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5 Places to Dabble in the Occult

Knowledge of the paranormal, the Occult, connotes magic and inexplicable phenomena. Occult practices still exist around the world, from witchcraft to voodoo; occultists defy science and reason, and invoke spiritual forces.

Haiti. Haiti is a french-speaking Caribbean country on the island of Hispaniola. The culture is a mix of French, African elements and Native Taino, and popular for its art, notably painting and sculpture. Today, there is a resurgence of Voodoo among Haitian-Americans, where it is often practiced in the home. Voodoo, meaning “spirit,” is one of the world's oldest ancestral, nature-honoring traditions. The practice is fused with Catholicism as rituals are often begun with a Roman Catholic prayer.

New Orleans. Straddling the Mississippi River is one of the oldest cities in the United States – New Orleans.

The city is magical and mysterious, and many here practice both witchcraft and voodoo. When the African slaves were brought to America, voodoo made its way into the Western world. Today, Voodoo and Occult shops can be found in New Orleans, making the practice easy to undertake. Marie Laveau House of Voodoo and Reverend Zombie's House of Voodoo are a few of the popular voodoo centres. The city's famous “voodoo lady”, Marie Laveau, can be found on Bourbon Street. New Orleans' nightlife can also be enjoyed here. If you aren't looking for Voodoo merchandise, however, swing by Magazine Street where boutiques and antique shops abound.

Siquijor Island. In the Philippines, the island of Siquijor is popular for mysticism and witchcraft and its mambabarang (witches) and mananambal (healers). It is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches and the clearest waters. Tourists can ask around for demonstrations of the bolobolo treatment or healing through water blowing. The healer is believed to absorb all illnesses and blow this out into a glass of water. It is said that some visitors return from Siquijor acting in strange ways, having been possessed by the local spirits.

Madhya Pradesh. A two-year-old boy was found dead in Madhya Pradesh after having been sacrificed by an occult practitioner. Madhya Pradesh is often called the heart of India where it is dominated by the tribal population. Cultural practices, basis of heredity, social, economic structures and religious beliefs often flow from these tribal communities. When in Madhya Pradesh, tourists will enjoy the Khajuraho Temples that are famous for the erotic sculptures that adorn their walls. Another must-see is the Grand Stupa.

Ghana and Nigeria. Witchcraft in Ghana and Nigeria often operates with the combination of juju and voodoo. Having originated in Kofi-Manu of Ghana, black witchcraft has spread throughout Africa. Like most occult rituals, it is begun with a Catholic prayer. Africans give high regard to family spirits; in effect, particular places and settlements define rights of a group due to genealogical descent. Most men are organised into secret societies that imitate the activity of spirits in maintaining social order. Nigerians are a strong example of this. When visiting Nigeria, the capital Abuja is a great place to explore. The National Mosque, Ship House and City Gate are of the few structures that give the city character.

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