Trinidad Guardian:–  In troubling times of rising criminal activity and unemployment, people are turning to dark magic and supernatural for help.

Guardian Media spoke to dealers who have been in the business of selling occult supplies for decades.

Two dealers in Chaguanas said there has been an upsurge by youths delving in the supernatural and the latest wave of immigrants from Venezuela are also turning towards the unseen forces for assistance to seek employment and hide from immigration authorities.

One of the dealers, who identified himself as Zion, 50, who runs one of a handful of full-fledged spiritual supply stores at the Chaguanas Market, shared his experiences with Guardian Media.

Zion operates from the second floor. One has to enter the market and wind through the maze of hawkers peddling vegetables and fruits on the first level to get to the staircase to access the second level. There the scenario changes from fruits and vegetables to a mélange of clothing and reasonably-priced curried and Chinese dishes.

Zion’s booth is located almost in the centre of the ageing complex. It is a small shop that is easy to walk past until one is captured and drawn by the scent of incense. The booth-like shop is filled to the ceiling with hundreds of dark bottles containing oils that bear names as Voodoo, Come to Me, Go Away Evil and Commanding. Amulets for sale are strung everywhere in the 16-foot square store. There are candles shaped in form of human beings, books, cards, soaps and sprays.

A glass with water containing a mysterious bush is placed near the doorway and the atmosphere is hypnotically filled with the scent of incense and spiritual oils. There is a steady flow of customers.

Some come with a prepared list of items that they have gotten from the individual doing the “spiritual” or occult work for them. Others come with a level of desperation written on their face looking for some sort of answers and assistance.

Despite the noisy overhead fan that does a poor job to keep the incessant heat off, Zion sits in a small chair and chats openly.

He was born a Hindu and got a vision that he should follow the road of the Spiritual Baptist. Zion said when he became a Baptist he went into a state of spiritual revelation called mourning where he was given another vision that he should enter into his trade to assist people the correct way so they would not be misled.

He started the business 18 years ago. He said growing problems are causing the upsurge in persons seeking spiritual help.

“People have problems and they are looking for an alternative to solve their problems because our social system is dead in this country, there is no help and people are resorting to spiritual help. Some for good,
Zion fills a vial of spiritual oil for a customer at the Chaguanas Market. PICTURE SHASTRI BOODANsome for the wrong purpose, but mostly good.”

Despite some level of scepticism, people are seeing results, he said.

“This is real…It’s a good thing, this has nothing to do with religion, it has to do with spirituality.” He said there are spiritual workers from all faiths scattered across the islands who tap into the knowledge of the Kabbalah, an esoteric method, discipline, and school of thought that originated in Judaism.

He said with the upsurge of the Internet and social media more people are drawn towards the occult where they can find tremendous information on the subject.

Zion said the name of the oil can be misleading when it comes to the true purpose of the oil. He said it was important to get the proper information on the oils before using it, which he said can be found in occult books and online. He said the original intention of spiritual work was to get positive results.