Charlie Shreeve’s voodoo crossmark charm for protection and uncrossing
Charlie was born in Britain – in Norfolk, the county where I live. But he emigrated to the USA after serving in World War II. He’d made a number of connections with U.S. airmen during his time in Italy and he was offered an opening in an auto shop. So he took the opportunity.
Being a motorcycle enthusiast, he eventually opened his own repair and customization workshop for motorcycles – specializing mostly in Harleys.
He rode with a motorcycle club and in his younger days went on road trips most weekends. Much later in the late 1980s he told me the story of how he came across a ghostly black lady who gave him a parchment protection and uncrossing charm that saved his skin on more than one occasion.This is what he said:
“It was back in the 50s. I was out on a run with my motorcycle club. But because of drinking and running wild I’d lost track of them. And I ended up in Twiggs County, in Georgia. The sun was shinning and it was warm, so I parked up near an’ old cemetery, went in, and lay down and fell asleep. There was something real tranquil about that old boneyard. Like it was full o’ good spirits. Now I dunno whether I was awake or dreaming, but this ole black lady come along and tells me stuff she could NOT have known. Things about the family back in the UK, and even related experiences I had during the war.
She told me I had a charmed life, but said that I should carry a charm she had for extra protection, especially as I was riding most weekends with the club. So she handed me this piece of old paper, like parchment, with five crosses in a circle. A cross was in the center, the others around it arranged like North, East, South and West on a compass. She said it would protect me and was for uncrossing. Two in one, she say. I must’ve been dreaming because she seemed to fade away and I woke up, the sun sinking low in the sky… I’d been asleep a good four hours.
I dismissed the whole thing as a dream, but then I noticed this piece of old paper on the ground next to me – it was that charm, she called it a crossmark, which means there are five elements, four surrounding the one in the middle. You see it in heraldry and in old time hoodoo symbols. She said it was a voodoo charm. I don’t know myself. But because it was a weird and powerful experience I kept that charm on me and still do.
Fact is, and you know it well, that I’ve had more than a few lucky escapes in my time, like accidents where by rights I shoulda met my maker, but I came out unscathed…then there was those turf wars in the 60s with upstart clubs looking to muscle in…that was when they set a bomb in my workshop, and I’d have been blown to pieces, but seconds before I heard this weird voice callin’ my name…I swear to God it sounded like that ole black lady. Anyhow I got off with just scratches that time! Weird. But you can see why I still carry that charm in my wallet. It’s ragged and faded now, but I can feel the presence of that ole black lady, ‘specially when I’m out in the country where it’s quiet.”
The cross above is a copy of the crossmark charm Charlie was given by the old black lady in the cemetery. The extra symbols on it looked to me like they came from unknown tongues, the language and glyphs of the spirits… I’d also say the old black lady was a spirit, possibly a deceased conjure woman buried in that Georgia cemetery.