An Afro-Brazilian Mephistopheles? Considerations on an “Eshu” sculpture of the Rio de Janeiro Civil Police Museum

Arthur Valle

VALLE, ArthurAn Afro-Brazilian Mephistopheles? Considerations on an “Eshu” sculpture of the Rio de Janeiro Civil Police Museum.  19&20, Rio de Janeiro, v. XI, n. 1, jan./jun. 2016. Available at: <> [Português]

 *     *     *

1.       The starting point of the present paper is a work of art that no longer exists. It is a striking sculpture of “Eshu” [Figure 1a and Figure 1b] that belonged to the Rio de Janeiro Civil Police Museum (henceforth, Police Museum). Eshu is the Messenger Orisha of the Yoruba people, without whom “there is neither movement, transformation or reproduction, nor commercial exchanges or biologic fecundation.”[1] However, the iconography of the Police Museum’s “Eshu” is very different from that found in Yoruba tradition; rather, it is much closer to depictions of the Christian Devil, especially in his modern incarnation  as Mephistopheles.[2] How could an African Orisha acquire such an Europeanized appearance? The answer for this question must be sought in the process of syncretism that began with the first European contacts with Yoruba people in Africa: since then, the contradictory and irascible Eshu has been identified with the Devil.[3] By analyzing the sculpture’s appearance, as well as how it was acquired and displayed in the Police Museum, we will discuss how African cultures reinvented themselves in Brazil, but also how these same cultures were criminalized by the racism that structured Brazilian society throughout its Colonial and Postcolonial history.

2.       The Police Museum’s “Eshu” was discussed by anthropologist Yvonne Maggie in some of her studies,[4] which are illustrated by photographs taken by Luiz Alphonsus in the late1970s. These photographs are probably the last remaining vestiges of the sculpture, since it was destroyed in a fire in 1989, when the Police Museum’s collection was installed on Frei Caneca Street, in downtown Rio de Janeiro.[5] Consequently, this paper situates itself within the theoretical and methodological framework of Crypto-Art History, as outlined by Portuguese art historian Victor Serrão. Crypto-Art History is an Art History trend “attentive to the role that works of art lost in the maelstrom of centuries played in specific circumstances […] It is not a conceptual framework at the margins of Art History, but one of its complementary and irreplaceable components.”[6] More specifically, this paper is based on an iconological approach, which, as Serrão stresses, interconnects with and complements Crypto-Art History.[7]

3.       Besides being an excellent object to verify the potential of Crypto-Art History, the Police Museum’s “Exu” deserves attention for at least two other important reasons. First, a study of the “Eshu” sheds light on the visual culture employed by Afro-Brazilian religions during the early decades of the Brazilian Republic - this is a huge field of investigation that still needs more attention from Brazilian art historians.[8] Second, the analysis of the “Eshu” requires an interdisciplinary approach still lacking in the Brazilian art historiography of the nineteenth and early twentieth century:[9] indeed, the sculpture brings up problems that can only be addressed if we apply methods of various disciplines besides art history, such as legal, religious and literary studies; anthropology; and ethnography.

4.       An analysis of the “Eshu” must consider the museological context where it was installed when it was destroyed, i. e., the collection of the Police Museum. Most of this collection[10] consists of  cult objects seized in the early twentieth century by the Police, who had the task of persecuting what was then called baixo espiritismo (literally, low spiritism)[11] - a term that was often seen as synonym of Afro-Brazilian religious practices. This violent repression seems to be at odds with the first Brazilian Republican Constitution, enacted on February 24, 1891, which - unlike Brazilian Colonial and Imperial laws[12] - established a strict divide between State and Religion, in theory ensuring, thus, complete freedom of worship.[13] It should be remembered, however, that the first Republican Criminal Code, enacted on October 11, 1890 endorsed the repression of non-Catholic religious practices. In this sense, the Criminal Code articles defining “crimes against public health” such as the illegal practice of medicine (Art. 156),[14] spiritism, magic, spell (Art. 157),[15] and faith healing (Art. 158) are particularly noteworthy.[16] The legal anthropologist Ana Lúcia Schritzmeyer, who investigated trials of faith healing and charlatanism in Brazil, demonstrated that between 1900 and 1990 such crimes were usually associated with Afro-Brazilian religions.[17]

5.       Several objects connected to such practices and seized by the Police originated the Police Museum collection. In 1912, the museum was created, along with the Escola de Polícia (Police Academy), to assist in the practical classes to instruct future police officers. In 1940, the Police Museum’s Afro-Brazilian religious objects were cataloged in the inventory of the so-called “Black Magic Museum,” related to the Narcotic, Drugs and Mystification Section of the Rio de Janeiro Civil Police.[18] According to Cyro Advincula da Silva, current director of the Police Museum, it was the recognition of the historical, ethnographic and religious importance of the “Black Magic Museum” that “formed the basis for the claim for its preservation made by the Police Commissioner Silvio Terra to the recently founded National Service of Historic and Artistic Heritage.”[19] In fact, the “Black Magic Museum’s Collection” is the first inscription in the book of Archaeological, Ethnographic and Landscape Heritage of the National Service, dated May 5, 1938.[20]

6.       In 1945, the Afro-Brazilian religious objects of the Police Museum were incorporated into the Museum of the Federal Department of Public Security.[21] In 1972, along with other items seized by the Police during the so-called Estado Novo (literally, New State), the Police Museum’s collection was installed in the aforementioned building on Frei Caneca Street. It was in this building that, in the late 1970s, the “Eshu” was photographed by Luiz Alphonsus during an investigation sponsored by FUNARTE and led by Yvonne Maggie, Márcia Contins and Patrícia Monte-Mór. One of Alphonsus’ photos shows the exhibition design of the Police Museum’s collection [Figure 2], which the sociologist Alexandre Fernandes Corrêa qualified as “spooky,” quoting its description made by Maggie, Contins and Monte- Mór:

7.                                             To enter in the Police Museum is an extremely anguished experience. The feeling is similar to that of being inside a horror movie or having a surreal hallucination. The room, dimly lit, and the dusty items contribute to this feeling. The most diverse objects are mingled: Eshu and knives, drugs and fetuses, rite artifacts and weapons, Nazi flags and press photos of notorious crimes.[22]

8.       In one of his studies, Corrêa presents a map of the exhibition [Figure 3]:[23] along with heterogeneous items - objects for forgery and drug trade, firearms, a mannequin, and so on - the Afro-Brazilian religious objects were arranged as in a terreiro (Afro-Brazilian temple),[24] with the Eshus’ images separated from the images of other Orishas, the atabaques (hand drums) separated from the images and the offerings to the Orishas, according to their functions, enclosed in different shelves.[25]

9.       In the first photo by Alphonsus showing the “Eshu” in the Police Museum [Figure 1a], the character has his head bent toward his chest and his body is enveloped by a black cloak, bearing a rope around his neck. It is shown in a dramatic low-angle shot and illuminated by a light source located on its left, projecting dreadful shadows, worthy of a 1920s German Expressionist movie. It is difficult to estimate the size of the sculpture only from this remaining photo; however, its description in the 1940 inventory tells us that it was a “statuette,” implying that it was not very large.

10.    Within a glass box placed on a pedestal, the “Eshu” was exhibited as if it was incarcerated[26] - quite properly, one could argue, for an object that was seized by the Police. This kind of display is commonly imposed over other objects seen as evil: its intention is to avoid the potential harm that these objects could cause to people who come in contact with them. The most famous example is perhaps the rag doll Annabelle [Figure 4], today preserved in the Warren's Occult Museum in Connecticut, USA,[27] which starred in some recent movies.[28] Annabelle is enclosed in a house-shaped wooden box, around which can be read signs such as “WARNING, POSITEVELY DO NOT OPEN,” admonishing against the threat represented by the doll.

11.    A similar message was conveyed by the exhibition of the “Eshu” on Frei Caneca Street. On the background of the photo, it is possible to identify Nazi flags and banners; in the far right, there is a sharp trident - a typical attribute of “Eshu” in Brazil, but also of the Devil in Christian iconography. In a deliberate manner, these elements around the “Eshu” seem to emphasize its supposed evilness. As Maggie recalls, while she was researching in the Police Museum, “some informants affirmed that [objects such as the “Eshu”] were dangerous, loaded with evil and that it was risky to unravel their origins.”[29] Such warnings derived from the belief that “the objects can carry the spell, i. e., the objects themselves are capable of doing the evil intended by the sorcerer. It is advised not to touch them, because they could cause great harm.”[30] However, despite being incarcerated in its glass box, the power of the Police Museum’s “Eshu” could not be contained: in the late 1970s, “people went to the museum to worship the images, dropping coins and flowers at their feet. For the museum’s visitors, those images [...] were even more powerful because they belonged to mighty sorcerers.”[31]

12.    The second photo of the “Eshu” taken by Luis Alphonsus shows a close-up of its head [Figure 1b]. Although the polychrome paint of the Police Museum’s “Eshu” exhibited signs of damage, it is possible to affirm that it was Caucasian and had blue eyes, apparently made of glass beads. “Eshu” had an aquiline nose, a forked beard and a sinister smirk; a black hood covered his head, behind which is possible to see the red protuberance - probably a feather. In this second photo, the rope around the neck of the sculpture is more evident.

13.    In our opinion, it would be very difficult to establish any connection between the appearance of the Police Museum’s Eshu” and that of an African Orisha. This leads us back to the iconographic problems posed by the sculpture; therefore, it is important now to present the iconography of the Yoruba Eshu, in order to verify how divergent it is from the Police Museum’s Eshu.” In addition, this presentation is relevant here because the iconography of the Yoruba Eshu is rarely discussed in Brazil outside the circle of experts.

14.    The access to Yoruba mythology is, however, difficult and mostly indirect, because it was based on oral tradition. Only in the nineteenth century it began to be compiled in written form, mainly by Europeans and North Americans in diverse locations throughout the diaspora, such as Brazil and Cuba.[32] One of the largest collection of Eshu myths was published by the sociologist Reginaldo Prandi in 2001 and has only thirty items. In this collection, some objects are directly associated with the Orisha. The main one is his ogó, a mighty club,[33] usually made of wood and with two calabashes, mimicking the penis anatomy. According to the myths, other attributes associated with Eshu are: the ecodidé, a red parrot feather,[34] a symbol of respect that prompts Olorun[35] to promote Eshu to the position of messenger and dean of the Orishas; a pointed hat, white on one side and red on the other, with which Eshu triggers a fight between two friends;[36] a pot, which becomes Eshu’s head (ori);[37] a white bonnet of Babalaô (Afro-Brazilian priest), which Eshu uses while healing Olofi;[38] a knife, with which Eshu hurts the hands of the inhabitants of an entire city, in order to help his friend Orunmila.[39]  Additional objects such as yams, a goat, and coconuts are also associated with the Orisha.

15.    Regarding Eshu sculptures produced by the Yoruba in Africa, a starting point is the classic study by Joan Wescott on Eshu-Elegba images.[40] Some attributes of these sculptures - such as clubs, calabashes, and knives - are the same as the ones found in Eshu myths; but cowries, coins, mirrors, combs, spoons, whistles, and pipes also appear [Figure 5]. The most distinctive and prominent attribute of the Yoruba Eshu sculptures is, however, a long-tailed hair-dress [Figure 6 and Figure 7], which projects itself from the top of the Orisha’s head and often acquires a phallic form [Figure 8]. Wescott interprets these attributes as symbols of Eshu’s phallic qualities, of his “instinctual energy, masculine strength, and potentiality”[41] - an interpretation that was criticized as reductive in more recent studies.[42] However, what is important to highlight here is that none of the attributes documented by Wescott is evident in the Police Museum’s “Eshu.” The same occurs with the attributes referred to in the myths: only the red protuberance over the sculpture’s head could be associated with the ecodidé.

16.    But this red protuberance could also be explained without reference to Yoruba iconography. In this sense, it is important to remember how the Police Museum’s “Eshu” is related to Christian iconography, especially that of the Devil. This relationship was clearly stated in the sign accompanying the “Eshu” when it was exhibited in Frei Caneca Street: “This representation of Eshu is typical of the influence of Christianity in the Afro-Brazilian cults. However, the match is somewhat oblique. While the Satan of Christianity is depicted as an undesirable entity cast out from paradise, Eshu in the Afro-Brazilian cults is depicted as a kind of ambassador of men to the court of the Orishas.”[43]

17.    The Police Museum’s Eshu sculpture is, therefore, a result of a syncretic process that began to take shape in the nineteenth century through the writings of European travelers who came in contact with the Eshu cult in Africa. In 1857, for example, the American Baptist missionary Thomas J. Bowen stated: “In addition to all their other idols, usually called devils by the Englishmen on the coast, the Yorubas worship Satan himself, under the name of Eshu, which appears to mean ‘the ejected’ from shu, to cast out.”[44] In his 1885 book, the abbot Pierre Bouche presented a similar idea: “the blacks acknowledge Satan’s power of possession; they usually call him Elegbara,[45] meaning the one who takes control of us.” [46]  In the first European book to systematically deal with Yoruba religion, the French priest R. P. Baudin also presented a very negative interpretation of Eshu.[47] The engraving that accompanies the passage on the Orisha is particularly emphatic [Figure 9]: it shows a man sacrificing a bird to Eshu, represented by a statuette with horns inside a little house, and the caption reads: “ELEGBA THE EVIL SPIRIT OR THE DEVIL.”

18.    In early twentieth century Brazil, Raimundo Nina Rodrigues[48] and João do Rio[49] also identified Eshu with the Christian Devil. This identification culminates in the syncretic religions that appeared throughout the diaspora. It is worth summarizing Prandi’s thesis on this syncretism and its consequences for the demonization of Eshu:

19.                                         Syncretism is not, as it is commonly thought, a mere table of correspondence between Orishas and Catholic Saints [...] Syncretism is the seizing of the Orisha religion within a model that presupposes, above all, the existence of two antagonistic poles, governing all human actions: good and evil; virtue on the one hand, sin on the other. This is a Judeo-Christian concept that did not exist in Africa. [...]

20.                                         The good side, so to speak, was filled by the Orishas, with the exception of Eshu; Oxalá,[50] the creator of mankind, assumed the role of Jesus Christ, the son of God, keeping his position in the top of the Orishas’ hierarchy, a position already occupied in Africa [...]

21.                                         Certainly, it was the process of Christianization of Oxalá and other Orishas that pushed Eshu to the domain of Catholic Hell, as a counterpoint required by syncretism. When the Orisha religion was adjusted to the Christian model, the satanic part of the scheme God-Devil / Redemption-Damnation / Heaven-Hell was clearly missing: and who was better than Eshu to play the Devil’s role? [51]

22.    Eshu’s identification with the “Lord of Hell” reached its apex in the early twentieth century,[52] within modalities of cult such as “macumba, quimbanda and umbanda [that] represent an unified and coherent system articulated around what [sociologist David J. Hess] calls a ‘syncretic dynamic’.”[53] From our understanding, it was in the context of these syncretic cults, especially in large cities such as Rio de Janeiro, that iconographic attributes such as the trident, horns, tail, and hooves began to be explicitly associated with Eshu [Figure 10a and 10b]. Up to the present day, these attributes still characterize most Eshu’s images worshiped in Brazil. This can be easily verified visiting any Afro-Brazilian religious shop, where the exhibition of Eshu sculptures at the entrance has a ritualistic meaning [Figure 11a and 11b].[54]

23.    However, the Police Museum’s “Eshu” diverges from these well-known representations of the Devil. Certainly, it recalls current images of the so-called “Black Cape Eshu” [Figure 12a and 12b], but above all another type of Devil’s depiction, one more modern and refined: the Devil as Mephistopheles. In one of his books on the “Prince of Darkness,” the historian Jeffrey Burton Russell reproduces a photography of a nineteenth century sculpture of Mephistopheles, made of bronze and ivory [Figure 13] (probably, it is a version of a well-known sculpture of  Mephistopheles created by the French artist Jacques-Louis Gautier in the mid-nineteenth century [Figure 14]). The similarities with the Police Museum’s “Eshu” such as the “scholar’s cap, forked beard and sinister smirk,”[55] are remarkable. In addition, the Mephistopheles shown in Russel’s book has a long feather on his head - reinforcing, thus, the hypothesis that the similar protuberance on the “Eshu”’s head was also a feather.

24.    Not by chance, the “Eshu” is referred in the inventory of the “Black Magic Museum” as “a statuette representing Mephistopheles (Eshu), the highest entity of the Malei lineage.”[56] Mephistopheles is a character of the legend of Faust, a scholar that sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for wisdom and pleasure. According to Russell, the name Mephistopheles is a “modern invention of uncertain origins”[57] and first appears in a book on Faust published by a German anonymous writer in 1587.[58] However, the prototype of Mephistopheles that predominated in the European literature of the following centuries can be found even earlier, as the character Panurge who firstly appears in the books protagonized by Gargantua and Pantagruel, published by François Rabelais between c. 1532 and 1564. Undoubtedly, the most common depiction of Mephistopheles found in European modern culture is very similar to that of Panurge - “tall, handsome, elegant, and of noble lineage, though traces of his demonic origins appear in his pallor, his blemishes, and his great age.”[59]

25.    Several European works of art of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries bear witness to the huge spread of this Mephistophelean version of the Devil, which was very popular also in Brazil. It is known, for example, that copies of Gautier’s Mephistopheles could be found in Brazil.[60] In 1883, the painter Francisco Aurélio de Figueiredo e Mello exhibited a “Mephistopheles with sardonic smirk and serpent eyes”[61] in the art gallery Glace Elégante, in downtown Rio de Janeiro. Moreover, the Devil frequently appeared in illustrated magazines published in Rio. One of them, which circulated in mid-1870s, was even entitled Mephistopheles and featured the character in many of its covers [Figure 15].[62] In another important magazine of the 1870s, O Besouro (literally, The Beetle), the Portuguese artist Raphael Bordallo Pinheiro “countless times evoked [...] Faust, the knowledgeable scholar, and Mephistopheles, in his caricatures. The caricaturist assigned the role of Faust to the Emperor Pedro II and the role of Mephistopheles to the Minister of Treasury Gaspar da Silveira Martins” [Figure 16].[63]

26.    While connected to literature or criticizing Imperial politics, Mephistopheles was a well-known character among the Brazilian elite of the late nineteenth century. Therefore, it is perfectly comprehensible his appropriation by Afro-Brazilian religions that, “with their eshus associated with the devil, [...] held a fascination for even the most ‘evolved’ segments of the bourgeoisie. In Rio de Janeiro in the late nineteenth century, Satanism was fairly widespread, as João do Rio’s report shows.”[64] Indeed, the Police museum’s “Eshu” could be part of the Black Mass that João do Rio described in 1904, with a decadent refinement comparable to that of Joris-Karl Huysmans’ writings.[65]

27.    In conclusion, it is possible to assert that the metamorphosis of Eshu in Mephistopheles discussed in this paper is an ambivalent phenomenon. On the one hand, it is an important example of the adaptation of African religions in Brazil, because it was precisely in the syncretic cults that Eshu preserved one of his main characteristics: his incessant ability to transform himself. Up to the present day, as social anthropologist Stefania Capone synthetizes, it is “at the heart of the[se] cults [...] that the god of West Africa, the god of the Yoruba and of the Fon (under his Legba aspect),[66] finds a space to exist and transform himself - one of his characteristic traits.”[67] Assuming the appearance of Mephistopheles - a refined version of the Devil, famous among Brazilian elites of the early twentieth century -, Eshu has once again demonstrated his cunning, guile and ability to manipulate the fate.

28.    On the other hand, this metamorphosis needs to be understood as a symptom of the imposition of European values at the expense of African values. In this light, the syncretism that gave birth to the Police Museum’s “Eshu” is in itself ambivalent, marked by the racism that structured Brazilian society throughout its history and literally criminalized Afro-Brazilian cultures. Many of the facts related to the “Eshu” recall, indeed, domination and racism: from its depiction as the Christian Devil, through its seizing by the police, to the degrading way in which it was exhibited to the public, before its destruction.

29.    The “Eshu” was destroyed, but not forgotten: through the remaining documents and photographs, as well as the studies conducted during the last decades, his agency is partially latent. Considering this, the present paper strived to contribute to a reconsideration of the position occupied by artworks such as the “Eshu” into the canon of Brazilian art history. We believe that the analysis of this sculpture is relevant and even urgent today, because Brazilian social problems that gave shape to the “Eshu” and many other Afro-Brazilian artworks remain still unsolved.

English version by Arthur Valle and Kelly Tavares


[1] PRANDI, R. Mitologia dos Orixás. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2001, p. 21. For more information on Eshu, see: LOPES, N.. Exu. In: ____. Enciclopédia brasileira da diáspora africana [recurso eletrônico]. 4ª. ed. São Paulo: Selo Negro, 2011, pos. 10198-10228; SILVA, V. G. da. Exu: o guardião da casa do futuro. Rio de Janeiro: Pallas, 2015.

[2] RUSSELL, J. B.. Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern World. Ithaca, NY: Cornell, 1986; RUSSELL, J. B.. The Prince of Darkness: Radical Evil and the Power of Good in History. Ithaca, London: Cornell University Press, 1988, especially chapters 11-16.

[3] Pierre Verger sums up this process of identification as follows: “Eshu is an Orisha or Ebora with multiple and contradictory aspects, making it difficult to define him in any coherent way. He is irascible and likes to provoke dissensions and disputes, to cause accidents and public or private calamities. He is so cunning, rude, vain and indecent that the first Christian missionaries, frightened by his characteristics, compared Eshu with the Devil, making him the symbol of evil, perversity, abjection, and hatred, in opposition to God’s kindness, purity, elevation, and love.” VERGER, P. F.. Orixás deuses iorubás na África e no Novo Mundo. 6ª. ed. Salvador: Corrupio, 2002, p. 76.

[4] MAGGIE, Y. Medo do feitiço: relações entre magia e poder no Brasil. Rio de Janeiro: Arquivo Nacional, 1992, n. p. (Documentário fotográfico); MAGGIE, Y.. O arsenal da macumba. Revista de História da Biblioteca Nacional, ano 1, n. 6, dez. 2005, p. 39; MAGGIE, Y.; RAFAEL, U. N.. Sorcery objects under institutional tutelage: magic and power in ethnographic collections. Vibrant, v. 10, n. 1, 2013, p. 305-306.

[5] CORRÊA, A. F.. O Museu Mefistofélico e a distabuzação da magia: análise do tombamento do primeiro patrimônio etnográfico do Brasil. São Luís/MA: EDUFMA, 2009, p. 191.

[6] SERRÃO, V. “Sobre o conceito de Cripto-História da Arte.” In: ___. A Cripto-História da Arte. Análise de Obras de Arte Inexistentes. Lisboa: Livros Horizonte, 2001, p. 11, 13.

[7] Ibidem, p. 13

[8] A noteworthy exception is Roberto Conduru and his extensive production in the field, which includes books such as: CONDURU, R.. Arte Afro-Brasileira. Belo Horizonte: C/Arte, 2007; CONDURU, R.. Pérolas negras - primeiros fios. Experiências artísticas e culturais nos fluxos entre África e Brasil. Rio de Janeiro: Eduerj, 2013,

[9] CARDOSO, R.. Histories of nineteenth-century Brazilian art: a critical review of bibliography, 2000-2012. Perspective, 2 | 2013, p. 320-321. Available at: <>. Accessed July 1, 2016.

[10] The collection of Afro-Brazilian religious objects of the Police Museum is preserved in the technical reserve of the Civil Police building on 42 Relação Street, in downtown Rio de Janeiro. I would like to acknowledge Dr. Cyro Advincula da Silva for this information.

[11] MAGGIE, RAFAEL, op. cit., 278.

[12] In particular, see the so-called Ordenações Filipinas and the Imperial Political Constitution of Brazil (enacted on March 25, 1824).

[13] As defined in the Art. 71 of the 1891 Constitution: “All individuals and religious groups may publically and freely practice their cults, associating themselves for this purpose and acquiring assets, subject to the  provisions of common law .” Constituição da República dos Estados Unidos do Brasil (de 24 de fevereiro de 1891). Available at: <>. Accessed March 1, 2016.

[14] “CHAPTER III ON CRIMES AGAINST PUBLIC HEALTH. Art. 156. To exercise medicine in any of its branches, or dentistry or pharmacy; to practice homeopathy, dosimetry, hypnotism, or animal magnetism, without being qualified to do so under the laws and regulations:  Penalties - one to six months prison and a fine of 100 to 500$000.” DECRETO Nº 847, DE 11 DE OUTUBRO DE 1890 Promulga o Codigo Penal. Available at: <>. Accessed March 1, 2016.

[15] “CHAPTER III ON CRIMES AGAINST PUBLIC HEALTH. [...] Art. 157 To practice spiritism, magic and its spells, to use talismans and fortune-teller cards to stir feelings of hatred or love, to inculcate cure of curable or incurable diseases, in short, to fascinate and subjugate public belief. Penalties - one to six months prison and a fine of 100 to 500$000.”. Idem.

[16] “CHAPTER III ON CRIMES AGAINST PUBLIC HEALTH. [...] Art. 158. To minister, or simply prescribe, as a means of cure for internal or external use in any prepared form, a substance from any of the kingdoms of nature, thus acting as a faith healer. Penalties - one to six months prison and a fine of 100 to 500$000..” Idem.

[17] SCHRITZMEYER, A. L. P. . Sortilégio de Saberes: curandeiros e juízes nos tribunais brasileiros (1900-1990). São Paulo: IBCCRIM, 2004.

[18] MAGGIE, Medo do feitiço..., p. 277-279; CORRÊA, op. cit., p. 171-174.

[19] Relicário multicor. A coleção de cultos afro-brasileiros do Museu da Polícia Civil do Estado do Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro: Centro Cultural Municipal José Bonifácio; Museu da Polícia Civil do RJ; Instituto de Artes da UERJ, 2008, p. 3. Today, the National Service of Historic and Artistic Heritage is called National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage.

[20] The “Black Magic Museum’s Collection” is registered under n. 0035-T-38; See Livro dos Bens Culturais Inscritos nos Livros do Tombo. Rio de Janeiro, 2013, p. 120.

[21] MAGGIE, op. cit., p. 261.

[22] CORRÊA, op. cit., p. 150.

[23] Ibidem, p. 182.

[24] In Afro-Brazian religions, terreiro (from the Latin, terrarium) is the place where the cult is performed  and offerings are made to the Orishas.

[25] MAGGIE, op. cit., p. 262.

[26] BUONO, A.. Encarcerado: Crime e Visualidade no Museu da Polícia Civil do Estado do Rio de Janeiro. In: Caderno de Resumos do XXXIII Colóquio do Comitê Brasileiro de História da Arte, Rio de Janeiro, 2013 - Territórios da Arte. Uberlândia: UFU, 2014, p. 236-237.

[27] This museum is directed by investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren and its official website is available at: <>. Accessed on March 1, 2016. In this website, a version of Annabelle’s history can be read. See.: <>. Accessed on March 1, 2016.

[28] The Conjuring (2013), directed by por James Wan; Annabelle (2014), directed by John R. Leonetti.

[29] MAGGIE, op. cit., p. 261

[30] Ibidem, p. 264.

[31] MAGGIE, O arsenal da macumba,  p. 39.

[32] PRANDI, op. cit., p. 26-30.

[33] Ibidem, p. 41, 66.

[34] Ibidem, p. 42. The ecodidé is also associated with other Orishas, specially Oxalá. See: SANTOS, D. M. dos. Por que Oxalá usa ekodidé. Salvador: Fundação Cultural do Estado da Bahia; Cavaleiro da Lua, 1966.

[35] Olorun, “literally, Lord of the Sky; it is the name by which the Supreme God is known, especially in Brazil” (Ibidem, p. 568).

[36] Ibidem, p. 50

[37] Ibidem, p. 48.

[38] Ibidem, p. 53. Olofi “is the denomination of the Supreme God (Olodumare, Olorun) in Cuba.” (Idem, p. 568).

[39] Ibidem, p. 69. Orunmila “is the Orisha who knows the fate of men, holds the wisdom of the oracle [Ifá], and teaches how to solve all sorts of problem and affliction” (Ibidem, p.23).

[40] WESCOTT, J. The Sculpture and Myths of Eshu-Elegba, the Yoruba Trickster. Definition and Interpretation in Yoruba Iconography. Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, Vol. 32, No. 4 (Oct., 1962), pp. 336-354

[41] Ibidem, p. 349.

[42] See, for example: PARSONS, S. W.. Interpreting Projections, Projecting Interpretations: A Reconsideration of the “Phallus” in Esu Iconography. African Arts, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Summer, 1999), p. 36-45, p. 90-91

[43] MAGGIE, RAFAEL, op. cit., p. 305. According to Maggie, this sign was written by “one of the museum directors, a member of an Umbanda community who specialized in decorating altars for terreiros in the 1960s. The museum director often quotes from books by renowned anthropologists who have studied these belief” (Ibidem, p. 303), such as Arthur Ramos, Edson Carneiro and Roger Bastide.

[44] BOWEN, T. J. Central Africa. Adventures and missionary labors in several countries in the interior of Africa, from 1849 to 1856. Charleston: Southern Baptist Publication Society, 1857, p. 317.

[45] “ELEGBARA. In Brazill, is one of the names of Eshu; it is analogous to the Cuban name Eleguá.” LOPES, op. cit, pos. 9599

[46] BOUCHE, Pierre. Sept ans en Afrique Occidentale. La Côte des Esclaves et le Dahomey. Paris: Librairie Plon, 1885, p. 120.

[47] BAUDIN, R. P. Fétichisme  e  féticheurs. Lyon: Séminaire des Missions africaines, 1884, p. 49-53.

[48] RODRIGUES, Raimundo Nina. O Animismo Fetichista dos Negros Bahianos. Salvador, Reis & Comp., 1900. Reedição: São Paulo, Civilização Brasileira, 1935, p. 40.

[49] RIO, João do. As religiões no Rio. 4. edição. Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio Editora, 2015, p. 19, 48.

[50] Oxalá, also known as Obatala, is the lord of the sky and creator of mankind.

[51] PRANDI, Reginaldo. Exu, de mensageiro a diabo: sincretismo católico e demonização do orixá Exu. Revista Usp, São Paulo, n. 50, 2001, p. 51.

[52] Ibidem, p. 52

[53] CAPONE, S.. Searching for Africa in Brazil: Power and Tradition in Candomblé. Kindle Edition. Durham and London: Duke University, 2010, p. 8, pos. 297. For a discussion on macumba, quimbanda and umbanda, see: “The Spirits of Darkness: Exu and Pombagira in Umbanda.” Ibidem, p. 89-118.

[54] MOURÃO, T. M. de S.. Encruzilhadas da cultura: imagens de Exus e Pombajiras na Umbanda. Rio de Janeiro, 2010. Dissertação (Mestrado) - Instituto de Artes/UERJ, p. 80, 85.

[55] RUSSELL, The Prince of Darkness…, pos. 3686.

[56] MAGGIE, op. cit., p. 277; CORRÊA, op. cit., p. 172. Probably, the term “Malei” refers here to one of the so-called “lines” of quimbanda.

[57] RUSSELL, op. cit., pos. 2925.

[58] Historia von D. Johann Fausten (ed. Johann Spies). Frankfurt am Main in 1587

[59] RUSSELL, op. cit., pos. 2913.

[60] See: PRESTES, W.. Linha de Fogo. O Malho, Rio de Janeiro, year XXVIII, n. 1411, 28 set. 1929, p. 38-39.

[61] FERREIRA, F.. Belas Artes: Estudos e Apreciações. 2 ed. Porto Alegre, RS: Zouk, 2012, p. 144.

[62] Mephistopheles was published  between 1874 and 1875 and it was  illustrated  by Cândido Aragonez de Faria, who later on would have a sucessful career in France..

[63] SILVA, R. J.. Quando a caricatura se explica: um exemplo português no Brasil oitocentista. In: VALLE, A.; DAZZI, C.; PORTELLA, I.. (Org.). Oitocentos - Tomo III: intercâmbios culturais entre Brasil e Portugal. 2 ed. CEFET: Rio de Janeiro, 2014 , p. 462-463 (see link).

[64] CAPONE, p. 74, pos. 1329..

[65] RIO, op. cit., 180-191.

[66] “LEGBÁ. Entity worshiped in cults of the Jeje people, in some aspects is equivalent to the Eshu of the Nago people.” LOPES, op. cit, pos. 14731

[67] CAPONE, op. cit., 47.