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In earlier times a "hoodoo ship" was a term applied to a "ghost ship," that is, one found drifting with no crew.From there it became a more general term meaning a cursed or bad-luck ship.This lengthy article has been subdivided into several sections: HOODOO, CONJURE, ROOTWORK: Definition of Terms: How I Define Hoodoo WHAT HOODOO IS: An African-American Folk-Magic Tradition WHAT HOODOO IS NOT: Voodoo, Santeria, Palo, Brujeria, etc.ADMIXTURES: European, Spiritist, and Kabbalist Influences on Hoodoo ADMIXTURES: Asian, Hindu, Buddhist, and Taoist Influences on Hoodoo RESPECT: What It Is Hoodoo, Conjure, Rootwork, and similar terms refer to the practice of African American folk magic.
You know they tell me in Louisiana, there's hoodoos all over there You know they tell me in Louisiana, there's hoodoos all over there You know they'll do anything for the money, man, in the world, I declare.In some accounts the problems onboard these vessels were attributed to an evil spirit or presence.Those who attribute the word hoodoo to Irish or Scottish seamen say that is is a phonetic transliteration of the Gaelic words Uath Dubh (pronounced hooh dooh), which means dark phantom, evil entity, or spiky ghost.A professional consultant who practices hoodoo on behalf of clients may be referred to as a "hoodoo doctor" or "hoodoo man" if male and a "hoodoo woman" or "hoodoo lady" if female. Taylor's diary for 1891, in which he describes and illustrates meeting with a "Hoodoo Doctor" while on a train.Taylor, a white man, recounts that the word "hoodoo" was taught to him by the black Pullman porter on the train.
Eoghan Ballard has made an interesting argument that the word hoodoo derives from the Spanish word for "Jewish." Although this sounds unlikely on the face of it, there is some precedent for the idea: Among Cuban practitioners of Central African Mkisi-worship -- which is called Palo ("Sticks") in Spanish, due to its use of woods, roots, and herbs -- there are two major groups, those who practice Palo Cristiano (Christian Palo) and those who practice Palo Judio (Jewish Palo).