Occult on Film: The Skeleton Key

Occult on Film - The Skeleton Key | Coven Cloud

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I’ve never been one to watch horror films. Mostly because I know many horror films are loosely based on reality, and sometimes the actual historical account is much more gruesome than what Hollywood allowed. While I was at the library studying the occult as a kid, I was also studying serial killers and mass murderers because I wanted to be a forensic psychologist. I learned a very real fact – monsters are real, and they appear to be human. When The Skeleton Key was suggested to me, I watched it because it was listed as a Thriller. What could be so bad? I loved Louisiana Voodoo/Hoodoo films. Eve’s Bayou is still one of my favorites. It was the reason why The Skeleton Key was suggested to me that shook me for a long time.

  • Cover for The Skeleton Key
  • Cover for The Skeleton Key
  • Cover for The Skeleton Key

An Occult Rest

No matter how far people go with metaphysics and the occult, there are times when we may pause on our craft. For some, it is to regroup. For me, it was because I needed guidance. I was highly gifted and had done so much research, but I didn’t have anyone in my life to turn to for advice. The movie-level experiences spirits put me through, plus having a more experienced person attempt to take advantage of me, made me pause. So what does this have to do with The Skeleton Key movie? 

During my spiritual pause, I didn’t return to Christianity as many people do. I’d been out of the church since eight-years-old. My desire to understand myself and my purpose were strong, so I still studied spirituality and human abilities but went toward understanding my soul over advancing my capabilities with spiritual tools like tarot cards and pendulums. I started reading Sonia Choquette, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Don Miguel Ruiz‘s books.   

Your Calling Will Find You

You can take a break, pause, and even leave, but your calling will find you and sneak up on you in the most unlikely ways. Strangers will reach out to you, even children. The 1111s, 777,s 444s, and all the other numbers that pop up to remind you that you are more than a cog in the wheel of society won’t stop.  

One day while at my sales job, my manager handed me a lead. I called the lead, and it was a lady who owned a skincare line. She was so warm and friendly. She was so enthusiastic about her business, the ingredients, and her signature process. After speaking to her on the first day, she sent samples for my mother and me. This wasn’t the normal one-call close my boss preferred. The business owner wanted to speak to me for lengthy amounts of time, and whenever I went in for the close, she would magically have to put me on hold. This was enough to drive any sales manager crazy.

On the day of her sale,  she asked me how I liked my job. The monitoring wasn’t as advanced, so I told her about how I was getting ready to leave for a new insurance job. She abruptly said, “That’s not what you are supposed to be doing.” I said, “Well, what am I supposed to be doing?” She says, “You know, but you probably forgot.”  There was a long pause because I didn’t know what to say. In my heart, I knew what she meant but couldn’t put it into words or accept it as my reality because I was still insecure about where I stood with it.  “Have you ever seen The Skeleton Key?” she asked. I told her I hadn’t. “Watch it and get back to me,” she replied.

My curiosity was on a level that I can’t explain. I watched the movie because I wanted to understand what she meant. Our conversations let me know she was aware that I am not like other people and that she sensed the witch in me. That alone was refreshing because there weren’t many people in my life with which I could speak freely about these topics.  I was in a relationship, but I watched the movie alone. We were close, but there were some things I didn’t even feel comfortable sharing with him.

I thought it would be similar to Eve’s Bayou because of the setting. When I say similar, I meant that it might include the mysteriousness and drama that is that natural vibe of Louisiana. Outside of the location, it was nothing like Eve’s Bayou. There was no blood or gore, so I hesitate to call The Skeleton Key a horror film, but it still shook me to the core. 

It was years before I got back to the lady. The film shook me because of how real it was. I’ve watched all the greats of southern Hoodoo/Voodoo films, but this was the next level. I felt it in my spirit, and it took me years to get back to the woman because I had more growing to do. Reading books and studying is great, but allowing your soul to grow in the process is a whole other thing. Over the years, the occult kept calling for me through the right situations and conversations, even tragedies that forced me to go deeper. 

Why Was The Skeleton Key So Personally Impacting – Spoilers Ahead

The Skeleton Key | Coven Cloud
Credit: Ago Schiano on Pinterest

Last year, I showed the movie to my daughters. They were 16, 9, and almost 2. They grew up in a home with incense, crystals, spiritual books, and conversations about Hoodoo, Voodoo, witches,  ego, shadow, rituals, tarot, and soul journeys.  My oldest loves horror films, and The Skeleton Key was the only film that scared her. Over a year later, she still talks about how much it stuck with her and even made a TikTok video about it. The middle child was in awe.  She never seemed scared but was fascinated by the possibilities of what happened. The youngest didn’t care. However, she has always been attracted to my magical tools, so I’m sure we will watch it again when she gets older. 

The Skeleton Key touched me in my soul. It made me uncomfortable because I felt its truth. The lead character did so many things I would not do, but that’s the nature of horror and thriller films. The funny part about it was all the people in the film who told her not to do certain things.  As a person who was taking a break from the occult, I feel like the lady I met over the phone at work was really a messenger telling me to tap back into my calling and my purpose. Here is a list of ways the movie impacted and touched me.

  1. Louisiana – In general, I have always felt a connection to this place. I’ve been twice in my life, and it calls to me to visit, not to live there. I went last May to connect with a friend I met through tarot.
  2. Spiritual Supplies – Being that I was taking a break, I didn’t have many supplies because I either gave them away or through them out. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have done this, but I felt like it was the right thing to do. Years later, I would pay $120 to replace a deck that I originally paid $30.
  3. The Past – This movie was set in the early 2000s, but when they go back into the past, they go back to a time between 1900 and 1950. In many places in the USA, this was not the best time for black people. I’m 50/50 on watching films of these periods because I get tired of watching movies centered around the racial trauma of black people. For example, I’ve never finished Rosewood and probably won’t in the future. I would not classify The Skeleton Key as trauma porn at all, but there was a scene that had me thinking we were headed in that direction.
  4. Retribution – The reason why I don’t watch black trauma porn movies is similar to the reason why I don’t watch horror films. The reality is much worse than what Hollywood will allow the masses to see. Another reason is the resolution is dependent upon an outside savior as a person, entity, or government…if there is a resolution at all. For many personal and social issues, magic levels the playing field and even helps one dominate the playing field.
    1. This movie had me conflicted because of the power of the couple in question during a time when people like them were still being oppressed and limited to subservient roles. It reminds me of this quote I used to see floating around the internet that said something like, “Don’t judge people in the flesh because you never know their rank in the spiritual world.” Was it wrong for them to continue to do what they were doing throughout lifetimes? Yes. Was it wrong for them to do what they did the first time? No. They found a way to cheat death, bypass social obstructions and defeat people who would so easily hang them at their own homes during a party with friends as if they were having a regular bonfire event. 
    2. Stories of witches and socially oppressed people winning are often hidden or villainized. Mainstream history loves to play the game of hero/villain/invisibility. Even more so are the stories of people assisting them. I was well into my 30s before I knew who John Brown was – as a person who was positioned to study history and religion since eight years old, I was floored that I had never heard of him before.
  5. The “Bad Guys Won” – This movie does not have a happy ending…well, it depends on what side you are on. The resolution is chilling. All the stories you ever heard about bad things that happened to people who messed with the wrong witch or even the wrong person from Louisiana come flooding back to me because I realized they may not have been an exaggeration or a tall tale. The possibilities and realness of magic ran through my mind. Understanding that a stroke may not have been just a stroke and how certain illnesses have deeper meanings.
  6. Stark Contrast – This was in stark contrast to the books in the New Age section in Barnes and Noble, the seemingly benign metaphysical stores I visited, and the tarot cards I shuffled. However, it was very much in line with my dreams and visions. The aesthetic of everything in the attic looked like a familiar place like I had been there before. They felt at home. They were so real I found them unsettling. At that time, I hadn’t brought any of that into my life. I still had a level of fear about deeper magic. The curiosity was strong, but the fear was stronger, and without a guide, I didn’t want to go down that road and get into the type of trouble I couldn’t find my way out of. 
The Skeleton Key | Coven Cloud
Credit: David Rousey on Pinterest

The Scary Reality

That lady who called my job to make a purchase, whose contact information landed on my desk because my manager handed it to me, saw me for who I was when I was still in the fog. To be seen when you are not even ready to see yourself is scary, but here we are, and these days people pay me to do this for them daily. It would be years after I watched the movie before I reached out to the lady as she requested. 

The Skeleton Key | Coven Cloud
Credit: Brooklyn10 on Pinterest

After watching the movie, I worked harder on trying to improve my psychic abilities – advancing them and controlling them. So many of my previous mediumship experiences were wild, uninvited, out of control, and sometimes horrific. Before I got involved with other spirits, I wanted to empower my own spirit. This required so much shadow work, healing, and practice with mentors. Since I was five years old, my curiosity has pushed me to uncover the truth of who I am. Waking up exactly at midnight on a regular basis from dreams of mass amounts of snakes moving around will do something to a child.  

Life has provided me with the drive, experiences, people, and even narcissists as catalysts for growth and change. The woman who called my job was a messenger holding the catalyst that is The Skeleton Key.

Have you seen The Skeleton Key? I want to hear how you felt about the movie. Have you ever taken a break from studying or practicing your craft? If so, why? Leave a comment, or let’s have an enclosed conversation in Coven Cloud.

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Linda Green

Linda Green

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