Look closely. See the small sack attached to that tree? Keep reading to find out what Vodou practice is going on in this photo.
I find it unavoidable, upon mentioning Vodou to people unfamiliar with it, to come across as exploiting Vodou for an entertainment factor. In fact, I've wrestled with the idea of posting about Vodou, because I didn't want to contribute to that trend myself. In the end, I've decided to make note of that trend and proceed to share ways I have experienced and learned about Vodou.
Whatever your feelings towards Vodou, or however extensive your knowledge, Hollywood has sorely misrepresented the religion for the sake of entertainment. I think, as a result of this, it has developed this air of mystery that degrades its perceived legitimacy. It is a much broader practice, not at all reliant on little dolls and push pins. You can check out my reading list for some reading material.
The small sack in this picture above is nailed to a tree in the middle of a banana grove. These are essentially scare crows for people. They are designed to attract zombies (corpses who a Vodou priest has animated to do work in this world) that will scare away people who come to steal the crop. If someone tries to steal from the land, the sack will sound out, "tonton tann tantinn!" which means, "uncle wait for aunt!" The thief's feet and stolen goods then become so heavy that he cannot continue walking. The thief, or uncle, must wait for the land owner, or aunt, to return and release him.
Inside the sack are four items: dirt from the garden, the teeth of a dead person, dirt from a cemetery, and skull shavings from a skeleton.
Note: This is just one small Vodou practice. If you're interested, I encourage you to read more about Vodou to better understand it.