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Fabled Dr. Jim Jordan

To: alt.religion.orisha,alt.lucky.w,alt.magick,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick.folk
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: Fabled Dr. Jim Jordan
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 23:17:12 GMT

Eoghan Ballard wrote:
> 
> Hey Cat,
> 
> Since it looked like a title I wanted to read anyway, 

It is, believe me! It's pretty great. I have Hurkey (the NOLA root
worker i mentioned earlier, for whom i am trying to score a
gift-computer) to thank for turning me onto this book. The fact that my
copy is missing four pages has not diminished my enthusiasm for it. 

> I have placed an
> InterLibrary Loan request for it. When it comes, I'll let you know.

Thanks! In reply to trace bunker -- i live on the outskirts of a little
rural town of 1,500 people with no access to Interlibrary Loan ... since
there is no library. Thus i rely on the kindness of others. And Eighan,
i'll send you some good stuff for this favour. 

Here's a bit more information -- 

The author, F. Roy Johnson, an amateur local history sleuth, wrote and
self-published several books on North Carlina folklore. In this case he
took notes around the Murfreesboro area for about 20 years and when Jim
Jordan died in 1962, he wrote a 136 page biography of the celebrated
conjure doctor. 

Jordan's family was of mixed race -- Native American and African. They
were agricultural and household slaves prior to the Civil War and
farmers and craftspeople after Emancipation. Jim Jordan was born in 1871
and died in 1962. He began work as a farmer and logger, was a member in
good standing of a local Protestant church, and after the age of 50, as
his fame as a conjure doctor grew, he became a land-owner, store
proprietor, and a relatively wealthy man.  

In addtion to a family history of Jordan and his many relatives (who
numbered among them two other conjure doctors and a mid-wife), and the
socio-cultural reminiscences of his neighbors, the book contains a list
of Harriet Jordan's (Jim's mother's) magico-medical uses for herbs
(including your shame-weed, Eoghan!), lots of assimilated European-style
witch-lore, a short list of European-style grimoires and Kabbalistic
works ("6th, 7th, and 8th Books of Moses," "Secrets of the Psalms") and
hoodoo books ("8th, 9th, and 10th Books of Moses," "Master Book of
Candle Burning" -- both by Henri Gamache) that Jordan consulted, mention
of some of the "drug store style" hoodoo formulas he bought from a mail
order house in Chicago and stocked in his store (Follow Me Boy and Kiss
me Again, both manufactured by King Novelty / Valmor of Chicago), and --
to my delight -- some unrecorded and otherwise un-logged blues songs
mentioning conjure practices. 

Here's a song i found most intriguing. It was written to commemorate the
death in 1900 of a local conjure doctor known as Old Edloe and was sung
in the area for 25 years according to Johnson, who collected one verse
of it from Mrs. Jennie Mae Eley (Jim Jordan's sister):

   I woke up this mornin, Old Edloe knockin' on my door
   I bet you five dollars he don' knock there no more
   An' I don't have to wear no salt and pepper in my shoes
   Since Old Edloe's gone

Johnson gives no melody, but the form of this sole verse identifies the
song as a member of four-line "Walking Blues" family, many of which
begin with the line "woke up this morinin'" and mention "shoes"
somewhere in the text. Placing salt and pepper (or just black pepper) in
the shoes to keep safe from foot track magic was later noted by Harry
Hyatt (in the 1930s) and can be found on my web page on foot track magic
at 

     http://www.luckymojo.com/foottrack.html  

-- but Old Edloe's death in 1900 marks this song both as a very early
blues and as one of the earliest mentions of wearing salt and pepper in
the shoes, even though Johnson did not collect it until the 1960s.
Incidenetally, according to Rand Jordan, Doctor Jim Jordon's son, his
father studied conjure under Old Edloe and learned many things from him. 

Compare the song with the Hyatt reference to wearing pepper in the
shoes, extracted from the above URL:

--------------------------------------------------------------------

      Apotropaic Foot Track Spell: BLACK PEPPER IN SHOE KEEPS
      YOUR FOOTPRINT FROM "REGISTERING" SO IT CANNOT BE
      CAPTURED 

      1123. I've heard of them taking black pepper and putting it 
      in the shoe to keep a person from getting the dirt out of  
      their footprint. They said the footprint won't register in 
      the sand if they have black pepper in the shoe. 

      [Snow Hill, Md., (83), 2:22 (Nansemond Co., Va.) 

      [Black pepper like red pepper usually occurs in combinations of
      ingredients {especially with salt}; it being less frequently  
      used than red.] 

--------------------------------------------------------------------

So, anyway -- "The Fabled Doctor Jim Jordan" is a very interesting book
and deserves wider recognition among scholars of folk-magic in general
and of hoodooo in particular.  

Go for it!

cat yronwode 

Hoodoo in Theory and Practice -- http://www.luckymojo.com/hoodoo.html
Hoodoo and Blues Lyrics --------- http://www.luckymojo.com/blues.html

No personal e-mail, please; just catch me in usenet; i read it daily. 

Lucky Mojo Curio Co. http://www.luckymojo.com/luckymojocatalogue.html
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and receive our free 32 page catalogue of hoodoo supplies and amulets

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