I don’t believe in any of that witchcraft mumbo-jumbo junk, but this morning I woke up with a stiff neck of unholy proportions. I’m talking supernatural stiff. Like, I can’t look to the right because I have a bad case of taco-neck kind of stiff. ---Any person with a hint of common sense would say it’s from sleeping on it wrong. But I’ll have you know I have a memory-foam mattress, meaning I sleep like a stoic statue surrounded by contoured foam. In all honesty, I have this haunting feeling it’s because I trolled an Internet con man and he turned out to be a goddamned voodoo shaman.
You see, yesterday, I was perusing the Internet and stumbled on a post in Salt Lake City’s Craigslist entitled, “Voodoo Specialist.” The original post listed 20 spells that the shaman could perform including getting your scam money back, bringing back lost lovers, getting a promotion and even eliminating disturbing menstruation.
Now, I'm familiar with those voodoo e-mail scams that curse those who don't cough up cash to some king in Nigeria. But I was hoping this wasn't the case. I wanted this shaman to be real and I was hoping for a decent Halloween story that would involve me entering some temple and witnessing a gerbil sacrifice. My hopes were a little high, but I didn't have anything to lose.
The following e-mails are with a gentlemen called Ndolo Man. For your sanity, they've have been edited for brevity and clarity:
Me: Hello, there, I saw your post about the voodoo service. I'm very interested. How can we set this up? I'd love to try it out. Thanks, Colin
Ndolo Man: You are welcome. We do voodoo over the e-mail. All I need to know is your problems and what you want me to do for you.
Me: Oh, okay, that's cool. I was hoping to visit the shrine and see how you voodoo first hand. Is this possible?
Ndolo Man : Yeah, it is possible I am located in Minnesota. So, are you coming or we do on e-mail?
As soon as he said he was out of state, I knew it was a scam. But for some reason I decided to keep going:
Me: Oh, I thought you were in Salt Lake City. Minnesota, huh? Well, goodday, mate! So, what do you need from me? A piece of hair? Urine sample? Semen sample? How much semen will you need from me exactly? Sorry if these questions seem stupid -- I've never voodoo'd before. By the way, how much does this cost?
Ndolo Man: I first need to know your problems.
Me: OK. Well, I want more money ... obviously. Maybe I could just get the money in a bag or something. Or I guess you could set up a promotion. That would be cool, too. No killing anyone, though. I don't want any blood on my hands. Oh, and I guess I want to be more muscular. Not toned like Brad Pitt in the movie Troy, but stupid strong, like the Hulk when he's pissed. Also, my neighbor’s dog keeps shitting on my lawn and I want that to stop. Again, no killing ... especially the dog. Thanks, man, you're a lifesaver. Are you a man? You sorta type like a dude.
This is when I got the stock e-mail that I’m sure Ndolo Man sends to everyone:
Ndolo Man: Hello, you are welcome to my Spell Temple. LOVE , MONEY, PROTECTION, GOOD JOB, PROMOTION, EX BACK, WIN LOTTERY and so many more. This Spell Temple is a great temple, which has been in existence for the past 67 years and it has been passed from generation to generations. This temple is a place of seriousness. What I want here is real people who really want their problems to be solved and not a playing ground. And in this temple there are rule that can never be violated:
(1) Do not tell anybody about the spell until you have seen result
(2) Do not work with me and the same time work with another spell caster. It is either you. Make a choice
(3) Do not come here for jokes or take spell casting for granted
This are the rule and regulation you must follow in order for a good spell casting and to get good result of 100% guaranteed. But before I start with the casting of the spell, your info will be needed:
YOUR LOVER'S OCCUPATION:
FORUM WHERE YOU FOUND OUR ADVERT:
If I get details, I will proceed with the casting of the spell, for you have make the right choice for contacting. You can call me Voodoo Doctor. Hope to hear from you.
Me: Whoa, this sounds legit. Welp, here you are, Mr. Voodoo Doctor: My name is Colin Wolf, USA, Writer, Therapist, Craigslist, 30 yrs. I attached my picture. It's the best one I could find. It's actually a headshot from back when I was in a band. Rock on! Wait, hold up -- this isn't gonna kill anyone/dogs, will it? Because I'm not OK with that.
I then got another stock e-mail from Ndolo Man stating I needed to collect a bunch of random items including 11 cowries, 7 vulture eggs, feces of owl and one live chameleon.
Me: Shit, man, you're not gonna believe this, but I have a friend who actually has all this stuff! Where do I send the box?
His next response was in red text:
Ndolo Man: Hello young man you may not no what you are joking with. How dare you take someone else’s picture and send to me as your picture. Do you know what I can do to you? Nothing is hidden from me ... ok just wait.
Me: I'm so sorry, I admit I was a little skeptical at first but I just wanted to know you were for real. Haha, you passed the test! Now I know you have some serious shit-kickin’ power. Can we proceed with the ritual? I have all the items you requested. Let's do this.
He then sent me an e-mail with an address for some Italian restaurant in downtown St. Paul, Minn.
Ndolo Man: The total is $200. Once I get the information and the money, I proceed with your spell at once and I promise you in 6-7 hours time I will start working on your spell. I hope you do send it because you have wasted already most of my time. Waiting ...
Me: Hey, man, that's a lot of money. You shouldn't be so pushy toward someone who is willing to send $200. Especially since I'm sending it to a person I don't even know. I await your apology. Geez.
Ndolo Man: OK. Waiting …
Me: What the ... that wasn't an apology. You should say you're sorry.
Ndolo Man: Sorry for what? Haven't you wasted my time enough? Usually I take 3 hour with my clients to do a spell like this. So are you paying the money so we continue or not? You know I am mad at you for giving me fake information. This is not a playing ground.
Me: All right, I don't think this a playing ground and I’m sorry for asking you to say sorry. I just can’t wait to be a giant green dude with a bag of money ... oh, and don’t forget about the dog poop. Do you think it's a person that's pooping on my lawn? If that's the case, maybe we should do a different spell?
Ndolo Man: Once I have the money and materials I will know. Now send picture.
Me: Here you go. It’s me in my Halloween costume last year.
Ndolo Man: You take me for a clown? Watch what I will do to you. Watch and see!!!!!!!!!!!
Me: But it is me. I love Batman!
Ndolo Man: It doesn’t matter. I have a version of you anyway. Don't write me again on less you have send the materials and the money.
Me: Unless, it's "unless" you have the money.
Ndolo Man: You played with me for too long, now watch and see what happens. You better send me the money and materials or you feel my powers.
Me: Nahnahnahnah, now you’re cursed.
Ndolo Man: You keep on laugh.You’ll see.
Oh, and I did. I keep on laugh all day. In fact, I laughed about it for most of the afternoon. But toward the end of the day, I started to have second thoughts when my co-workers kept saying stuff like, “Oh, man, you are screwed,” and “It’s only a matter of time before Ndolo Man comes for you.” After a while, all that voodoo talk started to freak me out. This guy says he has my photo and he’s probably rubbing owl shit all over it as we speak. Worst of all, what if he’s some sort of Kali Ma heart-ripping priest?
Again, I can’t stress enough that I don’t believe in mumbo jumbo, but I’m a firm believer that one should always cover all his bases. With that being said, I made an appointment with Fernando Almaza at Botanica 7 Potencias on 15th South and Main St. It’s a little Mexican bodega that sells psychic candles, incense and specializes in Mexican voodoo.
When I walked in, Fernando was behind the counter, staring at the door, shuffling a deck of tarot cards. “You Colin Wolf?" he asked. “You Fernando?” I asked. He stopped shuffling and looked up from the cards. “Yeah, what’s the problem?”
“Well, long story short, I pissed off some asshole voodoo shaman over the Internet and I think he may have cursed me. Is there a type of oil I should be covering myself in?”
“Haha, no no no. First, we need to find out if you’ve been cursed.” He explained that if I paid him $5 bucks he could consult the cards and find out if anyone‘s out to kill me. I agreed and Fernando began shuffling while asking aloud, “Has Colin Wolf been cursed? Are there any bad spirits attached to this man?”
I watched as he laid out each card on the table, face up. “Well, what is it?” I asked. “Hmm, I don’t see any curse here,” he said, while scanning each card with his finger. “Oh, wait, it looks like he yelled out your name.”
“Shit. What does that mean?”
“It means he is very mad at you and that he yelled your name out loud.”
“Are you sure it was Ndolo Man? Because people curse my name out loud all the time.”
“Yes, it was him. He is very angry.”
Fernando was serious, but I couldn't help but laugh a little because all I could think of was Ndolo Man yelling “Wooooooooolf” like Captain Kirk yelled "Khaaaaaaaaan!"
Fernando reassured me that I’m not cursed and most importantly, that I don’t need any sort of spirit-blockin' oil bath. However, he did advise that I go out and buy a purple candle to protect myself. Apparently, the candle keeps bad spirits away, you know, just in case Ndolo Man is lazy and hasn't gotten around to cursing me yet. I paid Fernando the $5 and thanked him for his help. “Be sure to buy the candle. That man is very angry,” said Fernando as I left. “Yeah yeah yeah, I’ll buy the candles.” I didn't buy the candles.
As of today, I still haven’t heard back from Ndolo Man, and as I write this my head is positioned 33 degrees to the left, I dropped half of a banana that I was going to eat on the floor and I accidentally squirted some lime juice in my eye at lunch. These events were probably a coincidence, but I called Fernando one last time to see if Ndolo Man had cursed me since we last spoke. "Well, from my cards it looks like he's doing something," he said over the phone, "Not much, but something."
"Is he doing enough to make my neck hurt? Or make me drop a banana?"
"Ahhh, yes, he could be. I'll tell you what, I'm gonna light some candles for you and, uhh, I can protect you."
"Thanks, Fernando. Wait, how much is that gonna cost?"
"Oh, say $30."
"F-u-u- ... $30? Damn you, Ndooolllooooo Maaaan."