Mr. Joseph, the son of a Protestant minister, is not a believer in witch doctors and zombies. But in the 1950s, when dictator François “Papa Doc” Duvalier took power in Haiti, many of his fellow Haitians were. “In a land where animate and inanimate objects are thought to have soul,” Mr. Joseph explains, “Papa Doc adroitly exploited the people’s beliefs to keep his stranglehold on power.”
The author gives a personal anecdote to illustrate this point. One evening in 1960, Mr. Joseph, then in his late 20s, was sitting outdoors by his pool chatting with a friend, when a stray dog wandered into the yard. His friend signaled Mr. Joseph to keep quiet. “You have to be very careful these days about what you say and where you say it,” the friend explained after the dog had moved on. “You should be extra careful when animals are around, because you don’t know who sent them. . . . Of course, you know that black dog was from Duvalier who sent it to spy on us!” via – WSJ.