It seems that Greg and Dana Newkirk, from the Week in Weird, have an open line to the really strange. Not long ago, I wrote about a report that they placed on their blog about Black Eyed Kids. I’ve been meaning, for some time, to take a look at another article of theirs that had caught my attention: The Idol of Nightmares. I had seen this post from December 2015 referenced on Facebook and a couple of other sources that I follow but just had not had time to follow up on it. Please note that the picture above actually came from the original blog post. Given the content of the piece, I did not feel comfortable posting a picture of the actual ‘idol’.
Please read the full article linked above as it is quite interesting from a purely paranormal perspective. In summary, the Newkirks were contacted by a gentleman who found a burlap wrapped package in the attic of their home. After unwrapping the item, the homeowners discovered that it was a long faced black statue (pictures are available on the Week In Weird site but be aware that the viewing the item has caused some people to have nightmares). After opening the ‘idol’, the family members began to experience bad dreams and, when they tried to rid themselves of the figurine, paranormal occurrences in the home. The Newkirks took the item for their Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and Occult and Mr. Newkirk, as well as others who came into contact with the ‘idol’ suffered from nightmares as a result.
I have noted, in previous writing, some of the dangers of collecting articles that are purportedly haunted or ‘possessed’. My own psychic senses agree with those of the New Orleans voodoo practitioner Mary Millan (aka Bloody Mary) – the statue could have been put “there for for a thousand reasons and <be> tasked with a thousand jobs”. This priestess recommended what I would call “having a chat” with the ‘idol’ after making an offering of rum and tobacco (common in that tradition) as well as some cleansing ideas for the family that had handed over the figurine. This lady also gave some recommendations for re-purposing the figurine, again, with rituals from her own tradition.
Many people, when they think of magic, default automatically to the movies and the wonderful special effects that are seen in blockbusters with magical characters (think Gandalf’s epic struggle with the Balrog in the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy or Dave’s battle with Morgana in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice). The truth is that magic is normally much more subtle. One develops a feel for magic over time as the seeming coincidences pile up and one can no longer ignore the fact that “this stuff is working!!” Often, to be really effective, magic needs a link into the physical world and thus we have whole disciplines of magic devoted to the creation of potions, dusts, ointments, elixirs, talismans, etc. whose sole purpose is to bring specific energies through into this realm.
The statue inherited by the Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and Occult is such a physical link for a magical act. My feeling for the item is that it is a protective talisman with a spirit literally bound to it. This linkage makes the artifact volatile since my sense is that the linkage is not entirely voluntary but was forced on the spirit in some way. An example of this type of forced pairing would be found in the stories from the Middle East of items of jewelry that have djinn bound to them. Please note, I am not saying that a djinn is bound to this piece; the spirit attached to this article does give me a more African tribal feeling but this may be influenced by the appearance of the statue. It is definitely not a being of ‘smokeless fire’ though.
In this case, we have a situation where a being is being held against its will. The nightmares and paranormal phenomenon associated with the figure are partially due to its anger at its situation and partially due to the being trying to uphold its end of the ‘deal’ by driving humans away from a particular locale.
I do not feel that binding spirits is a useful exercise. If I were the holder of this artifact, I would seek the release of the spirit or, if the spirit refused to be released (this will sometimes happen when a spirit feels it has a debt to work off), the item needs to be placed in a specific location and the spirit told to ‘guard’ that area. The spirit should be ‘fed’ regularly (rum, tobacco, incense or some other easy to obtain offering), appreciated for its work and released from service as soon as it feels that its debt is paid. In short, the spirit should be treated as you would want to be treated if the situation were reversed.