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According to Hoodoo in Theory and Practice, “A conjure bag or hand is a charm created by a conjurer to ward off spells or to cast them. The take-off man removes the spells put on by others; the shield man sells his services to those who wish to be shielded from curses.” Casting spells is called “laying tricks”, and “performing a trick” is a euphemism for prostitution.
Red flannel is the most common cloth used to make a conjure bag, but some root doctors use different colors of flannel to strengthen their spells. They might use green flannel for a conjure bag designed to bring its wearer money, white flannel for a baby-blessing mojo, etc.
A conjure bag that includes some hair or fingernail clippings from a wandering lover can be used to “fix” the object of one’s affection so he or she doesn’t roam any more.
There are many names for these types of bags, including “mojo hand,” “lucky hand,” “trick bag,” “root bag,” “jomo,” “gris-gris,” and “toby.” A special bag worn only by women, underneath their skirts, is called the nation sack. There is also a mojo used for predicting the future called a Jack ball.
Three factors determine what a conjure bag will accomplish: (1) the color of flannel used for the bag, (2) the ingredients, (3) how the hand is “dressed” or “fed.” Although mojo hands are typically red, some conjurers use different colors of fabric for different mojos, such as green flannel for a money mojo, white flannel to bless a baby, or light blue flannel for a peaceful home.
The bag almost always includes something secretly collected from the body of the person you hope to affect with your spell, such as a lock of hair, some pubic hair, fingernail clippings, or a piece of skin. Other common ingredients are roots, such as pieces of John the Conqueror, and herbs, ash, bone, insect parts, snakeskin, feathers, or symbolic items like dice, a chain, or coins.
Once the conjurer has lured a spirit into the bag, it’s anointed or “dressed” with oil. A bag may also be fed with whiskey, perfume, or bodily fluids such as spit, urine, blood or semen. This seals the spirit inside the conjure bag.
“Mojo Hand” – Lightnin’ Hopkins (Sam Hopkins)
“Trick Bag” – Earl King (Earl Silas Johnson, IV)
Sam Lightnin’ Hopkins – “Mojo Hand”