Atlantis Online
September 30, 2022, 02:38:29 pm
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Scientists Confirm Historic Massive Flood in Climate Change
http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20060228/
 
  Home Help Arcade Gallery Links Staff List Calendar Login Register  

The Evil Eye

Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: The Evil Eye  (Read 2087 times)
The Creeper
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3204



« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2009, 01:22:40 pm »

that these people will not sink in water even if weighed down with clothes. 25

It is thus easy to see from Pliny, whence the idea came which led people in the Middle Ages, and even later, to put reputed witches to the water ordeal. If they sank they were innocent, but of course then they were drowned, and spite was appeased; while if they floated they were, as in Pliny's time, accounted guilty and then burnt. 26

Those who were under the influence of anger or of envy were most dangerous in this terrible faculty, while those who were in the enjoyment of special happiness or good fortune were the most liable to injury, because exciting the greater invidia of the fascinator.

Those who had been highly praised, by others or even by themselves, were liable to be blasted.

Narcissus was thought to have fascinated himself, and hence his untimely fate, for it has always been held that too much praise or admiration of any person or object by whomsoever given, even by himself, would bring upon him the curse of fascination.

How surely this belief still exists even here in England is proved by the following:--A few weeks ago a respectable farmer had a very nice-looking



p. 13

Report Spam   Logged
The Creeper
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3204



« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2009, 01:22:52 pm »

horse in his cart, which the writer, his landlord, admired, and said would bring him a long price for a certain purpose. The owner began to expatiate on the good qualities of the animal, but suddenly stopped and said: "But there, I don't want to zell'n, and mustn' zay too much for fear o' bad luck" (Nov. 15, 1893).

Even the most enlightened of us has constantly heard and perhaps said: "I never like to boast of my things; if I do I am sure to lose them." "Only yesterday, I was saying I had not broken anything for years, and now I have let fall this old glass that belonged to my grandmother!"

A story upon this question is told by Plutarch 28 which he puts into the mouth of his friend Soclarus at a supper in the house of a certain Metrius Florus. There had been a discussion on the evil eye, and some one having asserted that fascination was all nonsense, the host insisted that the power was undoubted, and called on his friends to testify that "we ourselves have known men who could inflict potent injury upon our children by merely looking at them." Plutarch then explains that the voice, the odour, the breath, are emanations which may easily injure those susceptible of them, and particularly is this true of the eyes, which dart out fiery rays, producing a wonderful effect, especially as may be seen in the influence of love through the eyes. Another of the friends agrees: he says that envy exerts an evil influence through the eye; and Plutarch affirms these to produce most direful results, from the envious looks which pierce like poisoned arrows. He goes on to say it is wise to employ charms and antidotes to turn aside these


p. 14

Report Spam   Logged
The Creeper
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3204



« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2009, 01:23:07 pm »

evil glances. Soclarus then mentions the fact that fathers and relatives sometimes bewitch their own children unintentionally, and that some even fascinate themselves by their own gaze.

He reminds them of the story of Eutelidas, who like Narcissus fell a victim to the admiration he felt for his own likeness.

Fair was Eutelidas once, with his beautiful hair,
But admiring his face in the stream, on himself he inflicted
A dread fascination, and wasted away with disease.

Theocritus also tells a story of a certain Damætas who had been boasting of the impression his own beauty had made upon him when he had seen his image reflected in the water. He, however, seemed well aware of what might be the consequence, for he adopted a well-known remedy against fascination, by spitting three times on his breast. This will be referred to later on. 29

Further, among the Greeks and Romans, statues of Nemesis were erected, which were adored and invoked to save their worshippers from fascination.

Few of the old classic writers 30 fail to give an account of the dread power which some individuals exercised over others. Women and children seem to have been accounted by all as the most liable to injury, while also some women were held to be the most powerful fascinators. Not only was the effect supposed to be produced by the eye--ὀφθαλμὸς βάσκανος, the fascinating eye of the Greeks--but it was asserted that some could blast trees, kill children, and destroy animals merely by their voice. In Gozola, a town in Africa, a fascinator called Elzarian



p. 15

Report Spam   Logged
The Creeper
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3204



« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2009, 01:23:17 pm »

killed by his evil art no less than eighty persons in two years. 31

In Rome the faculty of fascination was so well recognised that, according to Pliny, special laws were enacted against injury to crops by incantation, excantation, or fascination. The belief in those days was so universal that when a person was ill without apparent cause the people cried: "Mantis te vidit"--"some fascinator (lit. grillo, grasshopper) has looked on thee"; just as would now be said, "Thou art overlooked." 32

It was believed anciently that even the gods also looked enviously upon man's good fortune, and often with malicious joy destroyed it for him. The injurious effect of this envy which seemed to men of old so mysterious (because beyond their comprehension), with the gods was thought to be but the natural outcome of their superhuman power. The belief was also held that the gods were envious of each other, and cast evil glances upon the less powerful of their own fraternity--hence the caduceus always carried by Mercury as a protector.

Although we no longer believe in divine enmity, any close observer can yet discover for himself, that a belief in the same malignant power of envy, though less outspoken, is still prevalent as ever. Here in the west we have a common expression of the peasantry, which keeps alive and tersely expresses this firm belief. Any untoward event which has brought misfortune, is described as "a very wisht thing." The death of a parent



p. 16

Report Spam   Logged
The Creeper
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3204



« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2009, 01:23:27 pm »

leaving young children, a child sick without any apparent disease, a fatal accident, or any unexpected calamity is thus spoken of. A person forlorn, sickly, or otherwise pitiable, is always "a wisht poor blid." The phrase extended would be "illwished," i.e. blasted or injured by the envious malignity of some person by whom the sufferer has been "overlooked," by whom the maleficent glance has been cast. The word is so common, and of such regular use, that it would be uttered by many, who would repudiate any such superstitious belief as that of the evil eye. 34

In connection with envy, it was customary amongst the Romans when praising any person or thing to add, præfiscini dixerim, 35 which may be freely



p. 17

Report Spam   Logged
The Creeper
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3204



« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2009, 01:23:38 pm »

translated: "Fain evil! I should say." The same custom still holds in certain parts of Italy, where in like circumstances it is said: "Si mal occhio non ci fosse." The object of these conventional sayings was, and still is, to prove that the speaker was sincere and had no evil designs in his praise. We in the West have similar little speeches, though perhaps no set formula. "Mus'n zay too much." "That ever I should zay zo." "I don't wish 'ee no harm, so I on't zay no more," etc. etc., are very common sayings after praise.

It would be easy to multiply ancient quotations all bearing reference to the evil eye, not only from the Scriptures, but from hosts of early writers, which prove not only the prevalence, but the universality, of the belief.

All those who were supposed to possess the evil eye were specially avoided by the ancients. "Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye" (Prov. xxiii. 6) is just as much a maxim to-day as it was in the time of Solomon. At the appearance of a person having the reputation, a cry, jettatore! is passed, and even in a crowded street of Naples it causes an instantaneous vanishing of everybody, a rush up entries, into shops, or elsewhere; the charms and antidotes, of which we have to speak later on, notwithstanding.

An amusing incident occurred to the writer. I had been searching the book-shops of Italy from

p. 18

Report Spam   Logged
The Creeper
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3204



« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2009, 01:23:53 pm »

one end to the other for Cicalata, by Nicolo Valletta. At Venice I entered a large second-hand establishment, and was met by the padrone all smiles and obsequiousness, until he heard the last words of the title of the book wanted, sul Fascino. Instantly there was a regular stampede; the man actually turned and bolted into his inner room, leaving his customer in full possession of his entire stock. Nor did he even venture to look out from his den, so long as I waited to see what would happen. He evidently thought even the dread word a fatal omen, or at least that a foreigner using it must be a jettatore. Generally there is no hesitation among the people, at least the tradespeople, to talk about the jettatura as an abstract fact, but to get at their own personal feelings about it, or to get instances of its effects related, is much more difficult.

The fascinator of infants, jettatore di bambini, as he is called in Italy, is everywhere the most dreaded. A gentleman on three occasions acted as sponsor at Naples, and singularly all three of the children died; upon which he ever after got the reputation of having the malocchio, so that mothers who knew him took all sorts of precautions to keep their children out of his sight; and no one would, for the world, venture to ask him again to be godfather to a child.

The writer's friend, Mr. Neville-Rolfe, tells many similar stories (Naples in 1888. Trübner), and they might be multiplied to any extent. One such ought to be reported respecting a kind of fascination he terms "suspensive," the peculiarity of which is to disarrange whatever is being done. "If you meet him (the fascinator) when going to the train you will

p. 19

Report Spam   Logged
The Creeper
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3204



« Reply #22 on: April 30, 2009, 01:24:07 pm »

assuredly miss it. If you are going to see a friend by appointment you will find him out; if a friend is coming to see you he will be disappointed."

"How is your case getting on?" we once said to a Neapolitan friend, who was engaged in a troublesome litigation; "it was heard yesterday, was it not?" "No," replied he, very crestfallen; "on my way to the Court I met Mr. C------, and he has a jettatura sospensiva, so I knew what would happen; my case was adjourned sine die."

It may be mentioned en passant, that in Tuscany the influence is called affascinamento, or mal d'occhio; while in Southern Italy jettatura is the common term. In Corsica, 36 however, where the belief is universal, it is called Innocchiatura. In other parts of Northern Italy it is known by several names, which seem to include all the varied influences of fascination, as well as those of the evil eye especially. 37

Valletta records 38 that a servant of the Duke of Briganzio caused a falcon to drop down dead, con occhi jettatori. Also that it is registered in the Acts of the Academy of Paris that a dirty old hag (vecchiaccia) in 1739 went near and paused before a highly polished mirror, which, from her glance, absorbed so much greasy matter (grassume), that collected together it was proved to be a very powerful poison. Finally, he says, there was one who by




p. 20

Report Spam   Logged
The Creeper
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3204



« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2009, 01:24:19 pm »

looking on a block of marble dashed it in pieces (lo spezzo). Also there was in Rome, Titinnia, who by her evil eye caused the orator Curio to remain speechless when making a peroration against the Senate.

He relates moreover many other misfortunes which befell sundry people known to him, especially how he had himself prepared a memorial to the king, setting forth his labours and claims, and making requests which had always been granted to his predecessors. But, alas! as he was getting into the carriage which was to convey him to Caserta, a friend whom he had long known as a terrible jettatore presented himself, and said: "It is difficult"; consequently there was as much misfortune as could possibly happen on the journey: pouring rain, a drunken coachman, horse taken ill or lame, and at last when approaching the royal presence to present his memorial, he could not find it in his pocket, where he had carefully placed it! The worst of all was that quel maledetto jettatore laughingly reminded him every day of the occurrence and of his blighted hopes.

The professor concludes: 39 "Every people, every race, believes, and hopes to avoid sinister events and la jettatura, by benedictions, by happy auguries, by those precautions and remedies which experience shows to be most valuable and opportune." He afterwards goes on to philosophise on the invido sguardo, and speaks of the antipathy between the Lion and the ****. He says (p. 105) the eyes of cocks cause melancholy (mestizia) and fear to the poor lion; that there are seeds in the body of the


p. 21

Report Spam   Logged
The Creeper
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3204



« Reply #24 on: April 30, 2009, 01:24:32 pm »

**** inimical to the lion. Curiously too he quotes Bacon's ninth essay, on Envy. Speaking of the various antidotes, he says (p. 144): "For preservation against incantations and evil enchantments (malefici) I have found the following to be recommended: invocation of the Goddess Nemesis; the good prayers of those who do not gaze with admiration on or bepraise others; the blessings of those who wish to inspire courage are valuable to keep off the evil eye (togliere il fascino); the carrying on the person (adosso) certain natural articles, such as rue, certain roots, a wolf's tail, the skin of a hyena's forehead (fronte della iene), the onion, which they say the devil respects because the ancients adored it equally with himself; and that herb with strong-smelling root called Baccharis, Baccari, 40 vulgarly called Guanto di nostra signora (Our Lady's glove), because it constipates the passages, and restrains the overflow of the spirits which excessive praise produces; whence it closes the door to fascination."

Valletta was evidently himself a profound believer



p. 22

Report Spam   Logged
The Creeper
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3204



« Reply #25 on: April 30, 2009, 01:24:43 pm »

in fascination of every kind, whether of eye, bodily presence, or actual touch, and finishes up his essay by offering a reward of from ten to twenty scudi for answers to thirteen questions, according as the notizia may excite in him more or less interest. They are as follows, translated literally:--

1. If a man or woman is the more powerful (jetta più)? 2. If more, he who has a wig? 3. If more, he who has eye-glasses? 4. If more, the woman enceinte? 5. If monks more (than others), and of what order? 6. If he is able jettare (to fascinate) more, who approaches us after the evil which we have suffered? i.e. Is the second time worse than the first, or do we become increasingly subject to the influence? 7. At what distance does the jettatura extend? 8. If it is able to come from things inanimate? 9. If it operates more on side, front or back (di lato, di prospetto, o di dietro)? 10. What gait (gesto), what voice, what eye, and what character of will have jettatori, and (how) do they make them selves known? 11. What devotions (orazioncine) one ought to recite to preserve oneself from the jettatura of monks (Frati)? 12. What words in general ought one to repeat to escape the evil eye (si debban dire per evitare la jettatura)? 13. What power therefore have the horn, or other things? 41

It was anciently believed that women have more power of fascination than men. Varro accounts for their increased evil influence as the result of their unbridled passions, 42 and he fully describes how to discern between those who have greater or less dangerous



p. 23

Report Spam   Logged
The Creeper
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3204



« Reply #26 on: April 30, 2009, 01:27:04 pm »

power. In modern times, however, it has generally come to be believed that the evil eye is possessed more by men than women. 43

Ever since the establishment of the religious orders, monks have had the special reputation of possessing the fatal influence.

In 842, Erchempert, a monk of Monte Cassino, the most famous convent in Italy, wrote that Landulf, Bishop of Capua, used to say that whenever he met a monk, something unlucky always happened to him during the day. 44 To this day there are many persons who, if they meet a monk or priest, on first going out in the morning, will not proceed upon their errand or business until they have returned to their houses and waited a while, so as to be able to make a fresh start.

In Rome are many noted jettatori: 45 one of them is a most pleasant and handsome man, attached to the Church, and yet, by odd coincidence, wherever he goes he carries ill-luck. If he goes to a party, the ices do not arrive, the music is late, the lamps go out, a storm comes on, the waiter smashes his tray of refreshments, something or other is sure to happen. Some one said the other day: "Yesterday I was looking out of my window, when I saw ------ (a well-known jettatore) coming along. 'Phew!' said I, making the sign of the cross and pointing both fingers, 'what ill-luck will happen now to some poor devil that does not see him?' I watched him all down the street however, and nothing occurred; but this morning I hear that after turning the corner




p. 24

Report Spam   Logged
The Creeper
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3204



« Reply #27 on: April 30, 2009, 01:27:16 pm »

he spoke to a poor little boy, who was up in a tree gathering some fruit, and no sooner was he out of sight than, smash! down fell the boy and broke his arm."

A story was told the writer in Naples of an event which had just happened: a certain Marchese, having this evil repute, was invited to a ball, and people who knew he was coming were sure something would happen. He did not arrive till late, but he had no sooner set his foot in the ball-room than down fell the great glass chandelier in the centre of the room. Fortunately no one was immediately beneath it at the moment, but the chandelier was smashed to atoms, and of course he was the cause. Endless stories of this kind are to be heard in Naples, the home par excellence of the jettatura.

Truth (Nov. 4, 1893), of a party to a cause célèbre, says: "In Italy, however, it would be believed that he is a jettatore--that is to say, a person who, from no fault of his own, has the singular attribute of bringing some misfortune on others wherever he goes. The only way for any one brought in contact with such a person to avoid ill consequence is to point two fingers at him. Pope Pio Nono was supposed to be a jettatore, and the most devout Catholics, whilst asking his blessing, used to point two fingers at him. I remember once in Nice there was a gentleman who had this reputation. The Préfet, being a Frenchman, invited him to a ball. He soon, however, discovered that if the jettatore came many others would not, and he had to convey to him delicately the request not to accept the invitation."

Ask a Roman about the late Pope's evil eye

p. 25

Report Spam   Logged
The Creeper
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3204



« Reply #28 on: April 30, 2009, 01:27:31 pm »

reputation, and he will answer: "They said so, and it seems really to be true. If he had not the jettatura, it is very odd that everything he blessed made fiasco. We all did very well in the campaign against the Austrians in '48. We were winning battle after battle, and all was gaiety and hope, when suddenly he blessed the cause, and everything went to the bad at once. Nothing succeeds with anybody or anything when he wishes well to them. When he went to S. Agnese to hold a great festival, down went the floor, and the people were all smashed together. Then he visited the column to the Madonna in the Piazza di Spagna, and blessed it and the workmen; of course one fell from the scaffold the same day and killed himself. He arranged to meet the King of Naples at Porto d'Anzio, when up came a violent gale, and a storm that lasted a week; another arrangement was made, and then came the fracas about the ex-queen of Spain.

"Again, Lord C------ came in from Albano, being rather unwell; the Pope sent him his blessing, when, pop! he died right off in a twinkling. There was nothing so fatal as his blessing. I do not wonder the workmen at the column in the Piazza di Spagna refused to work in raising it unless the Pope stayed away!"

Mr. Story tells another tale--of Rachel and a rosary blessed by the Pope, which she wore on her arm as a bracelet. She had been visiting a sister who was ill in the Pyrenees, but one day she was so much better, that Rachel left her to visit another sister. While laughing and chatting merrily, a message arrived that she must return instantly as a fit had

p. 26

Report Spam   Logged
The Creeper
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3204



« Reply #29 on: April 30, 2009, 01:27:43 pm »

come on. Rising like a wounded tigress, she seemed to seek some cause for this sudden blow. Her eye fell on the rosary, and in rage and disappointment she tore it from her wrist, and dashed it to the ground, exclaiming: "O fatal gift! 'tis thou hast entailed this curse upon me!" and immediately sprang out of the room. Her sister died the day after.

Another acquaintance of Mr. Story, the Marchese B-----, had the reputation of being a jettatore, and he called on a company of friends who were paying a visit at a villa in the country. All were gay and in good spirits, just on the point of setting off in carriages, on donkeys and mules, for a picnic. At once there was confusion and dismay. Some wished to put off altogether, others thought it would have a very ugly look in his eyes, and that they had better go, after taking all possible precautions to avert the jettatura; and so it was decided. The gaiety, however, was at an end; every one expected ill-luck, and so it happened! They had hardly gone a mile when the horses in one of the carriages bolted, upset the carriage, and so frightened and hurt those who were in it, that they refused to go farther, and the picnic was given up. "Ah, you laugh!" said my friend; "you laugh; but it is no less a fact that wherever the Marchese goes he carries ill-luck. Dio mio! what a jettatore he is! The other day we were going into the country to spend the day when we had the ill-luck to meet him. 'Buon viaggio!' he cried as we passed. 'Si divertino.' We knew at once it was all up with us, and debated whether we should postpone our journey till another day. But that was a disappointment, and then we had made all our preparations, so on we went; but within half

p. 27

Report Spam   Logged
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum
Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines
Privacy Policy