Atlantis Online
August 13, 2022, 05:21:57 pm
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Secrets of ocean birth laid bare 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/5191384.stm#graphic
 
  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 1924 times)
The Creeper
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3204



« Reply #30 on: April 30, 2009, 01:27:55 pm »

a mile, off came the front wheel; and, bon gré mal gré, we were obliged to go back."

At a concert at the Sala Dante, in Rome, on December 20, 1876, one of the main gas-pipes burst, but fortunately, though the room was crowded, no one was injured. La Libertà next day concluded an account of the occurrence thus: "A friend coming out of the Sala Dante explained the unfortunate scene which had just taken place, attributing it to the presence in the hall of certain individuals well known as jettatori. Who knows that our friend is not right?"

Dumas in Le Corricolo, which is mostly about Naples, has a short chapter on La Jettatura. He says that it is an incurable malady, 46 one is born a jettatore and so dies; one is compelled to become such, and when once begun there is no power to throw it off. Generally they are unaware of their fatal influence; hence it is the worst possible compliment to tell a man that he has it. Constantly you see in Naples two men chatting in the street, one of them keeps his hand clasped (pliée) behind his back. Mark carefully the one with whom he is talking; he is a jettatore, or at least one who has the misfortune to pass for one. A stranger arriving in Naples begins by laughing at the evil eye; but little by little he thinks over it, and at the end of three months you will see him covered with horns from head to foot, and his right hand eternally crispée. Nothing guards against it except the means indicated. No rank, no fortune, no social position, can place one above its reach. All men are equal devant elle.

Dumas finishes his chapter with a citation of


p. 28

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



« Reply #31 on: April 30, 2009, 01:28:10 pm »

the same questions put by Valletta (see p. 22), but they are taken from a different edition of the Cicalata from either that used by Mr. Story, or that in possession of the writer.

In a previous chapter (vol. i. p. 177) Dumas speaks of King Ferdinand, that though he had lived seventy-six years and had reigned sixty-five, yet the Neapolitans sought to discover something supernatural in his death at last.

This is what they discovered. The king, who was a firm believer in the power of the evil eye, especially in priests, had been tormented for fifteen years by a certain Canon Ojori, who sought an audience to present some book of which he was the author. Ferdinand had all along persistently refused, but at length, on January 2, 1825, overcome by the persuasions of those about him, he fixed the morrow for this long-sought interview. In the morning the king wanted to set out for Caserta for a day's shooting, an excuse he always deemed sufficient; but he was dissuaded. He remained in Naples, received Dom Ojori, who passed two hours with him, and departed leaving his book behind. The day after, King Ferdinand was dead! The doctors unanimously declared that it was an attack of acute apoplexy, but the people would not believe a word of it. The true cause was that this audience had given an evil chance to Canon Ojori, who was known as one of the most terrible jettatori in Naples.

In Abyssinia potters and ironworkers called Budas 46a were believed to have been specially endowed with the maleficent faculty, hence, in that so-


p. 29

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



« Reply #32 on: April 30, 2009, 01:28:20 pm »

called Christian land, these people were excluded from the more sacred rites, notwithstanding that as a class they professed to be most religious, and were surpassed by none in strictness of observance. Certain ailments are still set down to their influence, and they are believed to have had the old-world power of the loup garou, or were-wolf--that of changing themselves into hyenas or other ravenous beasts, the counterparts of the wolves of the north.

Nathaniel Pearce, an old African traveller, declares that a friend of his had seen one of these transformations with his own eyes, and that the peculiar earrings worn by the descendants of the Budas had frequently been seen by him (Pearce) in the ears of hyenas that have been trapped. This story is as old as Herodotus, who recounts that the Budas were reputed then to be evil-minded enchanters who for one day in every year changed themselves into wolves; but he himself did not believe it.

The belief in the power of transformation 47 seems in all countries to have been closely allied with witches and with those possessed of the evil eye. The idea is very common in the stories of ancient mythology, and from the Middle Ages down to the present time it has possessed the popular mind. The hare, the wolf, the cat, and the sow seem nowadays to be the favourite animals whose shape is assumed, though many others are believed in. 48



p. 30

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



« Reply #33 on: April 30, 2009, 01:28:30 pm »

Giraldus, so often quoted by Higden, says that Ossory men were periodically turned into wolves in his day; and Spenser says "some of the Irish doe use to make the wolf their gossip." These traditions naturally lead to such stories as that of Little Red Riding Hood of our nursery days. In India it is very firmly believed that certain people can change themselves into tigers, and again resume their natural shape at pleasure.

The ancient name versipelles sufficiently expresses the idea of those who could assume strange forms, or turn their skins. We ourselves bear witness to the old belief in the common saying: "Ready to jump out of their skins for joy."

It is easy to see how the belief in their power of transformation by witches has begotten that ever-present dread of ill omens, when one of the animals, supposed to be one of those whose form is usually

p. 31

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



« Reply #34 on: April 30, 2009, 01:28:42 pm »

assumed, crosses the path. The writer knows people who would scorn the notion of being uneducated or superstitious, but who are terrified if a hare or a sow cross their path, and fully expect some misfortune presently to happen.

Nor did we meet, with nimble feet,
One little fearful lepus,
That certain sign, as some divine,
Of fortune bad to keep us.

Even so serious a writer as Burton 49 mentions the fear of accident or of prodigies which trouble us "as if a hare cross the way at our going forth." 50

In Scotland it is most unlucky to see a hare or a pig cross the path, and the fisher folk turn their backs if they see either. In Somerset, a hare crossing the path in front of the spectator is a sign of death; but since the Ground Game Act this belief is likely to be soon forgotten.

Fishermen everywhere avoid mentioning at sea the name of a hare, pig, salmon, trout, or dog, but go out of their way to find some other word when it is needful to indicate either of these.

The fear of mentioning the name of any sacred or dreaded animal is common in India.

The weasel, or as Trevisa called it, and we still call it, the "veyre," crossing the path, is also a bad omen, doubtless from the same notion, though there does not seem to be any record of witches assuming its shape. "I have known people who have been put into such terrible apprehensions of death by the squeaking of a weasel, as have been very near bringing on them the fate they dreaded." 51




p. 32

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



« Reply #35 on: April 30, 2009, 01:28:53 pm »

On the other hand a frog was considered a good omen. Many other objects are still considered, when met, to be the forerunners of misfortune, such as a deformed person, 52 a black cat, a shaggy dog, a barefooted woman; but above all to meet a person who squints, is here in England thought to be as unlucky as in Italy it is to meet a jettatore sospensivo. In fact there are still living people by no means unintelligent to whom omens of bad or good fortune are matters of very considerable importance, and who, without perhaps confessing it, are yet guided in their actions to an unsuspected degree by feelings engendered by such notions as are here hinted at.

The same custom of deprecating over-praise, before referred to, is common among the Turks, among modern Italians, and among ourselves, who each and all have a similar formula. A well-mannered Turk will not pay a compliment without "Mashallah!" an Italian will not receive one without "Grazia a Dio"; an Irishman without "Glory be to God"; or an English peasant without Lord be wi' us." The idea is the same with all peoples: by acknowledging a higher power as the protector, the danger of fascination is averted; this, and not gratitude, must be confessed to be the motive in all cases, and that there is little of what is called Christianity in any.

There were two kinds of fascination among the ancients, the moral and the natural, and this belief is still held. The moral power was that exercised


p. 33

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



« Reply #36 on: April 30, 2009, 01:29:04 pm »

by the will. It was against the users of this, that the special laws of the Romans were directed. These included all those who practised incantation and malignant arts. More terrible were, and still are, those in whom the faculty of the evil eye was natural, whose baneful look was unconscious, whose eye threw out radios perniciosos, which by a sort of mesmeric power acted upon the nervous system of the victim. It has always been recognised as a rule of good manners never to praise immoderately lest the speaker should fascinate against his will. Hence the conventional exclamation before referred to, præfiscini dixerim, which put the hearer on his guard to use some antidotal formula for himself.

Heliodorus narrates 53 that a Greek girl, daughter of Calasaris, fell ill, and that in reply to the question what was the matter, it was said that it was no wonder, seeing that she had been seen by so great a crowd of people--and of course among so many, she had drawn upon her the evil eye of some one; and the speaker goes on to explain that the air, infected by the malign influence, penetrates the eyes, nose, and breath of the victim, and carries with it the bitterness of the envy with which it is surcharged. He argues forcibly that love is of the same origin as disease, which through the sight strikes passion into the soul.

Consider besides, O Charicles, how many have been infected with inflammations of the eyes, and with other contagious distempers, without ever touching, either at bed or board, those who laboured under them, but solely by breathing the same air with


p. 34

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



« Reply #37 on: April 30, 2009, 01:29:19 pm »

them. The birth of love affords another proof of what I am explaining, which, by the eyes alone, finds a passage to the soul; and it is not difficult to assign the reason; for as, of all inlets to our senses, the sight is the most lively, and most various in its motions, this animated quality most easily receives the influences which surround it, and attracts to itself the emanations of love.

He ends with saying, if some give the stroke of the evil eye unconsciously to those they love, how much more must the effect be when malignant will is added to the force of nature.

It was currently believed in England at the time of the Black Death, that even a glance from the sick man's distorted eyes was sufficient to give the infection to those on whom it fell. 54 No doubt it was to this belief that Shakespeare refers in

Write "Lord have mercy on us" on those three;
They are infected; in their hearts it lies;
They have the plague, and caught it of your eyes. 55

[paragraph continues] The same speaker, Biron, had just before in the same scene called attention very significantly to

Their eyes, villain, their eyes!

The eye was, and is, certainly considered the chief medium of communicating evil, but there were also those of touch, of bodily presence, and of the voice; further again there was the whole class of actions spoken of as enchantments or incantations, practised quite as much with the object of working evil, as of frustrating or counteracting it.

Those students who are curious upon the strange and manifold ramifications of the belief in fascination are once more referred to the exhaustive treatise of Christian Frommannd.



p. 35

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



« Reply #38 on: April 30, 2009, 01:29:34 pm »

Another remarkable book is 56 that of Martin Delrio, a Jesuit of Louvain, who published in 1603 six books folio, in which he also quotes a great number of authorities both ancient and modern. He says he will not argue whether maleficium exists, he takes it for granted, and that the calamities of mortals are the work of evil spirits. He declares that "Fascination is a power derived from a pact with the devil, who, when the so-called fascinator looks



p. 36

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



« Reply #39 on: April 30, 2009, 01:29:43 pm »

at another with an evil intent, or praises, by means known to himself, infects with evil the person at whom he looks." He distinctly says that fascination may be received by touch, or by inhalation, but of these, the latter is not only most fatal but most contagious.

As we go on we cannot but see that fascination, in many of its aspects, is nothing more nor less than what we now call Mesmerism or Hypnotism, by which, as we all know, certain people have an extraordinary influence over others. In a recent magazine article was a very remarkable story from a Physician's Note-Book which precisely shows what we mean. A girl, well educated, gentle, refined and perfectly sane, was found to be detained in a lunatic asylum, during the Queen's pleasure, for murder. She had shot a man whom she did not know, and against whom personally she could have had no enmity. The

p. 37

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



« Reply #40 on: April 30, 2009, 01:29:54 pm »

story is told with much circumstantial detail, and, extraordinary as it is, seems probable enough. The upshot is that she had become subject to the influence of a physician, who had taken to practise hypnotism, and whose power over her had become unbounded. The man's own confession unfolds the tale: he had some reason of his own to hate the murdered man, and in his heart wished him dead. He himself does not appear to have been specially bad, but he certainly harboured and encouraged in his own mind the evil feeling. One day the girl met the man whom her doctor secretly hated, and at once felt a violent antipathy; this grew and grew, until at last the girl felt herself absolutely impelled, constrained, to murder him. She, a delicate girl who otherwise would have feared even to touch such a weapon, took a pistol of her father's, called upon the victim, and as soon as she got into his presence, shot him dead.

We have heard many instances of a similar kind, where certain people have had mysterious and very extraordinary influence over others. Some years ago a lady hypnotist acquired a marvellous power over some of the undergraduates at Oxford--a power real and overmastering, which science can in no way explain; and however much chicanery there may be mixed with its practice, it is certainly a fact, that the effect produced first by the eye of the mesmerist is greatly strengthened by the actual touch.

In all ages and in all countries the power of touch has been fully recognised.

Many of our Lord's miracles were performed by the aid of touch, usually as an actual means, but on one notable occasion the healing was effected by the

p. 38

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



« Reply #41 on: April 30, 2009, 01:30:05 pm »

woman's touching Him. When Naaman went to be cured of his leprosy, he expected that the prophet would touch him "as well as call upon his God." Here in our west country "the doctor" is the well-understood name for a seventh son, though really according to popular faith he should be also the son of a seventh son. The familiar name comes from the firm belief that his touch alone has healing power. The touch of the king for the cure of scrofula, even within the last two centuries, has given to that particular kind the name of the King's Evil. 57

Our dialectal word to bless signifies to touch by making the sign of the cross on the part affected. Here in the west, goitre is a rather common ailment, for which the best cure is believed to be the touching of the swelling by the hand of a corpse--the sex being different from that of the person afflicted. I have known many cases of its application, but cannot testify to the effect.

Whatever opinion we ourselves may hold as to the existence of a power or influence such as we are discussing, however much we may be inclined to ridicule the belief so far as concerns human beings, no one can deny that a very powerful influence does exist among animals both as regards the effect of certain species upon others, and as to the power of man upon the eye of savage beasts. Without admitting


p. 39

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



« Reply #42 on: April 30, 2009, 01:30:14 pm »

the truth of what Virgil and Pliny refer to as to the fact that he whom the wolf sees before he is himself seen loses his voice, 58 yet we believe, and it is generally maintained, that no animal can retain his fierceness under, nor endure, the steady gaze of man. Moreover the experience recorded by Dr. Livingstone when being actually torn by a lion, goes to prove that the senses become deadened, that the terror of his position had disappeared, and that the previous nervous dread was the only suffering he experienced: that in fact he felt no pain, nor any acute desire to escape from his terrible assailant.

It is but reasonable, at least, to hope that some such feeling is mercifully provided for animals in general, and that the daily slaughter which is going on everlastingly in nature, may not be attended with all the nervous and physical pain with which, judging by our human feelings, we usually associate it. 59

It is certain that some animals can and do exercise a great and mysterious influence over others, fables notwithstanding. 60 Snakes especially seem to have




p. 40

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



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

the power of exciting fear and aversion in nearly all other creatures, while with some, especially birds, they have at the same time a power of attraction, which can only be described as fascination.

This feeling is strikingly illustrated by the action of the frog when chased by a snake; for he utters a piteous cry while trying to escape from the creature of which he has an instinctive terror. "When fairly seized, however, it gives itself up to its fate, and seldom attempts to struggle." 61

One species, Bucephalus Capensis, is generally found upon trees, to which it resorts for the purpose of catching birds. The presence of one is soon discovered by the birds of the neighbourhood, which collect around it, flying to and fro, uttering the most piercing cries, until some one of them, more terror-struck than the rest, scans its lips, and almost without resistance becomes a meal for its enemy. During the proceeding the snake is generally seen with its head raised ten or twelve inches above the branch round which the body is entwined, with its mouth open and neck inflated, as if anxiously endeavouring to increase the terror it was aware would sooner or later bring within its grasp some one of the feathered group.

Notwithstanding all that may be said in ridicule of fascination, it is nevertheless true that birds, and even quadrupeds, are under certain circumstances unable to retire from the presence of certain of their enemies, and, what is even more extraordinary, unable to resist the propensity to advance from a


p. 41

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



« Reply #44 on: April 30, 2009, 01:30:46 pm »

situation of actual safety into one of the most imminent danger. "This I have often seen exemplified in the case of birds and snakes, and I have heard of instances equally curious, in which antelopes and other quadrupeds have been so bewildered by the sudden appearance of crocodiles, and by the grimaces and contortions they practised, as to be unable to fly or even to move from the spot, towards which they were approaching to seize them." 62

A remarkable snake story is recorded in Household Words (vol. xvii. p. 139) of a cobra and an old soldier in India, who became quite good friends, and who used to remain in company together two or three hours at a time while the soldier kept singing. One day a hawk chasing its prey came near the cobra, which raised its head and hissed. "The hawk gave a shriek, fluttered, flapped his wings, and tried very hard to get away; but it would not do. Strong as the eye of the hawk was, the eye of the snake was stronger. The hawk, for a time, seemed suspended in the air; but at last he was obliged to come down and sit opposite the snake, who commenced with his forked tongue, keeping his eyes on him all the while, to slime his victim all over. This occupied him for at least forty minutes, and by the time the process was over the hawk was perfectly motionless. I don't think he was dead, but he was very soon, for the snake put him into a coil or two and crackled up every bone in the hawk's body." He then gave him another sliming, made a big mouth, and soon made a meal of him.

In our childhood we used to be told that the fox was in the habit of sitting under a tree whereon a


p. 42

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