Monday, March 11, 2013

Bad Juju by Dina Rae - a Book review

I had mentioned Dina Rae on my old blog and even posted some of her article on the New World Order....
Well... her latest book does not have anything to do with conspiracy theories, rather it concentrates on the world of Voodoo.  Here is what she has to say about the subject:

Does Haiti Have Demonic Roots or Just an Undeserved Bad Reputation?
Haiti and her people have been called Satanists, devil worshipers, demons, and other disparaging names since its independence.  The impoverished country’s history has unfortunately kept the politically incorrect reputation alive.  Why?  What could have happened over two hundred years ago that is still the subject of real life horror stories?
To begin with, Haiti has one of the most intriguing independence stories that I ever read about.  Yes, the U.S. had a bloody, gory revolution, but nothing as colorful as Haiti’s legendary pact with the devil.  It all started with Dutty Boukman, a Jamaican born houngan (Voodoo priest) in 1791.  Back then Haiti was called St. Domingue.  One fateful night in August, Boukman performed a ceremony that changed the course of history in Haiti forever.  He sacrificed a pig, drank its blood, and then all of the loas (spirits) supposedly descended from the Cosmos and possessed all who was in attendance.  Legend states a pact was made with the dark side to end slavery and free them from their oppressors.  Pat Robertson, a leading evangelist, went even further stating it was a pact made with Satan.  Boukman was decapitated a few months later by the French who ran the country.  By the way, Boukman means dirty or man of the book. 
The rest of the story has quite an apocalyptic ending.  Other uprisings occurred years later, but things got really weird once Napoleon got involved.  Fifty thousand French troops mysteriously died of yellow fever.  With France out of the way, Haiti was born in 1804.  Voodoo never went away, but disguised itself under the Catholic religion.

How to Make a Zombie: Voodoo Secrets Exposed By Dina Rae
There are several ways to make a zombie.  Drugs, disease, and hypnosis are the most believable, but dead corpses coming back to life are another possibility according to Voodoo religion.  While researching Voodoo for my third novel, Bad Juju, I read reams of articles and books including Wade Davis’s The Serpent and the Rainbow.  Davis wrote about his experience with Voodoo while in Haiti searching for an anesthesia for a pharmaceutical company.  The book later became a movie that exaggerated Davis’s retelling of Voodoo.  Davis was outspoken about it, feeling the movie discredited his observations.
Davis and many others point to the bokors or priests who practice black magic when it comes to zombification.  Bokors are trained in resurrecting the dead.  But how is that possible?
Skeptics believe the phenomenon can occur because the deceased was never really dead.  Supposedly, a poison consisting of toxic plants, bouga toad, millipedes, tarantulas, puffer fish, human remains, and/or tree frog skin puts the victim in a coma deep enough to fool a coroner.  Sometimes the victim is still conscious and witnesses his/her own funeral.  The bokor digs up the body and gives it Zombie’s Cucumber or datura, a wild flower native to Haiti.  A few chants later, some prayers to the loas, and maybe a ceremony with blood exchange, voila-the body wakes up disorientated, in a state of mass confusion.  The zombie is manipulated as the bokor’s private instrument for evil doings and slavery.
Wade Davis met a real zombie while in Haiti.  He is not the only one to confirm zombification as part of the Voodoo religion.

Do You Know Your Zombies?
With the so-called zombie apocalypse approaching, one must be educated about the different kinds of zombies before prepping for defense.  First, there is the most common and believable-the human that turns into a zombie because of mental collapse, disease, infection, and/or radiation.  They stagger around dazed and confused and cause panic to others.  Then there is the man-made monster kind or the kind Hollywood and horror authors like me tend to capitalize on.
Zombie interest continues to fascinate the world.  Jeffrey Dahmer drilled holes then poured acid down his victim’s heads in hopes of creating his own zombie.  His madness didn’t work.  Can man make his own zombie?  Are these monsters real?
According to Wade Davis, author of The Serpent of the Rainbow, zombies are real.  They are a product of the Voodoo religion.  He was originally hired by a pharmaceutical company to find out about the drugs Voduists used in their death rituals.  He believed that datura also known as zombie’s cucumber was a plant that could medically make one who ingested it appear to be dead for a certain length of time.  Sounds like the stuff Juliet used to fake her death.  Could Shakespeare known about the magical zombie-making plant?
Datura or sometimes Cimora, a close relative of Datura’s, eventually wears off but leaves the victim in a state of confusion, highly susceptible to the art of persuasion.  Presto!  A zombie slave is at the captor’s disposal.  Mr. Davis didn’t just find his datura flower, but witnessed zombie phenomena as he immersed himself within the Haitian culture.
Bad Juju is a unique blend of horror, romance, and fantasy.  Besides The Serpent and the Rainbow, I read volumes of other Voodoo material and watched hours of TV specials.  Some of the terms I learned can be found below:
Bokor: A wizard who practices black magic, a zombie maker.
Loa: deity/spirit
Ghede Family: A family of loas known as the spirits of the dead.  Three barons rule the family.  Baron Samedi is the loa of resurrection.  Baron Kriminel is the most feared loa associated with cannibalism and souls.  He’s honored on The Day of the Dead.  Baron LaCroix is the loa of the dead and sexuality.
Poppet: Voodoo doll
Ti-bon-ange: “little good angel”  The part of the soul that represents a person’s individuality.
Gros-bon-ange: “great good angel”  Part of the soul that is collected into a reservoir of the Cosmos or spirit world.
Baka: Voodoo spirits in animal form.
Loup Garou: werewolf
Djab: a devil
Dessounin: Death ritual that separates the gros-bon-ange from the body.
Bizango Society: Secret society of Vodouists.  They have Freemason-like qualities such as aprons, secret handshakes, oaths, hierarchy, and symbols.  Legend states they change into animals at will.  They are known for stealing black cats and boiling them to death for Voodoo services.  They drink each other’s blood from a human skull chalice.

Bad Juju is available on Amazon for 1.99

I read Bad Juju and I have to tell you that once again Dina manages to bring her characters to life and teach something at the same time. This book brings to light the human spirit... that there is good and evil and that at the end of the day there is always hope. It is a tremendous read and one that I enjoyed thoroughly. Dina Rae introduces Aspergers and the characterization of this disease is right on!!

I highly recommend getting a copy of this wonderful book and adding it to your collection.


  1. Brenda, a true pleasure to be on your blog! Thanks for posting and reading! Dina Rae

    1. Really Dina the pleasure was mine... the book is great!


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