Witchcraft in Forgottonia – Episode 3: African American Folk Magic in Illinois, 1701-1800


We continue our series about the social & cultural history of witchcraft based on the book “Witchcraft in Illinois” by folklorist Michael Kleen (check out Michael’s bio below). Please note, this series definitely does not intend to endorse a belief in magic or the occult. Our primary purpose is to simply apply some historical skills to this topic and share some interesting info that we find along the way (skills like QUESTIONING, SOURCING, CORROBORATING, CONTEXTUALIZING, & forming ARGUMENTS, etc.).

The first mention of “witchcraft” in Illinois appears to be in relation to Afro-Caribbean slaves brought to the southern IL region by the French. This group brought their tribal religions and culture of Western Africa and mixed this with the Catholocism that Europeans often forced on them. Although this Western African culture evolved into HAITIAN VOODOO (also known as the African American folk magic of HOODOO). But to the French, it was simply referred to as WITCHCRAFT


  • #1 – Afro-Caribbean slaves were the 1st to bring what the French called “witchcraft” culture to IL (but what is probably better described as Haitian voodoo or Hoodoo)
  • #2 – The Crimes of Moreau & Manuel
  • #3 – African American folk magic in IL
  • #4 – The Execution of Moreau & Manuel


About the Author

To learn more about this topic, check out the book “WITCHCRAFT in IL” by MICHAEL KLEEN. Michael Kleen is a writer, historian, and folklorist from Illinois. He has an M.A. in History from Eastern Illinois University and an M.S. in Education from Western Illinois University. He is best known for his work about Illinois folklore, but he is also a freelance columnist and speaker on politics and popular culture. Michael has written several books, including Haunting Illinois: A Tourist’s Guide to the Weird and Wild Places of the Prairie State, Paranormal Illinois, and Tales of Coles County. He is also the founder and proprietor of Black Oak Media, an independent publishing company.

Links to Other episodes of Witchcraft in Forgottonia

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