In times of economic meltdown and global hardship, people are wishing on their lucky stars for a bit of good fortune. So it seems only fitting really that some people are turning to the more 'alternative' methods of the 'dark arts', AKA voodoo, to help them out.
In some of the more traditional markets here in Mexico, tucked in between the bustling vegetable and fruit stalls and herb stands in the labyrinth of narrow alleyways, you'll find bizarre market traders selling weird and wonderful spiritual help-me-outs.
Colourful and creepy good luck charms and figurines, potions, spells, ointments, elixirs, herbs, amulets and candles are all crammed onto busy shelves offering different magical powers to target specific issues in every day life.
Some trinkets are said to bring good luck, while others are said to offer protection. Some of the potions are meant to be drunk like tea or mixed with holy water; some powders are spread out on the ground in the shape of figures or signs; some herbs are burnt; and some powders are thrown over lit candles while the user whispers their wishes during rituals.
Wouldn't it just be amazing if these potions actually worked?! Want a successful business? Want that crazy woman/bloke to leave you alone? Wish they were dead?! Just add boiling water and two sugars. The spells are sold in small envelopes similar to those that normally contain teabags. And they cater for a huge range of predicaments.
Some claim to help businessmen and women keep clients; some claim to help you get a pay rise at work; some target generic fears; and some claim to assist you in getting someone to love you. Others apparently help to 'send someone away' who has been cheating on you; and some also claim to bring 'death' to a person boasting a "reinforced dust formula."
God only knows what ingredients are used. A quick search on Google highlights 'dried snakes' skin' and 'cactus' as being just some of the ingredients used in such concoctions. Mexico, like many other countries around the world, is a deeply spiritual place.
>Religion is closely related to folk traditions, intertwined with mythology and magic. While the vast majority of people do attend church to pray for luck, it seems a great many people here do trust in the more magical and mysterious methods.
Personally speaking, as a Brit these sort of potions have certainly never been on any one of my weekly shopping lists.
- Spell to help me find a job.
But hey, anything's worth a try right?!
All this aside, it actually wouldn't be right to talk about all these weird and wonderful things and not mention UFOs. A number of people I have spoken to here in TJ claim to have seen "weird shapes" or "lights" in the sky. Everyone seems to know someone who has seen a UFO.
Jacky's mum and dad claim to have seen several - one here in the sky above the house, and a couple in Mexico City where they once lived.
The relative proximity to New Mexico and the notorious 'Roswell' only help to fuel the fire of belief of aliens visitors. News reports here on Mexican national television also seem to show amateur footage of UFO sightings on regular occasions.
This one, in October last year, was a huge talking point among Mexicans after the footage emerged:
The volcano shown is just outside Mexico City which is one of the busiest places on earth. Hence it the sight attracted a large audience. Mexico is said to be a 'hotbed' of UFO sightings with more sightings than most other countries in the world.