Marvel Database


The Amulets of Damballah are two mystical artifacts that possess the ability to summon and control the animated dead. Also known as the Talismans of Damballah, these items are mystically endowed with the power of their namesake, Damballah – one of the most powerful Loa of the Voodoo religion. Each talisman is etched with the symbol of the serpent. Singularly, each amulet is capable of granting the user control over the dead, but the power only fully manifests when both amulets are used in concert.

Several years ago, an unscrupulous gardener named Gyps forced a Voodoo mambo, Layla, to use her knowledge of the dark arts to resurrect the body of recently murdered coffee magnate, Simon Garth. Garth rose from his grave as an unfettered Zombie, and attacked the nearby cultists. One of them managed to slip one of the Amulets of Damballah over the creature's neck, and it instantly froze. They gave the second amulet to Gyps, and told him that so long as he possessed the amulet, he would maintain control of the Zombie.

Gyps' ownership of the amulet was brief however. He ordered Simon Garth's zombie to murder his own daughter, Donna Garth, but a brief flicker of recognition imbued the zombie with enough free will to resist the command. Further, he turned against Gyps, strangling him until he died. The zombie retreated into the swamps of New Orleans while still wearing one half of the twin talismans.

The second talisman remained with Gyps' corpse until it resurfaced at the 7th precinct of the New Orleans police department. Detective Sam Jagger recovered the item and gave it to Donna Garth. Donna had no clue as to the amulet's true significance, but there was something about it that reminded her of her father. Donna's love for her father caused the zombie to rise from his grave once again.[1]

A short time later, a man named Gene Griggs mugged Donna and stole the amulet. The zombie instinctively homed in on the talisman's location and confronted Griggs. Griggs attempted to destroy the zombie, only to meet a tragic end. During the scuffle, the amulet fell from Griggs' grasp and landed on the sidewalk.

A homeless, self-proclaimed "hater-of-lawyers" named Phil Bliss found the amulet and showed it to a waitress named Jeanette. Jeanette told him that the artifact was of Voodoo origin and was used to control the dead. Bliss unwittingly tapped into its power and summoned the zombie. The zombie walked along the ocean floor from Haiti to New Orleans in answer to the call. Bliss had the zombie attack a local courthouse, ordering him to murder every lawyer he could find.

Years later, one of the amulets came into the possession of the mystic, Calypso. During an earlier debacle, Calypso was savagely murdered by her former servant, the Lizard. While her physical body remained in a state of perfect preservation, her soul remained unfettered, leaping from one body to another. She bound her soul to the Talisman of Damballah and sought to use it to rejoin her spirit with her body. While inhabiting the body of an elderly woman, she boarded a Caribbean cruise ship where she met Glory Grant. She gave Grant the talisman and then left the old woman's body, infusing her spirit with the talisman. Through this, she was able to control Grant's actions.

After Glory returned to New York, the spirit of Calypso forced her to exhume her remains. The Zombie meanwhile, followed the amulet's trail to New York and intercepted Glory/Calypso at Cypress Hills Cemetery. The zombie likely would have killed her, but for the timely intervention of Spider-Man. While the two fought, Calypso completed the spell, and her spirit returned to her body. Spider-Man recovered the talisman and returned it to the Zombie.

A short time later, a wealthy student of the arcane named Kelsey Pierce acquired one of the amulets and offered it to the vampire Lilith Drake in the hope that she would reciprocate by turning him into a vampire. Lilith accepted the gift, but killed Pierce rather than turning him into a vampire. With the amulet, she took control of Simon Garth, and used him as her personal servant, forcing him to attack innocents and drag them back to her lair.

During this time, Donna Garth hired vampire private investigator Hannibal King to find the amulets and bring her father back to New Orleans. King's investigation led him to New York where he found himself teaming-up with Spider-Man in order to take down Lilith. The two were unsuccessful in defeating her, but King did manage to purloin the amulet, and he brought both the talisman and the Zombie back to New Orleans.

Presumably, the Zombie still possesses one of the talismans, while his daughter Donna maintains the other.

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