Mumbo Jumbo draws freely on conspiracy theory, hoodoo, and voodoo traditions, as well as the Afrocentric theories of Marcus Garvey and the occult author Henri Gamache, especially Gamache's theory that the Biblical prophet Moses was black. The book's title is explained by a quote from the first edition of the American Heritage Dictionary deriving the phrase from Mandingo mā-mā-gyo-mbō meaning a "magician who makes the troubled spirits of ancestors go away."
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