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The Evil Eye

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« on: April 30, 2009, 01:18:59 pm »

The Evil Eye
by Frederick Thomas Elworthy
[1895]



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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2009, 01:19:05 pm »

There is another concept of "why bad things happen" that probably predates the theory that there is one centralized source of evil. This is, to use a computer anology, a peer-to-peer theory of evil. The evil eye is a widespread belief that unlucky events can ensue if you attract the attention of particular people. These people, sometimes involuntarily, sometimes voluntarily, can cast a malignant spell on others simply by looking at them.

This lavishly illustrated work is the classic study of this superstition. Starting with a mass of anecdotes from contemporary observations in Italy and rural England, Elworthy, using all of his skills as a folklorist and etymologist, delves deeper. He gives examples of the belief on a world-wide basis and far back in time, to classical paganism and beyond. He also elaborates all of the methods that have been used to ward off the jettatura, including talismans, spells, spitting, hand gestures and many others.

Belief in the evil eye is still very active even with the advance of modernity. As I was researching this topic in preparation for developing this etext, I stumbled on a Google link to a middle-eastern chat board. The posting included detailed and very arcane descriptions of rituals that one could use to purge an attack of the evil eye. So the evil eye is still with us, and even if you don't believe in it, there are many cultures which take it very seriously. Understanding the malocchio is an important part of being a world citizen.

--John Bruno Hare, February 25th, 2004.

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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2009, 01:19:30 pm »

CONTENTS

 
 PAGE
 
CHAPTER I
 
 
INTRODUCTION
 1
 
CHAPTER II
 
 
SYMPATHETIC MAGIC
 44
 
CHAPTER III
 
 
TOTEMS, PORTENTS, TREE-WORSHIP
 87
 
CHAPTER IV
 
 
SYMBOLS AND AMULETS
 115
 
CHAPTER V
 
 
THE GORGONEION
 158
 
CHAPTER VI
 
 
CRESCENTS, HORNS, HORSESHOES
 181
 
CHAPTER VII
 
 
TOUCH, HANDS, GESTURES
 233
 
CHAPTER VIII
 
 
THE CROSS
 277
 
CHAPTER IX
 
 
THE MANO PANTEA
 293
 
CHAPTER X
 
 
THE CIMARUTA, SIRENE, TABLETS
 343
 
CHAPTER XI
 
 
CABALISTIC WRITING--MAGICAL FORMULÆ
 389
 
CHAPTER XII
 
 
SPITTING, INCANTATION, AND OTHER PROTECTIVE ACTS--PIXIES
 410
 
APPENDIX 1. THE CELESTIAL MOTHER
 226
 
APPENDIX 2. GURGOYLES
 229
 
APPENDIX 3. DIVINATION, INCANTATION, ETC.
 438
 


 
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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2009, 01:19:49 pm »

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

EFFECTS OF THE EVIL EYE
 
 Frontispiece.
 
 
 FIGS.
 PAGE
 
USHEBTIU--EGYPTIAN RESPONDENTS
 1-2-3
 50
 
HEARTS STUCK WITH PINS AND THORNS
 4-5
 53-4
 
FATTURA DELLA MORTE
 6
 58
 
GEM AMULET--GOAT AND CRICKET
 7
 121
 
CRESCENT AND SERPENT (MALTESE)
 8
 122
 
WINGED SCARABÆUS
 9
 125
 
THE MYSTIC EYE
 10-13
 126-8
 
MEDAL AND GEM COMPOUND AMULETS
 14-18
 130-1
 
AMULET FOR EVERY DAY IN THE WEEK
 19
 131
 
ENGRAVED PHALLIC AMULET
 20
 133
 
NECKLACE FROM THE CRIMEA
 21
 135
 
TAZZA ORNAMENTED WITH THE EYE
 22
 136
 
ETRUSCAN WINGED DEITY
 23
 136
 
THE EVIL EYE, WOBURN MARBLE
 24
 137
 
WINGED FIGURES
 25
 141
 
MYSTIC SCENE WITH LEPIDOTUS AND LOTUS
 26
 142
 
GRYLLI, ENGRAVED GEMS
 27-30
 144
 
ANIMAL AMULETS
 31-38
 145-6
 
MASKS UPON GEMS
 39-40
 148
 
THE MANO FICA
 41
 152
 
ANCIENT ETRUSCAN AMULETS
 42
 154
 
THE PELEKYS
 43-44
 156
 
COIN OF THE TOWN LUNA
 45-46
 156
 
THE GORGON'S HEAD UPON A GEM
 47
 158
 
THE ANUBIS VASE
 48
 159
 
THE GNOSTIC GORGON
 49
 160
 
THE CORTONA LAMP
 50
 162
 
ETRUSCAN MEDUSA
 51
 163
 
MEDUSAS, SHOWING THE TRANSITION
 52
 164
 
TAHITI GORGON
 53
 165
 
PERUVIAN GORGONS
 54-55
 166
 
INSIGNIA OF ROMAN LEGIONS
 56-66
 169-177
 
HERA IMAGES (Lithograph)
 67-68
 183
 
DIANA OF EPHESUS
 69
 188
 
ISIS NURSING HORUS
 70-71
 189
 
DEVAKI AND CRISHNA
 72
 190
 
ISHTAR OF BABYLON
 73
 191
 
INDRANEE AND CHILD
 74
 192
 
PERUVIAN HORNED MASK
 75
 197
 
ROMAN HORNED MEDUSA
 76
 198
 
MAH-TO-WO-PA--MANDAN CHIEF
 77
 200
 
GREEK HORNED HELMETS
 78-79
 201
 
EGYPTIAN CRESCENT AMULET
 80
 202
 
NUMEROUS AMULETS, CIMARUTAS, ETC.
 81
 203
 
MODERN HARNESS FROM NAPLES
 82
 205
 
HORSE AMULETS
 83-84
 208-9
 
ROMAN LAMPS
 85-86
 212-3
 
DOORWAY OF SEVILLE CATHEDRAL
 87, 158
 214, 321
 
ASHANTEE FIELD AMULETS
 88
 215
 
ETRUSCAN HORSESHOE AMULET
 89
 219
 
ISIS AND HORUS
 90-91
 228-9
 
IL DIAVOLO FIORENTINO
 92
 232
 
MANUAL NUMERATION
 93-95
 237-9
 
ETRUSCAN HAND AMULETS
 96-102
 241-2
 
KHUENATEN ADORING THE SUN
 103
 244
 
THE OPEN HAND
 104
 245
 
ANCIENT STATUETTE FROM SARDINIA
 105
 245
 
LA TORRE DE JUSTICIA
 106
 246
 
HAND GESTURES FROM RAVENNA
 107
 248
 
TUNISIAN HAND, PAINTED ON DRUM
 108
 250
 
STORIES TOLD IN GESTURES
 109-110
 252-3
 
MANO FICA
 111
 256
 
KEYS, HANDS, AND OTHER AMULETS
 112
 259
 
THE DEXTERA DEI
 113
 265
 
ST. LUKE, AT RAVENNA
 114
 266
 
INDIAN GODDESS
 115
 267
 
ABRAHAM'S SACRIFICE
 116
 268
 
MOSES, FROM RAVENNA MOSAIC
 117
 269
 
NEAPOLITAN GESTURE LANGUAGE
 118-120
 271-275
 
ANCIENT CROSSES
 121-123
 278
 
GRANITE BLOCKS, FROM CUZCO
 124-125
 280
 
PERUVIAN HIEROGLYPHICS
 126
 282
 
THE ANKH PERSONIFIED
 127-128
 284
 
SAXON COIN
 129
 285
 
THE ORB AND CROSS
 130-131
 286
 
"TWO HEARTS AND A CRISS-CROSS"
 132
 287
 
THE TRISKELION
 133-134-135
 290-2
 
HAND AMULET FOR THE TABLE
 136
 293
 
LA MAIN DE JUSTICE
 137-146
 294-8
 
THE MANO PANTEA
 147-148, 156-157
 299, 318
 
DIANA TRIFORMIS
 149, 163
 304, 349
 
THE FROG
 150-154
 309-12
 
SERPENT AMULET FROM ASHANTEE
 155
 316
 
MAGIC NAIL
 159
 328
 
PERUVIAN GOBBO
 160
 331
 
THE CIMARUTA
 161-162
 344-5
 
THE FASCINUM
 164
 351
 
APOLLO AS A GRILLO
 165
 353
 
SIRENS AND SEA-HORSES
 166-169
 356-8
 
ISIS A WINGED GODDESS
 170-172
 359-60
 
PROSERPINE
 173-174, 179
 360-1-7
 
EPHESIAN DIANA
 175-178
 362-3
 
HORUS IN THE SACRED BARIS
 180
 369
 
TERRA-COTTA MOULDS
 18l-183
 371-3
 
THE BARONE LAMP
 184
 378
 
MENSA ISIACA
 185
 383
 
ETHIOPIC CHARM AND CASE (Lithograph)
 186
 391
 
GREEK CHARM
 187
 397
 
MAGIC SPELL (GERMAN)
 188
 398
 


 



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« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2009, 01:20:28 pm »

p. 1

THE EVIL EYE
CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
THERE be none of the affections which have been noted to fascinate or to bewitch, but love and envy; they both have vehement wishes, they frame themselves readily into imaginations and suggestions, and they come easily into the eye, especially upon the presence of the objects which are the points that conduce to fascination, if any such there be. We see likewise the Scripture calleth envy an evil eye." 1

So wrote one of our greatest philosophers, and on the same subject he says: "Of all other affections, it is the most importunate and continual; . . . therefore it is well said: 'Invidia festos dies non agit,' for it is ever working upon some or other. It is also the vilest affection and the most depraved; for which cause it is the proper attribute of the Devil, who is called 'The envious man that soweth tares amongst the wheat by night.'"

As to the word fascination, even in Bacon's time it had acquired its modern sense, implying the influence or effect we now associate with


p. 2

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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2009, 01:20:40 pm »

animal magnetism. Notwithstanding this, the word was used by various writers down to the end of the seventeenth century in its original, technical meaning, as an alternative for "evil eye." Nowadays it has practically lost its older sinister sense, and except among scholars has retained only the pleasant one in which Bacon used it.

A fascinating person now, is one who charms delightfully, who excites feelings of pleasure, who is in every way attractive. Similarly in our everyday talk the alternate word bewitch has retained only in polite society its pleasant side. A bewitching woman is one who excites the passion of love alone, and the simple use of either synonym conveys now no implication of malevolence to the conventionally educated.

The quotation from Bacon with which we started well marks the progress always going on in the development of word-meanings. In the Elizabethan age, to fascinate or bewitch had in literature even then arrived at a double position, applicable to either love or hate; whereas in earlier days these words were wholly confined to maleficence in signification. This of course only applies to literary language and polite society; among the peasantry the Latin form, fascination, is unknown, while everything relating to witch or witching still bears an evil sense only.

In proof of all this we have only to compare the modern colloquial significance of the terms fascinating or bewitching, as used in speaking of a person by the educated, with witch, witching, or the west country dialectal "wisht," as used by the peasantry.

p. 3

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« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2009, 01:20:52 pm »

The belief that there is a power of evil working, which is ejaculated (as Bacon says) upon any object it beholds, has existed in all times and in all countries. It was adopted and sanctioned alike by the Fathers of the Church, by mediæval physicians, and all writers on occult science; while in our own day it still exists among all savage nations, and even here in England in our very midst. Heliodorus 2 makes Charicles say of his host: "I fancy an envious eye has looked upon this man also; he seems to be affected much in the same manner as Chariclea. Indeed I think so too, I replied; and it is probable enough, for he went directly after her in the procession." 3

The origin of the belief is lost in the obscurity of prehistoric ages. The enlightened call it superstition; but it holds its sway over the people of many countries, savage as well as civilised, and must be set down as one of the hereditary and instinctive convictions of mankind.

The stories that might be adduced of the constancy of the belief in a blighting power of influencing other persons, and of controlling events injuriously to others, even. in these days of board-school enlightenment are almost infinite. Here, in Somerset, the pig is taken ill and dies--"he was overlooked." A murrain afflicts a farmer's cattle; he goes off secretly to the "white witch," that is the old witch-finder, to ascertain who has "overlooked his things" and to learn the best



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« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2009, 01:21:05 pm »

antidote, "’cause they there farriers can't do no good."

A child is ill and pining away; the mother loses all heart; she is sure the child is overlooked and "is safe to die." Often she gives up not only hope but all effort to save the child; the consequent neglect of course hastens the expected result, and then it is: "Oh! I know'd very well he would'n never get no better. "’Tidn no good vor to strive vor to go agin it." This is no fancy, or isolated case, but here in the last decade of the nineteenth century one of the commonest of everyday facts.

The author of the pious graffito (still in situ):--

Things seen is Intempural,
Things not seen is Inturnel,

[paragraph continues] referred to in the West Somerset Word-Book, p. ix, is a man far above the average in intelligence. He lodged where the daughter of the family had some obscure malady. She became a patient at the County Hospital, but only grew worse. In this case the mother does not at first seem to have believed in occult influence, but went about and spread a report that "they'd a-starved her maid, into thick there hospital"! At the same time the writer ascertained that the girl had been all the while receiving extra nourishment. She was removed, and of course grew worse. On speaking to the lodger about the starvation theory, he said: "Oh! I knows 'twaddn that." "What do you think it was?" "Oh! I knows." After many times declaring "I knows," he at last said: "Her was overlooked--her was; and I knows very well who don'd it." After much persuasion he mentioned the name of a poor ignorant old woman, who certainly did not bear the

p. 5

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« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2009, 01:21:17 pm »

best of characters. The whole family devoutly believed that the girl's death, which happened very soon, was brought about by this old woman. No doubt a century or two ago she would have been burnt as a witch. 4

Several cases of precisely the same kind are well known to the writer and his family--especially relating to children. Visits have been often paid to the sick children of persons whose names might be given, where "’tis very wisht vor to zee the poor chiel a-pinin away like that there." Not much is said to strangers, but those who know are perfectly aware of what the mother means.

                           Beshrew your eyes,
They have o'erlook'd me and divided me;
One half of me is yours, the other half yours.
                   Merchant of Venice, Act iii. Sc. 2.

The imputation by St. Paul, that the foolish Galatians 5 had been spellbound, meant that some evil eye had "overlooked" them and worked in them a blighting influence. It was an apt allusion to the then, and still, universally prevalent belief in that power of "dread fascination" which the writer of the Epistle 6 so well knew they would comprehend, and he therefore used it as a striking metaphor.




p. 6

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« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2009, 01:21:29 pm »

Abundant testimony exists in the oldest monuments in the world that among the ancient Egyptians belief in and dread of the evil eye were ever present; their efforts to avert or to baffle it, both as regarded the living and the dead, who they knew would live again, were perhaps the most constant and elaborate of any, of which we can now decipher the traces.

We see evidence of this in the very beginning of Egyptian mythology. Ptah, the Opener, 7 is said to be the father of the gods and of men. He brought forth all the other gods from his eye, and men from his mouth--a piece of implied evidence of the ancient belief that of all emanations those from the eye were the most potent.

How strong the feeling was among contemporary Orientals, the many passages in Scripture 7a referring to it distinctly prove. Indeed it is found in the literature of every people, in every land since history began to be written. No science, no religion, no laws have been able to root out this fixed belief; and no power has ever been able to eradicate it from the human mind; so that even amongst the cultivated and the enlightened it still exists as an unacknowledged, mysterious half-belief, half-superstition, which nevertheless exercises, though secretly, a powerful influence on the actions of mankind.

We in these latter days of Science, when scoffing at superstition is both a fashion and a passion, nevertheless show by actions and words that in our innermost



p. 7

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« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2009, 01:21:40 pm »

soul there lurks a something, a feeling, a superstition if you will, which all our culture, all our boasted superiority to vulgar beliefs, cannot stifle, and which may well be held to be a kind of hereditary instinct. 8

Not only do the pages of Brand's Popular Antiquities, Brewster's Magic, and Hone's Everyday Book, as well as the local press, provide endless stories and examples, which we need not here repeat, but the more modern publications of the Psychical Research Society also record plenty of them; at the same time the latter throw over them a glamour of quasi-scientific investigation.

Among the Greeks, who got their art and many of their customs from Egypt, the belief was so universal that they had a special word to express this mysterious power, βασκανία, 9 whence, all authorities say, 10 comes the Latin word fascinatio.

This latter word Cicero himself discusses, and explains as invidere, to look too closely at: hence invidia, envy, or evil eye, the instigator of most deadly sins--the vice which is even now most frequently named in connection with its sequences, "hatred, and malice, and all uncharitableness."

Delrio 11 and Frommannd trace the Greek word to Chaldean, and discourse upon the etymology as





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« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2009, 01:21:55 pm »

well as the meanings of fascinatio at great length, in language and allusions unfit for reproduction, which are, moreover, beside our present purpose. It may, however, be remarked that Frommannd throws much light upon the ancient ideas connected with the evil eye, and with the means taken to baffle it, backed up by an array of authorities such as no other writer on the subject has brought together, but of such a nature that we can only here direct the student to the book itself. 12 Many objects to be seen in Egypt, Greece, and Italy, especially at Pompeii, are by this extraordinary treatise made to assume an entirely different shape and signification from those given them by the guidebooks or the ciceroni.

It was firmly believed by all ancients, that some malignant influence darted from the eyes of envious or angry persons, and so infected the air as to penetrate and corrupt the bodies of both living creatures and inanimate objects. "When any one looks at what is excellent with an envious eye he fills the surrounding atmosphere with a pernicious quality, and transmits his own envenomed exhalations into whatever is nearest to him." 13

It has also been fully believed, both in ancient and modern times, that many persons by the glance of their eye have caused injurious effects, without their consent and even against their will, so that



p. 9

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« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2009, 01:22:07 pm »

in some cases mothers 14 would not venture to expose their infants to the look of their own fathers.

A story is related of an unhappy Slav, 15 who with the most loving heart was afflicted with the evil eye, and at last blinded himself in order that he might not be the means of injury to his children.

Frommannd (p. 10) draws attention to the very remarkable passage in Deut. xxviii. 54, in confirmation of the possession of this terrible power acting against the will of the possessor.

Jahn 16 remarks upon this, that as smell, speech, bodily presence and breath work their influence upon those with whom they come in contact, so in a yet higher degree does the glance from the eye, which, as all know, affects so much in love. 17

Domestic animals, such as horses, camels, cows, have always been thought in special danger. In the Scotch Highlands if a stranger looks admiringly on a cow the people still believe she will waste away from the evil eye, and they offer him some of her milk to drink, in the belief that by so doing the spell will be broken and the consequences averted. 18 The Turk and the Arab think the same of their horses and camels. Above all the Neapolitan cabman of to-day believes in the great danger to his horse from the eye of the jettatore.






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« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2009, 01:22:18 pm »

Camden says the Irish believe some men's eyes have the power of bewitching horses. 19

Young animals of all kinds were, and are, thought to be peculiarly susceptible. Virgil (Ec. iii. 103) puts into the mouth of a shepherd, what everybody quotes: "Nescio quis teneros oculus mihi fascinat agnos." Plutarch 20 also says that certain men's eyes are destructive to infants and young animals because of the weak and tender constitution of their bodies, but have not so much power over men of strong frames. . . . He says, however, the Thebans had this inimical faculty, so that they could destroy not infants only but strong men.

The Cretans and the people of Cyprus had in ancient times the reputation of being specially endowed with the faculty, and the same belief continues down to this day as recounted by General de Cesnola.

The special dread of fascination for domestic animals is implied by the author of the Book of Judges (viii. 21), for the word translated ornaments in the A.V. is given in the margin as "ornaments like the moon" that were on their camels' necks. 20a

Who can doubt that those ornaments were the exact prototypes of the identical half-moons we now put upon our harness? We shall see later that these have ever been among the most potent amulets against the evil eye. The belief still prevails everywhere, that horses are specially subject to its influence: it is found in India, China, Turkey, Egypt, Greece, England, Scotland, Ireland, and in all countries where horses abound, but above all in Italy.




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« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2009, 01:22:29 pm »

In Scotland 21 and in England all kinds of cattle are thought liable to its malignity. To this day any ailment or misfortune to a domestic animal is at once set down to its being "overlooked." 22 In Ireland in Elizabeth's time they used to execute eye-biting witches for causing diseases among cattle. Cows are particularly subject to fascination in Scotland, and the various preventive remedies are enumerated by Pennant in his Voyage to the Hebrides. 23 In England, of all animals the pig is oftenest "overlooked." This may be because he has more owners of the peasantry class, or perhaps because of the difficulty of administering physic; and hence his frequent maladies have become mysterious. It is the common saying that "there idn no drenchin' a pig when he's a-tookt bad; there idn no cure vor'n but cold steel." 24

Pliny also says that the Thibii in Pontus, and many other persons as well, have a double pupil in one eye, and in the other the figure of a horse, and





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