Many people who are familiar with the wonderful city of New Orleans wonder if decadent little Savannah is as steeped in Voodoo practices as well.
Not exactly. New Orleans has Voodoo, whereas Savannah and the surrounding low country has Hoodoo, also called Conjure or Root Magic.
The difference is significant despite occasional similarities. Voodoo is a religion which originated in Africa, and passed through Haiti where it absorbed Catholic overtones. Hoodoo however is primarily a system of folk magic, involving herbs, incantations and spells. There are no religious rites with Hoodoo. There are no Catholic influences.
Some practioners of Voodoo also incorporate folk magic and this is where the overlap between the two becomes obvious.
Folk magic in Savannah is still practiced by all races. You can look to the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil for a glimpse of the prevalence of these beliefs, across race and economic barriers. Jim Williams, a wealthy white man seeking assistance from Madame Minerva, a black practitioner of Hoodoo.
Hoodoo practices are still ongoing today in Savannah but are not as commonly blatant, or as exploited, as Voodoo in New Orleans.
Hoodoo is also rich with unique and compelling folklore that includes ghosts or haints, as they are called, and boo hags. Boo hags are skin changers who can suck the vitality or life force of their victim.
If you'd like to learn more about the rich folk lore of our charming city join Mad Cat Tours for an entertaining Ghosts of Savannah Tour.