My submission to Listverse got rejected for being “unremarkable.” I had no idea so many people were working the root! Well, I’m not going to let all that hard work go to waste. I present to you 10 Lesser Known Hoodoo Works complete with reference links:
Hoodoo, not to be confused with the religion Voodoo, is an ever evolving system of practical magic that originated in the rural communities of the American South. While most commonly practiced by the descendants of enslaved Africans, its simplicity and use of common household supplies attracts a diverse group of practitioners. Over the centuries, hoodoo has picked up a number of practices from Native American and European healing and magical systems.
Hollywood also loves hoodoo. When not mixing hoodoo up with voodoo, it likes to trot out doll babies, mojo bags, and midnight at the crossroads as the main repertoire of hoodoo. While these spells are quite popular, they do not represent the everyday simplicity hoodoo. The following list of lesser known hoodoo works provides a deeper look into this common practice.
10 Sweeping with a Straw Broom
Yes, sweeping. This work goes unnamed in the background of many historical TV shows and movies. The woman in the with the straw broom furiously sweeping the threshold of her dirt floor cabin with a straw broom isn’t fighting a losing battle. Nor is she OCD. She’s working one of the simplest spells in hoodoo. The straw broom is believed to have the ability to cleanse a home of negativity. The practitioner begins at the back of the house (or upstairs if there is a second floor) and sweeps all the accumulated dust and dirt toward the front door. To ensure the mess isn’t tracked back into the home, the sweeper brushes it out the door, down the walkway, and into foot traffic where it is carried away by unsuspecting pedestrians. Sometimes, a simple sprinkle like coffee grinds, salt, or some other herbal concoction is scattered through the house before sweeping. These are employed to dislodge any hexes or jinxes put on the home.
9 Foot Track Magic
Foot track magic enters hoodoo from west africa. Simple and direct, the target’s footprints are collected and mixed in a jar with hot pepper or another jinxing blend of herbs. To make matters worse, it is believed that the feet absorb any energy they walk through. As such, a target can also be jinked by putting a dusting of hexing herbs across the target’s daily path. The unfortunate soul walks through the herbs and finds themselves jinked.
8 Hunting Money
Hunting money gives a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘it takes money to make money.’ This work is actually illegal as it involves defacing government property. However, if you are willing to face the wrath of the US Treasury, conjuring up some hunting money can have a wonderful side effect. Hunting money is essentially money you train to return to you time and again. With each return, it brings back more like itself. All you have to do is mark the four corners of the bill with a money sigil and sign your name beneath the secretary of the treasury’s signature. Find a bill already marked and signed? Not to fear! Sign your name beneath the previous practitioner and the bill will hunt for you, too.
7 Bottle Trees
Bottle Trees are a common sight in the atlantic south and as far inland as Tennesee. True to its name, it is simply a tree whose branches are capped by bottles of all colors and shapes. These magical trees are found near the front gate or in the garden of the practitioner. It is believed the glittery, clattering glass trap and destroy evil spirits, prevents the dead from haunting the property, and deflects curses. The preferred color for the bottles is blue and many older trees are covered in vintage blue apothecary bottles. Spirits are believed to have a particular aversion to a blue known as haint blue. Unfortunately, this practice is not good for the tree itself. Over time, the tree loses its foliage and stops growing. With this in mind, modern practitioners often fashion their trees out of wooden dowels and repurposed wine bottles
6 Jack Ball
Ah the Jack Ball. This charm was popular among the snazzy gentlemen who migrated north in the early half of the twentieth century. Why? The ball is believed to increase the practitioner’s personal power, influence, and magnify his sexuality. A jack ball is a john de conquer root and a bit of the practitioner’s hair bound and wrapped up into a ball of red string. The whole thing is baptized in the practitioner’s personal fluids and carried on his person at all times. A length of string is left hanging on the ball so the practitioner can swing the charm to clear the air around him or to rope in and woo the lady of his choosing. The ball should be regularly refreshed with the practitioner’s personal fluid to keep it active.
5 Indian Head Cent
The Indian head cent is a penny minted between 1859 and 1909 that gained massive popularity as a hoodoo work during Prohibition. The coin (or several coins) were nailed, facing outside, to the door frame of speakeasies, distilleries, or any other building that housed illegal activities. The man on the indian head cent was believed to be a scout and as such could keep a look out for the long arm of the law. The coin is thought to deter close inspection by authorities and keep the law away from the illegal enterprise. Though rare to find unused, the indian head cent is still employed by those who run after hours bars and underground gambling halls. The buffalo nickel can be substituted for the indian head cent.
4 Goofer Dust
Those who wish to make and deploy goofer dust do so at their own risk, for even the tiniest particle on one’s person on in the practitioner’s home will set off a chain of increasingly catastrophic events that culminate in the death of the worker. Goofer dust beings with a midnight trip to the graveyard. There the worker negotiates the purchase of a plug of dirt from the grave of a dead person. It is best to approach the grave of an ancestor or person you knew and loved in life otherwise not only will you not get the dirt, you may take home a new spectral friend (or worse!). Once the graveyard dirt is procured, it is mixed with sulphur, dried red pepper, dried snake skin (go easy on yourself and grab this from your local hunter), and a few other additives. The ingredients are pulverized until they are nothing but dust. The dust is then carefully sprinkled on the target’s doorstep or somewhere else in the target’s environment. This spell is best left to a
very experienced practitioner as the potential for self-contamination is massive.
3 Nation Sack
A nation sack is a hoodoo work used exclusively by women. In particular, it is employed by a woman in a marriage or any other type of committed relationship. Technically, the nation sack is a mojo bag. However, this mojo bag is used to bind a husband or long term partner to the woman and hold him to his relationship commitments. For this work, a red bag is filled with a combination of binding herbs along with a red string the length on the man’s penis. The string is soaked in semen and knotted nine times. The sack is kept out of sight and should be worn tied around the woman’s waist as she goes about her day.
The Toby (or the Gambling Hand) is a hoodoo work popular with gamblers. It is thought to bring luck in games of chance. The work is so old that its ingredients are no longer common place. A toby is created by drilling a hole in a whole nutmeg and filling the hole with a bit of hair, blood, or semen and quicksilver, then sealing the hole with wax. Nutmeg is believed to clear away the negative vibes and the quicksilver is believed to bear out its name a bring winnings fast and easy. Very few of these are made today. While it is easy enough to find a whole nutmeg, studies have proven that quicksilver, better known by its scientific name, liquid mercury, is a carcinogen and should not be handled everyday.
1 Live Things in You
One of the most dreaded (and possibly the grossest) spells in hoodoo is a work called ‘live things in you.’ Insect eggs and larva are baked into a pound cake (or other food) and presented as a gift to the target. The eggs are ingested and develop into a roving horde of adults that gnaw at the target’s innards. The longer the insects are allowed to remain inside the target, the sicker the person becomes. Left unchecked, the insects grow and breed until the target dies. There is one hope of salvation: a long and very expensive cleansing session with an experienced practitioner. These sessions last a day or more and aren’t over until the live things are expelled from the target’s body. Yup, in order to get better, a flood of creepy crawlies gush from the body (usually the neither regions) in a dramatic flood. Before they slither away, the practitioner gathers the insects for a ceremonial disposal.