Gris Gris Bag
Gris gris bag also spelled grigri, and sometimes also “gregory” or “gerregery”), is a Voodoo amulet originating in Africa which is believed to protect the wearer from evil or bring luck, and in some West African countries is used as a method of birth control.
It consists of a small cloth bag, usually inscribed with verses from an African ancestor containing a ritual number of small objects, worn on the person.
The practice of using gris-gris, though originating in Africa, came to the United States with enslaved Africans and was quickly adopted by practitioners of Voodoo.
However, the practice soon changed, and the gris-gris were thought to bring black magic upon their “victim.” Slaves would often use the gris-gris against their owners and some can still be seen adorning their tombs.
During this period, there were also reports of slaves cutting, drowning or otherwise manipulating the gris-gris of others in order to cause harm.
Although in Haiti, gris-gris are thought to be a good amulet and are used as part of a widely practised religion; in the Cajun communities of Louisiana, gris-gris are thought to be a symbol of black magic and ill-fortune.
In spite of the negative connotations of gris-gris, so called Gris-Gris doctors have operated in the Creole communities of Louisiana for some centuries and are looked upon favorably by the community.
In the 1800s, gris-gris was used interchangeably in Louisiana to mean both bewitch and in reference to the traditional amulet.