Craigslist Conjurations — An exploration into the interstices of Spiritual Services, Folk Magic and…

David Metcalfe on 2018-03-05

Craigslist Conjurations — An exploration into the interstices of Spiritual Services, Folk Magic and Digital Advertising

“…What I desire to dwell upon is the fact that adeptship in the real esoteric science of India does not presuppose great learning or intellectual superiority on the part of the initiate.”

- From The Book of Hindu, Ceremonial and Talismanic Magic, by L.W. de Laurence (The De Laurence Company, 1914)

Generalized psychic and metaphysical services are a mainstay in the Craigslist classified ads. Presenting an image reminiscent of the psychic hotlines that were promoted in commercials and infomercials during the 1980’s and 90’s the bulk of these advertisements offer daily flat line options for those seeking assistance from beyond the pale confines of everyday life. Yet, if one looks closely it’s possible to discover another class of advertisement, more rarefied offerings from a few unique individuals who have stepped outside of the common psycho-spiritual SEO. Here we find spiritual workers who retain connections to long running traditions of folk magic and healing and discover suggestions for how common traditions of folk spirituality continue on despite the tendency to relegate these areas of human experience and expression to dead images of a curious past.

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In our first advertisement we find an ‘exorcist of international study’ who offers in words (and spelling) reminiscent of the Middle Ages or Renaissance — ‘the service of reeling spirits of a dark nature’. In each of the ads presented here all spelling, grammar and other personalized touches have been left in place to present a most true an honest picture of the spiritual worker:

(Exorcist)expulsion, protection, blessing (non-denominational)

Hello there I’am an exorcist of international study, i do not have a specific ritual status so if you do prefer a certain style of belief oriented ritual i will not refuse do to the fact of resenant energy.

Now i offer the service of repeling spirits of dark nature and demons (or if needed, helping a spirit of any manner cross over to the other plain)

Yes i do have experience exorcising spirits in myself and others so do not hesitate to ask for an exorcism “I WILL HELP YOU” keep in mind an act of exorcism is very dangerous for myself and esspecialy YOU so keep in mind you need to be sure and you need to be strong and stay strong no matter what happens (NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS).

I also offer blessings of items, oneself and residence.

So if you are ready to rercieve my help do not hesitate to ask for it, i’am here for the public (everyone and anyone) i believe all that is and can be, i ony believe in trueth there is no false in spirituality or belief. So if you do not have a prefrance of ritual status then i will do what i do best, but if you DO do not mind telling me i will bend to your belief.

REMEMBER I’AM HERE TO HELP YOU, NOT TO TELL YOU WHAT IS RIGHT OR WRONG.

Hey and even if you need spiritual advise or advise of your well being, counseling etc….

I might as well be one in a million i’am very wise.. P.S Now i will recieve a mobile phone on the first of this coming month and i will update with the number, so dont freak out if you are not comfurtable with E-mail.. Thank you and have a nice and positive day.. May we all walk the line of peace!!

Craigslist exorcists don’t always claim to be human, in our next example Elyod declares themselves ‘THE SPIRIT LORD ABOVE, BELOW, AND BETWEEN’ and offers to help ‘ALL SOULS, SPIRITS, AND HALF-BREEDS’ with a fairly extensive list of spiritual services:

PSYCHIC & REAL SPIRITUAL SERVICES (MARIETTA)

I AM ELYOD,

I AM THE SPIRIT LORD ABOVE, BELOW, AND BETWEEN. I AM HERE TO HELP ALL SOULS, SPIRITS, AND HALF-BREEDS. MY SPIRITUAL SERVICES ARE AS FOLLOWED ALONG WITH PRICES…

-SPIRITUAL READINGS OF ALL KINDS: $25-FOR 1HOUR -Answers to relationships of all kinds -Business Answers and more -Supernatural Help IF NEEDED {prices are more for great situations}

-SPIRITUAL CLEANSINGS OF ALL KINDS: $50 -Healing from curses -House/Apt cleansings from bad forces/spirits -Supernatural Help IF NEEDED {prices are more for great situations}

-SPIRITUAL HELP WITH GOD-ALMIGHT, AGAINST-DEMONS, GHOSTS: $50{prices are more for great situations} -Need to Hear from God-The Father -Need Help fighting against Demons/fallen-angels -Seeing spirits or ghost, or need to Banish bad forces

Payments are to be made in advance via Credit Card/PayPal. Cash payments will be accepted for face-to-face sessions only if agreed to in advance. When contacted I will reply to you within 24 hours.

Book on spiritual warfare from the Choice Books rack at a local Athens, Georgia grocery store.

The next advertisement mixes traditional healing methods of folk Christianity with contemporary ideas such as ‘demonic stronghold analysis’ for a surprising Craigslist spiritual offering:

Curse Removal Guidance And Spiritual Advisor (Atlanta)

I offer Free Help Initial to prove my worth, then i charge to continue Support and Guidance.

So you have a Guarantee to verify that i can help you first at no expense to your self.

PLEASE KEEP IN MIND:

one of the most common reasons why people dont get success from Spiritual advisory is NOT FOLLOWING EXACT INSTRUCTIONS.

I know and realize its hard getting directions from a complete stranger on how to handle issues in your life but this is the only way to for it to work…at least with my service of healing.

Im very very thorough with what i do which involves home visits. I offer: Paranormal Activity Analysis Demonic Stronghold Analysis Unexplained Paranormal Activity Haunting Ghost Spirits Paranormal Investigation In Home, Telephonic, Face to Face Advisory System.

Bible Foundation methods with no worldly rituals, baths, beads, soaps and so forth. Strictly on the Word of God and Direction in the Bible. Through, Prayer, Coaching, Support, Guidance, Biblical Enlightenment, and “Genuine Love”, our specialist will bring light to your dark situation. Specializing:

Identification and removal Demonic, Negative holds, Assignments and Barriers placed on individuals. Relationship Healing and Ending through healthy closure. Breaking of Negative Generational Ties. Spiritual/Emotional Healing Assistance. Spiritual Awakening, (Destiny Realization) Removal Demonic Emotions; Sadness, Depression, Loneliness, Fear, Anxiety, Anger, Lust, Envy, Jealousy,Stress Spiritual Healing From Abuse; Molestation, Violence, Mental Abuse, Sexual Assault, Neglect

FREE CONSULTATION

24 Hour Counselling Support Line For Active Clients

For Service Reply to this ad with “HELP HEALING” in the Subject Line in the body please give your full name, a brief description of the issues at hand, your faith or beliefs, and a contact number with an appropriate time frame that you can be contacted.

Thank You and Have a Blessed day.

Detail from “MIRACLES” Supernatural Intervention…from GOD (St. Joseph Faiht Ministry, 2015)

Although the following advertisement is brief, ‘Prophet’ Paul Collins manages to pack a powerful punch with a bold claim of efficacy against ‘all sicknesses’ — including Aids:

Spiritual advisor healer of all sicknesses

Prophet Paul Collins Spiritual Advisor and healer of all sicknesses including Aids. Helps in love, every day life, court cases. Psychic readings. Call for an appointment.

With the fact that posting Craigslist ads for services requires no payment, it is interesting to note that many of the service providers have chosen to keep within the limits set by standard pay-per-word classifieds. In the following example Rev Chinaza keeps it simple — ‘are you tired of being sick and tired’:

SPIRITUAL CLEANSING (College Park)

SPIRITUAL CLEANSING are you tired of being sick and tired. Unfaithful lover, life just not going right believe there is something blocking your happiness. Rev Chinaza spiritual counseling, spiritual baths and supplies

Classified ads for spiritual services on Craigslist, at least in the period of time where the ones featured in this collection were gathered, were decidedly lacking in the ‘Voodoo magic’ terminology that was once a popular mainstay of spiritual workers in the 20th century. ANIYBOBO’s post is a fascinating exception which hints at contemporary concerns for accurate terminology in relation to African diaspora faith traditions (using the word Vod’un) while at the same time relying on standard spiritual service offerings which are unrelated to Vodun as it is traditionally practiced. We also find ANIYBOBO claiming to be a leader of a coven, a term used by ‘book-fed’ neo-pagan faiths and not related to ADR traditions:

Authentic traditional Vod’un

Greetings. I am a tratraditional African Bokor who specializes in traditional Vod’un handed down by my ancestors and culture. I specialize in many works of magical art including spells, readings, spiritual baths, rituals, white magic, black magic, healing and legal issues of all sorts. Every work requires a reading to see the best way to handle a situation as well as the best solution. There are many Imposters who do not know traditional Vod’un and most are ‘book fed’. I do outcalls as well as in call visits. I teach as well as initiate, with the assistance of those in my coven. Please do not waste my time if you’re not serious or looking for a ‘free and easy’ way to maneuver thru life. Authentic Vod’un is not expensive nor cheap but it is very much worth the wonders. ANIYBOBO

Mother Powers advertisement from The Lucky Red Devil Combination Dream Book and Numerology Guide (Eagle Book Supply Inc, 2013)

Miss Mary runs a number of advertisements in different cities, which to the uncritical eye might seem to be repetitious (included in this selection are advertisements from Brusnwick, Georgia) — however, the true connoisseur of traditional spiritual services will recognize the individual touches that make each ad unique. She uses a time honored formula that hearkens back to older advertisements for this kind of work. Miss Mary’s ad copy is similar to the Mother Powers Advertisements in Lottery Dream Books, or the associated advertisements online for Sister Mary, here you can see the tradition carrying on into the night-side world of Craigslist classifieds:

SPIRITUAL ROOTWORKER (BRUNSWICK, GEORGIA)

MISS MARY CAN HELP YOU ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD IN HOURS. ARE YOU IN HARD LUCK? DO YOU HAVE PROBLEMS THAT ARE WORRYING YOU? ARE YOU SUFFERING IN PAIN AND MISERY? DO YOU WANT TO GET LUCKY AND STAY LUCKY? IS YOUR HUSBAND OR WIFE SPENDING THE MONEY ON SOMEONE ELSE? HAS HE OR SHE LEFT YOU FOR ANOTHER? CALL MISS MARY NOW FOR HELP. ARE YOU HAVING TROUBLE WITH YOUR LEGS, BACK, STOMACH, HEAD, OR ARMS? IS YOUR HAIR FALLING OUT? MISS MARY WILL REMOVE BAD LUCK, EVIL, SICKNESS, PAINS AND NERVOUS CONDITIONS FROM YOU NOW. MISS MARY WILL TELL YOU HOW TO BE LUCKY AT HORSES, CARDS, BINGO, LOTTERY, DOGS, SLOT MACHINES, AND NUMBERS. CALL NOW FOR HELP. YOU WILL BLESS THE DAY YOU DID. MY WORK IS 100% GUARANTEED. CALL MISS MARY TODAY AND BE RID OF YOUR TROUBLES BY TOMMOROW.

MISS MARY POWERFUL ROOT WORKER (BRUNSWICK, GA.)

MY POWERS ARE GUARANTEED. DO YOU HAVE BAD LUCK? NEED HELP? MISS MARY SOLVES ALL PROBLEMS. MONEY, LUCK, BUSINESS, HEALTH, NATURE, MARRIAGE, LOVE PROBLEMS, DRUG PROBLEMS, ALCOHOLISM. MISS MARY CAN REMOVE EVIL SPELLS OF ALL KINDS. VOODOO, ROOTS, HEXES. 100% SURE FAST RESULTS. CALL MISS MARY TODAY AND BLESS THE DAY YOU DID. MY MAGICAL POWERS ARE BEYOND YOUR IMAGINATION. CALL NOW FOR IMMEDIATE RESULTS.

POWERFUL ROOT WORKER (BRUNSWICK, GA.)

MISS MARY WILL READ YOUR ENTIRE LIFE WITHOUT ASKING YOU A SINGLE QUESTION. SHE HAS THE ABILITY TO HEAL BY PRAYER. ARE YOU SUFFERING? ARE YOU SICK IN ANY PART OF YOUR BODY? ARE YOU LOSING YOUR HAIR? HAVE YOU EVER STAYED AWAKE AT NIGHT THINKING ABOUT YOUR FUTURE? WELL THINK NO MORE MISS MARY IS HERE TO HELP YOU WITH ANY PROBLEM YOU MAY HAVE. MISS MARY WILL HELP YOU IN LOVE, MARRIAGE, ALCOHOL AND DRUG ABUSE, LAWSUITS, EVIL, DIVORCES, ANY PROBLEM IS NOT TO BIG OR SMALL. I WILL GIVE YOU LUCKY NUMBERS TO PLAY LOTTO, BINGO, HORSES, DOGS, SLOTS. CALL MISS MARY TODAY AND BE RID OF YOUR PROBLEMS TOMORROW. MISS MARY SOLEMLY SWEARS TO HELP YOU. CALL MISS MARY TODAY AND BLESS THE DAY YOU DID.

ORDAINED PSYCHIC READER AND ADVISOR (BRUNSWICK, GA)

HAVE YOU BEEN HOODOOED? ARE YOU SICK IN ANY PART OF YOUR BODY? MISS MARY HAS GOD GIVEN POWER TO HELP YOU OVERCOME YOUR PROBLEMS NO MATTER HOW BIG OR SMALL. I WILL TELL YOU JUST WHAT YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT FRIENDS ENEMIES OR RIVALS, WHETHER HUSBAND, WIFE OR SWEETHEART IS TRUE OR FALSE, HOW TO GAIN THE LOVE YOU MOST DESIRE, CONTROL OR INFLUENCE THE ACTION OF ANYONE EVEN THOUGH MILES AWAY. WILL GIVE YOU LUCKY NUMBERS, I HAVE HELPED THOUSANDS THROUGH ALL WALKS OF LIFE. I WILL ADVISE YOU ON LOVE, MARRIAGE, BUSINESS, HEALTH, DIVORCES, LAWSUITS, LUCK, ALCOHOLICS, DRUG ADDICTIONS, HAPPINESS,SPELLS, SUCCESS AND EVIL INFLUENCES OF ALL KINDS. I WILL TELL YOU WHO YOUR FRIENDS AND ENEMIES ARE. GUARANTEES TO REMOVE ALL EVIL AND BAD LUCK!!! WHY SUFFER WHEN YOU CAN BE HELPED AND FREED FROM ALL YOUR TROUBLES!!! DON’T FAIL TO CALL MISS MARY TODAY YOU WILL BLESS THE DAY YOU DID!!! CALL MISS MARY AND SEE FOR YOURSELF WHAT MY POWERS CAN DO FOR YOU!!! DO NOT COMPARE ME WITH CHEAP, COMMON, ORDINARY INPERSONATORS MY WORK IS WITH GOD!!! CALL MISS MARY TODAY

SPIRITUAL READER AND ADVISOR (BRUNSWICK,GEORGIA)

MISS MARY WILL READ YOUR ENTIRE LIFE WITHOUT ASKING YOU A SINGLE QUESTION. MISS MARY HAS THE ABILITY TO HEAL BY PRAYER. ARE YOU SUFFERING? ARE YOU SICK IN ANY PART OF YOUR BODY? HAVE YOU EVER STAYED AWAKE AT NIGHT THINKING ABOUT YOUR FUTURE? WELL, NOW YOU DON”T HAVE TO! THIS SPIRITUAL WOMAN WILL GUIDE YOU TO OVERCOME YOUR PROBLEMS NO MATTER WHAT YOUR PROBLEMS MIGHT BE. I CAN HELP YOU WITH LOVE PROBLEMS, MARRIAGE, OR BUSINESS PROBLEMS. I CAN GIVE YOU SURE HIT LUCKY NUMBERS. I WILL CURE ANY PROBLEMS THAT YOU HAVE. DON’T BE DISCOURAGED IF OTHERS FAILED YOU. MY WORK IS WITH GOD AND MY POWERS ARE GUARANTEED TO WORK. CALL ME AND FIND OUT FOR YOUR SELF HOW GREAT MY POWERS ARE. CALL MISS MARY AND BLESS THE DAY YOU DID.

MISS MARY ROOTWORKER (BRUNSWICK, GEORGIA)

LET MISS MARY REMOVE ALL EVIL SHADOWS AND SPELLS FROM YOU AND YOUR HOME. I USE LOVE POTIONS, SPELLS, DOLLS, HERBS, OILS AND CANDLES IN MY WORK TO REMOVE OR PLACE A VOODOO. DO YOU WISH TO CONTROL THE ACTIONS OF ANYONE YOU DESIRE MISS MARY WILL ADVISE YOU IN LOVE, MARRIAGE, BUSINESS, LUCK, HAPPINESS, AND MONEY. CALL MISS MARY TODAY AND BE HELPED AS THOUSANDS HAVE ALREADY DID. CALL MISS MARY AND BLESS THE DAY YOU DID.

Psychic Palm and Tarot Card Reader

I AM A LOCAL PALM READER HERE IN BRUNSWICK, GA. I HAVE BEEN HERE FOR OVER 30 YEARS I HAVE ALOT OF REPEAT CLIENTS THAT ARE VERY SATISFIED WITH MY READINGS I AM AVAILABLE FOR PRIVATE PARTYS IF YOU ARE HAVING A PRIVATE PARTY AND ARE INTERESTED IN HAVING A REAL LIFE PALM READER AT YOUR PARTY CALL ME FOR RATES MISS MARY

Classified ads from a 1973 issue of FATE Magazine

Observing the language used in these ads to describe the spiritual services they offer gives us a window into the world of each provider, and presumably into the needs (or perceived needs) of their clientele. Through comparison with older ads we can also trace developments in popular spirituality over time. In light of this comparison posts such as Valerie’s (and most of the ads found on Craigslist) demonstrate a decline in structured approaches to spiritual services such as the inventive use of parapsychology oriented technical jargon (psychometry, sensory readings, etc.), solid brand narratives (ancient wisdom, 3 questions answered, etc.) and specific product offerings (talismans, scrolls, handkerchiefs, etc.) and a movement towards reliance on more generalized terms and person to person service based concepts such as ‘spell castings’ and ‘spiritual healer’:

Powerful Spell Castings By Valerie

Hi, my name is Valerie i am a third generation spell caster and spiritual healer with my abilities I can get you any outcomes your heart desires I can reunite you with loved ones, help find new love, bring you luck, money, success. if you feel depressed like theres no hope contact me now for your free consultation! and i will help you find your better tomorrow

With the popularity of exorcism in the mainstream media it’s not surprising to see more than one Craigslist advertisement dealing in this area. Our first ad provided one approach to contending with ‘spirits of dark nature and demons’ — in the next two selections we find an ordained minister soliciting his own brand of exorcism services both solo, and with a full ‘paranormal investigation’ team:

exorcist, investigating home/personal exorcism (upstate s.c, and nc)

Ordained Christian minister who specializes in demonic expulsion. Before an exorcism on a person will be conducted the proper mental health evaluations must have taken place. I offer a free service but due to travel cost, donations are accepted but not necessary. I want to bring deliverance. No matter your religion, race or creed if you are experiencing paranormal disturbances please contact me. This is a serious post so please be serious and professional

paranormal investigation and demonic expulsion

A group of paranormal investigators in the upstate of south Carolina have decided to work together and form a team. A like-minded group who’s intent is to investigate the most known allegedly haunted locations in SC and NC. The South Carolina supernatural investigators (scsi) aims to validate or debunk these claims. We are available for private investigations at no cost. We are accompanied by an ordained minister who specializes in exorcism and demonology and thus We will also be available to investigate personal possession/home infestation claims. Contact us if you are experiencing any form of haunting and we will be glad to help.

Contact us

Who better to follow up these two advertisements than an example which gives us a fictional form emerging into culture — the ‘Occult Detective’ — a favorite character type from the pages of over a centuries world of fantastic fiction and weird tales:

Occult Detective, Anthony W. Fields (greenville sc)

“Investigating the Unexplained.” I provide Consultation concerning the strange and unexplained. Over 20yrs of Paranormal/Occult/Cult Studies and Practice with 12yrs of Professional Investigation/Counter Intelligence/Personal Security experience. Free face-to-face Consultations. Call or email to set-up an appointment

Short, sweet and to the point — in our final ad Redd Leopard brings us another post formatted within the succinct standards of pay-per-word print classifieds:

Spiritual Readings (Home Based)

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR LOVE LIFE, CAREER, DREAMS… CALL FOR A READING FROM REDD LEOPARD

For the full investigation, with over 50 action packed pages of psychic services, online exorcists and street corner adepts — including extensive supplemental appendices on vintage and Latin American spiritual service ads — see:

Craigslist Conjurations: Preliminary notes on Spiritual Services, Folk Magic and Digital Advertising:

https://www.academia.edu/13615817/Craigslist_Conjurations_-_Preliminary_notes_on_Spiritual_Services_Folk_Magic_and_Digital_Advertising