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The Evil Eye

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Author Topic: The Evil Eye  (Read 1948 times)
The Creeper
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« Reply #90 on: May 01, 2009, 01:00:55 am »

A farm boy left his employment in a neighbouring parish against his p. 55 master's wish, "to better himself," and took service near. Soon after, he was seized with a "terrible" pain in his foot, so that he could neither stand nor drive home the cows. An acquaintance coming by took him home in his cart, and advised him to consult "Conjurer ------." The latter told him at once, "Somebody's workin' harm 'pon thee." In the end the boy was advised to go back to his old place, and to keep a sharp watch if Mr. or Mrs. ------ took anything down out of the "chimbly." "’Nif they do, and tear'n abroad, they can't never hurt thee no more." After many questions he was taken back into the house again, and in a short time he saw Mrs. ------ take an image down from the chimney. "’was a mommet thing, and he knowd 'twas a-made vor he." He saw that the feet of the little figure were stuck full of pins and thorns! As soon as he found out that the thing was destroyed, he went off again to farmer ------'s, because his feet got well directly, and he knew they could not work harm a second time.

Fifteen years ago, at a town in Devonshire, lived for many years an unmarried woman, the mother of several children. The woman left, and a neighbour searching about the house found, in the chimney as usual, onions stuck thickly with pins, and also a figure made unmistakably to represent das mannliche Glied, into which also were stuck a large number of pins. The people who crowded to see these things had no doubt whatever as to their being intended for a certain man who kept a little shop near, and had been known as a visitor of this woman, who thus vented her spite upon him.

The names of the parties to all these stories are known to me, and the "Conjurer" up to his death a few years ago occupied a cottage belonging to my father.

The pins in an onion are believed to cause internal pains, and those in the feet or other members are to injure the parts represented, while pins in the heart are intended to work fatally; thus a distinct gradation of enmity can be gratified.

55:81 Letter from Mr. J. L. W. Page (Author of Explorations of Dartmoor, Exmoor, etc.), October 20, 1890.

56:82 W. F. Rose, Somerset and Dorset Notes and Queries, vol. iv. part xxvi. p. 77 (1894).

56:83 Those whose profession is to counter-charm and to discover witchcraft are white witches or "wise men," or more commonly "conjurers." They are usually, but not always, men.

56:84 H. S. in the Spectator, Feb. 17, 1894, p. 232.

p. 57

In all the foregoing instances, it will be noted that the hearts or onions were to be scorched either by being actually thrown on the fire or by being placed in the chimney, where they would be exposed to much heat. The inside of the clavel beam would be a particularly hot place. A specimen of the same kind of heart as Fig. 5, at Oxford (Pitt Rivers Museum), has also a large nail through it, to fasten it to the wooden clavel.

57:85 Mrs. Gaskell in Nineteenth Century, Feb. 1894, p. 264.

This, however, is somewhat wide of our subject, and belongs rather to the widely-extended belief in holy wells and sacred springs. (For full information on this subject, see Mackinlay, Folk Lore of Scottish Lochs and Springs, 1894.)

58:86 In the same case are to be seen one or two other hearts of the same character as Figs. 4 and 5, though less perfect as specimens.

58:87 Petronius, Sat. 131. Story, Castle of S. Angelo, p. 211. Jahn, etc., p. 42, says: "Bunte Fäden spielten bei allen Zauberwesen eine grosse Rolle," and gives numerous references to classics and scholiasts.

59:88 Persius, Sat. ii. 31. There is also a very common practice both in England and elsewhere of tying a bunch of many-coloured ribbons to horses' heads. "During the panic caused in Tunis by the cholera some extraordinary remedies were eagerly run after by the populace." Among others one woman "sold bits of coloured ribbon to be pinned on the clothes of those who were anxious to escape the epidemic" (Hygiene, Nov. 17, 1893, p. 938).

59:89 On this subject see Sacred Wells in Wales, by Professor Rhys, read before the Cwmrodorian Society, January 11, 1893.

60:90 Compare this with the many examples of sending away various diseases by hanging articles on trees, giver, by Dr. Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. ii. p. 137.

61:91 The True Preserver and Restorer of Health, by G. Hartman, Chymist, 1695, servant of Sir Kenelm Digby.

62:92 See "Crying the Neck," Transactions Devon Association, 1891.

63:93 At the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, are many specimens of this Harvest figure from several parts of the world. Particularly several "Kirn babies" from Scotland, made from the last of the corn cut, and thus supposed to contain the corn spirit. Though not precisely alike in form, they are exactly analogous in motive to the "Neck" of Devon and West Somerset. Upon "Kirn babies," Brand fell into the error that Kirn meant corn, from similarity of sound. The word really means churn, and is precisely analogous to kirk and church. At harvest time in Scotland there has always been a great churning of butter for the festival, and hence the Kirn has developed into the name for the festival itself. Baby is but the old English name for a doll or "image," as Brand recognised. Therefore the Kirn baby has nothing to do with the word corn, but means a "Harvest-festival doll." Theories built up upon its meaning corn-maiden, are without any foundation except that of connection with the end of harvest. No doubt these figures are made from the last of the corn, and do represent the spirit of vegetation, but their signification is by no means implied in their Scotch name. Mr. Frazer (Golden Bough, vol. i. p. 344) has therefore been misled by Brand. See N. E. Dict. s.v. "Corn-Baby."

63:94 See Brand, vol. i. p. 226 et seq.

63:95 Elton, Origins of English History, 2nd ed. p. 282.

64:96 Martin, Description of Western Islands, quoted by Elton, Orig. p. 282.

64:97 In ancient Greece, "on the fifth day after the birth, the midwives, having first purified themselves by washing their hands, ran round the fire hearth with the infant in their arms, thereby, as it were, entering it into the family" (Potter, Archæol. Græc. vol. ii. p. 322).

64:98 Rhys, Welsh Philology, p. 10.

64:99 Kemble, Saxons in England, vol. i. p. 360, has a long note on this act in Perthshire during the present century, and also in Devonshire.

64:100 We refer to these fires later on, but they were undoubtedly relics of sun-worship.

"In Munster and Connaught a bone (probably the representative of the former sacrifice) must be burnt in them (Baal fires). In many places sterile beasts and human beings are passed through the fire. As a boy I with others jumped through the fire 'for luck,' none of us knowing the original reason. "--Kinahan, Folk-Lore Record, vol. iv. 1881, quoted Notes and Queries, 8th ser. v. 433.

65:101 Elton, Origins of English History, p. 276.

65:102 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. ii. p. 387.

66:103 Selden says: "’Tis in the main allowed that the heathens did in general look towards the east when they prayed, even from the earliest ages of the world."

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