The Heart Shield Bible

Hoodoo practitioners not only consider the Bible to be filled with stories of magic and powerful verses that can be used for spells, but note that from the Civil War through the Vietnam War (and possibly later) Heart Shield Bibles were popular amongst soldiers. These New Testament editions were small enough to fit in the breast pocket of a jacket or shirt and featured gold or gold-colored metal over steel that was said to be able to stop a .45 caliber bullet.

Among the manufacturers was the Protecto Bible Company of St. Louis. The covers of these bibles were often engraved with slogans such as “May this Keep You Safe from Harm” and “God’s Weapon.” They came in a 3-inch by 4.5-inch size and were 3/4-inch thick and sometimes included Psalms. Another edition contained prayers for Catholics.

Many people sent these to their loved ones easily since they often came in a ready to ship box.

During World War II, Bibles carried the inscription: “As Commander-in-Chief I take pleasure in commending the reading of the Bible to all who serve in the armed forces of the United States. Throughout the centuries men of many faiths and diverse origins have found in the Sacred Book words of wisdom, counsel and inspiration. It is a foundation of strength and now, as always, an aid in attaining the highest aspirations of the human soul.” –Franklin D. Roosevelt

protectobible2Interestingly enough, a fair number of these Bibles are currently being sold via eBay, sometimes called Shields of Faith. Did they really work? Stories from the front include statements from slightly injured men who claimed the Bibles stopped enemy rounds. Perhaps the distance traveled and angle of the incoming round made a difference.

However, there’s video on YouTube showing a man simulating a Heart Shield Bible with other materials and testing it with rounds of several calibers. All of them went through. On the other hand, since he used a phone book, those who are sold in the Heart Shield Bible will no doubt remind us that the books in the test were not Holy Writ. Here’s the video link.

The words alone, in Protestant and Catholic editions–like a pocket-sized edition a portion of the ancient Jewish mystical book The Zohar–might be enough, for they are often carried by believers who know little or nothing about the Heart Shield Bible or the hoodoo practice of carrying Bibles and selected Bible verses for general good luck and protection.


This post originally appeared on “The Sun Singer’s Travels.”


Briefly Noted: ‘Hoodoo Food!’ with conjure cook-off winners

Some of the best recipes often come out of special cookbooks published by church groups, friends of the library committees, clubs, and historical societies. The recipes in Hoodoo Food! The Best of the Conjure Cook-Off and Rootwork Recipe Round-Up are no exception.

hoodoofoodNot only are the book’s recipes solid and well-thought-out by traditional cooking standards, they’re grouped by type, that is to say, the conjure category where they’ll provide extra blessings and benefits:

  • New Year’s Luck
  • Money Matters
  • Affairs of the Heart
  • Enemy Tricks
  • Dreams and Divination

The book was published in 2014 by the Ladies Auxiliary of California’s Missionary Independent Spiritual Church and includes the first-, second- and third-place winners of  conjure cook-offs held between 2010 and 2013.

In addition to the handy categories, the recipes’ ingredients include parenthetical notations showing their conjure benefits. As a fan of Hoppin’ John, I see that the New Year’s Luck recipe notes that the beans, diced bacon, spicy sausage, and red onion are great for luck, that the rice helps with prosperity and fertility, and that the spices help with protection.

Under Money Matters, who can resist “Valentina’s Hot Money-Draw Texas Chili” even if they already have plenty of money? The recipe is filled with ingredients for protection, pleasure, gold, blessings, and love luck. If you want more love luck, then feast your taste-buds on the treats listed under Affairs of the Heart, including “Love Honey” and “Ashta Special For Romance and Seduction.” This is the book’s largest category.

When you’re ready for more than a good night’s sleep, I like the “Astral Travel Tea” in Dreams and Divination, and suspect that the roasted dandelion root is a key ingredient here. Of course, good food is good food, and that applies to recipes like “Haters Be Gone Hot Wings” even if everybody loves you, and “Red Eye Gravy to Keep Your Man Working” even if he’s already busy.

You’ll notice as you read the book, you’ll find words of wisdom in the header at the top of every page. My favorites are “Men may come and men may go … but pie goes on for ever” and “The most dangerous food is a wedding cake.”

With this 96-page cookbook, you’ll eat well, live long, and prosper. Of course I can’t guarantee any of that, but it’s worth a try if you like having fun in the kitchen.


Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of Conjure Woman’s Cat.



Basil: powerful for more than pesto

My father escaped from his typewriter by experimenting with new food concoctions in the kitchen. Most of them came out very well. One of them even got into a cookbook. While the number of meals I cook is limited to a “safe group” that my wife and I have agreed are fit for weekly consumption, I seldom experiment in the kitchen except when it comes to herbs.

Basil - Wikipedia photo
Basil – Wikipedia photo

Basil, oregano and rosemary are my favorites and find their way into all kinds of things. My mother’s old Betty Crocker cookbook had a chart inside the front and back covers listing foods and the herbs that went with them. According to the chart, basil goes into lots of recipes. This chart has kept me from venturing too far into the inedible.

The last time we went to a high style restaurant, they were in their basil phase, creating numerous lunch and dinner dishes encrusted with, simmered with, or liberally garnished with fresh basil. While this was good stuff, it was a cautionary experience, reminding me to be careful with fresh herbs. Everything with basil on the restaurant’s menu was too strong.

I tend to use basil in stews and spaghetti sauce more often than not. However, as I discovered in my research for Conjure Woman’s Cat, one can also use basil outside the kitchen for bringing happiness (other than a tasty meal) or as a protection from evil. If you do this all the time, you might refer to the herb as “holy basil” or “sweet basil” and grow your own rather than getting it off the McCormick spice display at Kroger or Publix.

For example, basil–used alone–or with clover, rosebuds, lavender, etc.–can be placed in a bath or sprinkled or placed in sachets around doors and windows, or kept in bowls to bring happiness and love to your home. Likewise, when sprinkled dry or used as a cleansing wash, it is said to protect a home or a person from evil.

  • When you buy basil from a magic shop, you'll almost always see that it's sold as a curio, that is to say, not with any magical claims.
    When you buy basil from a magic shop, you’ll almost always see that it’s sold as a curio, that is to say, not with any magical claims.

    According to the Candle Spells website,  “It has been said that when tied in a cheesecloth bag and tossed into a hot bath, sweet basil will activate your money drawing abilities and you will be seeing money come to you.”

  • Carolina Conjure says that, “Basil is said to attract customers to a business by placing some in the cash register, or sprinkling basil-water near the threshold. “
  • Catherine Ywronwode (who also has a Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic book available on Amazon), writes on Conjure Lists by Hoodoo Psychics that basil is “A multi-talented magical herb, this one protects the home, brings love and peace to the family, and draws money to the kitchen; Sprinkle some on the floor and sweep it out the back door, for “No evil can come where Basil has been.”
  • Do a search on Google using something like “basil conjure” and you’ll get a lot more hits than you ever imagined the last time you put a little basil on your beef pot roast.
Basil Conjure Oil, meditation, relaxation, altar
Basil Conjure Oil, meditation, relaxation, altar

Needless to say, I’m a passable cook (within fairly narrow parameters) and not a conjurer at all. So I pass these magical ideas along as curiosities only and as interesting beliefs. As a famous scientist (I forget who) once said when asked why he placed a horseshoe above his door, it’s there just in case.

One can always sprinkle basil outside the front door just in case. Otherwise, if you don’t use too much of it, Betty Crocker and others have plenty of basil suggestions for your cooking and eating pleasure.

I make sure I never run out of basil.


KIndle cover 200x300(1)Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Conjure Woman’s Cat,” a 1950s story about a root doctor who fights the KKK with magic.

Conjure Woman’s Cat website