Other Haunts: Hexing Hitler

In 1941, a group of folks assembled to put a “hex” on Hitler. Life Magazine – the internet of those times – was on hand to record the event with some snappy photojournalism. Godwin’s Law be damned: this is a hoot, that is, using the “forces of Darkness” to combat “Evil incarnate.”


Your position on the utility of hexes or the authenticity of these particular would-be pagans is not the point. We humans need to feel as if we are doing something that is meaningful, that our actions have an effect especially during times of distress. During WWII, we had collections for scrap metal. We grew “victory gardens.” Contemporary reflection somewhat pessimistically notes that these activities didn’t really help the war effort as much as they bolstered the moral of those on the home front. So why not “hexes?”

There was great recent controversy when someone planned to burn multiple copies of the Qu’ran. It prompted folks across the Muslim world to burn effigies of just about everyone they didn’t like… even though, as I read it, it’s a cultural proscription, if not cardinal no-no to make graven images of humans. This emphasis on non-representative art is a contributing factor to the splendor of Islamic geometric mosaics, I’m told. Would there have been such an outrage if the American protest only burned – or put a hex – on representations of Bin Laden?

If you’re getting hung up on the whole black magic thing, perhaps because of christian baggage, then call it an “imprecatory prayer.” Lord knows there are enough bible-belters using such language as veiled threats against the president. You’ve maybe seen the bumper stickers that say “Pray for Obama – Psalm 108 8 & 9” Look those lines up, will ya? They’re not the cuddly Loving Shepherd. They say “May the days of his reign be few; let his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.” Ah, explain to me how that’s NOT outright sedition?

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