In 1939, U.S. author and journalist Ben Lucien Burman, from Cairo, Illinois, wrote an article in which he recounted a traditional witchcraft technique of killing someone. He’d picked it up while studying folklore with the roustabouts working on the Mississippi River steamboat Golden Eagle. The method used a photo of the victim as a substitute for a witchcraft doll. Burman wrote:
“A sure way to kill a man is to place his picture under the eaves at the corner of your house during rainy weather and let the water pour upon it.”
The logic of this act of sympathetic magic was that the cold chill of the dripping water would undermine the victim until he or she was no longer able to cling to life.