Multiple reports of ritualistic torture in New England leave Voodoo practitioners cringing

MASSACHUSETTS –Two apparently unrelated cases of child torture and murder in this state have been attributed to Voodoo by the perpetrators, which has led to precisely the sort of negative attention in the media that practitioners of African traditional religions seek to avoid. The word “voodoo” is often used in the mainstream to refer to spiritual practices of the African diaspora that emerged in the Caribbean, and have strong elements of animism and magic use. The practices are also sometimes syncretized with Christianity. That six-letter spelling is mostly associated with Louisiana or New Orleans Voodoo, while practitioners of the Haitian variant prefer to spell it “Vodou” instead. Regardless of the spelling, it is a tradition that has been sensationalized in film and on television for close to a century, which leads many adherents to avoid interviews about their practices even if it’s for a positive reason.

Fire destroys historic home of New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple

NEW ORLEANS, La. — In the early morning hours of Feb. 1, an electrical fire broke out at the Voodoo Spiritual Temple of New Orleans. Located on N. Rampart Street in the French Quarter, the Temple sustained severe damage to the structure and contents. While no one was injured, the incident has left the Voodoo Spiritual Temple, which has been serving the community for 26 years, with an uncertain future. “This horrible situation is new and unprecedented, its more catastrophic than what was dealt by Katrina and is so much so that the temple’s very legacy is in jeopardy,” said Witchdoctor Utu, a student of the temple, the founder of the Niagara Voodoo Shrine, and a member Dragon Ritual Drummers.

Shedding Secrecy, Vodou Becomes More Public

Whether it’s spelled Voodoo, Vodou, or Voudoun, this frequently-misunderstood religion of the African diaspora is starting to get a makeover in the American consciousness. A traditionally secretive religion, Vodou has long been represented in movies and television shows as being focused on sticking pins in dolls and making people into zombie slaves. That image is starting to change, however, in ways that could make members of the Pagan community sit up and take notice. In contrast to the Hollywood vision of Vodou, an exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago seeks to present an accurate picture of Haitian Vodou through its artifacts. According to a press release about the exhibition, “Vodou: Sacred Powers of Haiti looks beyond myths and manufactured Hollywood images – exhibition visitors will see no dolls with pins stuck into them.

Updates: UK’s Filters, Satanic Panics, Marie Laveau’s Tomb, and More!

Here are some quick updates on stories previously reported on at The Wild Hunt. In July of last year, I reported on rumblings in the UK over the possibility that new governmental policies over filtering obscene adult content on the Internet would affect non-obscene sites, including occult-oriented pages. Now, these parental controls are indeed being shown to over-block sites that having nothing to do with porn, including a news site that deals with the world of torrenting and piracy. Quote: “What happened? The broader context is that the UK government’s launched a war on internet porn, with ISPs blocking porn sites unless users specifically opt-in to access them.

Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up. At Time Magazine, Megan Gibson praises the re-ascension of the Witch in pop culture. Quote: “Now, witches are getting another crack at dominance. And I think that’s a good thing — particularly for the young girls and women who are the primary audience for these shows.