Popular Culture Review Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 2013 - Page 30

26 Populär Culture Review properties against their white employers whenever possible (Osbey 6). W ithout realizing that African Americans tum ed towards the supematural for help mostly when “faced with hardship, whether in the form o f cruel taskmasters, unrequited love, or simple bad luck,” both the nineteenth-century aristocrat and the twenty-first-century moviegoer react with fear towards this form o f African magic (Anderson, Conjure 74). However, being able to steal a child’s soul with the help o f magic is the making o f Hollywood. It is not related to the original goals o f conjure at all, among which we find spiritual and herbal healing as well as the appeal o f supematural forces through lucky charms. In this respect, Hollywood’s representation o f conjure is as misleading as Parker’s misrepresentation o f the Voodoo dolls. In illustrating conjure as a hexing practice with fatal outcomes, Softley Strips this African folk magic o f any possible positive connotation. Caroline awakens from this nightmare as soon as the picture of the Voodoo doll in the attic takes the form and shape o f her seif. The dream imagery o f having her own eyes and mouth sewn together illustrates Caroline’s tremendous fear o f becoming or being “a lifeless object that is played with and used by” her employer (Reuber 17). Once again, Hollywood supports the falsified image o f the Voodoo doll as a fear-inspiring object, regardless o f the fact that, as stated by the Louisiana Voodoo Museum, “most Voodoo dolls are not used for evil practices, but for love, healing success, money, etc.” Spiritual Baths Caroline’s disturbing nightmare occurs after her attempt to uncross Ben with the help o f a spiritual bath, for which she had obtained all necessary ingredients at a special störe in New Orleans: a white candle shaped in form o f a cross, m m to intensify the spiritual communication, and a variety o f herbs. Spiritual baths are an ancient practice in Voodoo. They have the fimction o f cleansing oneself or the other o f negative energy “or to bring good luck” (Alverado, Voodoo Hoodoo 10). It is upsetting to see that Softley suggests Caroline being able to conduct this ritual with the effect o f uncrossing Ben for the following reasons: First, the execution o f this ritual is reserved for initiated priests or priestesses. Far from being a priestess, Caroline does not even believe in Voodoo. Nevertheless, she executes this ancient ritual that serious “practitioners have always attached considerable importance to” (Rigaud 151). Second, the priestess performing the cleansing needs to undergo cleansing herseif prior to