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Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

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Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by cam » Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:05 pm

I am a reporter working on a story about how Rootwork and Hoodoo practices and sales have migrated to the Internet. I would like to speak with some Lucky Mojo customers who wouldn't mind being quoted in The Journal.

Thanks much for any help.

Regards,

Cameron McWhirter
Wall Street Journal -- Atlanta Bureau
404.865.4384
cameron.mcwhirter@wsj.com

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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by catherineyronwode » Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:14 pm

For the record -- this is cat, and Cam McWhirter is legitimate.

I cannot give him the names of the clients in our datgabase, for privacy reasons, but he is interested in interviewing people, especially from the South, who found Lucky Mojo thtough the internet.

He is a very nice man and will be respectful of you and your practices and beliefs.

Thanks for reading this, and special thanks to any of y'all who contact him and tell him your story, especially if it includes a background of family traditions of conjure and rootworking.

Love you all!
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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by nagasiva » Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:24 am

If you wish to contact Cam McWhirter, feel free to do so -- but if anyone contacts you with unsolicited mail proposals, offers or questions that you feel are uncomfortable or inappropriate please let us know and don't feel obliged to respond to them. :)
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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by period » Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:22 am

Does anyone have links to where i can get information on the history of love spells, love magic and love potions.

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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by Mary Bee » Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:35 am

Hello:
If you read miss cat's online book "Hoodoo in Theory and Practice", you'll learn quite a bit about hoodoo love workings:

http://www.luckymojo.com/hoodoo.html

Pay attention to the Come To Me, Love Me and Reconciliation brands described.

Good luck,
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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by mysterymaiden » Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:33 am

Hi everyone! I have been browsing the forums and you all are very helpful to one another, so I'm sticking my virtual hand up hoping for some help from you all. I'm a murder mystery writer and I'm researching Hoodoo for a plotline I'm working on. My victim was found with a Mojo Bag (of course, they don't know at first what it is). Of course, I want to represent Hoodoo realistically and avoid at all costs the "Hollywood" idea of Hoodoo and the Voodoo/Hoodoo confusion, and am making a point of being very precise in the details to ensure the integrity of the mystery. So, with all that preamble, I'm hoping you all can help me with the contents of my victim's Mojo Bag. I have found plenty of information about what COULD be in his Mojo Bag, but I'm more concerned about what SHOULD be in his Mojo Bag, if you understand my meaning.

The year is 1899 in Louisiana and my victim is a rich, power-crazed man who heads up a secret brotherhood parading (pardon the pun) as a Krewe. Thanks to inside information, he has been taking over plantations in financial jeopardy, and has grown fearful of some of the inhabitants of one of the plantations. His Mojo Bag is for protection from their 'magick'.

I would really love any help or opinions, as I mentioned, I want to keep the details as correct as possible to do justice to Hoodoo as a whole. Thanks everyone!

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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by Mary Bee » Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:44 am

Good protective herbs would be John The Conqueror root, Devils' Shoestring Roots, and Black Cohosh Root.

I might include a bit of Master root so this man can be "masters" over his enemies.

Good luck,

Mary Bee
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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by catherineyronwode » Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:57 am

Each toby maker has his or her own ways of working. Some would use Graveyard Dirt in such a hand, or a coin.

As for roots, some might employ Devil's Shoe String Roots and Black Snake Root, as Mary Bee said. (She called it Black Cohosh; most Southerners call it Black Snake Root.) Sampson Snake Root is another good one, as is Rattle Snake Master root.

But a good hand is like a good recipe -- chef's hold their recipes tight, and so do toby makers.

And NO ONE in Louisiana would have spelled the word "magic" with a "k" at the time and place in which your story is set, as you just did. That peculiar pseudo-antique literary affectation was not yet visible on the horizon in Louisiana in 1899, LOL!

Good luck.
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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by mysterymaiden » Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:11 am

Wonderful information, thank you both so much! I knew that about the "k" on magic, it was more of a wink-and-nod type thing. I really appreciate the replies, you both have helped me immensely.

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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by catherineyronwode » Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:40 pm

Glad to be of help.

Alas, a wink-and-nod from one culture when posted in a culture that opposes it is not always received with cheer. Aleister Crowley, the notable promoter of "magick-with-a-k" was one of the most ignorant and vile racists ever to defile the study of occultism. Please see:

Aleister Crowley: A Legacy of Racism and Nationalism:
RACISM, GENDER-BIAS, and Other Forms of BIGOTRY in the Writings of ALEISTER CROWLEY

http://www.arcane-archive.org/faqs/crowleyracistfaq.php

Enjoy!
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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by mysterymaiden » Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:09 pm

Wow, that I definitelt DIDN'T know, but thanks for the info!

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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by ziasews » Sat Feb 09, 2013 1:03 pm

Hello all,

I am a writer, looking to use accurate Hoodoo information in my story.

One of the females is a rootworker and has had a forced abortion by a man who she will eventually work to ruin. She goes to the cemetary to visit the grave of her aborted baby.

What would she bring to protect the baby's spirit and help it obtain heaven?

thanks in advance. :)

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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by MoonBreath » Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:47 pm

What time period are we talking about? How far along was the baby?

Until quite recently, miscarried babies, stillborn, or any child who dies before baptism in the Catholic Church were buried in a special section just outside the graveyard.

I guess that wouldn't matter if your lady is not Catholic ... or if the story happened today.

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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by catherineyronwode » Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:49 pm

ziasews

I agree with MoonBreath -- and i will note, as did he or she, that you do not seem to provide us with a handle on the culture you are describing, or the time period.

1) Abortion was illegal everywhere in the United States until 1973. If your story is set before 1973, the following information will be of assistance:

A) Village midwives / cunning women who performed abortions usually buried any remains on their own home property, not in graveyards. There are many accounts of this.

B) Doctors and midwives who performed illegal abortions disposed of the remains surreptitiously, as any hint of such activity would have resulted in suspended licenses or hard jail time.

C) At the time of this writing i am 65 years old, and having had two illegal abortions myself, before Roe v. Wade, i speak from experience. During the era of illegal abortions, virtually all abortions were performed before the end of the first trimester -- and many doctors refused to perform them after the third month under any circumstances, due to concerns about the need for post-operative care, which could not be supplied in most "abortion mills" or "back alley" abortion clinics. When an abortion is performed in the first trimester the remains are insignificant and the remains were never taken to a cemetery, nor was the woman who had an illegal abortion allowed to see or handle them.

2) Regardless of the time period of your story, hoodoo is primarily the folk-magic of Black Protestant Christians.

A) Most Protestants do not believe in the baptism of infants, and babies who die before the age of consent are simply considered innocents. Hence if they die unbaptized, there is no need to "do" anything to ensure a favourable judgement of their souls after death. Furthermore, among most Protestants, infant baptism is actually considered to be a gross misunderstanding of God's plan for humanity. (To put it mildly!) Among most Protestants, baptism is performed by a preacher or pastor or apostle only upon those who have reached the age of consent, as Jesus demonstrated Himself when He was baptized by John the Baptist.

B) There is no provision in the Protestant denominations to "help [anyone] obtain heaven." In Protestant denominations, it is believed that God makes His own decisions, and only by grace can one be saved through faith, and not by the works of men, lest any man should boast, and above all this means that there are no "indulgences" or "penances" that can "buy" anyone's way into Heaven, and that, my friend, is that. Here's your proof text:

Ephesians 2:8-9
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

(In fact, the perceived abuse of the selling of indulgences and absolutions by mere men (that is, the idea that souls could reach Heaven through the "works" performed by Catholic priests or any other human beings) was one of the major foundational premises informing Luther's 95 Theses -- and thus undergirds the entire gamut of Protestant religious denominations.)

3) Regardless of the time period of your story, if the hoodoo practitioner in your fiction were Catholic, for instance, living in the Catholic areas of Louisiana or Maryland, then root doctor or not, she would probably pay money for a mass or a series of masses to be said for the unshriven baby and she could go to confession and be given a penance or series of penances to perform for her own sin. This has nothing at all to do with hoodoo, obviously, as it is a religious matter. Perhaps you have confused hoodoo with a religion?

Good luck!
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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by MoonBreath » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:56 pm

Like Miss Cat said, most Protestants would not be worried about the salvation of the baby - they would assume it was in Heaven. That is why I sort of assumed your lady was Catholic ... in the past many Catholics have experienced great stress over the salvation of their unbaptized babies. Especially if their community buries the unbaptized little ones just outside the graveyard. Of course, this is not an issue today since the Church recently stated these little ones are presumed to be with God. In the past, however, it was a big, painful issue for lots of folks.

If your setting is going to be a real place, like New Orleans or Mobile and the protagonist is Catholic ... do some historical research on how that Catholic community handled burial of unbaptized babies for your time period. I have heard some babies were buried in the graveyard (like if the family was close friends with the priest and he knew they were planning on having the child baptized promptly ). But that probably would have only happened in the past 50 years or so... Many Catholic cemeteries in the past had rules about the unbaptized not being buried on holy ground. But a grave is a grave, so dirt could still be taken from that child's grave and used ....

Good luck with the book!

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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by Vestapol » Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:23 pm

Friends, let me set the context for the point I want to make. I've been reading casually about Hoodoo for years. Mainly tangent to my passion for Blues history. I've visited Hoodoo stores in Atlanta and New Orleans, and done field research on Blues musicians in Anniston, Alabama and the Mississippi Delta. I've carried my precious Mojo Hand since 1994. I'm not new to Hoodoo, but...

I just read the Hoodoo History page at Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by catherine yronwode --HOODOO, CONJURE, and ROOTWORK: AFRICAN AMERICAN FOLK MAGIC (http://www.luckymojo.com/hoodoohistory.html) and gotta say it brought everything together for me. Etymology, geography, historical and folklore research on the many roots of Hoodoo. And it corrected false assumptions I'd never thought to question. Just excellent scholarly synthesis, cat.

So. For the sake of building new knowledge. Who else besides Forum participants has this vision? Is there any one scholarly book that captures all this? Are African-American Folklore scholars like Bernice Johnson Reagon connected to any of the Forum leaders? Is the Smithsonian hip to what's collected in this Forum and its related links?

Cheers,

Doug

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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by catherineyronwode » Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:01 pm

Doug, i've been pretty much 'buked and scorned by academics for the past 20 years. Some have asked for my time, and a few of those have even cited or quoted me -- but only as a shop-keeper, never as a researcher, because i am of no use to them in academia. You see, i have no letters behind my name and although i have taught 1,850 students (including all the moderators of this forum), i live outside the walled garden of the Universityverse, in the wilds of Autodidactia, where Smithonians never go. In truth, i don't have a high school diploma or even a GED.
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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by magicmurphy » Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:29 am

It chafes my hide to hear your work has been 'buked and scorned, Ms. cat.That sort of discrimination you've faced as an independent scholar is precisely what I'm fighting against. It's just wrong. And frankly, lettered types are missing the point by not including independent scholars in the circle.

The excuses given by ivory-tower types for not taking indigenous knowledge or experiential knowledge acquisition seriously is simply professional intimidation. And, frankly, jealousy. If an anthropologist or social scientist had the long history of relationships, rapport, and experiences getting to understand the cultural context of a folk practice that you have, they'd be rolling in the fellowship dough. The fact is many social scientists prefer theory to people, which as an anthropologist myself, I have no patience for.

The other issue in the halls of academe is still this idiotic problematic relationship scholars of human culture have with magic. Every culture in the world has its magical practices -- it's nearly a human universal -- but the questions of the discipline still are around why human beings think magically, why we engage in irrational practices, how can modern civilized people still believe in magic, yadda yadda... which, again, is people nervous about experiencing knowledge rather than theorizing safely about it.

I am "lettered" and even my research on a magical religious community raised eyebrows, as well as full knowledge that I was a magical practitioner. It forces even the lettered to fight to be taken seriously. I ended up lucking out -- the lettered folks on my dissertation committee included an astrologer, a gambler, and a Vodou houngan. And they accepted my "insider" knowledge as well as my booklearnin'.

Keep up the research and the writing, Ms. Cat. Your work is expertise. The ivory tower is not as solid as it looks, and eventually, knowledge and good work win out.

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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by Vestapol » Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:24 pm

catherineyronwode wrote:Doug, i've been pretty much 'buked and scorned by academics for the past 20 years. Some have asked for my time, and a few of those have even cited or quoted me -- but only as a shop-keeper, never as a researcher, because i am of no use to them in academia. You see, i have no letters behind my name and although i have taught 1,850 students (including all the moderators of this forum), i live outside the walled garden of the Universityverse, in the wilds of Autodidactia, where Smithonians never go. In truth, i don't have a high school diploma or even a GED.
There are some scholars who are genuine. Folklorists are a mixed lot, but some are just folks, so to speak. I don't know either of you very well, but intuition tells me Bernice Reagon's spirit is kindred with yours. I bet she would enjoy connecting with you ( you remember Sweet Honey In The Rock?). And she is well-networked with really good people.

Another one who would appreciate your work, tho he's not so deep into African American folklore as he is into Blues history, is Peter Guralnick in Boston. Maybe a connection with him would lead to a network of genuine people who happen to be folklore scholars.

Of course, you may not be looking to make that kind of contribution. I've never tried to publish my field research...I just do it for my own satisfaction. But when I shared it with Peter, he was very encouraging. Ya never know...

Cheers,

Vetsapol

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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by magicmurphy » Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:53 pm

Well, Vestapol, maybe we need to start a journal! Then we all can publish. :)

Best,
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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by Vestapol » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:16 pm

There's a Blues musicians' Forum on which I'm active. They'd appreciate knowing about Hoodoo Jukebox and HOODOO, CONJURE, and ROOTWORK: AFRICAN AMERICAN FOLK MAGIC. I wouldn't do this without permission from Catherine and LMForum leaders, but I'd like to cut & paste sections from here to that Forum.

What do you all think?

Vestapol

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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by catherineyronwode » Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:22 am

"What do you all think?"

"You ALL? "

You are asking "LMForum leaders" -- RANDOM STRANGERS TO YOU -- if THEY think it's okay for you to violate MY copyrights!

Are you NUTS?

I would be grateful if you mention our products and post links to your friends, of course, but you do NOT have my permission to do any "cutting and pasting" of any writing that is copyright by me or the company my husband and i co-own, Lucky Mojo, including this forum. It is AGAINST THE LAW.

This material, and every web page i have ever written and every book i have ever published, is protected by copyright and i will pursue you to the ends of the earth, spit in your face, and watch you die a terrible death if you violate my copyrights.

Thanks for understanding.
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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by galeb » Mon Jul 28, 2014 3:55 pm

I understand that in VooDoo the Invoking of the Gods is a common practice. Is this also done in HooDoo? I have seen no indication of such, in the writing on the site.
If it is not understood what Invoking is, it is calling the Gods, (one of them) to take over your body.
It is also common in Wicca as in calling down the moon. Being possessed by the Goddess.

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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by JayDee » Mon Jul 28, 2014 5:37 pm

Hoodoo is based on the Christian Tradition and is worked by like 90% protestant church members. Some catholic brothers and sisters also exist and use the saints and many of the catholic prayers. The invoking of gods is not a practice as i am aware in hoodoo. It is not uncommon to work with spirits and to pay for their help, ask for their help etc. Note that Voodoo and Hoodoo are two different practices, unfortunately they get mixed together because 1. African Americans practice both in different parts of the world, 2. they sound the same. Some similarities exist such as use in candles or herbs and stuff but those carry on in most folk traditions that exist in the world. In hoodoo we rely on God to answer our prayer and the spirits of the root to work with our intention.
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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by Miss Aida » Tue Jul 29, 2014 1:00 pm

Hello, galeb ,
Please be mindful of where you post questions.
This is not the appropriate thread.
As j82 has pointed out, Voodoo and Hoodoo are 2 different practices. We discuss Hoodoo on this forum.
I suggest that you read this webpage that Miss cat has written: http://www.luckymojo.com/hoodoohistory.html
This topic is now being moved to the appropriate subforum
Take care
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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by galeb » Mon Aug 25, 2014 2:14 pm

j82 wrote:Hoodoo is based on the Christian Tradition and is worked by like 90% protestant church members. Some catholic brothers and sisters also exist and use the saints and many of the catholic prayers. The invoking of gods is not a practice as i am aware in hoodoo. It is not uncommon to work with spirits and to pay for their help, ask for their help etc. Note that Voodoo and Hoodoo are two different practices, unfortunately they get mixed together because 1. African Americans practice both in different parts of the world, 2. they sound the same. Some similarities exist such as use in candles or herbs and stuff but those carry on in most folk traditions that exist in the world. In hoodoo we rely on God to answer our prayer and the spirits of the root to work with our intention.
Thank you, I was just curious, being some of the other forms of magic does so, and I knew that prayers to God was used. Thanks for the clarification.
P.S. I am well aware that Hoodoo and Voodoo are two entirely different practices.

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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by holyguyver » Sat Oct 29, 2016 1:18 pm

I am an author who is writing a fictional book which features a main character who is a practitioner of Louisiana Voodoo, but that only factors into the story in one scene, where she is to do a protection spell to protect her family from people with evil intent.

Since I want that scene to be as accurate, authentic, & non-offensive as possible, I was wondering if anyone could give me an example of such a spell; what objects would be used, what words would be spoken, etc.

I thank anyone for their response/help, & if you would like more information about the plot, in order to tailer the spell more to the character's situation, I would be willing to elaborate on the plot. Thank you, & perhaps your answer will also be able to help those who are in need of protecting their loved ones from people with evil intent :) .

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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by catherineyronwode » Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:07 pm

Hello,

This forum is about hoodoo, rootwork, and conjure, NOT Voodoo. The following thread contains information on the kind of spells you are seeking:

spells-to-protect-family-from-bad-famil ... t2235.html

And this thread may help you understand the difference between Voodoo and hoodoo:

hoodoo-religion-voodoo-wicca-santeria-w ... 10231.html

Good luck.
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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by holyguyver » Sat Oct 29, 2016 7:35 pm

Thank you, I am sorry that my question wasn't an appropriate fit for this forum; the only reason I posted this question at this forum is another author suggested I ask it here, so I did.

I have read the protect family post you link to, but since it is about protecting family from other family members or friends of the family, it doesn't fit my situation, as the character's situation is protecting her family from strangers in a new community they have moved to, a community which is discriminating prejudicially against them; also, as noted, the character practices Louisiana Voodoo. So is there a better forum for my question?

I apologize for asking my question in an incorrect place.

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Re: Queries From Writers in Search of Historical Knowledge of Hoodoo

Unread post by catherineyronwode » Sun Oct 30, 2016 10:22 am

No problem.

If the type of protection you wish the character in your novel to deploy is more general, try searching through this group of threads instead:

ask-us-for-conjure-help-with-protection ... k-f42.html

You can also use the Forum's search engine and search for key words such as family, entity, criminal, racist, danger, or whatever best suits your scenario.

Good luck.
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