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Negro Superstition

Negro Superstition

Author: Bridgens, Richard

Medium: Letterpress

Date: 1836

Shelfmark: 789.g.13

Item number: Plate 20

Length: 37.5

Width: 27

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Printed Text

Accompanying text for a plate from Richard Bridgens' 'West India Scenery.' The plate depicts Bridgens' impression of the trial of an alleged offender and the use of the 'Doo di Doo' bush to try to extract a confession. According to Bridgens' interpretation of the ritual, when a member of the enslaved community was the victim of theft or crime he/she would visit the Dadie or sorcerer and tell him of their misfortune and their suspicions about who the offender was. The Dadie would set a date for the trial of the alleged offender and would prepare a wreath from the twisted branches of the 'Doo di Doo' plant - a common shrub on plantations. Salt would be sprinkled on it as the Dadie chanted incantations. It was then passed around the neck of the offender who was called upon to claim his innocence. If the offender was guilty the wreath would remain immovably twisted around the neck and would gradually become tighter until a confession produced.

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