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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

voodoo A religion of the West Indies, and specifically Haiti, originating with the slaves imported from Africa, who combined their gods with the Christian religious figures and through Macumba, Obeah (Jamaica), and other variations of this process created a great number of specific religions now popular in the Caribbean.
      Voodoo itself is most well-known for its use of the wax doll to effect changes on a subject. A doll, preferably made using the hair, nail parings, and/or clothing of the intended subject, and baptized in that name, is subjected to various procedures such as pin-pricking, melting, or being submerged in water. The subject is said to undergo the actual experiences to which the doll has been exposed.
      Though there is no evidence that such a system works, it has been postulated by modern authorities that perhaps a process of suggestion is involved, if the subject is informed of what has been intended and believes that it can work.
      See also sympathetic magic.



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