In the first half, Dr. Robert Bennett spoke about his research into spirituality, demon possession, spiritual warfare, exorcism, and paranormal phenomena & lore. He spent time studying local religions on the island of Madagascar, and found that many people there are "worshiping spirits, venerating their ancestors and seeking different powers and knowledge from them. [But] as these people are becoming Christian, they're recognizing that the ancestors or spirits...were actually in many cases, demons in disguise," he remarked, adding that exorcism has become very common on the island, because of the spiritualism. Regarding spiritual warfare in the United States, most of what he deals with falls into the category of "oppression," with demons harassing or misleading people rather than full on possessions, he noted.
The way Satan works is "that he convinces us that he has authority over us...a way to bring fear to us. We buy into the lie, and then he's got us, even though it's not true," Bennett explained. The sighting of Shadow People or dark, shadowy apparitions is a common theme in Madagascar incidents that led up to demonic oppression or possession, as well as cases in the US, he added. Regarding the Slenderman myth, a kind of dark thought form that takes shape-- "I think it's the same old line. Satan is very happy to adapt any lie we'll give him, whether it be deceased ancestors communicating with us or this supposed thought form that's been created by this collective mentality," he commented.
Born and raised in the Voodoo rich culture of New Orleans, author and spiritual advisor Denise Alvarado talked about spells and the practice of Creole Voodoo in the latter half of the show. Describing different offshoots, she noted that Voodoo is actually a religion brought over from Africa, while Hoodoo is the practice of the magical aspects of Voodoo, without the religious association. Voodoo translates as "spirit of God" or "mystery" and is mostly about healing, she said, adding that African Voodoo's primary emphasis is on ancestors or gods/goddesses, with Creole Voodoo being a regional variation. Hoodoo "conjure workers" use what they call doll babies (what most people think of as "voodoo dolls"), whereas Voodoo practitioners use altar dolls that are like vessels that will hold particular spirits which are petitioned in rituals, she continued.
Alvarado detailed a case where she successfully helped a man attract a woman into a relationship by using a doll created in the woman's likeness, which he was instructed to interact and talk with. She also described a Voodoo magic object called a gris-gris, in which different herbs and curios are blended together into a packet, which a person wears or carries to achieve a desired effect. Voodoo is a lifestyle and mindset involving having a good relationship with your spirits and ancestors, and believing that they're going to come through for you when you need them, she explained. For more, check out two videos she sent us illustrating an old Hoodoo ritual.