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The Real Reverend's Zombie

Zombies on the Bayou St. John

Many locals, perhaps hundreds, of all classes and races (even in antebellum days) knew of grand Voodoo Zombie rituals often held at the so-called "Wishing Spot" on the bayou St. John. This is where the blood of roosters was poured into the black Bayou to feed the spirits. And many so called witness said real Zombies were made.

 

The Reverends Zombie Bottle

A Bound Reverend Zombie Bottle From New Orleans.

The many dreaded Zombies danced as commanded by their masters. In honor of The great snake Zombi being the symbol of the Voodoo god slithered at their feet, and a bizarre belief in Voodoo cursed zombies a nd the ability to capture a spirit in a Zombie Bottle was forever said to be quite real.

Story By Quentin Victor Garrets - Artwork Ricardo Pustanio

 

In 1962, according to his death certificate, the Haitian peasant Clairvius Narcisse died near his home village in the Artibonite Valley. Though physically strong and rarely ill, he had begun to have difficulty breathing after a dispute with his brother over a piece of land. Weakened and nauseated, he began to spit blood and died two days later. His body was buried in a small rural cemetery.

Eighteen years later Narcisse strolled into the marketplace of his home village. Along with others who were found wandering near the city of Cap Haitian, he claimed that he had been dug out of the ground by men who beat him cruelly, then forced him into slave labour as a Zombie. He was one of the infamous "Walking Dead," long considered to be mere figments of superstition in the island nation of Haiti where Voodoo is practised.

In New Orleans Zombies are thought to be very real entities. They are not just the re-animated bodies from the St. Louis Cemeteries but they can be too spirits of ghosts trapped in Bottles. Many local ghost stories urban legends and olden time tales do talk of about real Zombies coming out of the dirty oven wall crypts in New Orleans Cemeteries. As do they tell of cursed and hexed Zombie Bottles doing their sole masters bidding.

This is a Zombie story I will tell. It is often told by many of the locals. I have never seen it in print or heard it on a Ghost Tour. But I will tell it to you as I heard so many times in my life. This real Zombie Story Pre dates The reign of Marie Laveau as queen of the Voodoos by only a few years possibly by 5- 8. The Voodoo Queen in this story is none other then Sanite Dede the reigning Voodoo Queen just before Marie Laveau assent.

A True New Orleans Zombie stories? Is there such a thing?

The Real Reverend Zombie

A long tall tale often told is how a white rich well respected married and very handsome Reverend once was turned in to a real Zombie because of his scorned slave girl mistress, with a little help help of Sanite Dede of course.

Sanite Dede

Sanite Dede

Sanite Dede was once in her time the most powerful of all the Voodoo queens. As a young woman from Santo Domingo she bought her secret hex's and hoodoo Voodoo to New Orleans. She often would hold rituals in her brick lined courtyard on Dumaine and Chartres Streets, just walking distance away from the St. Louis Cathedral. The rhythmic beat of the drums could be heard inside the great church during mass the day the Reverends Zombie walked the French Quarter street!

A young handsome black thick bearded reverend lived in new Orleans at this time. With his striking blue eyes and and handsome German features. All the ladies that saw him fell in love. But for all practical purposes and the outside world he was a man of the cloth and faithful to his beloved wife. But unknown to all he was involved in a secret affair with the slave girl of a wealthy Bywater plantation owner.

The sordid affair went on for over 3 years and none knew of it except he and the slave girl. The Slave girl fell in love with him the first time she saw him and would always watch him because his striking good looks overwhelmed her. She came to him one day after their long secret affair had blossomed to words of love and a possible future as his house slave. She demanded that he take her as his on slave that day. The Reverend went to her owner that day asking for her as to be donated to him as his to own.

But this did not happen for the slave owner would not part with her as a donation as the reverend asked him to. He demanded more cash then the reverend could afford. Some say she was also mistress to her owner and his greatest prize.

Then one day two weeks after this another young slave girl from another plantation came to him and said that the one he was involved with was pregnant with someone's bastard child.

He hurried to her master and told her master that she was a voodoo woman and she had put a spell or hoodoo on him and his family for them to die. The reverend went on and on telling her owner and his wife how she had bewitched him too, to try to take her as his slave also.

Upon hearing the news he had her master take and brutally beat her. Her master then had them cut out her tongue and gouge out her eyes.

A fellow house slave who knew her secrets and affairs brought the story to the great Voodoo Queen Mama Sanite Dede as she was called by many. And upon hearing this the Great Voodoo Queen was enraged. Dede told the slave that came to her, " I will fix him good this Reverend." "This so called good man of God will walk the French Quarter 'till great angel Gabriel sounds his golden horns last blast."

The Voodoo of Sanite Dede

Three days latter the poor slave girl died from the beating. And that night so did the Reverend for no apparent reason. Word spread quick as it always did in the old French Quarter. In the 1800's Funerals and burials happened immediately in the summer month of August. The family had little time to buy a fresh white washed tomb in St. Louis Cemetery number 1, so a person from his large wealthy congregation gave his wife one to help her out. Laid out dressed in his Sunday best, dark suit, white Reverends collar starched stiff and bright around his neck, he laid in state ever handsome.

In his front large parlor facing Bourbon Street, the room draped in miles of expensive black crepe from France his wake began. To his home his large congregation came to pay their last and final respects on this hot humid Friday afternoon. His wake was solemn of course, and many shed real tears not because he was known as a bad man, but because he was actually deeply loved by his large congregation. But as the the afternoon went on and the sun began to set the long procession passed the coffin steadily. Then in the midst a dark figure of a tall woman stopped and crouched over his expensive black lacquered coffin. Bending low as if kissing him with her hands covering and moving over his face. Many were in shock including his wife, sister and the whole congregation over seeing such an act.

As the dark veiled figure moved away from the casket a loud gasp filled the room. "The Dark Lady" had pried open his mouth and bitten off his tongue and sucked out his eyes from their very sockets. No one moved as she turned and almost floated across the room, all were frozen in their spots as she headed out of the door. Either because they were so stunned or under some devil woman's curse or hex. No one saw her face or could identify her from the way she moved. But many thought she was The queen of the Zombies the great Ghede, Mama Bridgett come to exact some dark secret toll or pact that he may have made in confidence while alive.

The dead Reverend was buried on Saturday early long before the sun had time to rise over the Crescent City. But in his new grave he did not stay. As the Great St. Louis Cathedrals bells struck noon on that very Sunday he was seen with arms stretched wandering stiff limbed behind the great Cathedrals garden.

All the people even if they did not know him in life knew he was a dead man walking and they were very much afraid. So then the many slaves and Creoles all ran to the Dumaine Street home of Mama Sanite Dede for help. For they knew she alone would have a solution.

Dede opened her door to the pleas and cries for help of those that gathered in fear before her. "Please help us Great Mama Dede, you come see the dead man walk Bourbon Street to do no good!" A old free man of color said. " I seen him come out of the St. Louis Cemetery with my own two eyes." said a white woman dressed in her Sunday finery.

Dede shook her head slowly looking at the cobble stoned street then at the crowd. and asked " Do anyone here know who it is?" the crowd shouted "YES " it's the dead Reverend buried yesterday morning come back from the dead to kill us all! Dede said, " This may take some time ... I must prepare a Hoodoo Voodoo Veve and a strong hex so big to stop this." " You good people need go lock your children and old and your self behind closed doubled locked and bolted doors." " And tell all you see on the way to do the same." Within a few moments the beat of the great voodoo drums filled the French Quarter. So Loud they were they shook the statues in the great Cathedral.

The Reverends' Zombie

The Reverends Zombie

 

The streets were emptied in minutes as word of the Reverend Zombie walking the French Quarter streets reached far and wide. Even the police stayed away fearing they too would become Zombies if they came in contact with him.

The pounding drums grew stronger and stronger and the beat faster then what a mans heart could before bursting of fear. All the french Quarter residence hiding like when a terrible Hurricane hits the city today.

As the hot afternoon sweltered like it does only in New Orleans a terrible squall blew in from the shores of Lake Ponchartrain. Some will still tell you of the the terrible great storm that lasted all night. The thunder shook the city as the voodoo drums did earlier. A nd many say they heard the drums still beating between the great rumbles and thunder claps. They pounded until the first light of day broke over the mighty Mississippi River.

No one really knows now what Mama Dede and the pounding of the voodoo drums did that day to rid New Orleans of the Reverend Zombie, You know she kept her secrets well. And none know if she really did anything at all. As for the Reverends Zombie... Some say she had him bricked up in a wall in a building on Toulouse street, others say on Orleans behind the Cathedral in a corner building of red new brick. For Zombies cannot cross a line of red new brick and everyone in New Orleans Knew that.

The next day after that nights long hard rain was gone so was The Reverend Zombie.

3 years went by and the story faded away... until one day during Mardi Gras season someone saw him again stumbling his way down Bourbon Street in the cold morning light. Many ran once again to Mama Dede for help knowing full well the strange figure was the Reverend come back again.

"I smelled the dead man walkin." one said. "Is it the Reverends Zombie Dede asked? One woman said, "Yes Mademoiselle, I do know! Yes it's him I recognize his clothes as a man of the cloth!" " And I smelled the stench of death!" " Don't be afraid Mama Dede told the crowd. It's the dead Reverend Zombie just looking for his eyes!" " He'll be gone by dawn!"

Reverend Zombie Today In New Orleans

Many say over the years they have seen him stumbling... a real dead man walking through the French Quarter. Also along Bayou St. John and Uptown alike The Reverend certainly gets around. None have seen him recently but some say he is till a haunting the city.

Some have said he was washed away in Hurricane Betsy in 1965, others say Hurricane Katrina finally did him in. Some say he guards the tombs of Mama Dede and Marie Laveaus' so that if someone like another voodoo queen who would want to come to pick their bones for a hoodoo voodoo hex and JuJu, he will kill them them on the spot!

But when visiting, "Please keep your eyes peeled" when your in New Orleans... Reverend Zombie might be seen " Always, Just looking for his eyes and tongue!"

About Quentin Victor Garrets

Garrets Is a native New Jordanian that collects oral stories passed down through the generations. '

Also See: VIOLETTE WITH EYES TO DIE FOR! Among these tales one of the most tragically gruesome is that of Little Violette whose name rings through infamy, forever associated with the epithet “The Zombie Child.”

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White Zombie

 

A young man turns to a witch doctor to lure the woman he loves away from her fiance, but instead turns her into a zombie slave." Directed by Victor Halperin, written by Garnett Weston, 1932. Film in public domain available at Archive.org and Public Domain Torrents. «


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