The latest craze being sold in stores to kids and teens across the country has all the makings of a successful fad—inexpensive, cute, and collectible. But parents beware: the charm-sized voodoo dolls, also known as string dolls, are no child’s play.
A friend emailed me a link advertising a Guardian Angel Voodoo Doll. “Don’t you think that’s an odd combination?” she asked. My friend had just returned from a vacation in North Carolina and saw them in a number of stores there. I found they are available in chain stores throughout the country. What I did not find were any articles about them, so I researched the product and discussed the ramifications with an exorcist.
The Saan Ha Corporation based in Thailand, claims to be the originator of the doll and warns on their website that there are imitators. Regardless of the brand, these dolls are around 3-4 inches in height and made from a yarn-like string. Each one portrays ideas and categories such as teens, in-love, careers, witches, zombies and much more. They come with little accessories and are placed in a small packet with a note explaining their special powers. A small bell, a keychain clip and a mobile phone attachment are included.
The Voodoo Dolls are marketed to fulfill human desires and accommodate the lives of modern people. They are purported to relieve stress and tension and care for spiritual needs. According to the website, “Every children and teenage who bought Voodoo dolls and String dolls not only bring home their own Voodoo dolls and String dolls but dreams and hopes that come with them.” One need only search categories and read the descriptions for the hundreds of dolls, to find the ones that can best fulfill their needs.
The website claims they’ve been banned in China after parents complained they encouraged kids to practice black magic. I could find no articles to support that claim. Whether it’s true or not, it’s suspicious that a website would publicized something negative about their product. Therefore, it leads me to suspect that the company wants buyers to know about the black magic connection, and sees it as a good marketing tool.
This is how the company explains the potential power of the voodoo dolls. “There are two sides to everything, Voodoo dolls and String dolls magic included. When people seek for blessing through positive reinforcement, subconsciously it also goes to show the dark side in human minds. Therefore, we need you who interest in Saanha Voodoo dolls and String dolls read each characteristic of them, and fulfill your desire with the best way.” While it’s obvious they could use a better language translator, their translation of a blessing is also warped. Blessings come from God. Black magic, good luck charms, voodoo… anything occult, draws on evil powers.
If, however, it is not black magic that you are after, you are told not to worry because it’s all just for fun. Most parents reading this article do not want their kids involved in real voodoo. Yet, there will be some who allow their children to have such dolls thinking they are harmless trinkets. But are they?
I talked about this with Fr. Patrick, (not his real name) a parish priest and exorcist in the United States. Due to his heavy workload and the fact that he only works with people referred by his bishop, he does not want to reveal his identity.
“Lucky charms are superstitious in the first place,” he said. “It places faith in something that has no power. If the object is connected to any spirits, people are going to be giving those spirits power.”
Fr. Patrick warned Christians to discern what is going on when something is supposed to have power. “If they believe in God and angels they should believe in demons too—fallen angels,” he said. “Whether they like it or not, they are accessing the other angels. Instead of accessing the Holy Spirit, they are opening themselves up to whatever power is connected to the object, and it’s not the Holy Spirit.”
Fr. Patrick pointed out that God allows people to have freedom even if it’s to make a bad choice. “If they are dumb enough to summon demons, then that’s what they get."
In his exorcism and deliverance ministry, Fr. Patrick said that he has witnessed situations where once demons get control, they never want to give it up. Thus, it’s not always easy to walk away from the occult. “Demons want to control and hurt,” he said, “while God is about freedom and protection and love.”
Another aspect of Voodoo is its effects on those who are not even connected to it. It is the practice of not just accessing evil powers to control things, but can involve putting curses on others to manipulate or harm them. Do people need to worry about that?
Fr. Patrick admits that he has worked with people who have been affected by curses. However, he stated that no one should live in fear of such things since God is all-powerful. “Regular Mass attendance and receiving the sacraments—going to Reconciliation and receiving the Eucharist---are going to offer protection,” he said. He likened the situation to a shark looking for fish. “He’s going to find the unprotected fish and eat it.”
But what about kids who are collecting the Voodoo Dolls just for fun? Is there harm in clipping a cute looking string doll to a purse or cell phone? Fr. Patrick said that such a choice reminds him of the commercial against drinking and driving in which a guy says, "But I’m just buzzed, not drunk.” Unfortunately the woman he accidentally hit with his car, is still dying. Fr. Patrick explained that it can be a fine line between owning something occult and using it for occult practices. “So why go there at all?”
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