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Voodoo: a Legitimate Religion?

Voodoo commercialized: A Voodoo curio shop in New Orleans. Photo by Don Ball.

"Voodoo is widely regarded as a mysterious and sinister practice that's taboo in many cultures. The mere word conjures images of bloody animal sacrifices, evil zombies, dolls stuck with pins, and dancers gyrating through the hot night to the rhythm of drums.

But experts on voodoo beliefs say there are many misconceptions about the practice, which is performed in various forms worldwide.

'Voodoo is not some kind of dark mystical force, it is simply a legitimate religion,' says anthropologist Wade Davis, a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence who has studied voodoo extensively in the Caribbean nation of Haiti.

Once banned, voodoo is now an official religion in Benin, with about four million adherents in that nation alone. Forms of voodoo are also practiced in other African nations, the Caribbean, South America, New Orleans, and elsewhere."

Read the full article at National Geographic.

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