Caribbean Life: Obeah Courtroom Cases

On St. John as well as the other Virgin Islands and, for that matter, virtually all of the Caribbean islands, the occult sciences of Obeah, Voodoo, and their equivalents form a part of Caribbean culture even in these modern, high-tech and sophisticated times.

St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
For example, during the highly publicized trial of the Fountain Valley Five on St. Croix, a large dead frog whose mouth was sealed shut with a padlock was found in the courtroom at the start of the trial. It was clearly obeah,  and the message was also clear, “keep your mouth shut.”

Under orders from the judge, the obeah curse was to be neutralized. An expert in removing spells was consulted and a remedy was provided. The court security was instructed to carry the frog to the beach, turn his back to the sea, listen for the sound of three waves and then to throw the frog over his back into the ocean.

The deed done, the trial was able to continue.

In Antigua a couple who were under investigation for an insurance scam hired an Obeahman to place a death spell on the detectives investigating the case and the insurance official who would be testifying against them.

The Dominican obeahman, described as a “41-year old burly black man with plaited hair fashioned three dolls, placed them in little coffins with graveyard dirt and sent them to the homes of the intended victims. The obeahman was identified, arrested and fined. He also turned over the names of the couple who hired him and agreed to testify against them.

Nothing happened, no one died or took ill, but the alleged conspirators were arrested and the court took their attempt at obeah seriously. Their intent was clear, although the means was questionable – to cause the death of their three enemies. The couple, who ordered the delivery of the death spells were charged with nothing less than conspiracy to murder.

Read the newspaper articles.

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