Fred Staten, who was born in the mid-thirties, reinvented himself as "Prince Keeyama," a genuine voodoo man who later claimed to be the last voodoo nightclub entertainer in the world. His act consisted of eating fire, handling snakes, and sticking needles through his throat. But it was the finale that made Prince Keeyama a local legend. He would place a chicken in a trance, bite off its head, and drink the blood, using the neck as a straw. Then he parted the breast and ate the raw chicken. Known to everyone as "Chicken Man," Keeyama called his act a religious ritual, an act he had performed since childhood.
Not many people took Chicken Man seriously as a voodooist. He was more generally thought of as a "showman" and "geek." He was deliberately not invited to participate in a Tulane University panel discussion on voodoo in the mid-seventies. When interviewed, Keeyama would tell tall tales, making up stories as he went along. Keeyama claimed to be a native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He claimed his brother was the Haitian Prime Minister, and that they were both raised by Papa Doc Duvalier, although Keeyama had no accent at all. He also boasted of his natural-born power to paralyze a body just by touch. Keeyama bragged of his expertise with snakes, but was often unable to answer basic questions on the different types of snakes. He even went so far as to take credit for training two lions at the zoo, although the zoo had no knowledge of this, and were quite amused when fact-checkers came calling.
But of all his accomplishments, Chicken Man was the most proud of the audience reaction to his shows. It was not uncommon for a lady to shriek and faint as he bit the heads off of chickens. As years went on, Prince Keeyama was often found wandering the French Quarter in his voodoo attire selling voodoo dolls and gris-gris bags. He once had a shop called "Chicken Man's House of Voodoo" located on Bourbon Street. Fred Staten died in December of 1998.
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