The word "Voodoo" is an anglicized version of the Haitian Creole word "Vodou." Vodou is a traditional Haitian religious belief system that was born out of the blending of cultures that resulted from African slaves being forced to practice Catholicism by French slave owners in the Caribbean.
In the United States, Voodoo is a derivative of the Vodou religion that is most strongly associated with Creole populations in Louisiana. There are many points of departure between Voodoo and Vodou, though the two spiritual systems do share common core beliefs. Voodoo is often associated with magical powers, which has created a somewhat negative popular perception of the practice of Vodou.