The Indianapolis Colts were favored to win yesterdays Super Bowl everywhere from Vegas to the White House. But one woman wasn't buying it: Lisa Johnson has enough experience with voodoo to know that the Saints were unbeatable.
Johnson is a for-hire expert in all your voodoo needs. She considers herself a messenger with a touch of medicine woman, and she's been advising and protecting NFL players for years. Her grandfather was a full-on voodoo priest, and her older brother is the NFL single-season yardage record-holder Eric Dickerson. ("Eric Dickerson wore 29," she explained to us. "9 + 2 is 11. Eric was born on 9/2." 11 again. Lisa's birthday: 11/11.)
Johnson told us her grandfather would "drink potions and "concoct stuff" to protect Dickerson, explaining his exceptional rookie season, and she's used her knowledge of voodoo to help members of the Indianapolis Colts, including Joseph Addai and Marshall Faulk, for years.
Johnson (pictured with Cleveland Browns running back Jamal Lewis) says she can protect players from harm and even change the outcome of games. But she's only one woman. The Colts were up against every single "Southern root doctor, voodoo priest, and conjurer" in the Bayou last night. Johnson knew the Saints were getting special help when she watched the NFC Championship against the Vikings two weeks ago: quarterback Brett Favre took a beating, playing terribly after a whole season of the best football of his long career.
"I guarantee you," she said, "when he got up at the end of the game, he felt like an old man."
The conjurers went to work on the Colts the week before the game. "It's so easy because a lotta people don't realize that those people down South, those southern conjurers, take pictures of the opposing players from the internet." Players' height, weight, and birthdays are easily available for any would-be psychics, voodoo priests, and mediums. The most important thing is if a target's eyes are visible in the photo. The eyes are the key to an effective curse. "When you have your cards read, and you want to change something in your life, they tell you, bring me a picture where the eyes are visible."
From midnight to 5 a.m.—"the witching hour"—the conjurers "burn candles, sage and tobacco" Chicken feet were used to curse opposing players and protect the Saints.
By the time the game started, Johnson knew the Colts couldn't win, so she limited her own interventions to protecting them from injury. "My thing is to make sure people don't get hurt," she said. She told us that she was sure Drew Brees and Reggie Bush were under protection.
The game itself was no surprise. "They started off good," she said of the Colts, "but look what happened. Those Southern Conjurers went to work, and everything that could go wrong for the Colts did go wrong." (We note that her client Joseph Addai had his best performance in years in the first half, only to be shut down in the second.)
"You can believe in it or not," Johnson said. "But they believe in it. And that makes it real."