A Strange Southern Tale of Black Magic

“A Witches Bible” is the title of the book that lies before me. A strange book to be lying on the middle of a table, in the middle of a lounge of a hostel, in the middle of Austin, Texas; don’t you think? However, this particular hostel was kind of a strange place; and little did I know that as a result of this strange book, in this strange hostel, quite strange things would later ensue.

So why was the hostel so strange? Well, first of all, when I signed in to spend a night the form requested me to put my name, my nationality, and the name of my ‘spirit animal’.

The answer to which reminded me of a story that happened to me once upon a time in Dubai…

I met a psychologist there on an online dating site who was the daughter of an incredibly rich billionaire and somehow related to the Saudi Royal family – no lie – who inquired from me three things:

1) What is your favorite animal? And why so?

2) When you close your eyes and imagine a horse, what does it look like?

3) What is your favorite color?

To which I replied:

1) Since I was a kid my favorite family of animals has been the cat family, and my favorite member of that family has always been the panther. I like the panther because it seems like a badass desperado.The rebel of the jungle so to speak.

2) Kind of an amber brown horse with a dark mane.

3) Deep blue like the color of the ocean. I lived by the ocean as a kid, and the thought of it soothes my very soul.       

She then went on to interpret my answers as follows:

1) When you were in high school, you tried to portray this image, the image of a mysterious rebel type. Since then you’ve matured more. 

2) The ideal woman you want to be with has dark brown hair and olive skin.

3) Honestly, I forgot how she interpreted this one….

“Well, dang” I thought to myself, “She’s good!” I’m not going to lie, I did kind of play the bad boy rebel role throughout high school, and, I don’t know, I guess I’ve had a thing for brunettes with olive skin – though, a few blondes have definitely caught my interest.

Well, things didn’t end up working out between the psychologist princess and I, even though she did have the dark brunette look going on. Though going back to me registering for a night in the hostel, naturally, I wrote on the form ‘Panther’ and continued the booking process.

So, after filling out the strange form with the strange question about my ‘spirit animal’, I was taken to a rather strange room. Strange because it was all black, with strange white symbols on the wall. These symbols looked familiar to me, in fact, I recognized them from Led Zepplin album covers. I used to be a huge Led Zepplin fan, and one of my friends (who was also a fan) told me once that those symbols are actually related to …… black magic!

ledzeppelin

In fact, one time, I sat next to a gentleman on an airplane who worked directly with Led Zepplin by setting up their concerts (more about ‘interesting’ characters on planes later).  He informed me that Jimmy Page (the lead guitarist) used to live in a castle of sorts in Scotland whose former owner used to be a man named Aleister Crowley (apparently a famous occultist and black magic practitioner).  Page ended up moving out of that house because he thought it was haunted and could hear the sound of someone getting his head cut off.  😯 

“Hmm comforting!” I thought. Spending the night in an all black room with white black magic symbols on the wall! Ironically though, I slept rather well, free of horrifying dreams of dark and haunted things – good thing I read about the whole head chopping thing AFTER the fact.

However, come morning time when I went to the lounge area, right there in front of me (and anyone else who happened to be in the area) was this book: ‘A Witches Bible”:

witchesbible

I asked a hippyish looking college student (which is very typical in Austin) beside me, “What the hell is this?” He replied that he didn’t have a clue, but that there was some other strange book with strange photos in it on the side of a chair next to us. 

Seemingly on cue then walked in this black guy who had large SKULL TATTOOS on his NECK and told us that he was from Louisiana. The tattoos looked something like this:

voodooskull

Voodoo? Was the first thought that came to my mind. I know that voodoo is a WIDELY spread religion in Louisiana because a girl from New Orleans once who told me, “Well, I’m from New Orleans, so I used to practice voodoo.” Hmm yes, naturally!

At this point, I had to get on my way because I had a flight to catch in San Antonio to Mexico. After an amazing trip in Mexico that included scuba diving with sharks, snorkeling with whales, and enjoying time on the beach; I found myself back in a hostel in Texas, but this time in Houston. 

There a discussion began between myself and two other guests, one from France and the other from India. We were discussing strange things that had happened to us in the USA. The conversation started when I mentioned that the girl I sat next to on the bus ride over – a middle-aged Mexican American woman – had told me a story about how her son got one girl pregnant, but already has another girlfriend. The kicker being he was only 14. Can you say ghett-O, LOL! 

Anyways, as the conversation went along, I told them the story about what had happened to me in the hostel in Austin and showed him the photo of ‘A Witches Bible”. The Indian guy told me, “you know, honestly, people here in America are really good. In India, you can barely even trust anyone. Black magic is really widespread.”  Well, I guess it was nice to hear the compliment about the USA, but judging from what was going to happen the next day, I am not so sure if it was an accurate one.

After spending the night at the hostel, it was time for me to go to the airport once again to catch another flight. I chose to go via public bus because it was the cheaper option (compared to a taxi or an arranged private bus through the hostel). However, as the saying in Spanish goes ‘lo barato sale caro’ (that which is cheap ends up being expensive). The public bus took so long (and I mean loooong; over 1.5 hrs), I ended up missing my flight (by a couple minutes) for the first time in God knows how long.  However, they went ahead and put me on standby, and a little while afterwards I was ‘lucky’ enough to get the only seat available on the next flight out, a seat that was right next to a cute bubbly college girl. Little did I know that sitting next to this cute bubbly college girl would be the strangest experience that I would have during the entire trip of what had been full of strange experiences.

Right away when I sat down, conversation sparked between us.  I started to speak to her in Spanish because she had a Mexican look to her, however, she told me that although she is half Mexican, she doesn’t speak Spanish.  “Well, if you are part Mexican, maybe you would like to have this hat” I said as I placed a smooth looking Caribbean style hat that I bought in Cozumel, Mexico (a really awesome island off the coast of Cancun) directly on top of her head.

CaribbeanHat

A photo of me in Tulum, Mexico wearing the hat that I gave her

I liked the hat, but unfortunately it didn’t fit in my bag, and I was a lil sick of traveling with it. Plus I already had a big sombrero to deal with. So, I thought to myself, breaking the ice with a cute bubbly college girl by giving her a gift would be a perfect way to put it to use (hey, I am single after all.. remember things didn’t work out between the psychologist princess and I 😉 ). 

It looked slick on her, and was a perfect fit for her shades and style. The gift of the hat really sparked her enthusiasm and after a selfie together the mood was set for a lively getting-to-know-you conversation, a conversation that turned out to be well, a bit strange you could say!  

We started chatting about college, family, health, and travel. She was a very active college student, and was half Mexican and half Spanish (though she didn’t speak any Spanish!). It was interesting to find out that she and I shared the same health condition, a condition affecting the thyroid, which I had only recently discovered. At the time I was researching a lot about how to reverse the condition and was giving her a lot of advice on how to improve hers. After telling me that she was coming from Louisiana, I remembered the tattoos that I saw on that one guy in the hostel, so I ended up telling her the story about what happened to me there, and showed her the photo of ‘A Witches Bible’. Her reply shocked me. 

”Oh yeah. Well, I’m a witch.”

“Hmmm. You don’t say!” I thought to myself.

“I mean, I prefer high priestess, but yeah. I’m a seventh generational witch.  My mom taught me witchcraft when I was young as her mother taught her, and her mother taught her etc.”

“Really. Wow, that’s interesting. Wait, so is this something that you go around telling people normally?”

“Well, no. I don’t. However, honestly I just feel comfortable talking with you, and you seem like a really nice guy. Plus the fact that you just ended up sitting next to me and showing me that photo.”

Anyways, a million questions started to pop in my head. I mean, when a girl tells you that she is a 7th generational witch, I imagine most people would be pretty shocked, as I was. Shocked as well as curious.

“So, what do you mean you are a witch? So you do spells and things? Have you ever actually seen one of your spells work?”

“Well, let me put it to you this way.” She said to me. “People come to me to do spells for them, if they don’t work, they don’t pay me. And, I have never not been paid.”

It was a strong statement, a statement that still sticks in my head word-for-word until this very day. I went on picking her brain about the different types of spells, curses etc. that can be done. 

Here are some highlights of the conversation:

  • Love spells: She told me that, yes, a woman (or a man for that matter) can do a spell to make someone fall in love with them – or perhaps deep infatuation would be a better expression – by tying the hair of the victim and their hair together in a knot and performing some kind of ritual. She told me that, “it can be very difficult to undo, though, because you have to untie each and every hair, which is really difficult.” and that it is “annoying” because sometimes you just want to be left alone by the bewitched, love obsessed victim. Makes you think twice about songs like Black Magic by the band Little Mix, doesn’t it?
  • Spirits: Spells work by conjuring up spirits. She specifically mentioned that there is a type of Jewish magic (kabala maybe?) where they conjure up two particular demons. SCARY!
  • Her Origins: She told me that although Native Americans, Aztecs, and Mayan cultures have an aspect of witchcraft involved in them, the magic tradition from her family was not from her father’s Mexican side but the Spanish side of her mother (Spanish from Spain).
  • White vs Black Magic: All magic is in the same realm, whether it is a curse or something to attract wealth, or a job or what have you. So no real thing as ‘white’ and ‘black’ magic. It all comes from the same place.
  • Spells: There are various different types of spells you can do. Some to attract money, jobs, love etc. while others are used to curse people. She said she only did the former, though, she knew an awful lot about the latter, making me second guess her statement. She said she didn’t do curses because they come back to hurt you, and that she had a bit of a moral issue with them, but she kind of slipped and mentioned that if someone wanted her to do a curse on someone else she would give them the materials & instructions so they could – because she would be scared of the consequences if she did it. Some specific curses that can be done she mentioned were: 
    • ruining people’s health,
    • causing bodily injury, and 
    • instilling hatred between people.
    • etc.

I asked her, “could someone make you go bald for example?”, and she replied, “Yes. You can really do whatever.” So according to her the sky is kind of the limit…

  • Curses: will come back to you, so she told me that the majority of people who do curses are male witches (what do you call them, wizards, warlocks?) because of the hard-headed, stubborn ‘machismo’ side of males in general – in her opinion. She said to curse someone you need something from their body: like hair, blood etc. She said that voodoo dolls by themselves do not work, unless you have something of the victim. I asked her “What about photos; do photos work?”. She replied that “they work just fine”, but that the spell will “take a lot longer to work”. It was scary because it seemed like she was always speaking from first hand experience, not from theory.  
  • Smoke & Evil Eye: She said that blowing smoke from the mouth, or smelling smoke is a sign of being cursed or of ‘evil eye’ which is the negative effect of envy from jealous people.
  • Hope?: To be cursed, “you have to have at least some doubt that it will work”, but “you would be surprised how many people have doubt. Almost everyone has some.”  I didn’t totally understand this part, but I guess if you have strong faith that whatever magic people do against you will not work, it won’t. Reinsuring.

After speaking with her some time, I couldn’t help to feel a bit sad for her because she seemed like a nice girl that didn’t need to be messing around with that stuff. Also, the fact that we both shared the same health condition made me even more sympathetic. So, I mustered up the courage, stopped playing dumb for a moment, and told her that she shouldn’t be messing around with that world. I more or less told her, in the softest way possible, that she is going to go to hell if she continues. Surprisingly, she didn’t get too offended, though, I could tell something in her disposition changed. However, she told me: 

“The fact that you missed your plane and ended up sitting right next to me, makes me feel like it’s kind of fate… destiny, that we ended up speaking with one another. Honestly, I am really going to take what you say into consideration. I know that it sounds contradictory, but I am a practicing Christian. So I see what you are saying. In your religion – the religion of Islam – you say things to guard against magic, right?  Well, say those things. They work.” 

At the end of the plane ride, we walked with each other for a bit. She offered to give me my hat back, but I told her to keep it – though, I made a joke by taking and blowing inside it to make sure there was no hair left, you know, to avoid any potential curses. 

Then we bade each other farewell as I proceeded to board a plane departing from Texas, ending our conversation as well as this Strange Southern Tale of Black Magic.  I believe that was my first ever conversation with a witch, though, strangely enough, it wouldn’t be my last…

10 Comments

  1. Amir

    salam. Salah. what an awesome read. I loved every word. So interesting. Masha’Allah you got that personality to mingle with others and you can find out a lot about life from other people and journeys. Keeping logging and journaling. you got avid readers on the other side.

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  3. Samantha

    A really interesting narrative. You can catch readers attention with all the adjectives and intriguing plot. I’m still surprised with your ‘power of attracting’ strange things… There were so many of it in a short time! It’s what’s more curious in your trip: not only the quantity of strange things happening but also how each one is related to another for some reason. A simple picture of a which bible turned into a whole sequence of weird things that constitutes your story.

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  4. Julie Petri

    Really nice story. A little scary too. I think there’s a lot of things that are very far from the human understanding, so why not witchcraft? Maybe rationality is not enough to explain everything.

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  5. Eduardo

    That’s a really nice story. It’s very interesting to learn from new cultures and traditions. I learned how to flirt with girls too, Eric is good in starting conversations with them. haha

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