You Do Hoodoo?

on May 13, 2013 in Misc

It’s kinda embarrassing – no, it’s VERY embarrassing to admit I’ve started to watch Dead Files on the Travel Channel.

I mean, here’s Michael Offut over at SLC Kismet giving savvy reviews of excellent shows like Game of Thrones.  Then there’s Alex J. Cavanaugh talking about science fiction films, and he seems to have seen all of them.

Then there’s me. (Sigh)

But honestly, I’m mentioning this show because it might be a resource for any of you writing in the paranormal genre or perhaps in science fiction.

See, Dead Files is yet another ghost hunting show, but with a twist.  The premise is that a retired NY cop investigates a (supposedly) haunted homes or buildings via the residents, documents, local historians, and so on.  Meanwhile, a psychic investigates the property separately, and only at the show’s end do the cop and psychic get together, compare notes, and tell the property owners how to fix the ghostly problem.

In the latest episode, the psychic recommended that the homeowners bring in a hoodoo practitioner.  She explained that hoodoo is not the same as voodoo (sounds like the lyrics to a song), and how it’s an African folk religion that was practiced by some slaves.  Its purpose was to control souls.

Yes, I kinda laughed, but not much because the property being investigated had once been a slave plantation.  The historical records revealed that many slaves had suffered and died in that old house and on that land.  It was as if human evil had poisoned them both, and no one living there now would find peace.

There’s a part of me (the Irish part) that kind of believes such curses.  What if violence and bloodshed and intense human suffering can indelbly mark a place?  And years later some of us might pass over it and feel – what?  Memories, emotions, the lives of people long gone?

Okay, now I’m sounding flaky mystical, which is a signal for me to call it quits for tonight.

But seriously, I’d love to know if any of you have ever had an inexplicable feeling in some house or on a piece of land.  Anything that perhaps inspired a story for you?

14 Responses to “You Do Hoodoo?”

  1. It does sound like lyrics to a song.
    Can enough horror happen in one place to mark it forever? Possibly.
    And haven’t seen all of the movies in the world but I am nearing the end of NetFlix…

  2. Helena says:

    Alex – I still want to see that silly Eric Robert’s flick you annotated in your blog. You made it sound like such a hoot.

  3. Unfortunately (you probably know this already) I have never experienced anything remotely paranormal. I also don’t believe in curses. If the land and the house was perfect, I’d totally live in a place that was supposedly cursed. I don’t believe in that stuff. Atheist to the end. I think all magic, religions, curses, leprechauns, unicorns, etc. are all made up.

    The only monsters in life are real people. And maybe the great white shark or two (but I plan on not swimming in their food bowl).

  4. Helena says:

    Michael – There aren’t any unicorns? Damn!

    Real people are the worst monsters around, I agree. But from a literary standpoint, the idea that a place can be haunted by violated souls is a powerful one. The psychic claimed that the dead slaves’ spirits were following the homeowners around and demanding that the house were they had suffered so much be torn down. Belief or disbelief aside, novels with these kind of storylines can be powerful — “The Lovely Bones” is just one example.

  5. Hart Johnson says:

    I’ve never seen it, but it sounds like something I’d like, at least as far as shows without a story go (by far prefer shows with a story… But I like ghosty stuff.

  6. Helena says:

    Hart – I’m so glad I’m not the only one who likes spook stuff.

  7. Ben says:

    I do believe in a spiritual realm – and on a few occasions have had some, well, run ins. Setting: Buddhist temple Kathmandu, Nepal. I wandered a bit off the beaten path and saw this doorway, it was open, but inside was so dark it seemed to suck all light and color for a good four-foot perimeter of the entrance. I felt a darkness, a spiritual darkness near. Not having a flashlight on me, I took a picture of the room with the flash on. I looked at the photo and immediately ran. In the photo, the small room was caked in hundreds of years’ worth of melted candle wax. Grime and smut streaked the walls. Sitting in the middle of the room on a small altar-like structure was a dog, looking right into the camera, eyes radiantly ruby from the camera flash, and a hungry, sinister look on its mug. I rejoined my group, deleted the photo, and never mentioned it to anyone. I had another run-in, even scarier, in the nooks of a relic cathedral in Jerusalem. But, that’s a long story too.

  8. Helena says:

    Ben – I had no idea you’d been to Nepal! Creepy story, and I believe you when you say you felt a darkness. But I’d love to hear the Jerusalem scary story too.

    Personally, the most evil place I have ever been was the former high school compound in Phnom Penh that the Khmer Rouge had turned into a concentration camp and killing grounds, but I didn’t really “feel” the evil there because I didn’t want to; simply being emotionally and mentally aware of what was done there was horrifying enough for me.

    The Buddhist temple and the cathedral may have been in fact holy places, but perhaps all it takes is one evil rat bastard soul or spirit (and yes, I’m speculating here) hanging out in a corner to mess up a spot. At the very least, the novelist in me wants to believe this.

  9. I have had a run-in with something dark in an old building on Galveston Island. It found me upstairs and followed me down and do the door. I was totally unprepared. I’d like to go back and kick its butt, but I have no idea how to do that.

    I’ve also been places that, as my mother-in-law would say, give me the heebie-jeebies. And new places I feel I’ve been to before or seen in a dream. I have no explanation for that either.

  10. Helena says:

    Carol – I’m fascinated and almost jealous! But like you I’d want to kick that dark something’s ass. It sounds as if you didn’t see it but felt and sensed it?

    But like you I’ve had deja vu experiences. A couple times I’ve been in new places where I suddenly flash on a dream I had weeks or months earlier, and I remember seeing that place in my dream and from exactly that angle. I’m always fascinated by those experiences.

  11. Right about the deja vu.

    And that I didn’t see that entity. It felt male. Very dark, very threatening. And as if it totally surrounded me.

  12. I do think a place can be haunted and have experienced weird events in the old farm house I grew up in. Really sad some people don’t believe in anything beyond this world.

    I don’t keep up on many TV shows either. Way too busy.

  13. Helena says:

    Carol – That really sounds scary, especially that it surrounded you. Wow.

  14. Helena says:

    L. Diane – Have you ever written about that old farm house? It certainly sounds like a good setting for some stories.