In the African American hoodoo tradition, black cats are considered to be good luck in matters of sports and gambling, particularly with card games and playing the lottery. Folks carry the black cat bone to draw money and luck in a hurry and to keep jinxes and bad luck away. But there is a whole body of lore behind the black cat bone that is quite chilling. Note: Our black cat bones are not collected in the manner reported below. We have provided the information for educational and entertainment purposes only.
The Notorious Black Cat
The spell of the black cat's bone can be found in several magical traditions. There is one from the Book of St. Ciprian and another from Zora Neale Hurston’s Mules and Men. And, there are numerous variations on the theme in the Hoodoo lore gathered by Harry Middleton Hyatt. Although it is European in origin, the black cat spell is commonly associated with hoodoo and Voodoo. Supposedly, every
black cat has one special bone in its body that will either grant the owner
invisibility or can be used to bring back a lost lover.
The spell of the black cat's bone can be
found in several magical traditions. There is one from the Book of St. Ciprian
and another from Zora Neale Hurston’s Mules and Men. And, there are numerous
variations on the theme in the Hoodoo lore gathered by Harry Middleton Hyatt.
1 from the Book of St. Cyprian:
Cook the body of a black cat in boiling water with white seeds and wood from the
willow until the meat is loosened from the bones. Strain the bones in a linen
cloth and, in front of the mirror, place the bones, one by one in your mouth,
until you find that you have the magic to make you become invisible. Keep the
bone with the magic property and, if you want to go somewhere without being
seen, place the bone in your mouth.
Version 2 by Zora Neale
Hurston (1931) in the
of American Folklore:
“Make a coffin one-half foot long. Dress a small
doll in black and put the doll in the coffin. W rite the victim’s name on paper
and put it in the coffin under the doll. Don’t cover the coffin. Dig a trench
much longer than the coffin. Take a black cat and put it in the grave. Cover the
open grave with cheese-cloth and fix it so the cat can’t get out. Take a black
chicken and feed it one-half glass of whiskey in which a piece of paper with the
victim’s name has been soaked. Put the chicken in with the cat and leave them
there for a month. They will die. Then put the coffin in and bury it with a
white bouquet at the head and foot.” (Hurston, 1931 as cited in Haskins, 1990,