Tag Archives: witchcraft

Egg Limpia

SD is my close friend here at USC. Her parents are both from Columbia and immigrated to the US. Her mother is from Cartagena, Colombia, and immigrated to Newark, New Jersey, when she was sixteen. Her father is from Salento, Colombia, and immigrated to Clifton, New Jersey, when he was twenty. They all now reside in Orlando, Florida.

Here you see an example of an egg cleanse that the informant preformed on me while we were together.


DO (interviewer): As a Colombian-American, are there are religious traditions or rituals that your family has?

SD: Egg limpiezas I think are considered a ritual that we have. It’s like a spiritual thing, so I’d say yeah that. 

DO: Can you explain more about what that means and what exactly the ritual entails?

SD: So you’ll need an egg, sometimes multiple but I’ll explain that later, a cup with water, salt, a toilet, and rubbing alcohol. So first off, you need the egg to be warm so some people leave their eggs out but I think that’s mad gross so, I just hold mine in my hand until it feels room temperature or at least until it isn’t cold. Then you pour rubbing alcohol over it. I think this is to clean it, but honestly I don’t know why we do this, I just know it’s important. Then, you rub the egg all over your body, even under your feet. I think this part depends from person to person because I’ve heard some people do different things. You either say like “I remove all negative energy from my body” or you say positive affirmations. I think either works. Then once you do this around your whole body. You fill the cup with water and break the egg open in the water. Then you read the results. 

DO: What do you mean by results? 

SD: Whatever you see in the water/egg mixture thing means something. If you see spikes that means that you gossip a lot or others gossip about you a lot and this is blocking your blessings. If the egg looks cloudy or dull this means that you have certain physical blocks. So this can mean lots of headaches, hard time focusing,always tired, body pain, stuff like that. If there’s strings going from the yolk to the surface then this means that there’s certain people in your life that you need to cut ties with and these strings represent these ties. And bubbles are “the bad energy” (did air quotes) leaving your body and spirit. So you want lots of bubbles. Bubbles means it’s working. I think there’s more but I don’t really know them off the top of my head. 

DO: You mentioned that there is sometimes a need for multiple eggs, when would these other eggs come in?

SD: So if your results are bad, meaning there’s a lot of anything other than bubbles, then there could still be bad energy trapped in you. So my dad usually says that you should do egg cleanses until there’s only bubbles in your cup. 

DO: And do you put these in the same cup? Or another way to ask that I guess is are there multiple eggs in one cup?

SD: Oh, no! Once you do one reading you dispose of the egg and stuff and then do another one. 

DO: And how do you do this? 

SD: You throw it in the toilet. Well first, you sprinkle salt into the cup and the salt traps the bad energy into the cup and ensures that it won’t come back for a while. And never EVER look into the cup from the top down view. When doing the readings make sure that you’re only looking through the side of the cup. If you look at the cup from top down then you’re inviting back in the negative energy that you just took out, so it would defeat the purpose. Then just flush it down the toilet and you’re good. 

DO: Do you feel as if these cleansings work for you? Have you had success with them? What about your family?

SD: It’s actually pretty funny I guess, because my family is super religious and that’s an important part of our culture. But I think that egg cleansing are technically witchcraft. But I love doing them when I feel something is off and my family does too. I genuinely do feel better after I do it. 


This ritual can be looked at from numerous different perspectives. Technically it can be seen as a medical type of folklore, but not for your physical body but instead for your spirit. It also ties into a discussion about religion and religious lore. The informant’s family practices Catholicism, but this ritual is considered to be black magic by many. This ritual shows just how personal folklore can be since this family holds some practices from Catholicism and some from witchcraft. Although they may deny the validity of other witchcraft rituals, they fully believe in the one they perform. 

Annie Palmer of Rose Hall


Informant: R.R. – 19 year old Jamaican female, currently in her first year of college


R.R. is originally from Jamaica and came to the US when she was 15 to study at a Boarding School in upstate New York. When prompted about any folklore she knew that was specific to Jamaica, she immediately began telling me about the ghost of the “White Witch,” Annie Palmer. She mentioned that it’s a very popular story among Jamaicans, but mostly because the story is used as a tourist attraction. I have transcribed R.R.‘s telling of the legend below.

Main Piece

R.R: “Annie Palmer was the White Witch of Rose Hall. It’s a Jamaican ghost story. The history behind her is true but the people who raised her taught her voodoo, some shit went down and they think she still haunts the house. Apparently she did white and black magic and was super crazy. She used to sacrifice animals and use slaves too. She would take the male slaves and have sex with them, but also physically beat them and take their blood. She even killed her husband who owned the house and took all of his money. But then this black slave wizard, Takoo then murdered her with witchcraft and now her spirit haunts the house forever.”

Z.R: “And where did you first hear the story of Annie Palmer?”

R.R: “Just growing up as a kid, it’s a tourist attraction. They do tours there and tell the story.”


This piece represents an example of folklore that has arisen and developed from material that was originally canonized through literature. While a widely told and known story in Jamaica, it was found that many aspects of the tale were actually lifted from 1929 novel, The White Witch of Rosehall, written by Herbet G de Lisser. The property of Whitehall and the folklore behind it serves as a major tourist attraction, and therefore benefits from the creation and belief of the folklore that is derived from the original novel. This is related to our class discussions about the nature of cultural tourism and that there are often times when aspects of a culture are elaborated or even exaggerated for the benefit of the tourism industry. It is interesting that a website that functions to give information about popular tourist sites in Jamaica actually notes that the folk legend itself is not based on real events. Other similar versions of this story appear in New Orleans folklore regarding witches, specifically white witches that were the mistresses of a plantation or manor. The most famous was Madam LaLaurie who apparently also took male slaves as lovers and tortured them, bathing in their blood and other monstrous acts. Perhaps the emergence of the legend of Annie Palmer from literature represents a kind of cultural commentary on the nature of slave owners, specifically white, female slave owners and their cultural impact during the time.

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown Myth

The informant is my friend (referred to as EP) who is from Brooklyn, New York, but lives in Spain for the summer. Her father is from Spain and her mother is from Puerto Rico. Every year when she goes to Spain she lives on her family ranch that is outside of a town called Porto. She is discussing one of her favorite movies and a movie that is highly regarded in Spain, “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” and a conspiracy theory that was developed in Spain about the movie.


EP: “So in the movie, it’s all these women who are crazy and obsessed with all these men and they are having all these problems and throughout the whole movie gazpacho is a theme and ultimately the main character tries to kill a bunch of men with drug-laced gazpacho. The theory that a bunch of people came up with is that all the women are actually witches and the gazpacho kind of resembles one of their potions. It’s kind of a myth I guess but it’s like they are practicing witchcraft and making spells that kill men.”


This is so fascinating to me because after viewing “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” I know that this is one of the world’s most campy films. It is often used among scholars as the example for describing the style of camp in films.  Witchcraft is a type of folklore that is already highly gendered and what I have noticed is nearly all witch movies are extremely campy.  Females who are somehow outside of the box society creates for them, often become categorized as witches. Campiness is the style of nearly all films centered around witches and this is due to the fact that camp perfectly captures the inherent sexism and absurdity of the idea that powerful females are witches. Camp is able to employ qualities of duality and idiosyncrasies that are open to a double interpretation. There is a certain language that camp uses and it allows patriarchal code and codes of oppression to be debunked. To understand camp, the viewer must have some outside knowledge of the pre-existing codes of oppression. So, therefore, in witch movies camp is heavily employed and shows women as extravagant and over the top characters. So the fact that many people in Spain believe “women on the verge,” the trademark movie for camp, is actually about witches makes a lot of sense and shows how people in Spain (and in society) perceive women portrayed a certain way as “witches.”




Main piece:

There is a little tiny elf-fairy called Tokolosh. It’s evil. its part of African witchcraft. In Zimbabwe, witchcraft is voodoo but it’s also Nigerian so it’s an African thing.

Background information (Why does the informant know or like this piece? Where or who did they learn it from? What does it mean to them?):

When informant was in Grade 10 or 11, she heard about Tokolosh after an action conference at a missions school. The christian speaker was talking about african wifchcraft to get rid of, which included Tokolosh.

As a foreigner living in Zimbabwe, she don’t know what the full story is and when she asked others to explain it, she didn’t understand.

Context (When or where would this be performed? Under what circumstance?):

Typically, it’s a part of African voodoo and witchcraft so the story would be shared with those in Africa who believe or practice voodoo. In this case, it was told in opposition of it through christians trying to bring faith into Africa. It seems like it is passed through word of mouth even to kids because the informant asked friends at school about it. It’s not a part of formal education.

Personal Analysis:

Witchcraft seems to be more integrated into African culture than in America. The tokolosh seems to be taken seriously if christians are working towards getting rid of it.

Witchcraft: Sitting Pretty


“My mom always told me that I shouldn’t sit with my legs against the wall. Back in the day witches sat like that, so people would think that I was a witch…. I don’t know why, but I think it’s because they were thought to be able to walk on walls.”


My informant told me that in a lot of Africa, a lot of families were of tribal and animistic religions. There were “really dark tribal things” going on and people would report really weird things like people turning into cats, a lot of kidnappings, and people turning their friends into witches for uses in witchcraft. She felt uncomfortable when she first heard her mom tell her that. She told me that a lot of things in Nigerian culture was stigmatized. Certain ways that you sleep were bad too. For example, sleeping on your side kept you from being robbed. She feels that a lot of it goes back to village culture, before Nigeria was urbanized.


My informant heard it from her mom when she was young.

Personal Thoughts:

I think this is a great example of folklore showing certain fears that a community has. From what my informant said, it seems like witches were powerful figures back in Nigeria history, but they were seen in a negative light which explains why the informant’s mom didn’t want her to be associated with witches.