Witch Doctor This…
This tag variation would start by someone standing still and saying “Witch Doctor, Witch Doctor, Spook Man Spook. I’ll give you ten to hop the hoop. One, Two, …, Ten.” The other players would then run away. Once the Witch Doctor was done, they’d try to touch each person. Once touched, that person would become infected and would help the Witch Doctor get the rest. There was always a safe base, a sanctuary, where you could rest and not get turned into a witch doctor. We mostly played in our backyard, and we used some cement steps that lead up to a clothesline. I think anyone chasing or finding someone in the sanctuary could count to ten and the person would have to leave the sanctuary before the count was up, and the counter may have had to stand still until the count was up, but maybe not. So running to the sanctuary didn’t give much rest. The person left free at the end would then get to be witch doctor the next round. It was much more fun than straight tag, as no one got “stuck” being “it” and the infection spread rapidly with all the assistants so the rounds were quick. Being “it” was an achievement – but you couldn’t be “it” each time, so the Witch Doctor role would tend to circulate.
The game was fun, and we’d play it in our neighborhood in Queens for hours in the late sixties early seventies. I have no idea of the origins.