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Friday, December 16, 2011

The Black Constable

The Black Constable, a.k.a. John Domingo, was a notorious Hoodooman and necromancer in Charleston, SC, in the 1880s. At the time Domingo was believed to be the most powerful conjurer in the state of South Carolina.

Domingo possessed a sliver ring in the form of a serpent. According to Domingo the ring had been forged along the banks of the great Congro River. The ring was believed to be the center of his power and allegedly allowed him to command the spirits.

Domingo was legendary for his curses and for his love spells. It was claimed that Domingo could make even the oldest or ugliest man a magnet for young, beautiful women. People flocked to Domingo for his mojo hands and lucky jack balls. Sailors and fishermen paid Domingo visits to purchase favorable winds, as it was believed that Domingo had power over the weather. It was even claimed that Domingo could raise the newly dead, but such talk was said only in hushed-whispers. Perhaps it was Domingo's visits to cemeteries late at night to gather graveyard dirt that inspired such tales.

Despite the origin of such rumors, in modern times the legend of Domingo raising an army of zombies to do his bidding has spread. Such legends are quite incorrect with regard to zombies but do have a kernel of truth as Domingo was a very skilled necromancer. It has been said that people were afraid to come onto his property and especially to enter his home for fear of strange, human-shaped shadows the people believed were the souls of the dead that Domingo had conjured.

People, and especially neighbors, generally feared Domingo. In fact, even the white police force left Domingo alone for fear of magical retribution. The death of the Black Constable did not ease such fears. According to legend, Domingo met his fate while attempting to dish-out magical justice to a couple of thieves. Domingo grabbed the thieves, one in each hand, and and unwisely made the sacrilegious comment that he was, paraphrased, "just like Jesus, with a thief on each side". Domingo foolishly added a blasphemy, "Accept that I am more powerful than Jesus". At that moment witnesses reported that Domingo began foaming at the mouth and that his body rose up off the ground, as if lifted by a supernatural force. Domingo began clawing at his throat as if something was strangling him. Whatever had lifted him threw him back to the ground. Domingo was dead.

Domingo's death itself did not end the strange activity. Witnesses reported that Domingo's corpse seemed to age drastically and appeared far older than Domingo looked in life. Domingo's body was taken to a local butcher shop and displayed on a counter until a doctor could arrive. It was claimed that by the time the doctor showed the corpse was nothing but a shrivelled husk.

After his death, it was alleged that Domingo's ghost was seen walking the streets of Charleston as well as haunting his former home until the house was finally demolished.

Doctor to the Dead: Grotesque Legends and Folk Tales of Old Charleston by John Bennett

Encyclopedia of the Undead by Bob Curran

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