Editor’s note: By his own admission, Jerry likes to write things that are “edgy.” This article
most definitely is that, and my advice is, “Jerry, my friend, ditch the doll!”
Recently, while searching through storage for old files, I discovered my long forgotten voodoo doll. I opened the lid on the brown, hand-carved, shoe-box size coffin and looked inside. A black, ragdoll with beady black eyes stared back at me. Ahh, the memories. I had purchased the doll from a witch doctor in Jamaica while there in 1995 researching a legal thriller I was writing. The novel is peopled with lazy lawyers, tyrannical judges, cheating wives, beautiful women, crooked attorneys, drug kingpins, a contract killer, sex and voodoo – the usual trash that folks love to read. Having handled hundreds of divorce cases I was familiar with lazy lawyers and cheating wives, but didn’t have a clue about voodoo.
All that I knew came from watching old black and white movies as a kid. They pulled off chicken heads and danced around in a trance. Pretty scary. On the other hand, I’d seen Mama wring a chicken’s neck many a time. When I was thirteen years old and living at Madison Crossroads, I snuck into a “Holy Roller” brush arbor meeting and saw the Holy Ghost jump on a woman and wrestle her to the ground. That was scary too. When it comes to religion, everyone has their own belief system. Locating and interviewing a witch doctor in Jamaica wasn’t easy. But, as the saying goes, “money talks.”
An off-duty employee at our hotel agreed to drive my wife, Pat and I into the jungle to find a voodoo priest. As we drove higher into the mountains the asphalt ended, and we bumped up a rutted dirt road that cut through the jungle. Native women carrying large stalks of bananas on their head walked alongside the road. Finally, we stopped near several tin shacks.
“Stay here mon,” the driver said. “I go talk to witch doctor.”
People were staring at us. Pat, who didn’t like the idea from the outset, was getting paranoid.
“They wouldn’t waste a pot of water cooking you,” I joked.
“What’s wrong with me?”
“You’re too tough.”
The driver motioned for us to come. We were escorted inside a tin shack with a dirt floor and introduced to the witch doctor. He was very suspicious at first, but after explaining that I was a writer and wanted to interview him about my novel, he loosened up. While we talked, several pigs and chickens wandered through the room. A rooster crowed nearby.
He explained that voodoo dolls can be used for both good and bad. I think I understood. Sometimes I use prayer that way. Most of the time I pray that God will deliver good things like helping others, healing the sick and feeding the hungry. However, there have been times when I asked God for selfish things like winning the lottery and hitting at Blackjack. Of course, he wasn’t listening and I lost.
Following my first divorce, I prayed that God would send a good and beautiful woman into my life who would love me. A woman showed up, and we married, but now I’m not sure who sent her. There could have been interference in my prayer transmission. After we separated I prayed every night, “Lord, please heal my wife’s heart and bring us back together.” Then I received a letter from her greedy out-of-town lawyer demanding a divorce and $70,000-a-year alimony. I started praying in the other direction. “Lord please get this greedy hussy out of my life… and without alimony.” So, I fully understood what the witch doctor meant about voodoo being used to work both sides of the street. The witch doctor was a poor fellow, so I purchased a voodoo doll as a souvenir.
“You get your own needles, mon,” he said.
I guessed that hat pins were scarce in Jamaica. He tossed in a free bottle of oil and “Magic Sex Potent” that he concocted from roots. He also gave me written instructions on how to cast a spell with the voodoo doll. I like the one, “how to get rid of someone.” I have a greedy out of town lawyer in mind.
Then there is one on how to get a woman. That looks promising. I think I’ll take a slug of the magic potent and see what happens. Will someone lend me hat pins?
By: Jerry Barksdale