"Black Cat Ashes. Another full strength lucky • • • for your lucky bag . For
thousands of years the black cat has been the lucky symbol. If you have enemies,
then carry these ashes - a wonderful incense for love and dreams."
Many folks have heard about the horrible practice of boiling a black cat alive in order to procure that one special bone that will render one invisible or bring good luck, especially with regards to gambling. Robert Tallant wrote about the sensational New Orleans Voodoo rite and the tale has been told and retold for years ever since by countless authors and reporters. The Black Cat Bone was a most coveted bone by believers, and even today, there is a power and mystique associated with it due to the fact that it's method of procurement is such a taboo practice. Animal cruelty is not an acceptable activity, and while it was not considered such by practitioners in the past, it is in no uncertain terms considered cruel today. This taboo, along with the actual ritual itself lends a certain forbidden knowledge to the curio, something most people will never experience (thankfully). But, there are many paths along a similar destination, and perhaps the newer works created with the same goal in mind with similar ingredients, can be just as powerful.
In addition to the special bone used for gambling, there was also the practice of killing a black cat in order to get a left front shoulder bone as an ingredient for a powder which was created to keep the law away and bring success. Called Black Cat Dust, this powder was believed to bring good luck in every area of life, from getting a job to making friends and keeping away enemies.
Black Cat Dust consisted of the powdered left front shoulder bone of a black cat mixed with ground up lodestone. The combination was then placed inside a bottle of Jockey Club Cologne and worn to attract luck, make friends and get a job. The technique for grinding both the lodestone and the black cat bone was similar - it involved grinding each back and forth using a screen. This technique was described by an informant from Tennessee in Harry Middleton Hyatt’s Hoodoo Conjuration Witchcraft and Rootwork:
1731. Tuh git a job. Well, now yo' git chew some lodestone an' yo' set down an' yo' git chew a screenin' wire - lak dat screen up dere.
(The screen in the window.) [Hotel window.]
Co' se it take yo' a long time tuh do it but yo' set down an' yo' rub it an' rub until dat lodestone come tuh dust an' yo' git chew some cologne - yo' know dis heah Jockey Club. Yo' take it an' put it in a bottle lak ah got heah now. See, dat lodestone. [He shows a small bottle.]
(What is the liquid you have in there?)
That's that Jockey Club Perfume. And den yo' could put yo' - if yo' wanta, yo' kill you a black cat an' git his bone an' grind dat up jist lak yo' do de lodestone. Put it in dere an' den yo' kin go to a man, talkin' to him, an' he'll git ovah tuh yo' - give yo' a job.
(You have that black cat dust in this bottle? Both of them together?)
(Any bone from the cat?)
Any bone? Yo' see yo' gotta git a bone from roun' his shoulder - up heah, de left shoulder, from in front. Grind it to a powder an' take dis heah bone an' rub it on dis heah screenin' wire until it comes [to a powder]. It goin' take yo' a long time tuh do it. But hit'll do it. Ah use dis fo' luck in gamblin' an' luck an' successful in meetin' mah fren's an' everythin'. Ah make fren's, ah don't make no enemies. [Memphis, Tenn., (939), 1520:3].
If a person wished to make a powder like this today, one could buy a skeleton that has been humanely harvested; in other words, found as roadkill and prepared for sale by a reputable animal bone dealer such as the Bone Room. You could then identify the correct bone and proceed to grinding. Magnetic sand could be used in place of grinding a lodestone, as grinding lodestone in the manner in which the aforereferenced informant described would take an inordinate amount of time. The mixture could then be added to your bottle of Jockey Club Cologne and you would have a similar end product.
Then again, maybe you could skip it altogether.