Barnett’s Cabinet of Curiosities – Exhibit 2: Alan Whicker Voodoo Doll

We can only wonder what transgression – presumably unintended – by the amiable traveler extraordinaire Alan Whicker can have prompted some disgruntled magician to create this exhibit.

It is tightly and expertly knitted, a fair approximation of the octogenarian broadcaster, holding his microphone and dressed in a blue blazer. Pins have been inserted into his head, perhaps to impose strictures on the real Whicker’s travelling, maybe to keep him away from some ancient or sacred site.

Possibly, someone in Haiti or Louisiana or West Africa took umbrage at one of the usually-genial Whicker’s reports. A badly-translated word here, an accidental faux-pas, a potentially insulting ignorance of social mores there… who knows what Whicker could have done to deserve such bad gumbo.

There is also the possibility that the doll is benign in origin. Perhaps Whicker, far from home and running low on Nurofen, had developed a headache in some steamy bayou or dusty plain, and a local medicine man took pity on him and applied some positive hoodoo to ease his pain.

We will perhaps never know. Whicker is alive and well, aged 86. Whatever magic – good or bad – the voodoo doll was created for has not seemed to affect this National Treasure overmuch. The doll remains in the Cabinet of Curiosities under lock and key.

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