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Voodoo priestess: Curse didn't cause Superdome blackout

The Super Bowl was delayed in the 3rd quarter for more than 30 minutes due to a power outage at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. MSNBC's Milissa Rehberger reports.

The powers-that-be are blaming an "abnormality" for the half-hour blackout that delayed the Super Bowl. But on Twitter, at least, they have another term for it: The Curse.

Legend has it that New Orleans' Superdome is vexed by the angry spirits of the poor souls once buried beneath the stadium, their remains uprooted by backhoes during construction in the early 1970s.

The Superdome became, of course, the site of many losses for the New Orleans Saints and later the misery of thousands of Hurricane Katrina refugees who sheltered there.

Perhaps it's only natural -- well, supernatural, anyway -- to suggest that the alleged curse was working again Sunday night in a city that loves its superstitions as much as its football.

Voodoo priestess Miriam Chamani was once enlisted by a radio station to bless the Superdome, using a live python and a pumpkin, before the Saints faced off against the Cleveland Browns in 1999.

So what does she think zapped the juice in the third quarter as the Baltimore Raves sacked the San Francisco 49ers' quarterback Colin Kaepernick?

"I think any time you put that much tension on the circuits in a short time, something is bound to happen," Chamani said Monday.

Mystical tension? Beyond-the-grave type tension?

"No, just a lot of people using power," she said.

But Superdome officials said the stadium was actually using less electricity than it does during a typical Saints game. None of its equipment, all upgraded since Katrina in 2005, failed.

And you can forget the Curse of Beyonce because her half-time show used its own generators.

The investigation is ongoing. For now, all officials will say is an "abnormality" at the point where power company Entergy's feed intersects with the arena's equipment prompted a circuit breaker to make the Superdome go dark.

Courtesy Miriam Chamani

Miriam Chamani, a voodoo priestess, doesn't think the Superdome is cursed -- more than any other place in New Orleans.

Bob Remy, the statistician for the Saints, who was at the game, agrees the outage was "strange."

"But it's hard to believe it's a curse," he said, pointing to the Saints' 2009 Super Bowl championships and some winning seasons by the New Orleans Hornets, who play in an arena adjacent to the Superdome.

The stadium is built over the old Girod Cemetery, where 30,000 people, including many victims of cholera and yellow fever epidemics, were buried.

The dilapidated graveyard was deconsecrated in 1957 and many of the remains relocated. But when Superdome construction began, many more were dug up, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

The Saints opened their first season there with a 2-12 record and did not have a winning season until 1987 -- and the idea of a curse was born.

"I guess if you're a true believer in voodoo you might might take it seriously," said Tulane University professor Lawrence Powell, a local historian. "Most people talk about it tongue-in-cheek. At least in the circles I move in."

But the Saints themselves bought into the curse enough to hire a voodoo priestess, Ava Kay Jones, to perform rituals before two games in 2000 and 2001. Her record: 1-1.

Chamani's own ritual resulted in a Browns victory, she said, casting further doubt on the idea of a curse.

Maybe she isn't the best expert to consult, though. After all, she admits that when the lights went out Sunday, her own lights were already out.

"I went into a snooze," she said.

"I guess sometimes life is a curse itself."


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This ad for Bud Light, featuring Stevie Wonder and his hit song "Superstition," aired during the second quarter of Super Bowl XLVII.