Max Beauvoir credited for helping to correct voodoo's image

Max Gesner Beauvoir (August 25, 1936 - September 12, 2015) was a Haitian biochemist and a male priest (Houngan) and the supreme leader (Ati) in Haitian Voodoo. He was a chemist from City College of New York (1958), a biochemist from the Sorbonne (1962) and had worked as a biochemist at Cornell Medical Center till in the early 1970s, when he returned to his homeland in Haiti and applied for a patent to extract and produce cortisone from the sisal plant. Max Beauvoir, the Voodoo supreme chief, died on Saturday, September 12, in Haiti's capital of Port-au-Prince after an illness at the age of 79. The cause of death was not immediately known. He played an important role to improve voodoo's sinister image in the world. On his twitter account, President Michel Martelly has described his death as a "great loss for the country".


After his return from the U.S in the early 1970's, he was summoned to join his other family members at the bedside of his dying grandfather who anointed him a houngan which he could not refuse. In 1974, he founded Le Péristyle de Mariani, a voodoo temple in his home, and established himself as the public face of the religion. He was famous for holding well-attended voodoo ceremonies at his coral stone-walled home outside the capital Port-au-Prince where everyone was welcome. Max Gesner Beauvoir used to believe that "Voodoo is the soul of the Haitian people and nothing can be done without that cultural basis. "Voodoo is a way of life; it controls our body, mind and soul. The soul is what we are; it controls everything, all our actions and mind. It governs everything, our moral codes, the way we rationalize, eat and cure." In the earlier times, voodoo was misrepresented in Hollywood movies and pulp fictions as a black magic cult, although it had long been widely respected and identified by millions of Haitians with the nation's history of slavery and its struggle for independence from the French colonial rule. About 70% of the Haitians believe and practice voodoo. He was unapologetic about such practices as animal sacrifice and believed that country's houngans should be given a formal role in the government.

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