Every week we are profiling a famous voodoo priest or priestess, telling their story and recounting their most powerful spells in a bit to highlight the true power of this misunderstood art. This week we are exploring the history of Pa Neezer, a contemporary Voodoo Priest and Obeah Man from Trinidad.
In this, our third installment we are looking at a man from more modern times, proving that even in the modern era Voodoo is still relevant. He was born as Ebenezer Elliot in Trinidad and he became famous as he combined Voodoo with Obeah. In a similar fashion to Voodoo, Obeah has an African heritage and refers to both benign and malicious magic. The similarities don’t stop there either because, as a result of popular culture references and negative publicity, most people are only aware of the darker side of Obeah which only covers a tiny percentage of what the practice is all about.
Pa Neezer utilised the positive aspects of both religions to become a powerful healer and unlike any other Obeah practitioners he always refused to use his power to aid people who wanted to inflict pain or engage with any of the darker spirits. He was a deeply spiritual and mellow man and had no interest in consorting with devils and demons. As a result, for the better part of three decades while he was respected he was never feared.
The reason Pa Neezer was so unique is that no only would he not engage with and harness the evil spirits he refused to actually place voodoo himself. His speciality was in lifting curses which meant that he became far more specialised than almost any other voodoo practitioner we have looked at. I focussed on those who had been placed under a curse or helping people who had simply fallen foul of the Ioa. It is from this belief that he became the most eminent healer on the entire island of Trinidad. The Voodoo religion states that illness is as a result of being engaged by a malicious Ioa and Neezer would engage the demon spirit, draw it out and heal the stricken with a series of incantations and ceremonies. He was so successful that the majority of Trinidadian residents would go to him before they went to the hospital, a true indication of the faith that people had in him, his ability and his compassion.
Neezer’s work ethic was legendary. He would frequently see several hundred patients a day and worked every day of the week. However, the one thing that set him apart from the previous priests and priestesses we have looked was the fact that he used his gift to become extraordinarily wealthy. This has lead cynics to suggest that he was a fraud but in truth if it wasn’t for the fact that he was able to get the desired results then it would have been very difficult for him to remain so successful for so many decades. It is also true to say that he didn’t just use the funds generated for personal wealth, as he poured a lot of his earnings into the religions of Obeah, Orisha and Voodoo, helping to maintain a link to the country’s African heritage that lasts even today.