Some Incidents Considered Voodoo

| Thursday, March 23, 2006 | |
Some Incidents Considered Voodoo Cover Many of the incidents considered Voodoo crimes that we found in the police reports were actually crimes committed not so much because there was a curse but merely the belief that there was.

On November 2, 1950, neighbors called the police to an apartment inside this building at 808 Dauphine. The neighbors complained that they heard the screams of children within. When the police arrived, they found Rosita Zerruda is a crazed frenzy attempting to burn down this building by dousing it with kerosene. She was arrested before she could ignite it. The woman had deep gashes in her arms that were obviously self-inflicted. A thick trail of fresh blood led police to a bedroom where her four children lay in pools of congealed blood, gashes down their forearms. The family was rushed to Charity hospital. The children were treated for their injuries and eventually released into the custody of a relative. Once treated for her wounds, Rosita Zerruda was then admitted into the mental ward.

When questioned by police, Mrs. Zerruda, hysterically explained that her neighbor, a Voodoun, had cursed her. She stated that the woman had been hypnotizing her and then had placed a spell on her. She informed police that when she awoke that morning, she found blood smeared on her doorstep, along with a black wreath. Police never got any more Information out of Mrs. Zerruda. During her questioning, she began to stutter, and her pupils dilated. She mumbled senselessly as her skin grew pale and clammy. Her body began to twitch and her pulse weakened. The police stood and watched in horror as doctors attempted to treat her for shock. Mrs. Zerruda slipped into a coma before their very eyes. Never awakening she remained a vegetable for the duration of her tormented life!

Countless stories of Voodoo murders have cropped up throughout our history. In October of 1951, in a quiet neighborhood near the New Orleans lakefront, a woman shot and wounded her husband for burning salt and incense on their front door. Convinced her husband was trying to put a hex on her; she was driven by fear and superstition to commit murder. Police rescued her before she could pull the trigger on herself. She was committed to the Charity Hospital’s Mental Ward.

In 1938, Reverend Howard Randle believed his wife, Lucinda, had put a spell on him. She had always been a very jealous woman. He had been having an affair with a young woman on Rampart St. He had also been seen frequenting several of the local bordellos by numerous individuals. His liaisons were tormenting to his poor wife. Night after night, she cried and prayed that his escapades would cease. But instead, the situation worsened. He had been spending less and less time at home and more time with his mistress.

In an attempt to win his fidelity back, Lucinda visited Dr. Rockford Lewis, a local Witch Doctor who operated on Royal St. She bought a powder to turn her husband impotent. She carefully emptied the small bag into his coffee one morning. When he began to drink it, she became afraid that it might kill him so she cried to him that she had poisoned him. Within a few moments, she had convinced Howard that he was going to die!

Overwhelmed with guilt, she fell to her knees, begging him to kill her, so that she wouldn’t be left alone. Believing that he would soon die, he walked with her out to the levee. She laid her head on his lap and gazed out onto the dark river. She talked of how she would go first and be waiting for him by the river in the glorious afterlife. They would be together forever!

Slowly he took the knife out of his coat pocket and she closed her eyes. He jabbed the blade into her throat, ripping it open. He of course, did not die. But he wished he had, he was given life in prison! Legend says she still wanders the rivers edge, waiting for him to join her.

But Voodoo can also seek revenge as well. In 1932, Elijah Wheatley dragged his girlfriend, Lucille Williams to a canal and threw her in, she drowned. A night watchman had seen Wheatley running away and he reported the crime to the police. The newspaper printed the story the next day. The family of the deceased woman, wanted justice. As they prepared Lucille’s body for her funeral, they placed a fresh egg in each of her hand. A rope was tied around her wrists and she was laid face down in the coffin. For the following two days, they kept a vigil, praying constantly. Tall red candles burned at each end of her coffin. She was then buried and the eggs crushed and sprinkled around her grave. The morning after her funeral, Elijah’s body was found …floating in the same canal, in the same spot where he had killed Lucille! Police assumed that maybe he had become remorseful and perhaps committed suicide. The Voodouns knew better!

In a New Orleans Daily Picayune story, dated August 13, 1863, simply called, “A Snake Story”, a young woman by the name of Susan Williams claims to have snakes inhabiting her belly. She alleges that she had become the victim of a Voodoo curse. She had gone to several practitioners obtaining roots and herbs to rid her of the dreaded serpent. The results of her endeavors were quite shocking. Rather than expel a snake from her belly she gave birth to a baby. She attributed the pregnancy to witchcraft and “expressed her opinion that a child brought unto the breathing world would never come to good.” In the morning the baby was dead. Ms. Williams died the following day in Charity hospital.

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