It is easy to disregard voodoo as a thing of any real danger. However, the disturbing reality is that voodoo ends the lives of people in the US and around the world every year. It is a strong culture, especially in countries such as Haiti where belief in it is widely shared, but unfortunately has some dangerous rules and rituals that the devout occasionally carry out. This list is a collection of seven real life voodoo deaths and injuries, showing that it's not just child's play.
From horrifying scenes of being burned alive to absurd claims of being cursed, to mad passions masked by voodoo claims, this list has them all. Some of these instances are not the voodoo ritual themselves that cause the damage but are the consequences of belief in the same. The placebo effect, coupled with fervent belief and a desire for change, can be fatal.
So, here are the worst times that real voodoo has ever gone wrong and actually caused some (often unintentional) perishment in some way, shape or form. Warning: some of these stories may be difficult to read for some.
In hopes of obtaining good luck through a voodoo ritual, a woman met with a neighborhood priest on the fourth floor of his Brooklyn apartment. Unfortunately, the ritual didn't quite go to plan, with candles used during the ceremony sparking a horrific fire that ended the life of one resident, injured 11 surrounding residents and 20 firefighters, and leaving 50 families homeless.
The fire took a total of seven hours and 200 firefighters to put out and left one big dent of guilt on the woman who was seemingly seeking good fortune.
What makes this whole incident so tragic is that the woman paid $300 for the priest to perform this voodoo ritual on her. This then led to hooking up, which is what caused the candles to initially start the blaze. When the pair finally noticed, the priest attempted to suppress the fire with water from his bathroom sink. A neighbor also opened a window in order to dissipate the smoke, but this only created a "blowtorch effect" and pushed the fire further into the hallway.
Eventually, the flames took down the fourth, fifth, and sixth floors, causing a partial collapse of the roof.
During a performance of the Haitian voodoo practice "Loa," a 6-year-old child suffered excruciating burns at the hands of her mother and grandmother.
"Loa" are Haitian spirits of Voodoo and are called upon by practitioners to grant requests. In order to do this, it is believed by some that the selected person has to walk through a ring of fire — in this case, the chosen one was the 6-year-old girl. What happened in this case however, was that Marie Lauradin and Sylvenie Thessier of Queens, New York, took a horrifying spin on the ritual. The mother poured chemical accelerant over the naked body of her child and created a circle around her of the same fluid. She then lit this on fire.
After the ritual, they bathed the child in cold water and put her to bed. It was only after a relative pressed for the child to receive medical attention that she was taken to hospital. When there, it was discerned she had suffered second- and third -degree burns over 25% of her body, including her face, torso, and legs. She remained there in recovery for nearly four months.
When questioned, the girl's mother claimed that rather than performing a voodoo ritual on her daughter, she was in fact preparing rice with boiling water on the stove, which somehow ended up spilling on the girl when she approached her from behind. This was absurdly followed by the grandmother’s testimony that she was in the bathroom the whole time. Both statements conveniently leave out the blinding evidence of a burned ritualistic circle on the floor.
The mother and grandmother have been charged with first degree reckless endangerment and endangering of the welfare of a child.
Twenty-year-old Lucille Marie Hamilton of Arkansas worked two jobs plus overtime just to make the trip all the way to New Jersey to meet voodoo priest Houngan Hector Salva. Salva was initiated as a voodoo priest in Haiti in 2003, and Hamilton was approaching him so as to undergo the spiritual cleansing ritual of Leve Tet.
The last hours of Hamilton’s life were spent in the performance of this ritual. She was with several others that had traveled from as far as the Netherlands, "laughing, dancing, and singing voodoo songs." It was during this ritual she allegedly told Salva she was in the process of taking hormones in preparation for a sex change; although her friends deny this.
However, later that evening after the ritual, Hamilton fell asleep and couldn’t be woken up. She passed at around 11 p.m. that night.
Salva was unfazed by the consequent investigation into his involvement with the passing, arguing that, "Anyone could have a guest stay the night and when they go to wake them up, they don’t wake up. No one is promised tomorrow."
In December of 2010, there was an outbreak of cholera in Haiti that killed over 2,500 people across the country. Instead of realistic things being blamed (such as poor sanitation), the culprits that residents turned to were the Haitian Voodoo priests.
Fifty Haitian priests were lynched and stoned or hacked by machetes in related accusations. People believed the outbreak was a result of voodoo, and that the priests had spread the illness though a "magical substance." This substance was never explained or directly alluded to.