Another Alleged “Voodoo Fire” // This Time it’s Grandma

On the heels of the recent “voodoo fire” in Brooklyn, but hopefully in light of our recent coverage of the actual tradition and practice of vodou in Brooklyn, comes this tragic story from Reuters:

“An elderly woman was sentenced on Wednesday to up to three years in prison for failing to help her 6-year-old granddaughter when she caught fire during a voodoo ritual, authorities said.

“Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Frantzcia’s mother poured an accelerant on the child’s head and in a circle on the floor as part of a voodoo ceremony called ‘Loa.’ Frantzcia caught fire after her mother attempted to put her inside the blazing ring.

“Prosecutors allege that Thessier did not do anything to help her granddaughter despite being home and hearing the child’s panicked cries for help.”

Aside from the fact that it sounds like the grandmother and mother handled the situation in about as horrible a way as possible, the article calls the ceremony itself a “Loa,” which is a pretty glaring mistake. Loa are, for lack of better term,  spirits acting as intermediaries between this world and the Creator.

Of course, it’s next to impossible to get any in-depth coverage of the actual ritual, the family’s specific spiritual practice, or what the intentions of the ritual were.

The article finishes with a reference to “another voodoo ritual mishap [which] led to the death of a woman and injured 20 firefighters after a Brooklyn apartment building caught fire from candles used in the ceremony,” which once again drops the voodoo-ritual-as-cause-of-death trope.

I say it again: Do we call a man dying from severe burns caused while lighting votive candles in a church the victim of a “Christian ritual mishap?”

No way. No how.

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3 replies

  1. I’m sorry…I’m pretty sure if the alter boy were doused with an accelerant and lit on fire by a parent, then the story would be handled the same way regardless of the religion.

  2. The real point is: is dumping flammable liquid on a child & placing them near flame actually part of a voodoo ritual or not? Altar boys aren’t supposed to be anointed with gasoline as a Xian ritual, so the comparison is either true on the basis of what *doesn’t* go on in either religion, or the report was correct about what happened, even if they got the name stupidly wrong.

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