Finally, in other parts of the South, the word "Voodoo" is not encountered at all except in the writings of uninformed white people, and the terms "hoodoo," "rootwork," "conjure" and "witchcraft" are variously applied to the system of African-American folk-magic.
A long discussion of the regional distribution of these terms can be found in Harry Middleton Hyatt's "Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork," a 5-volume, 4,766-page collection of material (consisting of 13,458 separate magic spells and folkloric beliefs) gathered by Hyatt from 1,600 informants in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia between 19.
Here is how i define the word "hoodoo": Hoodoo consists of a large body of African folkloric practices and beliefs with a considerable admixture of American Indian botanical knowledge and European folklore.
Although most of its adherents are black, contrary to popular opinion, it has always been practiced by both whites and blacks in America.
In the first place, Voodoo is a West African religion that was transplanted to Haiti (see below) and hoodoo is a system of primarily Central African magical belief and practice.
A Gaelic origin for the word hoodoo does, believe it or not, make sense in terms of African American history, for a large percentage of American sailors during the 19th century, especially before the Civil War, were African Americans, and they mingled freely with Irish sailors in the Atlantic shipping trade and in seaports from New York to New Orleans.In some accounts the problems onboard these vessels were attributed to an evil spirit or presence.Those who attribute the word hoodoo to Irish or Scottish seamen say that is is a phonetic transliteration of the Gaelic words Uath Dubh (pronounced hooh dooh), which means dark phantom, evil entity, or spiky ghost.The verb "to hoodoo" appears in collections of early pre-blues folk-songs.For instance, in Dorothy Scarborough's book "On the Trail of Negro Folk-Songs," (Harvard University Press, 1925), a field-collected version of the old dance-song "Cotton-Eyed Joe" tells of a man who "hoodooed" a woman.A professional consultant who practices hoodoo on behalf of clients may be referred to as a "hoodoo doctor" or "hoodoo man" if male and a "hoodoo woman" or "hoodoo lady" if female. Taylor's diary for 1891, in which he describes and illustrates meeting with a "Hoodoo Doctor" while on a train.