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To: alt.religion.orisha,alt.lucky.w,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick.folk,alt,magick,alt.paranormal.spells.hexes.magic
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: (news article) 'HOODOO' ARTIFACTS IN ANNAPOLIS
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 03:16:15 GMT

Thanks to nagasiva for typing this up from a fax i received today. The
date was missing, but it was sometime in February, 2000. 


Annapolis Evening Capital
February [?], 2000; pp. A1, A16


Historians in Annapolis have found one of the most
extensive collections known of "Hoodoo" objects,
common items such as coins and buttons used in
19th century black spiritual rituals.

The items, found carefully placed beneath a brick
kitchen floor of the Brice House at 42 East St.
continue a pattern of similar finds in other
stately homes in the city over the years.

In 1990, archaeologists discovred caches of Hoodoo
objects in the northeast corners of rooms in the
Carroll House, now attached to St. Mary's Church
on Duke of Gloucester Street.

Acting on a hunch, teams then dug under the
northeast corner of the kitchen of a 1776
tounhouse on Duke of Gloucester Street and found
similar bundles of coins, buttons, pins, pieces
of broken pottery and bent nails.

The post-Civil War rituals were practiced by
blacks, who believed the spirit world can be
diverted, or controlled with the use of the

Although widely practiced at the end of the 19th
century throughout the Deep South, the collection
of more than 300 artifacts discovered at the Brice
House is one of the most extensive in the country,
historians said.

The collection shows the mingling of African and
American cultures, said Mark Leone, a University
of Maryland history professor.

The practice of burying items such as rocks, roots,
and dirt for protection was brought from Africa.
The use of manufactured items mixed with natural
objects showed the American influence, he said.

"It was African ritual that had become Americanized,"
Mr. Leone said. "there were American items used such
as a perfume bottle and a military buckle. What is
important here is the mix."

The collection also includes pieces of roots, clusters
of feathers and miature bottles, beads, coins and
buttons. A piece of root is meant to anchor someone
to a certain place, the feathers are for flight, and
the bottles to contain evil spirits.

"Hoodoo was a way for African Americans to get away
from their troubles," Mr. Leone said. "It was an
antidote to racism."

The items were found beneath the kitchen floor of the
five-sectioned Georgian building on East Street owned
by the International Masonry Institute.

City records show that a black servant, Sara Watkins,
lived above the kitchen beginning in 1880, said
Matthew Corcharan, Mr. Leone's assistant.

Watkins, alone or with others, may have placed the
items under the bricks, he said.

The objects were found on each side of a doorway that
connected a kitchen and a laundry and two fireplaces.

The largest amount of items were found at the inter-
section of an axis drawn by an imaginary line
connecting two doorways and the two fireplaces, said
achaeologist Jessica L. Neuwirth, of the Historic
Annapolis Foundation, who worked with Mr. Leone on
the excavation.

Each quarter of the axis represents the voyage through
life, from birth to peak to decline to death and the
rebirth of the spirit, she said.

"It forms a metaphorical crossroads," Ms. Neuwirth
said. "If you connect the outer points, you have a
cosmogram, a circle or oval or diamond, that is a 
symbolic representation of how the universe works
and how human beings live in the universe."


        *The Associated Press and Staff Writer
         Jeff Nelson contributed to this story.*

I have since talked to Professor Mark Leone and he told me that the
"perfume bottle" mentioned in the article was Hoyt's Cologne. 
(See .) 

Amazing though this might be to people who frequent usenet newsgroups,
Professor Leone was actually unaware that ANYONE practices hoodoo in
America at the present time. When i told him that i have a store dealing
in these items, he about fell off his chair. I sent him a free "care"
package of roots, herbs, oils, and powders and -- of course -- a bottle
of Hoyt's Cologne, which he had no idea was still being manufactured. I
also passed along Eoghan Ballard's email address, because i figure he'd
be more comfortable talking to a fellow university academic than to a
root woman like me. 

As far as what some of the items in this cache -- the pins, bent nails,
buttons, "dirt," bottles, and military buckle -- were used for, well,
i'll just say that the servant Sara Watkins seems to have been laying
some hard-core tricks for someone in the house (probably her employer),
and leave it at that. 


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