"Spiritual acupuncture" against cops fails to save hoodoo-ing housing huckster from hoosegow

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30 Responses to “"Spiritual acupuncture" against cops fails to save hoodoo-ing housing huckster from hoosegow”

  1. Lester says:

    Reminds me of this recent National Geographic article on the emerging saints of the Mexican drug cartels.

    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/05/mexico-saints/guillermoprieto-text

  2. rhys says:

    the reason this stuff doesn’t work better is that you are ‘protected’ by christian magick. for now.

  3. rhys says:

    in any case, he deserves some kudos for the ‘spiritual acupuncture’ line…. B-)

  4. Anonymous says:

    @#14,

    oh yes it does work… just not in a Harry Potter kind of way… very few fireworks, certainly no dragons…

    This guy was probably an amateur toolbag, or his spirits were weak, or he pissed them off, or they found his reasons for working with them to be as sleazy as the rest of us do…

  5. nixiebunny says:

    Unfortunately, those sorts of spells only work against people who believe in their efficacy.

  6. Anonymous says:

    What’s with the purple plushy doll?

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      Yeah, ya got me. I’ve seen a lot of vodun altars, including many in West Africa where the tradition originated. None of them included lavender-maned “My Little Pony” dolls. Then again, to my knowledge, none of them were maintained by used car dealers slash mortgage fraud artists.

  7. coverandwait says:

    Apparently he is not a fan of Bonzi Buddy.

  8. Ian_McLoud says:

    Why is he lying about his intent?

    He could just say “They are representations of you that I am trying to murder to bring about your own untimely death. I am all mystical and shit and you gonna die. Ain’t no law against poking my My Little Pony to try and kill you!”

    Really, why lie?

  9. jackdavinci says:

    Re: “The prosecutor said Hernandez later admitted creating the dolls of his enemies but claimed the “pins were a form of spiritual acupuncture” to make them see that he was a good man”…

    LOL at this – does it matter? Why make excuses – it’s not like making a voodoo doll is a crime. Or is it? If so, there are an awful lot of people praying for bad things that need to be put behind bars.

  10. artomatic says:

    I don’t know which is more disturbing. That drug kingpins are using voodoo against our law enforcement agents or that my daughter’s Wonderbread sandwich container, like the one pictured in the upper right hand corner, makes for a handy vessel to conjure up black magic from the underworld.

  11. Brent says:

    Xeni nailed it on the head with “petty bastardizations.” Ultimately, the symbols used are irrelevant – what is relevant is the association that one creates in them. The type of magic that requires belief of those it’s being worked upon, as well as requiring specific (if not necessarily codified) imagery and symbolism is contagious magic.

    Apologies in advance – my knowledge of this is rusty, but I’m attempting to explain it to the best of my recollection.

    For instance (and I’m completely making this up right now), let’s say I leave a butter knife on your doorstep and you find it when you wake up in the morning. Maybe it means that you’ll have an altercation and be weaker than your opponent; maybe it’s symbolic of a knife and you’re going to get stabbed, maybe you’re going to run out of butter. It’s really just the same thing as psyching somebody out, saying “don’t choke” when you know that it’ll get into their head.

    At the same time, that can also work positively. I can leave a shiny penny on your doorstep and it could mean that you’ll be prosperous or that it’ll be sunny out or maybe just that you’ll have a good day.

    Point being, the specific things in this dude’s apartment are ultimately irrelevant. What’s relevant was that he was attempting to use them for sympathetic magic.

  12. Prof. says:

    A number of inaccuracies in this post. If this *were* Palo Mayombe, this tradition (as well as Palo Monte, and other religious formations called “reglas de Congo” in Cuba) is Central African in origin. Hoodoo is something else entirely–not a ‘catch-all’ term for ‘witchcraft,’ but its own healing tradition, also termed ‘conjure’ or ‘rootwork,’ crystallizing in the American South prior to abolition.

    Although the cauldrons seem to be associated with Ogun and Ochosi in the Lucumi tradition (also known as Santeria), the “one red, black, and white carved figure” is probably a cast plaster statue often sold in botanicas to represent a Congo or “old slave” “spirit guide” for practitioners of Espiritismo (Spiritism).

    And none of these traditions endorse the type of do-it-yourself sorcery that was attributed to the suspect.

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      Um, “Prof,”

      A) Did you read the entire post? Doesn’t sound like it. Are you copypasting wikipedia here in an attempt to sound more knowledgeable than thou?

      B) I’m not an initiate of whatever specific tradition this man was following a derivative of, but: that male figure is dressed in the colors of Eshu-Ellegua for a reason.

      C) Give me a break. You’re trying to tell me some people don’t go into botanicas looking for hechiceria helpers, to punish a cheating man, get a lover, kill a cop, make some money, other earthly (or illegal) desires? Just as Christianity is contorted and abused in some followers’ attempts to fill personal wants, so, too, are these traditions.

      No, Vodun by her many names isn’t about killing cops. I stated this clearly in the post. But a million bags of witching powders and “yo domino a mi hombre” candles wouldn’t be sold if these petty bastardizations of more noble traditions didn’t exist in the Americas (and, yes, back in Africa also).

      It doesn’t denigrate the root tradition to acknowledge an unpleasant element of reality.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      A number of inaccuracies in this post.

      I’m unclear how your ‘ is probably’ is more accurate than Xeni’s ‘looks like’.

      And none of these traditions endorse the type of do-it-yourself sorcery that was attributed to the suspect.

      Did you read the last paragraph of the post?

  13. Ian_McLoud says:

    HooDoo is where I can go skiing in Oregon. Ain’t no VooDoo on those slopes.

  14. discontinuuity says:

    You’re on a roll with the alliterative headlines today, Xeni.

  15. syncrotic says:

    It’s actually kind of amusing that someone would dedicate all this effort and energy to something so obviously ridiculous. As if inanimate objects, words, and ritualized actions can somehow cause gods or spirits to intercede in worldly affairs on your behalf. It’s completely absurd; who would ever believe such a thing?

  16. phisrow says:

    All joking aside, of course, this article raises a somewhat interesting question to which I do not know the answer, nor do I really have any good idea how to go about finding out: “What is the standard of ‘plausibility’ for attempted murder?”

    If I, say, adhere to some obscure flavor of sympathetic magic, and think that I can kill you by certain rituals, which I attempt, have I committed “attempted murder”? Is my belief in the efficacy of my attempt enough? Would it be enough if the two of us were both adherents of this peculiar little sect, and both you and I believed in the efficacy of my attempt?

    What if a third party, who thought this flavor of superstition to be absurd, decided to demonstrate its absurdity by performing the ritual against me? Would that qualify? Would it qualify if I believed that an attempt had been made?

    What if belief in the efficacy of that ritual were quite common within society(say about as common as Protestantism, with 20 or 30 percent hardcore enthusiasts, and a much larger fringe of people who will say ‘yes’ if asked?)

    Would prosecuting someone for an attempt at murder by religious/magical means constitute an unconstitutional endorsement of religion by the state?

    • Lester says:

      Certainly societies make cultural beliefs part of the legal system. I was going to say that the American government does not currently recognize sympathetic magic, but I believe homeopathy is a recognized medical practice.

    • Beelzebuddy says:

      Waitwaitwait. This guy’s just being charged with fraud, right? And the story is an “isn’t that strange” sort of thing, that he was also trying to hex the prosecution? No one here’s seriously arguing that any kind of spiritual hokum is or should be illegal, right? Because ya’ll seem to be taking this awful seriously.

      • phisrow says:

        I don’t really take the incident that seriously, people’s bullshit magical thinking isn’t really my problem. I just thought it raised interesting questions about what actually constitutes the “attempted” in “attempted murder”.

        Obviously, this guy’s brand of mumbo-jumbo is harmless; but it is presumably attempted in the good-faith belief that it isn’t harmless. Firing on somebody, and missing, is also harmless; but is definitely criminal.

        My question was “does an attempt have to be ‘plausible’(and in whose estimation) for that attempt to qualify for the purposes of “attempted murder?”(or any similar attempt-based crime).

        • jackdavinci says:

          “I don’t really take the incident that seriously, people’s bullshit magical thinking isn’t really my problem. I just thought it raised interesting questions about what actually constitutes the “attempted” in “attempted murder”.

          A good question! Is “intent” enough, even if ‘method’ isn’t enough?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Why would he have lied about his intent? Hexing probably can’t be treated as attempted murder or attempted battery, but, in most jurisdictions, at sentencing a court can consider all kinds of things that aren’t relevant to a conviction. If the State persuades the court that the guy was seriously trying to injure the investigators, the court may decide that that shows that he was dangerous or has low rehabilitative potential and so go toward the long end of the whatever the sentencing range.

    –Beryl

  18. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps this ‘Voodoo’ can be used to fight back against those annoying Nigerian spammers. Sending a reply with a powerful hex would freakout some of them.

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