Far from the pre-packaged, plastic Vodou pushed to tourists en masse, Paul Clammer heads to Haiti in search of the real spiritual deal.

For as long as travelers have visited Haiti, they have been intrigued by Vodou. During the country’s tourism boom of the 1970s’, nightclub floor shows relied heavily on jungle drums and black magic, and chalk-faced witch doctors would appear from a puff of smoke to front advertising campaigns for the national tourist board.

A taste of this pre-packaged exotica still lingers today at Labadee, a private beach resort run by Royal Caribbean on Haiti’s north coast. Dancers still writhe to hypnotic rhythms in a floorshow, breathing fire and walking on glass, hoping to lure tourists away from the all-you-can-eat buffet. It’s fun, but as far from a lived religion as it’s possible to get. To experience that, you have to head far from the crowds and into the country.