Everyday, millions of Americans go to work. Most have traditional careers and strive for a life of normalcy and creature comforts. However, there are some people that have professions that are on the fringe. Dynamic jobs that many would find strange, and even, taboo. Here are some of the odd jobs that we’ll be talking about on tonight’s episode of Taboo USA.
By Jamaal Avery, Segment Producer, Taboo USA
When people think of Exorcisms and Exorcist they think levitation, head spinning, and evil voices from the depths of hell. To an extent some of that could be true but in this case not so much. Coming into this segment, I had some reservations about how much I really wanted to participate. Although I don’t consider myself highly religious, I believe in enough to be a little scared. I didn’t know what I was going to see or hear, but from what the movies and some personal stories portray, I was plenty worried.
Once the Exorcism started, there was nothing I could do but hope for the best. Brother Carlos made it more comfortable for me explaining how it was going to happen but no one can be prepared. During the Exorcism, none of the stereotypical “Exorcist” stuff happened at all. There was no head spinning, backwards spider walking, or levitation. There was cursing, demonic blank stares, and some physical altercations; at one point, I believe Leslie sat without blinking for a hour straight.
By the end of the Exorcism all was fine and we believe Leslie walked away from the situation feeling a lot better than she did before. I was relieved that nothing too unbelievable happened in my presence and that everyone walked away without any physical harm. As for the demons they may still live in Leslie and Brother Carlos will continue to counsel her, but if left her hopefully they didn’t move into any of us(Thriller Laugh).
By Breanna Jensen, Producer, Taboo USA
I spoke with Vincent for weeks before our shoot in New York City. I found him to be an intelligent and well-spoken man who I was excited to shoot with. Because Vincent’s art is more on the macabre side, I wasn’t sure how open he would be to having us be in his house or around him for threes solid days. I was pleasantly surprised that he was so welcoming to all of us and really made us a part of his family.
I was surprised by his lack of concern when it came to his blood. He used a phlebotomist to draw his blood and it all looks very sterile, but Vincent isn’t always sure how much blood he takes. His phlebotomist wasn’t even sure how much blood he should generally draw from Vincent. I learned that Vincent hasn’t really ever talked to a doctor about his blood letting which just seems irresponsible. When Vincent paints he spills his blood and lets blood drop on the floor, which is very disconcerting. The day we were wrapping a PA pointed out that a few vials of his blood were left on top of the refrigerator. For someone who uses his blood for his art and who has also had health scares I was surprised that he was so flippant with the substance that he uses to create art and make a living.
By Erin Haglund, Senior Producer, Taboo USA
Being assigned to film a very attractive man who satisfies women for a living is an enviable task. My expectations for this story were that we would film Tommy getting ready and going on a date – simple, straightforward. What I didn’t expect was that he would take the job so seriously. To him, this is about the client and making her experience perfect and worth the money she is paying. That means being in top physical condition, well read and prepared to listen. Not one time on Tommy’s date with Chrissa did he pull out his cell phone to check texts, email or any of the myriad social networks. This shouldn’t be surprising, except that it is. Cell phones have become extensions of our bodies in many ways and to abstain can be difficult, especially for an escort in high demand. Tommy is extremely present whether on a date, during an interview or in conversation. It is easy to see why he is a great companion.
New Orleans Voodoo Priestess
By Elisabeth Chapetta, Field Producer, Taboo USA
There is always a huge anticipation going into any of these Taboo segments. Our New Orleans Voodoo Priestess was one that I wasn’t particularly doing back flips over. I immediately thought all things dark: sticking people with pins, voodoo dolls, black magic, bad spells, and curses all around. To me all these things just screamed Voodoo. I couldn’t even imagine what our Voodoo Priestess Claudia was going to be like. Little did I know that this perception couldn’t have been anything but false.
When our crew arrived in New Orleans we immediately went over to Priestess Claudia’s home to meet her. At this point my head is just racing with question after question. What is this woman going to be like? How does she dress? Is it eerie? She’s probably in an all black cloak at all times… And she’s a psychic, great. This can’t get any better, she’s going to know I’m completely freaked out.
One of my colleagues assured me all would be fine and our shoot would go well, but all I can seem to focus on is how spooked I am about working with this woman, a real Voodoo Priestess. My response to my colleague was, “what if this shoot goes bad? Or she doesn’t like us? She’s going to cast spells on all of us!” Of course my colleague just laughed at me and started walking towards Claudia’s home.
We walked into Starling Magikal, Claudia’s Voodoo Shop, which is attached to her home and kindly greeted by Claudia’s husband Jan. My first thoughts were that he looked like someone I would normally associate myself with and after talking for a bit realized that we had a very similar taste in music. After hanging out with Jan for a few Claudia came out to meet us. I was still very skeptical, but quickly learned how kind hearted she was. After talking to Claudia for a bit I realized that she just wanted to tell her story of how she came to Voodoo and show the world that it’s not all about push-pins in dolls casting spells on innocent people for revenge.
The next few days of our shoot were eye opening for me. Claudia took us inside of her world of Voodoo and helped me to learn all about the Voodoo religion and really get to know and understand what her beliefs are. We did rituals, which cleansed negativity. Claudia told some fortunes, which all were helpful and tried to steer people down a positive path. Claudia prayed for people lost in the Mississippi river and for their peace. I quickly learned that this religion was all things positive and not that different than other religions.
Don’t miss Taboo: Odd Jobs tonight on National Geographic Channel