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Roots or Voodoo and Witchcraft: Tipping the Scale of Justice
By Contrenia C Fann
Published: 10/14/2013

Voodooi Being in Corrections for fifteen years has given me a lot of war stories and educational experiences. These stories and experiences have given me a lot of great topics and materials that helps me to write great articles. The following subject was one that I wrestled with for a long time before I could put it on paper. The Holy Bible addresses this subject clearly in the book of Ephesians Chapter 6 verse 10 which states “For we wrestle not against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” The Holy Bible, King James Version. New York: American Bible Society: 1999; Bartleby.com, 2000. www.bartleby.com/108/.

The culture of voodoo or roots and witchcraft has been growing over the years. Recently History Channel presented a documentary on the Haitian Zoe Pound. The Haitian Zoe Pound is a gang located in South Florida which derived from Haiti. This documentary highlighted incidents of how crime, witchcraft, voodoo, and roots are married to each other against law enforcement. In one of the scenes in the documentary, one of the gang members was on trial for murder. His mother visited a voodoo worker. She was given a red ruby ring to wear to court and each day her son had to touch the ring. Eventually, he was found not guilty and acquitted of all charges. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/10/zoe-pound-gang-learn-more_n_387606.html

In the 1997 fictional movie, The Devil Advocate, Al Pacino played the co-owner or partner named John Milton of a law firm. This law firm was the most powerful law firm in the world which was located in New York. Milton approached Kevin Lomax an uprising lawyer in Florida. Lomax desire to win and his love of power and recognition was noticeable due to vanity. As Lomax accepted Milton’s offer who really was Satan, his wife fell apart mentally. She would see demonic figures that eventually drove her insane and ultimately she committed suicide. Lomax was too busy to recognize his wife because of his desire for power. Then he realized what was really going on and how Milton (Satan) negotiated with his clients to get them off free by paying with their souls and large sums of money. As Milton was losing control of Lomax, he offered him the world by quoting a famous statement “It is better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven”. As Milton being Lomax biological father in the storyline, he needed Lomax to conceive a child with his half-sister to create the Anti-Christ to take over the world. Lomax resisted by killing himself. The story ends by Lomax being back in Florida with his wife as if it was all a dream. Vanity is one of the seven deadly sins that we all have to fight with as this is the real story line behind this movie. The devil's advocate (1997). (1997). Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118971/

These forbidden subjects (roots, voodoo or witchcraft) are defined similar by the Merriam Webster Dictionary but yet they are different, due to the cultures they are derived from. “Witchcraft which is defined as the use of sorcery or magic communication with the devil is with a familiar an irresistible influence or fascination. Voodoo or Roots is a “religion that is derived from African polytheism and ancestors worship and is practical chiefly in Haiti. It is ideally a person who deals in spells and necromancy. Necromancy is the conjuration of the spirits of the dead for the purposes of magically revealing the future or influencing the course.” . N.p.. Web. 10 Oct 2013. .

As a youth, I have often heard conversation of voodoo or roots and witchcraft but it was in a hushed manner. I have heard of this culture making people do strange things. People becoming ill due to no apparent reasons and medical doctors could not give an explanation or diagnosis. Finally they were told they were in need of a different type of doctor. This was in the olden days, before medicine became more advanced. Even, today people are still visiting these types of doctors. My observation has been most people will not speak of it in detail because of the fear of being hexed or curse themselves.

As a correctional officer working in a maximum security prison for women, I had one of my first encounters with Roots or the subject of roots. I was assigned to supervise a counseling group with female offenders. The topic came up in an arrogant manner and I was very mesmerized at the details of this subject. The details that I was listening to were somewhat intriguing. Roots and the working of witchcraft and voodoo became the center of the discussion. The offenders found pleasure in the fact how roots or voodoo allowed them to commit crimes and walk away free as a bird over a period of time. They enjoyed the thrill of never getting caught. These women describe methods and acts of how effective voodoo, roots and witchcraft worked in the crime world as they had known it.

One woman who previously was a career shoplifter describes wearing a satchel around her neck made up items as a necklace. She mentioned that the necklace had to always touch her bare skin and she couldn’t tell anyone she had it on. She could not take it off for any reasons. She stated she was able to walk out of stores with thousands and thousands of dollars in merchandise. She explained she could walk past security guards and store employees without being notice while pushing a buggy full of unpaid merchandise. As she walked by, they would look the other way or didn’t acknowledge her. The satchel only worked for an extended period of time. This inmate professed that because she told fellow shoplifters her secret; the powers of the spell diminish and she began to get caught. She also gave details on each visit on how she had to renew the satchel in order to keep the protection. She declared it can become very expensive. She said sometimes she paid in merchandise or in cash. Finally, she added even though she made a lot of money, she has lost it all since she has been incarcerated.

Another inmate gave her interpretation of how she was able to accomplish the same feats. She added that there were strategies in dealing with roots or voodoo as she was an expert on the subject. This inmate apparently knew the subject well because she clarified the rules as if she wrote the handbook regarding roots and witchcraft. She indicated that one of the rules was never to discuss the details of the visit. Secondly, never tell anyone that you had the protection. Thirdly, never tell anyone you had seen the root worker. Last but not least, never tell anyone when you are going, not even the time and location. If you do, the spell or hex doesn’t last long if it works at all. The strength weakens over a period of time. She finally added that you will have to revisit the worker and pay to renew the subscription. It was just like renewing a newspaper and medicine. Lastly, she said you are dealing with the underworld, in the end you will pay with more than cash and merchandise. Satan requires that you become a soldier in his army; you see where we are at, as she closed. One of the ladies asked where can you find these types of people? She said a real root worker doesn’t advertise, you will only hear about them by word of mouth. The ones that advertise are after money. The real workers live in secluded and isolated places-they don’t have to advertise as she closed as if she was giving a lecture.

Don Schanche Jr., a contributing reporter wrote an article titled “Ancient Beliefs Still in Alive in Georgia-Practioners Claim to Offer Supernatural Help”. He discussed incidents that happen in the State of Georgia. He reported that in 1994 Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills was suspected of having a curse put on him. Sheriff Sills reported that while investigating the murder of Addetic Glenn, he conducted a search of her ex-husband. They searched the back bedroom and found a black doll hanging behind a curtain. It was a voodoo doll. Strips of cotton cloth, dyed black, were hand wrapped around some kind of stuffing. It was punctured by more than four dozen pins. Pinned to the doll were several names, including the Sheriff. The list of names written on a scrap of brown grocery sack also contained a note: “To who it may concern is holding him. Hang. Cut him a loose or have all kinds of troubles, worries yourself to death until you turn him loose. Sheriff Sills believes it was a death root that didn’t work on him. But the 30 year old Lumkin Glenn III was acquitted at trial.

Second incident that was reported was in Dekalb County in East Atlanta. Police broke down the door of a suspected drug dealer apartment. They found him sitting in the middle of the bed with a powdery substance surrounding the bed. (3) three candles were lit on his dresser. As the officers approached, the suspect stated “Do not come any closer, I am protected.” He was arrested, but the officer who kicked down the door suffered. Lastly, he reported that there were claims of the Courthouse in McDuffie County was supposedly had been voodoo until courthouse workers threatened to quit their jobs. Courthouse workers observed a brown substance that look like cinnamon and coffee grinds at the Courthouse door. Three eggs were broken on top of the substance. Sparkling glitter was sprinkled in a trail in the courtroom up to the Judge ‘bench. There were substances on the Judge’s Bench as well. The County passed an ordinance against vandalism but did not mention anything about voodoo or roots.” Schanche Jr, Don. "Ancient Beliefs Still in Alive in Georgia-Practioners Claim to Offer Supernatural Help." Macon Telegraph [Macon ] 04 01 2007, Early n. pag. Print.

Finally, when you live in a small town in Georgia as I do, the word of mouth gets around, quickly. Allegedly drug dealers are paying 150 to 300 dollars for shoes. These shoes will give them protection from Law Enforcement while they are wearing them. These shoes would have a prayer paper sewn in the bottom of them that would protect them. On the paper was a list of names, preferably Law Enforcement’s names. Reports have been made that drug dealers can have money and drug on their persons and the authorities will walk right by them.

Out of curiosity, I visited a root worker in a nearby town. I explained to her that I didn’t have a problem with the law but I had enemies who hated me. She gave me a reading and said that I was ok. She added that I was prayed for. She boasted of how her work has helped many individuals to get out of situations with the law. As we ended the discussion, she specified that I will be going to court for a trial, and she can give me something to help me. I reiterated, I don’t have any problem with the law. She stated that I will have an encounter. She asked me to bring two pair of shoes that I wore frequently. She needed a dress and a casual pair. I did as I was told and brought the shoes back to her later that evening. On this visit, she asked that I write a list of my enemies on a piece paper. I did as I was told. She took the list and said she would call me in a week for me to pick up the shoes. Two weeks later she called and said the shoes were ready. When I arrived she asked for a payment of $300.00, I explained that I didn’t have any money. She gave me the shoes and stated that they will not work until I paid the funds. As I was driving, I wanted to throw the shoes away in the local dumpster. I was really curious to know what she had done to the shoes to make them special. I examined the shoes- In the lining of these shoes; I saw red stitching with a note with the names written on them attached. I noticed the names were misspelled and then I discarded the shoes. Her proclaimed prophetic gift may have given her the clue that I really was their under false pretense. Who knows? The only problem I have had with law enforcement was receiving a traffic ticket which I was speeding. I have not or do not planned on breaking any laws as I try to be upstanding citizen in my community.

In conclusion, the bible talks about Judas selling Jesus Christ out for 30 coins of silver. In the end, Judas took his life and was given to Satan. People or Individuals who are using these methods have to remember that everything comes with a price. For me, I was not educated about roots, voodoo or witchcraft no more that it can make people do strange things. I do know that if you believe in good; you have to believe in evil. While individuals are seeking to tip the scale of justice by committing crimes that voodoo or roots can get them out of, my belief and as my faith confirmed that they are selling their souls to Satan. They are selling their soul to Satan for the lust of vanity that they are gaining illegally. Nice cars, houses, clothes, jewelry and money are all nice but as my Pastor states you will never see a U-Haul behind a Hearst. As I say, you will never see a U-Haul parked in a prison parking lot either.

Voodoo, Roots and Witchcraft are gradually tipping the scale of justice. Due to people faith, the taboo of the subject and possible being a victim, it is not highlighted in the world of Criminal Justice. How can you explain the explainable? As this culture grows due to vanity, so will jealousy and envy amongst the ones who participate. Unfortunately, this creates a more hostile environment for everyone. The control of money and power and to have it all at any cost will affect citizens, law enforcement and rival gangs.

Corrections.com author, Contrenia C. Fann, is the author of "Commonsense: Do Not Play Games With An Inmate" and the soon to be released "Common Sense: Misconduct Between Staff and Supervisors; ‘Do Not Get Your Honey Where You Get Your Money’”. She is a sought after expert and frequent panelist on correctional issues and has appeared at nationwide conferences to include: the National Association of Hispanics in Criminal Justice, National Association of Black in Criminal Justice, International Association of Correctional Training Personnel, Women in Corrections Conference, and the Southern States Corrections Association Conference.

Other articles by C. C. Fann


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