Witch Doctor

A witch doctor was originally a type of healer who treated ailments believed to be caused by witchcraft. It is currently used to refer to healers in some third world regions, who use traditional healing rather than contemporary medicine. In the first world, it is sometimes used derogatorily to refer to chiropractors, homeopaths and faith healers.

In its original meaning, a witch doctor was emphatically not a witch himself but rather the person who had remedies to protect others against witchcraft. Witchcraft-induced conditions were his area of expertise:

Recourse was had by the girl’s parents to a cunning man, named Burrell, residing at Copford, who has long borne the name of “The Wizard of the North:” but her case was of so peculiar a character as to baffle his skill to dissolve the spell, Application was next made to a witch doctor named Murrell, residing at Hadleigh, Essex, who undertook to effect a cure, giving a bottle of medication, for which he did not forget to charge 3s. 6d., and promising to pay a visit on Monday evening to the “old witch,” Mrs. Mole, and put an end to her subtle arts... ... the news of the expected coming of the witch-doctor spread far and wide, and about eight o’clock there could not have been less than 200 people collected near the cottage of Mrs. Mole to witness the supernatural powers of the Hadleigh wizard. -The Ipswich Journal (Ipswich, England), Saturday, September 25, 1858

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Famous quotes containing the words doctor and/or witch:

    The said doctor can easily practise upon a page, and, if he does well, he can use his remedies on my son.
    Catherine De’ Medici (1519–1589)

    Ding-dong, the wicked witch is dead.
    E.Y. Harburg (1898–1981)