"The Man at the Crossroads" is a close-up routine based on a uniquely American form of folk magic known as "hoodoo". Sometimes used as a synonym for Voodoo (a term related to the Dahomean word for spirit, vodun, and the more generalized West African juju), "hoodoo" technically refers to magical practices sometimes known as "conjure" - a hybrid of African and European beliefs nowadays far removed from their original West African religious roots - and is comprised of complex magical practices as well as simple medicinal procedures. (Practitioners, however, usually refer to the latter as "signs" rather than "conjure" or "hoodoo".)
Unlike Hoodoo, which is completely non-denominational, Voodoo is primarily a body of religious practices - although many modern believers refer to themselves as "spiritualists" to avoid the stereotypical concept of Voodoo as a system of sticking pins in dolls and cursing enemies.
For those interested in delving more deeply into the historical materials Bob used in writing this routine, we have included source materials on the "Background and Reference" page.
Bob has tried to treat this subject with the respect due any widely held belief system, while at the same time focusing primarily on the entertainment value of the routine. Presented with the proper balance of humor and drama, "The Man at the Crossroads" has proven to be a very entertaining and mystifying presentation.
This ebook also includes a PDF version of The Conjure Woman by Charles W. Chesnutt, 1899.
1st edition 2003; PDF 35 pages; 3 WMV video clips