...not only was Mr. Phillips known in the neighborhood as a man who practiced Obeah, he was also a man who spent his leisure time digging in trashcans. A man of wild resources, Mr. Phillps brought home all types of garbage. On any random day, you would find yourself leaving the house for your daily business, and frequently step over random artifacts that Mr. Phillps found the night prior. One day, you would pass an American flag and a vintage wheelchair, the next day it would be a 4-foot tall giraffe figurine. He would collect everything and bring it right back to that house. He loved garage sales and flea markets and spent every dollar he had looking for what he called "treasure." Being in school, I never paid it any mind, but as things took a turn for the worst, I regret ever combing my hair, clipping my nails and even brushing my teeth and throwing that all in the trash.
I later learned that practioners of Obeah can use your personal belongings to do extreme damage to you. At the time, I didn't know that...things just kept happening to me and I shrugged them off as just some bad luck, until I found things lying in front of my door. Once again, not knowing what any of this was, I stupidly touched things meant for me that I wasn't suppose to touch and told Mr. Phillps how I felt about the new rat problem that he introduced into the house. Things went from bad to worse and it was then that I had a really hard time focusing in school.
Two car accidents later, I remember being in the library with a few classmates doing another group-project that I hated on a weekday afternoon. As I was studying, my head immediately felt full. There is no other word that I can use to describe it, but it felt as if someone was squeezing my skull to the point of numbness. It was a headache and sensation that I will never forget and that first symptom was one of many that sent me running to every doctor in Jamaica, Queens.
My Hex Symptoms (Disclaimer Included)
Now, the following symptoms were manifested in me and because I had NO prior medical issues, I believe that the hex that was placed on me, caused what was going on in my health at the time.
By NO means does this mean that you (the person who is reading this) should ignore your doctor and run off praying somewhere, but try to entertain my situation as pertaining to ME and NOT to yourself. Also, if you do see yourself dealing with any unexplained health issues, please see your Primary Care Physician and obtain treatment as soon as possible.
MY HEX/CURSE SYMPTOMS
Weeks passed, and it was still very hard for me to concentrate in school. I couldn't move my neck from side to side, my ears rang on a constant basis and I developed black and blue bruises all over my body that I WOKE UP TO. Imagine going to bed one way and then waking up with your legs covered in brusies. I developed blisters filled with water all over my stomach that itched like crazy. My hair fell out in clumps and I couldn't focus on anything that I was doing. I made yet another appointment with my doctor to see if he could run any tests for me, because with my new nursing knowledge, I sincerely thought I was dying.
"Is my blood okay?" I asked the doctor for the sixth time in two months.
"Everything is fine, you're good," he said and offered me my labs to take home.
The doctors office wasn't that far from my house and I remember walking home and balling my eyes out. I crossed over some more of Mr. Phillps' shit, went to my room and cried. I think on that day, I cried so much that I couldn't even see straight. It was a perfect cry...like a weeping. You would have thought that someone I knew passed away.
"Damn girl, what happened to you? You alright bitch?" my friend from school asked.
"Nah, I don't feel right in my head you know? Like my head feel swollen."
"Bitch go to the doctor," she said irritated that I was crying while we had papers to write and shit to do.
"I did!! He said that nothing is wrong with me!"
I think she saw in my eyes that I was really fucked up because she offered to drive me home all the way to Queens from New Rochelle.
"OMG, thank you so much for the ride," I said wiping the sleep from my eyes. Not only was I exhausted, I couldn't even manage to bring all my supplies upstairs.
"Girl LET'S GO!!!...ugh, you need to see a doctor for real!!!" she said as she lugged my two bags crossing the 'Hoarding Circus' as I now called it to the back door to my room.
"YO, WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT!?!?" she gasped, standing still with her eyes glued to yet another one of Mr. Phillp's figurines.
"...oh, that ain't shit. The man downstairs collects all types of trash and brings it here," I said, looking for my keys in my coat pocket.
"....I don't think so bitch, that shit is right in front of your door!!!" she said, still not moving closer with my bags that she was carrying.
"There's a lot of shit out here yo...what are you looking at?"
"THAT!!" she pointed.
"What?!" I said, now spinning around to face whatever she was talking about in frustration because I couldn't find my damn keys.
"THAT SKULL BITCH!! Who is that for!?!?" she said still pointing and now lowering my bags to the floor. Still annoyed, I turned around and there it was, dead center in the middle of a small pottery pot. I walked closer and closer to it, reaching out my hand to touch it, before my friend yelled "DON'T TOUCH IT STUPID!!" I backed away from the skull walking backwards to my door and shrugged, "...it's prolly nothing. The man here be collecting all types of weird shit. Nobody pays it any mind."
"Girl, you better just be careful bitch. My aunt has a shop and they use those skulls to fuck people head up," and like a flash, my ears opened. I NOW believe that the Universe used my friend to save me. Her words rang in my head for weeks.
"Oh for real?" I said, opening the back door. "Nah, I don't think he using it for that, they say he do that shit but, he be collecting stuff too."
"Okay girl, whatever. I gotta go." She handed me my bags and I closed the door still looking at the Skull through the glass door window. There was a window in my room and funny enough, the Skull could be seen from that window as well. I guess I was just so busy with school and running back and forth to the doctor that I didn't pay any real attention to what was around me. Of course, I heard of Obeah, but was not familiar with it. I would never think that Mr. Phillps would do any Obeah on me. Why would he? We've had our falling outs, but I was there for years. Little did I know, I was beyond wrong.
Elder Avenue (The Bronx, NY)
My symptoms went from bad to worse. It had been two weeks since my friend and I discovered the skull and I became obsessed with calling her for information and giving her "Skull Updates."
"Its still out there girl. He didn't move it," I whispered while peeking out the window at the skull.
"Bitch, I told you, you gotta get outta there. My family from The South, and that shit look like Roots."
"Roots? Like the movie?" I said still whispering.
"No Bitch! Like Roots!! Witchcraft!" she screamed back. As soon as I heard the word "Witchcraft," my heart sank. I felt a panic rush over me, and the small hairs on the back of my neck stood up. Stories of Mr. Phillips "being into that shit" came rushing to the front of my head.
"Why would your dumb ass move up in there with that crazy ass man anyway?" she asked.
"He had the cheapest room on the block and I was desperate for a place to stay. I didn't wanna move back into the Y," I said through more tears. I remember feeling so panicked, that I immediately asked her what should I do.
"I don't know what you should do, but if I were you, I would leave." That night, I packed my things.
Despite still feeling like my head was exploding, and not being able to move my neck, I graduated from school. The majority of my symptoms happened during my last semester, and that hardest part of nursing school was already over. The blisters on my stomach now moved to my back and I hadn't gotten any new bruises, but the old ones did not heal. Then the dreams started happen. The dreams that I had were very vivid and scared the shit out of me. I found myself looking up "Sleep Paralysi"' because it seemed to be happening to me each and every night. I was tormented so much in my sleep that I stopped sleeping at night and slept in the day, while on the train. For the times that I did fall asleep at night, I woke up in dreams seeing demons and lower vibrations. In dreams, I would hear laugher and wild screaming all over me. I also remember hearing Mr. Phillps chanting in deep mumbled tones in the middle of the night. I was beginning to notice that he was also an insomniac and counted the days of my departure.
I remember it like it was yesterday, I moved to the Bronx with the help of the guy who hooked me up with the apartment. The rent was $900 a month and it was for a 1 bedroom. I moved in with every nursing textbook that I owned and a few clothes. By the time I finished moving all of my things from Queens, it was about 1am. The Bronx felt so good to me. The air was dirty, the halls were pissy and nobody knew who I was. I was home and ready to stop crying.
I was slowly making my life situated in The Bronx, working at an Ambulatory Clinic by day, smoking more than a pack of cigarettes by night to calm my nerves. The apartment was still empty and I still spoke to my friend from school who pointed out the Skull.
"I know you feel better, now that you not living with DJ Skull anymore," she laughed.
"Yeah, I feel a little better but I am still not sleeping and I feel nervous all the time."
"Oh shit, thats what I wanted to tell you," she said. "I was speaking to my aunt down here with the shop and she use to live in The Bronx. She said you need to find a Botanica and get a Sour Bath."
"A Sour Bath? What the fuck is that shit?" I said.
"Its like something to clean you off, but she said to get it."
"Okay," I said hanging up the phone, knowing goddamn well I wasn't gonna go pay my good money to get no Sour anything. But I was still curious. I went online and googled "Sour Bath," and read all about what a Sour Bath actually was. I read that it was a mixture of 7 or more bitter herbs that one would bathe in, and it is followed by "sweet herbs," to kinda seal the deal.
I was curious, scared and desperate to get some help. I didn't have any real support and no one really cared about what you were going through because everyone in the Bronx, was going through their own shit. I didn't have anyone to turn to. My mother never fucked with me like that and my father was not around, and I was alone. I remember even going online to pay people to pray for me because I believed that God loved certain people more than he loved others, and would listen to their prayers before he would listen to mine.
It was a weird thought, believing that God loved us all differently but it was something that I believed in, especially after seeing grown ass children complain about how hard it was to be living with their parents not paying rent. I felt life shitted on me and that made and more susceptible to a Spiritual Attack. Who was protecting me? I didn't have a God, I only had a Bible. I didn't have any "people," or anyone in my corner praying for my soul. I didn't belong to a church, didn't have much friends outside of school and was just a solitude figure. It was like my soul was without armor. Everyone else had Family-Armor, Money-Armor, Educational-Armor and I was only a little Registered Nurse, who everyone reminded me, wasn't really all that anyway. "Strippers make more and don't have loans shorty," was constantly said to me about my little "ain't-shit career," as so many New Yorkers called it.
They say in life, things are a little easier when you have family. Things aren't as bad when you have a mother somewhere praying for your well-being. This is when New York felt really rotten to me, but I was in The Bronx and I wanted to at least try to see what a Botanica looked like. It was a Saturday morning, and if you opened up your window, you could smell Bacalao cooking and Bachata playing from each and every apartment. I got dressed and went out to explore my new neighborhood. Elder Avenue was under the 6 Train line in the Bronx and I remember walking under that loud ass train looking for a Botanica. I came across one and it was really beautiful. I walked inside and there were statues of all sorts, candles, herbs and charms. I walked up to the counter and the woman asked me if she could help me. I said, like an flaming idiot, "Can you give me a Sour Bath?" The woman looked at me, smiled and said: "Mami, I never seen you here...what do you want that bath for?" I then gave her the back story about Mr. Phillips, and she stopped me when I mentioned the skull I had found in the backyard. She took my hand and led me to the back of the shop.
There were shelves and a sitting area. I sat down and she went down the hall and turned right. She came back and said, "Mami, was this the type of skull you saw?" It wasn't the exact skull, but very similar to the one that was in my old backyard. "Yeah, it was like that one, but the one I saw in Queens was bigger." The woman looked at me and said, "...Mami, you gotta go be careful, cause that Skull candle will fuck you up."
"I was reading you know," I said to her, "and I think he used to go in my trash." Her eyes widened and she asked me why would I throw my hair and stuff in the trash like that. "I don't know," I sobbed, "I was just like busy with school."
Again, I felt desperate and asked her what I should do. She then took me to where she was in the back and there was another much older woman there with beads around her neck. She was smoking a cigar and in Spanish, they spoke. The both looked at me and told me to take off my jacket and the lady went into the fridge, got an egg and ran it all up and down my body. She then broke the egg into a glass with water and she and the elderly woman looked at it. The first woman looked back at me and said, "Mami, he def did some shit to you...you can see it here." I couldn't see anything, I just saw an egg in some damn water. She and the woman still spoke in Spanish, and I showed them my back, my hair and my legs. They both nodded in agreement, still speaking in Spanish.
I can't tell you what the first woman saw in the water with the egg in it, but it made her go back to the front of the store where a second fridge was and gather a bunch of herbs. Everything was a blur and I remember her writing things down on a brown paper bag and saying, "Listen to me carefully and do exactly as I say," A LOT. She put everything in another brown paper bag and I asked her how much.
"Did I ask you for anything yet Mami? Relax, shit. Come back in three days for 'The Sweet Herbs' and we will talk. If you live by Elder, I will see you cause my son live over there."
"Okay," I said, and took the bag home.
The herbs that she gave me were in bunches and not labelled, and it wasn't until a year or so later that I could name each of those same herbs by just looking at them. I boiled the herbs in the biggest pot that I could find. I ran a hot bath and added what I boiled into the hot water. "Mami, this is a sad time, so think about what that piece of shit did," I heard her say while getting in the tub. I was told to dunk my entire body under the water 7 times, which is what I did. With tears, and with every inch of pain I had in my little heart, I put it in that tub. "....you then gotta drain the tub, but keep some of the water, cause you gonna need it for the crossroad," I heard her say again while I was at home. "Make sure you don't towel off either. Just get out the tub and air dry. Let the water dry on you." I did as I was told.
After the bath, I was told to put on all white and take the cup of water and throw it at a crossroad after reciting what she told me to say. After I threw the water out of the cup, I was supposed to "...leave the water there and NEVER look back."
I did this routine for three consecutive days at a different location facing East or West like she told me and I do have to admit, I felt so much lighter each and every time, I dunked myself in that water.
I went back into the shop and she gave me "The Sweet Herbs" and told me to be happy, with these next few baths that I had to do. New directions, new crossroad, new beginnings. Call it what you want, but that one woman's gesture of helping me still makes me cry until this very day. She didn't have to help me and she did and I will forever be grateful.
How To Survive a Spiritual Curse
Weeks had passed and I was on my way to finally feeling like my old self. I'd quit smoking, got back in the gym, and shaved my head. I fasted, prayed, built my own prayer alter in my apartment and started to make really good money as a Registered Nurse. I took a herb certification course, and learned all about what that old Bronx Bruja called Hoodoo. Not Voodoo, but Hoodoo, which is also a form of magic.
Even tho she was initiated into Santeria, she shared with me how to help myself because I couldn't afford the hefty initiation price of $15,000 into her religion. I simply didn't have it and wanted to be "cured." I read all that I could about what the Bruja called Hoodoo. I learned about the power of prayer and how David in the Bible used herbs (Hyssop) to cleanse himself. I then learned about Jar Spells, Freezer Spells, Money Jars, Candle Fixing, and everything magic. I learned about Mojo Bags, a little about all of the Orisha's and how to put paper in shoes to gain employment. I learned about blessing dollars, blessing my home and the importance of clean floors. I learned how to incorporate herbs into my practice, and how to use them to bring me more money, more protection and more success. At one point in The Bronx, I made more than $3000USD a week... and that was a lot of money for some high school drop out nobody.
I was finally able to help myself and even learned how to "throw back" negative energy to the sender. Over tears, one night, I dressed a half red/half black candle with such a force that weeks later, I was so very pleased with the news I received about Mr. Phillps and that house. Dues paid, I had survived indeed.