved: http://pewresearch.org/pubs/66/who-do-that-voodoo-at-harvard


Monday, July 7, 2008

Is Burning a Voodoo doll bad?

Well, that all depends on where you burn it. One rule of thumb is that if you ever have an object that you believe has negative energy attached to it, you should dispose of it away from you home…the farther the better. If you don’t do that, you essentially plant or attach the energy to your self and/or your home.

If you have burned a Voodoo doll that you believe was sent to harm you on your personal property, you can dig up some of the ground where it was burned, and gather as much of the ashes that you can. Put everything in a white cloth and sprinkle it generously with sea salt. Take it far from your home into the woods somewhere or some other remote location and bury it along with an offering of some fruit. Bury all of it together. Ask the deity of your choice to take the energy and transform it through the power of the earth, and ask deity to remove any negative residual from your home. Walk away without looking back and when you get home, take a purification bath and light a white candle or 7 day protection candle if you can get one. You can make a purification bath by adding sea salt, Epsom salts, and a handful of juniper or cedar leaves to your bath water, and by asking your Higher Power for protection.

Visit the forum at PlanetVoodoo.tv and discuss.


What does a Cursed Voodoo Doll Look Like?

You have found an unusual looking doll on your doorstep or in your parking garage at work. You get a creepy feeling just looking at it. Come to think of it, you have had a streak of bad luck lately. Was this doll put there for you to find? Is someone sending you a message on the downlow?

A person who wants to lay a trick on you can use any type of doll they wish. It does not have to be the stereotypical ugly Voodoo doll with some of your personal effects attached to it. Sometimes, it can be as innocent looking as a sweet baby doll that is the object of any little girl's affection.

For example, above is a picture of a Voodoo doll believed to be put in the path of someone at their place of employment. It was strategically placed in the parking lot facing the individual's car. This looks like one of those Brat dolls you can find in any department store. But how would you know it is carrying a curse?

Well, the first clue is rather obvious - her face is painted black. This is a good indication that it is a tool in someone's ritual work. I mean, they don't come with their faces painted black, do they?

Secondly, she has no feet. This is another indication that this doll may have been intentionally tampered with in an attempt to lay a curse on someone. Painting the face black and removing the feet are both consistent with the general principle of using shocking imagery to psych out an intended target. Also, what is done to the doll can be viewed as a metaphor for what is intended for the victim. For example, removing the feet is consistent with restraining and rendering a person immobile.

The doll on the left is another example of a doll that is believed to have been used as a cursed Voodoo doll. In this case, the doll bride was used to represent the daughter-in-law of the the son of the person casting the spell. At first glance, she seems like a beautiful baby doll. But upon closer examination while removing the veil, it became evident that her hair had been clipped off.

Why the hair was clipped off can only be surmised. A healthy head of hair is symbolic of health and youth. Perhaps the perpetrator was jealous of the targeted individual. Maybe she wanted to make her ugly, unhealthy, or remove her femininity. Or maybe she just wanted her hair to fall out. Either one of these are good guesses.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what the focus of a hex or curse is when it comes to Voodoo dolls. This type of magic is extremely metaphorical. Let's take the second doll here as an example. Historically, hair is linked to power, punishment and status. Head shaving was done in concentration camps as a form of punishment and humiliation, and shaving the hair off of a woman has been practiced as a form of punishment for women with long hair, especially. Remember the story of Samson and Delilah? Samson foolishly tells Delilah that the source of his strength is his hair. So what does she do? She tells her servants to shave his hair off. Not only does this make him lose his strength and power, it is a direct violation of an order from God. So God no longer protects him, he is captured buy the Philistines, blinded with hot pokers, and imprisoned. Now that is brutal! But the argument could be made that he deserved it. After all, he was apparently a raging murderous maniac who was no less brutal to dozens of people.

Join the forum at PlanetVoodoo.tv and discuss.