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In earlier times a "hoodoo ship" was a term applied to a "ghost ship," that is, one found drifting with no crew.From there it became a more general term meaning a cursed or bad-luck ship.Here is how i define the word "hoodoo": Hoodoo consists of a large body of African folkloric practices and beliefs with a considerable admixture of American Indian botanical knowledge and European folklore.

In the first place, Voodoo is a West African religion that was transplanted to Haiti (see below) and hoodoo is a system of primarily Central African magical belief and practice.

Furthermore, the word "hoodoo" appears everywhere in the black community, but the word "Voodoo" co-exists with the word "hoodoo" primarily in the state of Louisiana (where it was brought by Haitian immigrants in the early 19th century) -- and even there the two terms refer to different things entirely.

A professional consultant who practices hoodoo on behalf of clients may be referred to as a "hoodoo doctor" or "hoodoo man" if male and a "hoodoo woman" or "hoodoo lady" if female. Taylor's diary for 1891, in which he describes and illustrates meeting with a "Hoodoo Doctor" while on a train.

Taylor, a white man, recounts that the word "hoodoo" was taught to him by the black Pullman porter on the train.

Finally, in other parts of the South, the word "Voodoo" is not encountered at all except in the writings of uninformed white people, and the terms "hoodoo," "rootwork," "conjure" and "witchcraft" are variously applied to the system of African-American folk-magic.

A long discussion of the regional distribution of these terms can be found in Harry Middleton Hyatt's "Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork," a 5-volume, 4,766-page collection of material (consisting of 13,458 separate magic spells and folkloric beliefs) gathered by Hyatt from 1,600 informants in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia between 19.

Hoodoo is an American term, originating in the 19th century or earlier.

One of its meanings refers to African-American folk magic.

The verb "to hoodoo" appears in collections of early pre-blues folk-songs.

For instance, in Dorothy Scarborough's book "On the Trail of Negro Folk-Songs," (Harvard University Press, 1925), a field-collected version of the old dance-song "Cotton-Eyed Joe" tells of a man who "hoodooed" a woman.

This lengthy article has been subdivided into several sections: HOODOO, CONJURE, ROOTWORK: Definition of Terms: How I Define Hoodoo WHAT HOODOO IS: An African-American Folk-Magic Tradition WHAT HOODOO IS NOT: Voodoo, Santeria, Palo, Brujeria, etc.