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5 Bizarre Good Luck Charms

        Culture | Body Art

1
Raccoon Bacula
Sorry, buddy. One of your prized possessions is someone else's lucky charm. cullenphotos/iStock/Thinkstock
Sorry, buddy. One of your prized possessions is someone else's lucky charm. cullenphotos/iStock/Thinkstock

The baculum, or penis bone, of the raccoon is another lucky charm that seems to have been awfully unlucky for the animal itself, though it's said to bring good luck to people who own one. Also known as a Texas toothpick, the baculum is removed from the raccoon and boiled clean. Some users drill a hole in one end and wear it around the neck or wrist, while others simply slip it into a pocket. The lucky raccoon baculum tradition likely comes from the American South, where it's popular in hoodoo — American folk magic [source: Russell].

Carrying the baculum is said to bring luck, especially for gamblers, while some use it as an aphrodisiac or fertility charm. Artifacts found near former slave residences suggest these charms were popular among early African-Americans, who some sources suggest picked up the practice from Native Americans. While purists will want to stick with the real thing, more casual believers may be satisfied with the large array of synthetic (mostly plastic) alternatives available in modern shops — much to the relief of raccoons everywhere.


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