While the article is mainly an "introduction to rootwork for non-believers" deal, and apparently is part of some larger site trying to convert Christians, there are some interesting accounts of real cases ans how they played out. Excerpts below:
"While I don't believe in voodoo, the mind is a powerful thing," Sills said. "If you believe in it, whether or not it's real, it has an effect.
He recalled a striking encounter with root work that demonstrated its ineffectiveness ... but also left a shred of doubt.
More than a dozen years ago, when he was a police detective in DeKalb County, Sills said he participated in a mass raid on the old numbers racket called "the bug." He and another officer went to serve a warrant on a woman at an East Atlanta apartment.
After knocking unsuccessfully, "finally I rared back and kicked that door," he said.
Inside the apartment, they found their suspect sitting on the bed. Two or three candles were burning. A trail of white powder encircled the bed.
Confronting the officers, the woman warned, "Stop! You can come no further. I am protected."
Apparently she was not protected quite well enough.
"She went to jail," Sills said. But he added another detail suggesting the woman's protectors might have been able to harass if not completely thwart the law:
"I cut my leg real bad, kicking through the door."
Behind an ordinary-looking exterior in a tiny strip of shops, a customer finds a cascade of candles, oils, powders, incense, mojos, kits and literature centered in the arcane world of roots and voodoo.
All manner of candles are lined up like a wax army, displayed in unsophisticated style in cardboard boxes labeled with photocopied block letters: Cross of Calvary, Orunla, Black Cat, Peaceful Home, Come To Me, Go Away Evil, Guardian Angel, Make A Wish and Road Opener, just to name a few.
Cardboard tubes of powdered incense are lined up, row after row: John the Conqueror, Witchcraft Killer, Victory Over Evil and Grandma's French Love Incense."
And then there are the bottles of oil: Keep Away Enemies, Do As I Say, Domination, Seven Holy Spirits and Stay At Home.
Plus there are do-it-yourself kits. The Go To Court Kit sells for $15. The Break-Up Kit ("Very Powerful - Everything You Need") goes for $16.99.
The kit for "The Lady Who Cannot Keep Men Friends," also $16.99, has these ingredients:
·1 Special Oil No. 20
·1 Swallow's Heart
·1 John the Conqueror Incense
·1 French Love Powder
·1 pink candle
·1 incense burner.
On a recent afternoon, The Candle Store was doing a brisk business. Two clerks were on duty waiting on three customers. While one man examined the green candles - green to draw fast luck and money - another looked over the selection of oils. An older woman was shopping for dream books - the keys from Professor E.Z. Hitts, Rajah Rabo and Aunt Sally that predict what number to play in the lottery, based on a person's dreams.
"I just work here - I don't believe in the stuff," one clerk said in reply to a request for an interview.
A customer was likewise skittish about being interviewed for an article on root work.
"No, I couldn't help you with that," he said, explaining that he had come to the shop only to pick up some olive oil for his church. A few minutes earlier he had been discussing the finer points of dream books with one of the clerks, and bought nearly $50 worth of miscellaneous merchandise.
Katner's most touching experience with root work, he said, came through a Georgia woman who had AIDS. Although she would come to the hospital, she wouldn't come to him for treatment.
A nurse explained, "Somebody put roots on her, and she's afraid."
Compounding her tragic circumstances, she was being beaten regularly by her husband, who believed she had infected him.
"I hear you got roots on you," he said. "I can take 'em off."
Katner said he performed a ceremony with her and gave her a blessed candle to burn if anyone messed with her.
Her husband called Katner later and asked, "What did you do to my wife?"
Katner recalls telling him, "Somebody put roots on her, and I took 'em off. And I told her to call me back if anybody hurt her."
When the woman lay dying of AIDS, Katner went to pay a house call as he customarily does. The family treated him with overflowing, exuberant gratitude. He found it puzzling - after all, despite his best efforts, she was dying.
A relative explained, "Ever since you took the roots off her, her husband never beat her up again."
Katner was stunned.
"The son of a gun was so afraid of me, he wouldn't touch her," he recalled.
It also gave him a deeper appreciation of the root tradition.
"The beauty of this social system is that it gave women a lot of power," he said. "A woman could go to the root doctor and be protected. There's a reason why these belief systems existed."