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In the first place, Voodoo is a West African religion that was transplanted to Haiti (see below) and hoodoo is a system of primarily Central African magical belief and practice.

Furthermore, the word "hoodoo" appears everywhere in the black community, but the word "Voodoo" co-exists with the word "hoodoo" primarily in the state of Louisiana (where it was brought by Haitian immigrants in the early 19th century) -- and even there the two terms refer to different things entirely.

T In early 20th century agricultural supplies, "hoodoo powder" was a compound applied to tree stumps to cause them to decay more 'rapidly -- again a reference to ghosts -- in this case the ghosts of dead trees. In contemporary Britain, hoodoo usually refers to a sports-jinx ("Tottenham Hotspurs banish Manchester United hoodoo").

In the African American community, the word hoodoo has, for the past 100 years at least, referred to a whole set of magical practices, of which curses and bad luck are only a small part.

However, its earliest usage in America is connected with Irish and Scottish sailors, not African slaves.

in the mid 19th century, ships that had suffered a series of ill-fated voyages and mishaps were called hoodoo ships or were said to have been hoodoo'd.

Some writers have said that the word "hoodoo" is a corruption of the word "Voodoo," but that seems highly unlikely.

Other regionally popular names for hoodoo in the black community include "conjuration," "conjure," "witchcraft," "rootwork," "candle burning," and "tricking." The first three are simply English words; the fourth is a recognition of the pre-eminence that dried roots play in the making of charms and the casting of spells, and the fifth and sixth are special meanings for common English words.

Hoodoo is used as a noun to name both the system of magic ("He used hoodoo on her") and its practitioners ("Doctor Buzzard was a great hoodoo in his day").

A professional consultant who practices hoodoo on behalf of clients may be referred to as a "hoodoo doctor" or "hoodoo man" if male and a "hoodoo woman" or "hoodoo lady" if female. Taylor's diary for 1891, in which he describes and illustrates meeting with a "Hoodoo Doctor" while on a train.

Taylor, a white man, recounts that the word "hoodoo" was taught to him by the black Pullman porter on the train.

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