For a good potion

Or maybe a spare Voodoo doll you wish to pass on?

A Candle in the Dark is the title of a courageous, largely Biblically based, book by Thomas Ady, published in London in 1656, attacking the witch-hunts then in progress as a scam `to delude the people’. Any illness or storm, anything out of the ordinary, was popularly attributed to  witchcraft.Witches must exist, Thomas Ady quoted the `witchmongers’ as arguing, `else how should these things be, or come to pass?’

For much of our history, we were so fearful of the outside world, with its unpredictable dangers, that we gladly embraced anything that promised to soften or explain away the terror. Science is an attempt, largely successful, to understand the world, to get a grip on things, to get hold of ourselves, to steer a safe course. Microbiology and meteorology now explain what only a few centuries ago was considered sufficient cause to burn women to death. Carl Sagan

Marilyn Bardsly in After Midnight in the Garden of good and Evil writes ‘ Jim Williams was very superstitious and interested in knowing the future. Some said that he had a deep belief in magic and the spirit world. For those who read John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil or saw Clint Eastwood’s movie, one of the most interesting characters was a colorful voodoo princess called Minerva. During the book and movie depiction of Williams’ four trials during the 1980s, she seemed almost omnipresent, casting spells on District Attorney Spencer Lawton, witnesses and jurors. She also performed rites designed to appease the spirit of Danny Hansford, whom she reasonably assumed was angry about being shot. Minerva reputedly learned her skills from her husband, who called himself “Dr. Buzzard.” Jim was a client of Dr. Buzzard, and when he died, he went to Minerva, who took over his practice as a “root doctor.”

 

Minerva’s real name was Valerie Fennel Aiken Boles. She lived in Beaufort, South Carolina. According to a man who frequented the Monterey Square area where Jim’s Mercer House is located, Ms. Boles was in Savannah frequently in the 1970s and 1980s, finding a ready market for her services from Jim and others. She passed away in early May 2009. Her age was undisclosed, but she was well past middle age.

 

Root doctors are still a big thing in the Low Country, especially in parts of South Carolina. They perform a wide range of personal magical services, such as getting revenge on an enemy, removing curses, preparing love potions, or even ensuring a criminal a shorter prison sentence. They are a current-day version of a shaman or witch doctor using herbs…’

 

Superstitions will put mankind right back on the Planet of the apes and maybe that is where they ought to be.