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October 30, 1967

Voodoo Poisoning in Buffalo, NY

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo and the E. J. Meyer Memorial Hospital (Dr. Saphir, Mr. Gold, and Mr. Giambrone), and Roswell Park Memorial Institute (Dr. Holland), Buffalo. Dr. Saphir is now a research fellow in cardiology at the Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California Medical Center, and the San Francisco General Hospital. Mr. Gold and Mr. Giambrone are fourth year medical students.

JAMA. 1967;202(5):437-438. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130180103027

Because of a highly suggestive history and characteristic clinical manifestations, poisoning (possibly carbon tetrachloride) was diagnosed in a 24-year-old Voodoo worshipper. The poison was apparently included in a medicinal potion prepared by a Voodoo priestess. The evidence for the above, while circumstantial, appears medically sound. The episode occurred in the urban North among the American Negroes. It is yet another occult way for the unsuspecting—patient and physician—to be led astray.