Friday, October 08, 2010

I’m (Not) A Believer

by Ramona DeFelice Long

On a shelf in my office is a collection of quirky, inspirational items: My Jane Austen finger puppet. My collection of Beatles buttons. A clay sign that says “Future Bestselling Author at Work.” My Good Citizen Award. A sheet of paper with “Compliments of Mrs. Long” written over with comments—You rock! Best sammiches ever! I freaking love you!—from when I brought homemade chicken salad sandwiches to the high school book group. A plaster cast of my beloved Marcie’s paw. My Mary Roberts Rinehart Chapter SinC button. A framed placard of the Cajun Ten Commandments.

Smack in the center on the shelf are my four voodoo dolls. I had six, but one got sent to a friend during a painful divorce and another to a friend undergoing a painful surgery. I own voodoo dolls because I was raised in south Louisiana and the dolls represent home, history and power. I bought them when the New Orleans French Market opened after Hurricane Katrina. The dolls were on sale, six for two dollars. Being French, I could not pass up such a bargain.

Attached to each doll’s dress is a small card explaining How to Use the Voodoo Doll. I have read these instructions and, yes, I have followed them. So far, when I reach step #3--“Pick white pin for good, black pin is for evil!”--I’ve gone for the white pin. That’s not to say I haven’t been tempted to skewer somebody with a black pin. I mean, you’re not an interesting person unless you rack up a few enemies, right? Nevertheless, I’ve resisted inflicting harm on my nemeses through the use of supernatural powers.

Here’s why: It’s not because I rock or because I’m such a good citizen or because I have a bestseller in my future. It’s because I’m not a believer.

I don’t believe in voodoo. I don’t believe in black magic, or white magic, either. I don’t believe in ghosts, vampires, witches or warlocks. I’ve never had a supernatural encounter. No hairs rising on back of my neck from an otherworldly presence. I’ve never seen a cat’s face morph into another cat’s face. Never experienced a premonition, an omen or any déjà vu. None of my deceased relatives or lovers from a former life have swept in to say hello. I don’t worry about what goes around or fear the wrath of karma. Heck, I don’t even believe in Satan.

You might call me a skeptic, but it’s not that simple. I don’t disbelieve the experiences of other people. If you tell me you’ve seen a ghost, who am I to doubt you? Just because it’s never happened to me doesn’t mean it’s never happened to you. Many people I know and respect have experienced the unexplainable, and I’m not about to start calling people liars or demand proof. No “Unless you post pictures, it didn’t happen” from me.

I’ve been pondering this as I try to write a blog post about haunting experiences. Reading the Stiffs’ tales this week, I’ve started to feel resentful. Everybody else has been tripped out by some weird encounter--why not me? I’m from Louisiana, for Pete’s sake! I own voodoo dolls! Why the heck won’t some apparition take pity and haunt me?

Is there something wrong with me? Or is it that I’ve closed my mind to the possibility?

I say I don’t believe in Satan, but I certainly believe in evil. One look at this week’s news—the home invasion trial in Connecticut, the parents who duct-taped their child to a wall—and yeah, I have complete faith in the evil that man can do. But I believe that man is perfectly capable of doing bad stuff without assistance from the beyond.

It’s not that I’m fearless, either. Put me in a small room with a big spider, and I will show you fear. Heck, put me in a big room with a small spider, and I’ll show it to you then, too. But if you put me in the woods, alone, late at night, with no cell phone service, I won’t be worried about the Blair Witch; I’ll be praying not to get eaten by a bear.

So I feel a little deprived. Maybe it’s my own fault, for not being imaginative or brave or spiritually grounded enough to accept the possibility of ghosts and goblins and what-not’s. Thinking about it, I suppose it’s silly for someone like me to own voodoo dolls.

But I can’t get rid of them. And if you think about it, when it comes to voodoo and other formers of mental treachery, is it really necessary that I believe? No. It’s only necessary that my enemies believe.

And that they not cross me. *evil laugh*


Gina said...

Ramona -

Things like voodoo dolls creep me out. I wouldn't want to write around them.

It may be a blessing that you're not subject to seeing ghosts, etc., but if you'd like to try for a precognitive experience, keep a dream diary for a few months. If you're like many people, you will find that you dream things before they happen - I don't mean just big things, deaths and earthquakes, etc. - but the mundane: pictures that show up on junk mail, snippets of overheard conversation, an unusual item of clothing worn by a passerby. Minor things but things that you couldn't possibly have dreamed by chance. Or if you've kept a dream diary in the past, go back and look through it. You might find you dreamed things a year or more before they happened.

Ramona said...

Gina, I think my dolls are adorable, but that's just me.

The dream diary sounds like a promising project. I do have vivid dreams, but I just assume it's my subconscious mind talking to me (or scolding me.) Maybe this is one way to open my mind. Hmmm....

Annette said...

I don't believe in voodoo, but I'm taking no chances. Some of the people who DO believe scare the bejeezus outta me.

Laurie said...

Very interesting...

Jenna said...

LOL! If it's any consolation, Ramona, I'm not sensitive, either. I'd like to experience spooky stuff, but I don't. I hear you on the room and spider, though.

Anonymous said...

I experience spooky stuff all the time, but it's usually because someone in my extended family did something idiotic.

Seriously - I do experience things and to tell you the truth, I'm afraid to pursue any of it. I try to be a good person, but if I thought there was really a way to F around with people who do bad things, I'm afraid I would turn into Chuck Norris.

Great blog, Louisiana girl!

Kathy Sweeney

Ramona said...

LOL, I just received an email from a friend saying, "Are you crazy??? You're just asking for it now!" We shall see.

Annette, I agree, there are some crazy people out there who believe in some crazy stuff, and it is indeed scary.

Jennie, if the spooky stuff involves spiders, I'll take a pass.

Kathy, I think Chuck Norris would be scared of you. I am just saying, doll.

PatRemick said...

Ramona -- I'm with you. No supernatural stuff. Heck, I barely dream. So I'm having a hard time coming up with something to write about next week. Should I have a (cross) word, here, with the Working Stiff who proposed this spooky theme?

Pamela DuMond, D.C. said...

I'm with Kathy and Gina. I believe it, I dream it, I feel it. I write it. I'm wacky that way. Sometimes I even entertain my ghostly friends, ask them over for tea or such. I'll set the table, put out 2 desserts. When they rudely don't show up, I get to eat them both. Do you know understand the power in believing, Ramona?


Ramona said...

Pat, it's nice to know I'm not the only non-believer. I thought I was the only one!

Pamela, so you do believe. How interesting. *evil laugh*