Some locals claim that the Ghosts
of Oneida The Witch and her husband Boots
Toups still roam the old dark streets of the
French Quarter. Those that knew them both
well still swear that they have never died
and see and speak to them quite often. Like
the many sightings and encounters with the
ghost of Voodoo Legends The
and Voodoo Queen Marie
Laveau. The Toups' spirits are
often spoken of to locals from visitors who
don't know that they are dead.
Locals usually just shake their
heads and say , " You just talked to
a real New Orleans Ghost!"
The Witches Workshop
Mary Oneida Toups was the most
well-known Witch Queen in New Orleans
since Marie Laveau.
Oneida and her husband Boots Toups started
The Religious Order of Witchcraft, chartered
(Feb 2, 1972) and licensed with the state
of Louisiana it is known to be the only one
of it's kind in the United States.
And as it also occurred I happened
to be part of her most guarded inner circle.
She also opened her small shop on St. Phillip
Street and called it "The Witches Work
The front of the store was
filled with herbs, books, spells, coffins
and two cats a pure black one and white one
that guarded the building and private quarters
in the back as Oneida's two dedicated familiars.
In 1968, I like so many others
in the suburbs of New Orleans began my early
research into the paranormal world of the
occult and witchcraft. Oneida who was just
a best friend of mine also shared my deep
At the time I had just graduated
from high school and worked as a PBX operator
at a local hotel near a bar where Oneida was
the barmaid. Each day I would stop in as I
waited for my ride home to a New Orleans East
suburb. Oneida and I would talk about our
interest in the occult. Our friendship grew
deep and discussions of folk remedies and
witchcraft went on for over a year or more.
I also met her husband Boots and a close friend
and mentor to Oneida, Bianca The Voodoo Queen
Of New Orleans.
Then one day a couple of years
later as I passed a bookstore on my way to
the bar I saw a copy of Mastering Witchcraft:
A Practical Guide for Witches, Warlocks and
Covens (1970). I went in and bought two copies
one for myself and one for Oneida as a birthday
gift. I knew she was Taurus but not sure of
the date and knowing that this day was April
21st the first day of the sign I had her present
covered. For my birthday Oneida had given
me a copy of The Complete Book of Magic and
Witchcraft by Kathryn Paulsen the October
before for my birthday.
Over the initial years I had
introduced Oneida and Boots to a hand full
of my closest friends. All of which I am still
in touch with and all were part of Oneida's
and Boots secret inner circle. To this day
no one out side our group had ever associated
with her public coven. We were her backbone
and source for much of her knowledge and workings.
As 1972 dawned Oneida formed
a dues paid coven for the fee of $100 dollars
a year. Certain folks were allowed to be initiated
into her first group which met each friday
night for lessons in the dark arts. The only
criteria was they should be over 21 years
of age and be dedicated to studying the craft.
Though we her inner secret
circle scoured books and delved deeper into
many aspects that her open coven ever knew
of Oneida kept all worlds separate... except
that she alone lived in both.
Whatever we researched and brought
to Oneida and Boots attention as counting
for any worth, is what she passed on to her
Coven followers. Oneida often spoke to her
coven about her inner circle as being diverse
and highly occulted minded individuals. And
of course we were.
In time many people were drawn
to Oneida, Famous Florida Psychic Mickey Of
Miami who lived in New Orleans at the time
owned a great restaurant called the"
Eats" on Esplanade Ave. We The inner
circle would meet every other night with her,
Oneida, Boots, Bianca, Chicken man, Odetta
(a well known New Orleans Occultist) E. J.
Ranson Funeral Home (now Jacob Schoen &
Son) heir E.J. "Sonny" Ranson and
talk Magic, Occult and New Orleans politics
over a plate of Red Beans and Rice.
Music Voodoo persona Dr. John
was one of them drawn to Oneida. And Oneida
and Boots were instrumental in helping him
form the Mystical, " Religious Order
of Voodoo" licensed with the state of
Louisiana it is known to be the only one of
it's kind in the United States.
I also became close friends
over the years with Sally Rebennack and Stephanie,
Dr. Johns Ex-Wives who both have heard many
times from New Orleans visitors describing
the ghost of Oneida and Boots meeting them.
Under a Hoodoo Moon:
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Under a Hoodoo Moon is one of rock's most
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childhood as a prodigal prodigy among 1950s
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Moon casts a spell as hard to resist as Mardi
In the early 1970s, my friend Boots Toups
and his wife Oneida, ... Boots Toups, whom
I'd met in the late sixties, was a character
and high spiritual soul ...
Many have claimed to know Boots and Oneida
Toups to some degree. But I was there and
know much, much more then those that claim
to have been her students, confidants or portagees'.
And to say it honestly Oneida and BootsToups
still haunt me.