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Voodoo makes a comeback in Florida

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Scholars and voodoo priests said increasing numbers of South Florida Haitian-Americans in their 20s and 30s are turning to the voodoo religion.

Elizabeth McAlister, a professor of religion at Wesleyan University, said voodoo is often practiced at home, making it difficult to measure the number of adherents, but research indicates the religion is growing among first and second generation Haitians, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Friday.

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Adherents said voodoo, a blending of beliefs from African religions and Catholicism, is attractive to Haitian-Americans looking to reconnect with their roots.

"I was looking to find out more about myself, about being Haitian and what that means," Ruby LaCroix, 39, of West Palm Beach said of her initiation into the religion.

Leaders said voodoo has just recently begun to emerge from the stigma arising from Hollywood portrayals that feature zombies, dolls and sorcery.

"A lot of people think voodoo is devilish. They think it's a doll with spirits, but it's not that," said voodoo priest Erol Josue. "Voodoo is a way of life. Voodoo is dignity, it's a celebration."

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