Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/278

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268 Obeah in the West Indies.

out of Jacmel, on the south coast of Hayti, in which a black cock was sacrificed and other ceremonies took place similar to those related by Sir Spenser St. John. " This," says Mr. Hall Caine, " is Voodoism in its less terrible aspect. The supreme feature of the ritual is practised only in some dark and lonesome wood or cave, and every art of cunning and deceit is exercised that none shall respond to the call of the sacred drum save those whom it legitimately summons to its terrifying rites. The preliminary sacrifice is a black goat ; and then when the worshippers are raised to a state of uncontrollable madness and intense sensuous excitement by blood and drink, the priestess's suggestive dances, heightened by intoxicating music, there comes the crowning sacrifice of the ' goat without horns ' — a drugged child, whose blood and flesh form part of the cannibalistic feast."

At all events it would appear that as regards Cuba Sir Harry Johnston's view must be considered too optimistic if the following communication from New York, furnished by the Central News and published in the London Evening Standard so recently as the 2nd December, 19 13, can be relied upon for accuracy. Under the heading of "Negro Sorcerers : Alleged Blood Ritual Practices in Cuba," it states :

"The newspapers this morning publish despatches from Havana containing extraordinary revelations regarding 'blood ritual,' which is alleged to be practised in connection with the cult of Voodooism (negro sorcery) in Cuba.~

"The negroes have been charged with killing a white girl, four years of age, for the purpose of Voodoo sacrifice, and the detec- tives engaged on the case claim to have unearthed the existence of what practically amounts to a Voodoo trust. This organization is said to have branches all over the island, and the blood of white children obtained by agents in one district is alleged to have been forwarded to other parts of the island for the purpose of ritual sacrifice.