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By Misty Thomas
How could you NOT notice the sudden pop culture fascination with the supernatural? First, there were shows on TLC, the Discovery Channel, HBO, you name it. They've been popping up everywhere in the past 5 or so years, much to my delight. I have had a slight infatuation with the supernatural since I was a very young child. Watching horror movies entirely waaay past my bed time after my mom would go to sleep, seeing Michael Jackson's “Thriller” on MTV and thinking about zombies non-stop, and hearing ghost stories from relatives about what they had seen and felt always appealed to me and made me very curious about what else is "out there."
I blame being a twin on a lot of things, but especially for my love of the supernatural. As weird as it may sound, I am one of those firm believers that twins do have some sort of psychic and gifted powers or intuition. My sister knows things about me before I do and vice-a-versa. I feel that we are both very open to the supernatural and have been since we were children.
That being said, a few years ago, my sister and I were introduced to the television show, "Supernatural." The show immediately caught our attention because it is about a pair of brothers who are ghost- and demon-hunters PLUS there's a stellar soundtrack of classic rock. We were hooked right away!
"Supernatural" combines many topics in every single episode. It was originally supposed to be based solely on urban legends, but the writers then began to write in cult rituals, hauntings, and possessions. There are so many of these topics that I wanted to research and share that they all cannot fit into one article, so I dedicate this mini-series, "Crossroad Blues," to the world of the supernatural.
Hoodoo and Voodoo:
Hoodoo and Voodoo are two very different types of rituals with a long history. Southern and Haitian folklore have made Voodoo and Hoodoo common in Mississippi and Louisiana. However, they are not one in the same. Hoodoo is a combination of pagan traditions, ancient worship, and some elements of European religions, whereas Voodoo is considered an actual religion that worships and prays to African gods and goddesses, with influence from New World Catholicism.
Like many other religions, Voodoo focuses on philosophy and society. It also focuses on spirituality, medicine, and justice. Hoodoo tends to lean more toward the side of natural and the power of nature. Both of these practices are said to have been developed by African slaves as they blended their ideas from home with the Christian beliefs forced upon them by their European masters in the Americas.
Now you're probably wondering what that little introduction was about. An episode of "Supernatural" set in Louisiana in the time of Robert Johnson—that's why.
Robert Johnson Deals with the Devil and Being 27
There are so many stories surrounding the life of Blues artist, Robert Johnson. He was born in 1911 in Mississippi. According to legend, he learned how to play the guitar with such ease that many people spoke of him selling his soul to the devil. The Hoodoo legends tell of Johnson meeting with the devil at a crossroads and selling his soul to him in exchange for musical success. Johnson recorded 29 songs in his 27 years. What is interesting to me is that in six of these songs, he mentions the devil or some form of evil,with one song even aptly titled, “Crossroad Blues.”
Johnson’s very mysterious death occurred when he was just 27. Many say his death was the first in a chain of young musicians' death, only adding fuel to the fire. Some say he fell ill at a party and died about four days later, while others say that he was killed by a jealous husband of a woman he had been seeing. Some Hoodoo believers swear to this day that he was hunted down and found by hell hounds and they killed him and took his soul to Hell with them. Who really knows how he died and who knows if it was a deal with the devil? It is an eerie story and brings a whole new light to his music. I'll leave you to do your own detective work there.
Until next time...