That's all right, Paul. I'm sure Cuddles won't miss talking to myself.
You asked basically why I believed that a wax effigy (or 'voodoo doll) could harm or even kill a person when fashioned in that person's likeness.
Firstly, can I just say (as I have said many times before), I do not really 'believe' in anything. When you come to understand something clearly, there is no need to believe in it. You can just see it. Perhaps this is fairly somple in relation to objective things; it becomes much more difficult when we come to look at ourselves (and lets face it, many of us don't).
To your question:
I think there are two main points to this. I find the second point of far more interest (yes, I'm coming to it!) although I even presume that you might even agree with the first.
The first main point that many races of people, especially 'primitive' ones (don't like the word 'primitive' as I not being 'racist') do fall ill or even die when being 'cursed' by such effigies.
No. I do not have the proof 'in my pocket' but that should be easy enough to find out if you really wanted. I know that there cases on record (especially in Hahiti) where people have been 'cursed' and either fallen seriously ill or even died as a result of it. That would be the first thing to establish and I have seen doctors being interviewed who have confirmed the person was 'beyond medical help' after being so 'cursed'.
This would be for you to establish, as I'm really too occupied to take on such a task.
But if you can accept that this DOES happen, the second important question comes in . . . "How does it work?"
Common sense should tell most people that there is absolutely no power in the clay effigies themselves; they are only and simply the element of clay, which is non-intelligent and powerless.
The answer must surely be that it is the person's BELIEF that such an effigy has power over him or her. It is this belief that causes the outward effect, whether it be illness or even death.
If you were to remove a person's belief in the 'power' of the effigy, the curse simply wouldn't work.
The mind is capable of having a direct effect upon the body; especially so when such belief is 'channeled' in such a direction and aided by fear and superstition.
I hope that explains what I meant.