Vintage Postcard: Old Tomb at Frederica, Saint Simons Island, Brunswick, Georgia

SOUTHERN SPIRITS

Ghostly Voices from Dixie Land

African American Spirituality has taken diverse forms over the years. Much has been written about Black Churches and the African religious traditions of the diaspora. Less, however, is available on the subject of Black magical spirituality, as exemplified in Hoodoo, Conjure, Rootwork, and Candle Burning.

Southern Spirits brings the ghost-voices of our magical past into the modern age. These are our spiritual ancestors speaking -- both as others heard them and as they told the world about themselves. Listen!

The material at this site was gathered from a variety of sources, including old books, magazine articles, newspapers, and even fragments extracted from novels and short stories. It is heavily annotated with interpretive and comparative notes, especially distinguishing between narratives told *by* practitioners and narratives *about* them, particularly when the latter are recounted by derogatory or "amused" white observers.

These texts are intended to function as a factual resource for scholars and students, and to serve as an adjunct to my online books "Hoodoo in Theory and Practice" and "Hoodoo and Blues Lyrics," as well as my in-print book "Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic, a Materia Magica of African-American Conjure." They are also recommended reading for students taking my practical Correspondence Course in Hoodoo Rootwork Magic Course.

WARNING: Some material at this web site was written by European-Americans who were describing African-American spirituality as outsiders. Some of these authors were racist or race-derogatory and the conclusions they drew while writing their eye-witness accounts are grossly offensive. However, their texts are included in full because they accurately describe practices and customs of the African-American South during the 19th century (albeit not always with complete understanding) -- and they also serve as a political reminder of how far we have some in our struggle for race equality and respect in the ensuing years. Read with caution and compassion. All pages that are potentially offensive will contain this WARNING NOTICE.

THE SOUTHERN SPIRITS COLLECTION OF 19th CENTURY TEXTS
ON AFRICAN-AMERICAN MAGIC AND SPIRITUALITY

  • WILLIAM GRIMES:
    Hag-Riding and Witchcraft

    from "Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave", 1825.

  • WILLIAM WELLS BROWN:
    Uncle Frank, a Fortune Teller Slave in Missouri

    from "Narrative of William W. Brown, An American Slave", 1847.

  • HENRY BIBB:
    On the Use of Roots and Powders Among the Slaves

    from "Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, An American Slave", 1849.

  • PASCHAL BEVERLY RANDOLPH:
    A 19th century African-American Spiritualist and Rosicrucian describes Hoodoo and Voodoo

    from "Seership! The Magnetic Mirror", 1870.

  • ANONYMOUS:
    "Voudooism -- African Fetich Worship Among The Memphis Negroes"

    from "The Memphis Appeal" [newspaper], circa 1865 - 1867, cited by P. B. Randolph, 1870.

  • THADDEUS NORRIS:
    "Negro Superstitions"

    from "Lippincott's Magazine" #6, 1870.

  • WILLIAM WELLS BROWN:
    Dinkie The Goopher King, a Conjure Doctor and Slave in Missouri in 1840

    from "My Southern Home: or, The South and Its People", 1880.

  • MRS. L. D. MORGAN:
    A Hoodoo Charm From Baltimore

    from "Catholic World" [magazine], June 1886.

  • LAFCADIO HEARN:
    "New Orleans Superstitions"

    from "Harper's Weekly" [magazine], December 1886.

  • STEWART CULIN (and DR. H. N. BRYAN):
    "Voodooism in Philadelphia"

    from The Journal of American Folklore [magazine], April - June, 1889.

  • SALLIE M. PARK:
    "Voodooism in Tennessee"

    from "The Atlantic Monthly" [magazine], September 1889.

  • MARY ALICIA OWEN:
    Luck-Balls (Jack Balls)

    from "Voodoo Tales as Told Among the Negroes of the Southwest, Collected from Original Sources", 1893.

  • HENRY CLAY BRUCE:
    Ignorance, Superstition, and Voodooism of the Colored People

    from "The New Man: Twenty-Nine Years a Slave, Twenty-Nine Years a Free Man", 1895.

  • EUGENE FIELD:
    "Dr. Sam"

    from "Songs and Other Verse", 1896.

  • ANONYMOUS:
    Folklore and Ethnology {1}

    from "Southern Workman and Hampton School Record", March 1899.

  • ANONYMOUS:
    "Church Aroused over Hoodoo"

    from "The New York Times" [newspaper], April 2, 1900.

  • THE SOUTHERN SPIRITS COLLECTION OF 20th CENTURY TEXTS
    ON AFRICAN-AMERICAN MAGIC AND SPIRITUALITY

  • ANONYMOUS:
    "Seize Price Lists Of Voodoo Doctor": List of Spiritual Supplies sold by D. Alexander of Brooklyn, NY

    from "The New York Times" [newspaper], August 14, 1925.

  • ANONYMOUS:
    "Medicine: Illicit": List of Spiritual Supplies sold by D. Alexander of Brooklyn, NY

    from "Time" [magazine], August 24, 1925.

  • ANONYMOUS:
    "Medicine Man": An Account of Dr. Pearce of St. Louis, Moissouri

    from "Time" [magazine], July 11, 1927

  • SAM JORDAN:
    Silver Dime For Protection, from "Oklahoma Slave Narratives"

    Interview conducted for the Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration, circa 1936.

  • CELESTIA AVERY:
    Tales of Conjure and Luck, from "Georgia Slave Narratives"

    Two interviews conducted by Minnie B. Ross for the Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration, 1936, 1937.

  • H. B. HOLLOWAY:
    Live Things In You, from "Arkansas Slave Narratives"

    Two interviews conducted by S. S. Taylow for the Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration, 1937.

  • JOSEPH WILLIAM CARTER:
    Live Things in You, from "Indiana Slave Narratives"

    Interview conducted by Lauana Creel for the Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration, 1937.

  • FERDINAND "JELLY ROLL" MORTON:
    Hoodoo in New Orleans, Court Case Spell, Madame Papaloose

    Interview conducted by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress, 1938.

  • LOUIS EVANS:
    Live Things in You and Seeing Ghosts, from "Texas Slave Narratives"

    Interview conducted for the Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration, circa 1939.

  • JULIUS JONES:
    Hoodoo in South-Western Tennessee, from "Mississippi Slave Narratives"

    Interview conducted for the Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration, circa 1939.

  • ANONYMOUS:
    "Not Irresistible": List of Spiritual Supplies sold by Keystone Laboratories of Memphis, TN

    from "Time" [magazine], April 17, 1939.

  • JAMES BYRD, ALBERT SPAULDING, BERRY JOHNSON:
    The "Joe Mow" in Florida

    Interviews conducted by Stetson Kennedy for the Works Progress Administration, August 19, 1939.

  • ANONYMOUS:
    "Holy Oil": List of Spiritual Supplies sold by Rev. Charles P. Colbert of Detroit, MI

    from "Time" [magazine], September 25, 1939.

  • SIGMAN BYRD:
    "Catfish Reef": Bichon's Drug Store in Houston, TX

    from "Sig Byrd's Houston" [book], 1955.

  • MARY ALICE FONTENOT:
    "Local 'Traiteur', Dr. Jack, Is Dead": Dr. Jack Kerry Obituary

    from "Opelousas [LA] Daily World" [newspaper], August 22, 1965.

  • DON SCHANCHE JR:
    "Ancient Beliefs Still Alive In Georgia": Rootworkers and Candle Shops in the Macon Area

    from "The Macon [GA] Telegraph" [newspaper], circa 2000.
  • THE SOUTHERN SPIRITS COLLECTION OF 21st CENTURY TEXTS
    ON AFRICAN-AMERICAN MAGIC AND SPIRITUALITY

  • KEN BLANCHARD:
    "Hoodoo Highway": Bottle Spells to Reverse Witchcraft in Lafayette, LA.

    from "The [Baton Rouge, LA] Advocate" [newspaper], Friday, September 3, 2004. Illustrated with a photo by Bryan Tuck.

  • CATHERINE YRONWODE:
    "An Annotated Bibliography of Hoodoo Source Material"

    from "Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic" (Lucky Mojo Curio Co., 2002)
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

    I would like to thank the following people for their help in locating, loaning, photocopying, and/or typing material for this archive:

    Jeff Anderson, Eoghan Ballard, Ilya Davidovich, C. L. Green, Jon Hughett, Chris "Out Skerries" Smith, nagasiva yronwode --

    -- and the keepers of other internet archives, credited on their respective pages, who have allowed me to copy material from their general-purpose electronic files and annotate it here for the present specialized purposes

    RELATED WEB SITES

  • HOODOO AND BLUES LYRICS
    Hundreds of song lyrics deomstrating the use of conjure in African American music.

    by catherine yronwode

  • SOUTHERN SPIRITS
    Slave Narratives and other old texts describing hoodoo rootwork and conjure.

    "Ghostly Voices from Dixie Land"

  • HERB MAGIC
    How to use roots, herbs, flowers, and minerals in magic spells, plus a mail-order retail shop.

    by catherine yronwode.

  • LUCKY W Amulet Archive
    A collection of amulets, talismans, and lucky charms from all eras and all nations.

    by catherine yronwode.

  • LUCKY MOJO CURIO CO. OCCULT SHOP
    Hoodoo is a living craft; this shop supplies spiritual workers around the world.

    mail-order retail and wholesale. 6632 Covey Road, Forestville, CA 95436. (707) 887-1521.

  • THE ARCANE ARCHIVE: HOODOO
    Usenet articles about African-American folk magic.

    collected by nagasiva yronwode

  • MISSIONARY INDEPENDENT SPIRITUAL CHURCH:
    The World's Smallest Church and Interfaith Candle Ministry:
    divinatory reading services offered by affiliated practitioners; visit our Gift Shop and Book Store.

  • Y.I.P.P.I.E.:
    The Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
    a non-profit membership organization for the study of folk-magic; visit our Gift Shop and Book Store.

  • CATHERINE YRONWODE
    The archivist of Southern Spirits; writer for Lucky Mojo, Lucky W, and Herb Magic.
    author, teacher, graphic artist, card reader, minister of Missionary Independent Spiritual Church.

  • NAGASIVA YRONWODE
    The archivist of The Arcane Archive; author of The Gospel of Satan and Bibliography of Occultism.
    monk, writer, graphic artist, networker, director of Y.I.P.P.I.E.

  • AIRR: ASSOCIATION OF INDEPNDENT READERS AND ROOTWORKERS:
    A non-profit membership organization of accredited professional Spiritual Practioners, Readers, Diviners,
    Rootworkers, Hoodoo Doctors, and Conjures offering free information and service referrals to the public.
  • SOUTHERN SPIRITS: GHOSTLY VOICES FROM DIXIE LAND
    is copyright © 2004 by catherine yronwode. All rights reserved.

    The material collected at this site is in the public domain or is used by permission; the format, editing, illustrations, annotations, html, and layout are protected by copyright and may not be mirrored to another site. Please respect the time it took to create this archive and do not copy the pages; rather, please link your own site to
    Southern Spirits -- http://www.southern-spirits.com

    Thank you.

    Lucky