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It is Eoghan's theory that the word hoodoo may derive from the special sense in which this Afro-Caribbean Spanish term Judio is used in Palo -- and would thus refer to African slaves who refused to renounce African customs and practices.
Taylor, a white man, recounts that the word "hoodoo" was taught to him by the black Pullman porter on the train.(It is "spiky" because Uath -- hooh -- is, additionally, the Gaelic name for the spiky Hawthorn or May tree.) A Gaelic origin for the word hoodoo would also explain why a certain type of eerie geological rock formation across the Americas is similarly called a hoodoo -- Irish trappers and traders saw these weird objects as personified demons.A Gaelic origin for the word hoodoo does, believe it or not, make sense in terms of African American history, for a large percentage of American sailors during the 19th century, especially before the Civil War, were African Americans, and they mingled freely with Irish sailors in the Atlantic shipping trade and in seaports from New York to New Orleans.The verb "to hoodoo" appears in collections of early pre-blues folk-songs.For instance, in Dorothy Scarborough's book "On the Trail of Negro Folk-Songs," (Harvard University Press, 1925), a field-collected version of the old dance-song "Cotton-Eyed Joe" tells of a man who "hoodooed" a woman.
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.