Myths About Voodoo

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Many myths and misconceptions have arisen surrounding Voodoo. This is due to a misunderstanding as well as purposeful conjurings of Hollywood and writers, before Hollywood was around.

Voodoo Dolls

Voodoo dolls are universally associated with Voodoo. Most know the concept of the voodoo doll-- a doll is made as a likeness of the intended victim and is then stuck with pics and needles to inflict pain upon the victim. It is surprising then to learn that Voodoo dolls are unheard of in the original Voodoo in Haiti, although some are used in New Orleans voodoo, mostly to amuse tourists.

The real origin of the "Voodoo doll" is the "poppet," used in European witchcraft. Apparently, the term Voodoo doll was invented by an American writer who made up a story about Voodoo after hearing that it was witchcraft. The only "dolls" used in Voodoo are ones used on Voodoo altars, which are supposed to represent loas.

Human Sacrifice

While slightly less known than the "Voodoo Doll" myth, in the late 1800s, many believed that Voodoo incorporated human sacrifice in its practices, most often believed to have been sacrifice of children. This myth was perpetuated by the writings of Sir Spenser St. John, who was a consul to Haiti. These writings had no evidence to back them up, but were nonetheless sensationalized and picked up by newspapers around the world.

In fact, the idea of human sacrifice goes completely against the moral code in place in Voodoo, which includes not harming others. This myth is one of pure fiction and was passed on only because of invention and the somewhat secret aspect of Voodooism which arose from people having to sneak around in order to practice it.