Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Kabbalah and the Tarot by Arthur Edward Waite 1902


THE KABALAH AND THE TAROT by Arthur Edward Waite 1902

See also 100 Books on the Kabbalah on DVDrom (Qabbala, Jewish Mysticism), and Over 220 Books on the Occult and Astrology on DVDrom

It is very well known to all occult students at the present day that the Tarot is a method of divination by means of seventy-eight symbolical picture-cards, to which great antiquity and high importance are attributed by several authorities. Their literary history is also equally well known. They were first mentioned by the French archaelogist Court de Gebelin at the close of the eighteenth century, and were attributed by him to an Egyptian origin. Much about the same time the subject was taken up by a professed cartomancer, named Alliette, who wrote a great deal about them in several illiterate tracts, and endeavoured to trace their connection with Egypt through the Jewish Kabalah. The inquiry then fell into neglect, except in so far as Continental fortune-tellers were concerned, until the year 1854, when Eliphas Levi made his first contributions to occult science.

In 1857, J. A. Vaillant endeavoured to prove their Chinese origin and transmission by means of the gipsies; their connection with these nomads was subsequently adopted by Levi, who gave great prominence to the Tarot in all his writings up to the year 1865. The subject was also taken in hand by P. Christian, who published a large history of Magic in 1870. He developed still further the Egyptian theory, but no statement which he makes can be accepted with any confidence. In the year 1887 I was the first who introduced the claims of the Tarot to English readers in a digest of the chief works of Eliphas Levi. An important contribution to the inquiry was made shortly after by the French occultist Papus, whose elaborate work entitled the "Tarot of the Bohemians," though scarcely of critical value on the historical side, remains the most comprehensive and attractive summary of all the arguments.

The point which concerns us here is, of course, the Kabalistic connections. Eliphas Levi says that the Tarot cards are the key to the esoteric tradition of the Jews, and "the primitive source of divine and
human tradition"; he institutes an analogy between the symbols of its four suits and the four letters of the Divine Name Tetragrammaton and between the ten Sephiroth and the ten small cards belonging to each suit. He gives also the correspondences between the twenty-two trump cards and the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, for which he quotes the authority of "divers Kabalistic Jews," which must not, however, be interpreted too strictly, as although the symbolism of the Hebrew alphabet has been much dwelt on by such authorities there is no trace of any reference to the Tarot by Kabalistic writers of the past. It must be admitted, on the other hand, that the analogies are exceedingly striking, and that although the historic evidences can scarcely be said to exist, and have been supplied from the treasures of imagination, there can be no doubt that the Tarot is actually, as it is claimed to be, of considerable importance symbolically. I may perhaps be permitted also to register my personal belief that it has distinct Kabalistic connections, some of which were broadly outlined by Eliphas Levi. Unfortunately, the interpretations of its symbolism which have been attempted by various writers are nearly worthless, in the first place because they have all proved themselves incapable of conducting a dispassionate historical inquiry; they have allowed affirmation to take the place of evidence; they have regarded a hint as a sufficient ground of conviction; they have made conjecture certitude. Setting aside Court de Gebelin, who was merely an inquirer hampered by the limitations of his period; setting aside Levi, who seldom made an accurate statement about any matter of fact; observe how Dr. Papus pursues his inquiry into the origin of the Tarot It is by an appeal to the writers who preceded him, as if their authority were final; to Court de Gebelin, who was a groper in the dark during the childhood of archaeological reasoning; to Vaillant, with his fascinating theory of gipsy transmission which is about as conclusive as Godfrey Higgins on the "Celtic Druids"; to Levi, whose "marvellous learning" is so much and so unsafely insisted on by the whole French school. Papus contributes nothing himself to the problem on its historical side except an affirmation that "the game called the Tarot, which the Gypsies possess, is the Bible of Bibles." Obviously, the historical question calls for treatment by some independent scholar who will begin by releasing its present fantastic connections.

In the second place, the symbolism of the Tarot, which, to do justice to Dr. Papus, is most patiently and skilfully elaborated in his work, is at once disorganised if there be any doubt as to the attribution of its trump cards to the Hebrew alphabet Now there is one card which bears no number and is therefore allocated according to the discretion of the interpreter. It has been allocated in all cases wrongly, by the uninstructed because they had nothing but their private judgment to guide them, and by those who knew better because they desired to mislead. I may go further and say that the true nature of Tarot symbolism is perhaps a secret in the hands of a very few persons, and outside that circle operators and writers may combine the cards as they like and attribute them as they like, but they will never find the right way. The symbolism is, however, so rich that it will give meanings of a kind in whatever way it may be disposed, and some of these may be strikingly suggestive, but they are illusory none the less. The purpose of this short paper is therefore to show that the published Tarots and the methods of using them may be very serviceable for divination, fortune-telling and other trifles, but they are not the key of the Kabalah, and that the Royal Game of Goose may be recommended with almost as much reason for the same purpose. Dr. Papus is therefore unconsciously misdirecting his many followers when he advertises his laborious readings as the "Absolute Key to Occult Science."

See also 100 Books on the Kabbalah on DVDrom (Qabbala, Jewish Mysticism), and Over 220 Books on the Occult and Astrology on DVDrom

For a list of all of my disks and digital books click here

Friday, October 30, 2015

Bible Ghosts by GW Foote 1922


For more see The Occult Spirit World & the Bible - 170 Books on DVDrom

THE belief in ghosts is rapidly dying out. They are scarcely ever heard of in towns, except in a forlorn condition at Spiritist séances, where they are at the beck and call of professional mediums, and reduced to playing tricks for their sport and profit. Most surviving ghosts lurk about villages and lonely homsesteads. The reason of this is obvious. Life and society quicken the intellect in towns, while the quiet and solitude of the country stimulate the imagination. And ghosts are entirely a matter of fancy. Like miracles they depend on faith. If you believe in them you may see them; if you do not you never will.

The Bible abounds with these phantasms. They are of various kinds, from little spectres to the great Ghost, commonly called Holy, who himself appears in a variety of forms. Such a fact is not surprising when we consider that this book is full of the grossest superstitions. When its author came on earth in the person of Jesus Christ, he actually thought that mad people had devils in them, and were to be cured by the exorcist instead of the doctor. Nothing unscientific or absurd, therefore, should surprise us in his writings. We ought rather to be thankful, in reading them, for the smallest mercies in the shape of knowledge and common-sense.

We are very early introduced in the Old Testament to a ghost. The second verse of Genesis says that “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” But as there were no eyes to view this ocean traveller, the very fish not being then in existence, we have no notion of its form or feature. All we can say is that it was the loneliest ghost on record, with the most miserable occupation. It was worse off even than Noah, for although he sailed the seas for twelve months without sight of land, and must have been heartily sick of so much water, it is not unreasonable to Suppose that he had a drop of “something short” inside his floating menagerie; especially when we reflect that the first thing he did after the Flood, directly he had offered his burnt offering to the Lord, was to get dead drunk.

The next ghost was “the Lord God,” whom Adam and Eve heard “walking in the garden in the cool of the day." Scripture states that they heard his voice, so he was probably holding a conversation with himself; which is a common thing with persons of weak intellect. This is quite in keeping with the sequel, which displays him in a dreadful passion at occurrences which anyone but a fool
would naturally have expected. Yet this ghost is, in a manner, an advance on the first, having passed, as Herbert Spencer would say, from the homogenous to the heterogenous state, from the simple to the complex. The “Spirit of the Lord” appears to have been a gaseous body, if we may so speak of a ghost; but the “Lord God” has a voice and a walking apparatus, and is therefore organic.
We wonder how long this process of development took. The ghostly biologist who answers that question will settle a puzzling problem in chronology; namely, the length of time between “in the beginning” and the creation of Adam.

After the Flood, and until the Jews settled down in Palestine, the Lord frequently appeared again. He visited Abraham several times, and on one occasion stopped to dinner. Two of his angels, or himself divided into two, called on Lot at Sodom, and put up with him for the night; He met Jacob near Jabbok brook and held a wrestling match with him, in which, after many hours rough sport, he was at last defeated, although he dislocated his adversary’s thigh. Moses saw him in a burning bush, in a public-house, and on a mountain, where he spent forty days with him and had a panoramic view of his “afterwards.” Altogether Jahveh was a pretty busy ghost, until he found it more respectable and prudent to cultivate a retiring disposition.

There were many angelic ghosts in the Old Testament who played various parts, such as heavenly messengers, promisers of children to barren wives (these were doubtless young and good-looking), lying prophets and wholesale murderers. But the most remarkable angels were the sons of God who saw the daughters of men that they were fair, and who were apparently the progenitors of a mongrel
race of giants. It has, however, been suggested that this narrative was written by a subtle satirist who sailed as close to the wind as he could; that these sons of God were priests, who are always fond of the fair sex; and that the mongrel offspring were the bastard children they procreated.

The first Bible ghost, in the more modern sense of the word, is that of the prophet Samuel, who was raised by the witch of Endor: This old lady kept a “familiar spirit,” and no doubt a bristly tom-cat. Her trade was summoning ghosts in the dead of night. She was one of the survivors of a numerous tribe of witches and wizards whom Saul had rooted out of the land in his vigorous and
sensible reign; but in his decline, when the priests and conjurors were all against him, and he was himself troubled with fits of melancholy and superstition, he paid this old Hecate a visit. Apparently ashamed of his weakness, he went in disguise, and asked her to bring up Samuel. There was much haggling before she would begin the performance, for according to the law here life
was in danger, but at last she brought the old fellow up. Probably as business had been dull of late, she had grown unused to ghosts; at any rate, when she saw Samuel she screamed, and fancied she saw streams of spectres issuing from the ground.

Samuel wore a mantle, so there are clothes in the spirit world, as the Spiritists of to-day aver, although some of their lady mediums have been detected playing the ghost themselves with devilish little on.

Samuel’s ghost spoke, and all other ghosts indulge more or less in the same diversion. They generally talk utter nonsense, although Samuel’s language was rather wicked than absurd. We should like to know what sort of a voice he had. Superstition generally ascribes to ghosts the ghost of a voice. Savages describe the spirit-voice as a chirp or murmur, and the classic descriptions of Homer
and Ovid are very similar. Shakespeare makes the King's ghost in Hamlet speak monotonous lines which we naturally associate with subdued accents; and the low, mysterious tone is still affected by the “familiar spirits ” of modern mediums. A screaming ghost would be a screaming farce. Those who wish to find the explanation of this and may other facts of Animism should consult Dr. E. B. Tylor’s magnificent work on _Primitive Culture_.

Let us make a leap to the time of Elijah, who played an extraordinary trick with a ghost. He was lodging with a widow at Zarephath, and living on her miraculous barrel of meal and cruse of oil, which never failed, but gave forth perennial supplies of pancakes. This fortunate lady’s boy fell ill and died, and she reproached the prophet with being the cause of her loss. Elijah in turn gave the Lord a lecture on the subject, and asked what he meant by slaying the poor woman’s son. He then carried the little corpse up into the garret which he occupied rent free, laid it on his bed, “stretched himself upon the child three times,” and besought the Lord to let its soul come back. His prayer was heard, the third stretch was lucky, “the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.” Curiously, there is a similar feat recorded of Elisha, who inherited Elijah’s mantle, and the goodwill of his business. Elisha’s hostess, however, was not a widow, but a wife. Her husband was old, and she had no child when Elisha first came to their house, but that little deficiency was soon remedied. Presently she had a son and heir, who grew big enough to carry his fatherfs dinner to the reaping field, where, alas! he was killed by a sunstroke. Elisha operated on the corpse as Elijah had done before him. He stretched himself on the child, mouth on mouth, eyes on eyes, and hands on hands, gave it a good warming, and then went downstairs to get up the steam again, perhaps over a bottle of inspiration. Being well primed, he ascended and gave the corpse another cuddle. This effort was crowned with complete success. The child’s soul returned, he sneezed seven times, and opened his eyes, no doubt thinking Elisha had given him snuff.

What a fine example of barbaric superstition! Among savages, such as the ancient Jews undoubtedly were, it is a common belief that the soul leaves the body when a man faints or dies, and may sometimes be brought back by calling on it; and thus, says Tylor, “the bringing back of lost souls becomes a regular part of the sorcerer’s or priest’s profession.” Elijah and Elisha seem both to
have been in this line of business, and these two cases may have been recorded merely as specimens of their skill.

And how interesting and instructive is that incident of the child sneezing seven times! The breath and the soul were the same thing, and both passed through the nose. God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life. At the Flood all in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. Jacob, as Tylor says, prayed that man’s soul might not thenceforth depart from his body when he sneezed. It has been a general custom to utter a pious ejaculation on sneezing; and when, after a good sneeze, Christians say, “God bless me! ” they are unconsciously performing an ancient religious rite. Sternutation is widely associated with demoniacal possession. The idea appears among peoples so diverse as the Hindus, the Persians, the Kelts, the Kaffirs, and the Jews, not to mention a number of other races. The Messalians, an heretical sect, used to spit and blow their noses to expel the demons they might have drawn in with their breath. There are pictures of mediaeval exorcists driving out devils through the patients’ nostrils; and centuries earlier Josephus told of his seeing a certain Jew, named Eleazar, cure demoniacs by drawing the demons out through the same channel. Yes, the nose is as prominent in religious history as it is on our faces, and its intimate connection with the soul may explain why the priests have always led us by this particular organ.

Elisha’s bones, although they could not resuscitate themselves, had the power of reviving others. A corpse dropped hurriedly into his sepulchre stood up alive and kicking. Ezekiel saw a whole valley of dry bones start into life again. Probably the old ghosts were ready to resume their bodies at a very short notice, for they were supposed to haunt the place of their burial. Quite
another kind of ghost was the one that passed before the face of Eliphaz in the dead of night and made the “hair of his flesh” stand up like quills upon the fretful porcupine. Unfortunately we have no description of it; yet, as it preached a long sermon, we may conjecture that it was the ghost of a parson looking out for a fresh pulpit.

Jesus Christ himself was considered a ghost by some of the early heretics. They could not conceive that Deity was born of woman, ate, drank, and slept, and suffered an ignominious death; so they held that the Messiah was not a being of flesh and blood, but a phantasm. There is something to be said for this opinion, for the same Jesus who was crucified and buried ascended into heaven; and does not St. Paul say that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God”? But on the other hand there are the very plain, unequivocal words which Luke puts into the mouth of Jesus on his appearance to the eleven, “A spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” This seems decisive. Yet those fastidious heretics may be met half way, for if Jesus was not a ghost, he was at least the son of a ghost.

With the exception of those spirits Jesus was in the habit of casting out from people who never possessed them, a sprightly variety of which he sent into the Gadarean swine, the first authentic ghost he took in hand was that of Jairus’s daughter. Some critics, among whom is Olshausen, throw doubt on this. When Jesus came to, raise the girl from the dead, in other words to call her ghost back, he said, “The maid is not dead, but sleepeth.” Those critics take the language literally, and assert that it was not a case of resurrection at all.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke narrate this story, but John does not. Mark and Luke both say that Jesus, after restoring the maid to her friends, charged them that they should tell no man, while Matthew says that "the fame thereof went abroad into all that land." This is a good illustration of Gospel Harmony. Yet it is fair to say that the different stories may be reconciled by supposing that
Jesus asked them to keep the miracle a secret, in order to get it well published.

Jesus raised up more than one person from the dead, as indeed was to be expected, for Rabbi Acha in the Talmud only expressed the general belief when he said that “in the Messianic time God will wake the dead, as he did before by Eljiah, Elisha, and Ezekiel.” The second case was that of the widow’s son at Nain. Jesus resuscitated him publicly before “much people” as he was being carried to the grave. Of course the young man, like the young maid, was never heard of again; and although the “rumour went forth through all Judaea,” it never reached the ears of Matthew, Mark, and John. Josephus did not hear of it, nor even Paul, for he told Agrippa that Christ was the first that rose from the dead, and in Corinthians (xv. 20) he calls him “the first fruits of them that slept.” For any useful result, or any conviction it produced, this miracle was like the barren fig-tree.

Philostratus relates a similar story of Apollonius of Tyana, who met one day in the streets of Rome a damsel carried out to burial, followed by her betrothed, and by a weeping company. He bade them set down the bier, saying he would stanch their tears; and having enquired her name, whispered something in her ear, and then, taking her by the hand, he lifted her up, and she began straight way to speak, and returned to her father’s house. This story is quite as beautiful as Luke’s and probably quite as true.

A far more beautiful story is told of Buddha. Professor Rhys Davids and other Buddhist scholars narrate it with slight variations, but it is more finely rendered in Sir Edwin Arnold’s Light of Asia. A young mother brings the Master her dying child, bitten by a poisonous snake, and implores his aid. Gazing at her with his gentle eyes, and laying on her his patient hand, he says that there is one thing which might heal her grief and the boy's wound, if she could find it; a black mustard-seed, taken from a house where no father, mother, child or slave has died. But she seeks it in vain, for although those of whom she begs kindly offer her the seed, she cannot take it, because every house bears the taint of death; and she returns to the pitiful wise Master with the sad news.

“My sister! thou hast found,” the Master‘said,
“Searching for what none finds—that bitter balm
I had to give thee. He thou lovedst slept
Dead on thy bosom yesterday: to-day
Thou know’st the whole wide world weeps with
thy woe:
The grief which all hearts share grows less for
one.
Lo! I would pour my blood if I could stay
Thy tears and win the secret of that curse
Which makes sweet love our anguish, and which
drives—
O’er flowers and pastures to the sacrifice-
As these dumb beasts are driven—men their
lords.
I seek that secret: bury thou thy child.”

How pathetic, yet how sane! How far above Luke’s story of Christ, which teaches no lesson and touches no eternal problem!

Luke claims to have had “perfect understanding of all things from the very first,” and he certainly beats the other evangelists in his account of the ruler’s daughter. Yet he yields to John in the case of Lazarus. John, indeed, beats all three of his rivals hollow in this matter; for, while he hunts up all the details of the gentleman’s resurrection, they never once get upon the scent.

Lazarus was loved by Jesus; he lived and died, rose from the tomb, and lived and died again, unless he is still roaming the earth; yet Matthew, Mark, and Luke never heard of him. What makes this ignorance still more striking is that John represents the raising of Lazarus as the fact which provoked the resentment of the chief priests and Pharisees, and led to the crucifixion of Christ.

Jesus knew that his friend Lazarus lay dying, but would not save his life, because he meant to work a bigger miracle. When he arrived at Bethany, Martha and Mary were surrounded with sympathetic friends, and weeping over their brother’s grave. The scene was so affecting that “Jesus wept” too, although he knew, which they did not, that in less than a minute Lazarus would be restored to life. Jesus is called “the man of sorrows,” and not without cause, for he seems to have been able to pipe his optics on the smallest provocation.

Lazarus had been dead four days, and his flesh was rather high. Martha said, “he stinketh”; and St. Ambrose wrote that the smell was like Egyptian darkness—so thick, that it could be felt. But Jesus, being the
Son of Jahveh, and used to the sickly odour of burnt offerings, was not deterred by such a trifle. Approaching the tomb he first asked his celestial parent to back him up, and then shouted “Lazarus, come forth!" Whereupon the corpse started up all alive, but not kicking, for it was bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and must have looked remarkably like a bale of bacon. But of course he was soon unpacked, and taken home.

Many people saw this miracle, yet it was not mentioned at the trial of Jesus before Pilate. What a strange omission! It Lazarus had been produced in court, with the witnesses of his resurrection, is it likely that Pilate would have sentenced Jesus to death? Or, if the chief priests and Pharisees believed in the miracle, would they have tried to kill one who had proved himself the master of Death?

Why did Jesus shout “Lazarus, come forth”? Would not a whisper have done as well? There is a theatrical air about the whole performance. Renan suggests that it was all a trick, got up between Lazarus and Jesus, when the latter’s head was turned and his conscience perverted by the Messianic delusion. Dr. Davidson saves the credit of his Saviour by impeaching John’s accuracy, and charging him with “converting the Lazarus of the parable in Luke into a historical person.” Keim also holds that “not a doubt can remain of the spuriousness of the whole story.” A host of Biblical critics agree with this view, including Schenkel, Strauss, Baur, Weisse, and Hilgenfeld.

What became of Lazarus after his resurrection? Scripture is silent, but tradition says he became Bishop of Marseilles, which is doubtless as true as that he wrote the “Marseillaise.” Epiphanius relates that he lived thirty years after his “second birth.” What a pity he did not occupy some of the time by writing his autobiography! The history of the four days he spent God knows where would have been the best bit of literary property in the market.

There is a tradition that the first thing Lazarus asked on coming to, was whether he should die again; on being told “Yes,” he never smiled more. Had he then, like Jesus a little later, spent those four days in hell? Or had he been to heaven, and finding it dismally monotonous, as Revelation depicts, was he terrified at the thought of returning, and dwelling for ever with what Heine called “all the menagerie of the Apocalypse”? Robert Browning has brought great learning and subtlety to bear on this subject, in his Epistle of Karshish the Arab Physician, but of course he is a poet and not a theologian.

Jesus Christ’s ghost will be dealt with in another chapter. We conclude this one with a few words on the great ghost, the ghost of ghosts, the Holy Ghost. Let us, dear reader, approach this mystical spirit with fear and trembling; for blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is a sin that will never be forgiven us in this world or in the next. It leads as surely to the pit as jumping from the gallery of a theatre; and is all the more to be dreaded because nobody knows what it is.

Men have speculated whether this being should be called he, she, or it. But the story of its “overshadowing ” Mary seems decisive on that point. What shape the heavenly father of Jesus took when he visited Joseph’s young woman is a moot point. Protestant writers shirk the subject, but Catholics go in for the dove or the pigeon. They ridicule the Pagan story of Jove’s making love to Leda in the form of a swan, and becoming the father of Castor and Pollux. But what difference is there between these two myths except in the size of the bird? Yet to laugh at the one is legitimate fun, while to laugh at the other is unpardonable sin.

There is no doubt as to the Holy Ghost’s form on his next appearance. When Jesus was baptized “he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him.” This is Matthew’s account. Luke goes farther. He writes as though all the bystanders witnessed the marvel as well'as Jesus, “The heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove.”

The last appearance of the Holy Ghost was on that famous day of Pentecost, when he came in the form of tongues of fire on the heads of the twelve apostles. The effect of this visitation was singular. They all began to jabber strange tongues. Some of the auditors thought they were filled with the spirit, and others said they were drunk. A similar diversity of opinion has obtained since. Many men have been “filled with the Holy Ghost,” like those captains of the first; Salvation Army, have talked with strange tongues, and seen visions and dreamed dreams; and while some people have thought them inspired, others have thought them delirious. This latter class have_ever, as in the Acts, been stigmatised as “mockers,“ but their number is rapidly increasing in this age of science and common-sense. They have always had the laugh on their side, and now the world is coming over too. A mighty roar of laughter is shaking the realms of superstition, fluttering all the ghosts, warning them to melt into thin air, and “like the baseless fabric of a Vision faded, leave not a wrack behind.”

For a list of all of my disks, with links, go to https://sites.google.com/site/gdixierose/ or click here

Dangers of Spiritism & the Occult - 60 Books on CDrom


Buy Now Only $5.25 (I only ship to the United States)

Books Scanned from the Originals into PDF format


Books are in the public domain. I will take checks or money orders as well. Ask me about volume discounts.

For a list of all of my disks, with links, go to https://sites.google.com/site/gdixierose/ or click here

Contents of Disks (created on a Windows computer)

Spiritualism versus Christianity, or, Spiritualism thoroughly Exposed by JW Daniels 1856

The History and Power of Mind by Richard Ingalese 1902 (Lesser Occult or Psychic Forces and their Dangers, Hypnotism and How to Guard Against It)

Facts and Mysteries of Spiritism by Joseph Hartman 1885

Spiritualism, article in the The Bible Christian magazine (The so-called "light" of spiritualism is no other than the light of the pit, and its doctrines are "the doctrines of Devils."") 1881

Spiritism and the Fallen Angels in the Light of the Old and New Testaments by James Gray 1920

Spiritism the Modern Satanism by Thomas Coakley 1920



A Complete Refutation of Astrology by TH Moody 1838

Modern Spiritism - its Science and Religion by AT Schofield 1920

The Menace of Spiritualism by Eliot O'Donnell 1920

Modern Necromancy, article in the The Christian Treasury 1871

What Say the Scriptures about Spiritism - That it is Demonism by Charles Taze Russell 1897

The Rappers - The Mysteries, Fallacies, and Absurdities of Spirit-rapping, Table-tipping, and Entrancement 1854

Spiritualism exposed by F Fawkes 1920

Modern Spiritualism Laid Bare, unmasked, dissected, and viewed from spiritualists' own teachings and from Scriptural standpoints

Spiritualism - a personal experience and a warning by C Kernahan 1920

The Case against Spiritualism by Jane Stoddard 1919

Confessions of a Medium 1882

Sketches of Imposture, Deception, and Credulity 1845 (has chapters dealing with Astrology, Vampires and Alchemy)

Spiritualism and Necromancy by AB Morrison 1873

Spiritualism, or Modern necromancy by Edward Cridge 1870

Some Phases of Modern Occultism - Article in the Rosary Magazine 1903

Spiritism and Religion, a moral study by J Liljencrants 1918

The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism, Fraudulent and Genuine, being a brief account of the most important historical phenomena, a criticism of their evidential value, and a complete exposition of the methods employed in fraudulently reproducing the same by H Carrington 1908

Three Lectures on Modern Spiritism by Carl August Blomgrem 1922 -

"The final word of the Bible on Spiritism seals its eternal doom. Bevelation XXI:8"
The Probable Effect of Spiritualism upon the social, moral, and religious condition of society by Anna Blackwell 1876

Modern Spiritualism - a history and a criticism, Volume 1 by Frank Podmore 1902

Modern Spiritualism - a history and a criticism, Volume 2 by Frank Podmore 1902

Spiritualism on Trial by Rev. F. W. Evans 1875

The New Black Magic and the Truth about the Ouija-board by J Rauper 1919

The Question Settled. A careful Comparison of Biblical and Modern Spiritualism by Moses Hull 1891

Psychic Research and Gospel Miracles - a study of the evidences of the Gospel's superphysical features in the light of the established results of modern psychical research by Edward Duff 1902

Essays in Occultism, Spiritism, and Demonology by William Harris 1919

Serpent-worship and other essays by Charles Wake 1888

Frauds exposed by Anthony Comstock 1880

The Popes and Science by James Walsh 1908 (appendix talks about Astrology)

The Greatest Debate within a Half Century Upon Modern Spiritualism by Moses Hull and William F. Jamieson 1904

The supernatural in modern English fiction by Dorothy Scarborough 1917

Fact and fable in psychology by J Jastrow 1901 (The modern occult. The problems of psychical research. The logic of mental telegraphy. The psychology of deception. The psychology of spiritualism. Hypnotism and its antecedents.)

Astrology, article in the Knickerbocker Magazine 1836

The Autobiography of Satan by John Beard 1872 (has a chapter on Astrology)

A Note on Astrology and Spiritualism, article in Papers for the Times 1879

The Mediaeval Attitude toward Astrology by TO Wedel 1920

The Delusions of Clairvoyance, article in Scribner's Monthly 1879

Psychology as a natural science applied to the solution of occult psychic phenomena 1889 by Charles Raue



Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions Volume 1 by Charles Mackay 1850

Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions Volume 2 by Charles Mackay 1850

Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions Volume 3 by Charles Mackay 1850

Modern Mysteries Explained and Exposed by Asa Mahan 1855

Hypnotism and Spiritism; a Critical and Medical Study by G Lapponi 1907

The Pharmacy of the Bible, article in Canadian pharmaceutical journal 1872 (In the list of the evil practices of the day given by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians, occurs the word " witchcraft." The Greek word for this is "pharmakeia," from which our word pharmacy is derived.)

Chronicles of Pharmacy, by A. C. Wootton 1910 (The Greek word, pharmakeia, the original of our " pharmacy," had a rather mixed history in its native language. It does not seem to have exactlv deteriorated, as words in all languages have a habit of doing, for from the earliest times it was used concurrently to describe the preparation of medicines, and also through its association with drugs and poisons and the production of philtres, as equivalent to sorcery and witcheraft. It is in this latter sense that it is employed exclusively in the New Testament. St. Paul, for instance (in Galatians, v, 20), enumerating the works of the flesh names it after idolatry. The word appears as witcheraft in the Authorised, and as sorcery in the Revised Version.)

Religious Delusions - Study of the False Faiths of Today by JV Coombs 1904 (Chapters on Witchcraft, Superstitions, Spiritualism and Hypnotism)

The Swedenborgian Delusion by George Burgess 1870

Rev. Joseph Cook Versus Emanuel Swedenborg 1879 (Swedenborg may be said to be the father of Spiritualism, a belief that one can communicate with the dead).

The Holy Spirit and Other Spirits by Daniel Teasley 1904 (many pages hard to read)

Is the Devil a Myth? by CF Wimberly 1913

Claims of Modern Psychical Research, article in Our Day 1895

Spiritism and the Cult of the Dead in Antiquity by Lewis Bayles Paton - 1921

Preliminary report of the Commission appointed by the University of Pennsylvania to investigate modern spiritualism, in accordance with the request of the late Henry Seybert 1887 (The Seybert Commission was a group of faculty at the University of Pennsylvania who in 1884-1887 investigated a number of respected spiritualist mediums, uncovering fraud or suspected fraud in every case that they examined.)

  Buy Now

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Origin of the Werewolf Superstition by Caroline Taylor Stewart 1909


THE ORIGIN OF THE WEREWOLF SUPERSTITION by Caroline Taylor Stewart 1909

See also The Paranormal and Supernatural - 400 Books on DVDrom and Over 100 Books on Vampires & Werewolves on DVDrom

The belief that a human being is capable of assuming an animal’s form, most frequently that of a wolf, is an almost worldwide superstition. Such a transformed person is the Germanic werewolf, or man-wolf; that is, a wolf which is really a human being. So the werewolf was a man in wolf’s form or wolf’s dress, seen mostly at night, and believed generally to be harmful to man.

The origin of this werewolf superstition has not been satisfactorily explained. Adolf Erman explains the allusion of Herodotus to the transformation of the Neurians (the people of the present Volhynia, in West Russia) into wolves as due merely to their appearance in winter, dressed in their furs. This explanation, however, would not fit similar superstitions in warm climes. Others ascribe the origin of lycanthropy to primitive Totemism, in which the totem is an animal revered by the members of a tribe and supposed to be hostile to their enemies? Still another explanation is that of a leader of departed souls as the original werewolf.


The explanation of the origin of the belief in werewolves must be one which will apply the world over, as the werewolf superstition is found pretty much all over the earth, especially to-day however in Northwest Germany and Slavic lands; namely, in the lands where the wolf is most common. According to Mogk, the superstition prevails to-day especially in the north and east of Germany. The werewolf superstition is an old one, a primitive one.

The point in common everywhere is the transformation of a living human being into an animal, into a wolf in regions where the wolf was common into a lion, hyena or leopard in Africa, where these animals are common; into a tiger or serpent in India; in other localities into other animals characteristic of the region. Among Lapps and Finns occur transformations into the bear, wolf, reindeer, fish or birds; amongst many North Asiatic peoples, as also some American Indians, into the bear; amongst the latter also into the fox, wolf, turkey or owl; in South America, besides into a tiger or jaguar, also into a fish, or serpent. Most universal though it seems was the transformation into wolves or dogs.

As the superstition is so widespread—Germany, Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, America, it either arose at a very early time, when all these peoples were in communication with each other or else, in accord with another view of modern science, it arose independently in various continents in process of the natural psychical development of the human race under similar conditions. The origin of the superstition must have been an old custom of primitive man’s of putting on a wolf’s or other animal’s skin or dress, or a robe.  Likely also the notion of attributing speech to animals originated from such disguising or dressing of men as animals. In the following we shall examine into primitive man’s reasons for putting on such a skin or robe.

Primitive man was face to face with animal foes, and had to conquer them or be destroyed. The werewolf superstition in Europe arose probably while the Greeks, Romans, Kelts and Germanic peoples were still in contact with each other, if not in the original Indo-Germanic home, for they all have the superstition (unless, as above, we prefer to regard the belief as arising in various localities in process of psychical development under similar conditions; namely, when people still lived principally by the chase. Probably the primitive Indo-European man before and at the time of the origin of the werewolf superstition, was almost helpless in the presence of inexorable nature. This was before he used metal for weapons. The great business of life was to secure food. Food was furnished from three sources, roots, berries, animals, and the most important of these was animals. Without efficient weapons, it was difficult to kill an animal of any size, in fact the assailant was likely himself to be killed. Yet primitive man had to learn to master the brute foe. Soon he no longer crouched in sheltered places and avoided the enemy, but began to watch and study it, to learn its habits, to learn what certain animals would do under certain circumstances, to learn what would frighten them away or what would lure them on. So at least the large animals were to early man a constant cause of fear and source of danger; yet it was necessary to have their flesh for food and their skins for clothing.

Very soon various ingenious contrivances were devised for trapping them. No doubt one primitive method was the use of decoys to lure animals into a trap. Some could be lured by baits, others more easily by their kind. Occasionally masks were used, and similarly, another form of the original decoy was no doubt simply the stuffed skin of a member of the species, whether animal or bird, say for example a wild duck. Of course the hunter would soon hit on the plan of himself putting on the animal skin, in the case of larger animals; that is, an individual dressed for example in a wolf’s skin could approach near enough to a solitary wolf to attack it with his club, stone or other weapon, without exciting the wolf’s suspicion of the nearness of a dangerous foe. So the animal disguise, entire or partial, was used by early man acting in the capacity of a decoy, firstly, to secure food and clothing. Secondly, he would assume animal disguise, whole or partial, in dancing and singing; and both these accomplishments seem to have arisen from the imitation of the motions and cries of animals, at first to lure them, when acting as a decoy. With growth of culture came growth of supernaturalism, and an additional reason for acquiring dance and song was to secure charms against bodily ills, and finally enlivenment. In both dance and song, when used for a serious purpose, the performers imagined themselves to be the animals they were imitating and in the dance they wore the skins of the animals represented.

Probably as long as animal form, partial or entire, was assumed merely for decoys and sport (early dancing), for peaceful purposes therefore, such people having whole or partial animal shape were not regarded as harmful to man, just as wise women began to pass for witches only when with their art they did evil. A similar development can be traced in the case of masks. It was some time before man could cope with food and clothing furnishing animals that were dangerous to life, though these are the ones he first studied; and we cannot presuppose that be disguised to represent them until he could cope with them, since the original purpose of the disguise was to secure food and clothing. Thus far then we see whole or partial disguise as animals used to secure food and clothing when acting as decoys to lure animals; and in dancing.

Fourthly, primitive man would put on an animal’s skin or dress when out as forager (or robber) or spy, for the purpose of avoiding detection by the enemy. The Pawnee Indians for example, were called by neighboring tribes _wolves_, probably not out of contempt, since it may be doubted that an Indian feels contempt for a wolf any more than he does for a fox, a rabbit, or an elk, but because of their adroitness as scouts, warriors and stealers of horses; or, as the Pawnees think, because of their great endurance, their skill in imitating wolves so as to escape detection by the enemy by day or night; or, according to some neighboring tribes, because they prowl like wolves "have the endurance of wolves, can travel all day and dance all night, can make long journeys, living on the carcasses they find on their way, or on no food at all.” . . . And further, “The Pawnees, when they went on the warpath, were always prepared to simulate wolves. . . . Wolves on the prairie were too common to excite remark, and at night they would approach close to the Indian camps.” . . . The Pawnee starting off on the warpath usually carried a robe made of wolf skins, or in later times a white blanket or a white sheet; and, at night, wrapping himself in this, and getting down on his hands and knees, he walked or trotted here and there like a wolf, having thus transformed himself into a common object of the landscape. This disguise was employed by day as well, for reconnoissance. . . While the party remained hidden in some ravine or hollow, one Indian would put his robe over him and gallop to the top of the hill on all fours, and would sit there on his haunches looking all over the country, and anyone at a distance who saw him, would take him for a wolf. It was acknowledged on all hands that the Pawnees could imitate wolves best. “An Indian going into an enemy’s country is often called a wolf, and the sign for a scout is made up of the signs wolf and look.” Should any scout detect danger, as at night when on duty near an encampment, he must give the cry of the coyote.

The idea of the harmfulness to other men of a man in animal form or dress became deeply seated now, when men in animal disguise began to act not only as decoys for animals dangerous to life, but also as scouts (robbers—and later as possessors of supernatural power, when growth of culture brought with it growth of supernaturalism); when people began to associate, for example, the wolf’s form with a lurking enemy.

All uncivilized tribes of the world are continually on the defensive, like our American Indian; they all no doubt on occasion have sent out scouts who, like our American Indians, to avoid detection, assumed the disguise of the animal most common to the special locality in question, just as to-day they are known to disguise in animal skins for purposes of plunder or revenge. The kind of animal makes no difference, the underlying principle is the same; namely, the transformation of a living human being into an animal. The origin of the belief in such a transformation, as stated above was the simple putting on of an animal skin by early man. The object of putting on animal skins was,

(I) To gain food. For this purpose the motions and cries of animals were imitated (origin of dancing and singing), artificial decoys (like decoy ducks to-day) and finally even masks were used.

(2) To secure clothing in cold climes by trapping or decoying animals, as in (I) above.

(3) The imitation when decoying, of the motions of animals led to dancing, and in the dances and various ceremonies the faces and bodies of the participants were painted in imitation of the colors of birds and animals, the motions of animals imitated and animal disguises used.

(4) Scouts disguised themselves as animals when out foraging, as well as for warfare,” therefore for booty, and selfdefense. Either they wore the entire skin, or probably later just a part of it as a fetich, like the left hind foot of a rabbit, worn as a charm by many of our colored people to-day.

(5) For purposes of revenge, personal or other. For some other personal motive of advantage or gain, to inspire terror in the opposing agent by hideousness.

(6) To inspire terror in the opposing agent by symbolizing superhuman agencies. So now would arise first a belief in superhuman power or attributes, and then,

(7) Witchcraft. It is very easy to see why it was usually the so-called medicine-men (more correctly Shamans), who claimed such transformation power, because they received remuneration from their patients.

(8) Finally dreams and exaggerated reports gave rise to fabulous stories.

We have discussed (1), (2), and (3) for an example under (4) we have cited the practices of American Indians. It is probable that about now (at the stage indicated in (4) above), what is known as the real werewolf superstition (that of a frenzied, rabid manwolf) began to fully develop. The man in wolfskin was already a lurking thief or enemy, or a destroyer of human life. To advance from this stage to the werewolf frenzy, our primitive man must have seen about him some exhibition of such a frenzy, and some reason for connecting this frenzy particularly with, say the wolf. He did see insane persons, and the connecting link would be the crazy or mad wolf (or dog, as the transformation was usually into a wolf or dog?) for persons bitten by it usually went mad too. The ensuing frenzy, with the consternation it occasioned, soon appealed to certain primitive minds as a good means of terrorizing others. Of these mad ones some no doubt actually had the malady; others honestly believed they had it and got into a frenzy accordingly; others purposely worked themselves up into a frenzy in order to impose on the uninitiated.“ Later, in the Middle Ages, when the nature of the real disease came to be better understood, the werewolf superstition had become too firmly fixed to be easily uprooted.

We have discussed (5), (6), (7), and (8) in the notes. As further examples of the development into fabulous story, we may cite any of those stories in which the wild werewolf, or animalman is represented as roaming the land, howling, robbing, and tearing to pieces men and beasts, until he resumes his human form. Thus an early scout in animal garb would be obliged to live on food he found on his way, and later fabulous report would represent him as himself when in disguise possessing the attributes of the animal he represented, and tearing to pieces man and beast. For such an account see Andree, concerning what eyewitnesses reported of the wild reveling over corpses of the hyena-men of Africa. Naturally the uninitiated savage who witnessed such a sight would become insane, or at least would spread abroad such a report as would enhance the influence of the hyena-men far and wide. Some savages, as in Africa," came to regard any animal that robbed them of children, goats or other animals, as a witch in animal form; just as the American Indians ascribe to evil spirits death, sickness and other misfortunes.

We can see how at first the man in animal disguise or an animal robe would go quietly to work, like the Pawnee scout; how though, as soon as the element of magic enters in, he would try to keep up the illusion. At this stage, when the original defensive measure had become tainted with superstition, men would go about in the night time howling and holding their vile revels. Andree, narrates how a soldier in Northeast Africa shot at a hyena, followed the traces of blood and came to the straw hut of a man who was widely famed as a magician. No hyena was to be seen, only the man himself with a fresh wound. Soon he died, however the soldier did not survive him long. Doubtless one of the magician class was responsible for the death of the soldier, just as we to-day put to death the man who so violates our laws, as to become a menace to our society, or as formerly kings killed those who stood in their way; or as religious sects murder those who dissent from their faith. These magicians, supposed to be men who could assume animal form, as a matter of fact do often form a class, are greatly feared by other natives, often dwell with their disciples in caves and at night come forth to plunder and kill. It is to their interest to counterfeit well, for if suspected of being malevolent, they were put to death or outlawed, like criminals to-day.“ Their frenzies were, as said above, in some cases genuine delusions; in other cases they offered, as one may readily imagine, excellent opportunities for personal gain or vengeance.

Only by instilling in their fellows a firm belief in this superstition and maintaining the sham, could the perpetrators of the outrages hope to escape punishment for their depredations, could they hope to plunder and steal with impunity. So they prowled usually under the cloak of night or of the dark of the forest, howled and acted like the animals they represented, hid the animal skin or blanket, if they used one,88 in the daytime where they thought no one could find it, whereas the animal skin which was worn for defence, was put on either by day or night,” and one story recounts the swallowing of a whole goat, the man bellowing fearfully like a tiger while he did it. Some of the transformed men claimed they could regain human form only by means of a certain medicine or by rubbing. The imposters were the criminal class of society that is still with us to-day, no longer in werewolf form, but after all wolves in human dress, each maintaining his trade by deception and countless artifices, just as did the werewolf of old. Not unlike these shams are those of the American negro, who in church, when “shouting,” that is, when stirred up by religious fervor, inflicts blows on his enemy who happens to be in the church, of course with impunity; for he is supposed to be under some outside control, and when the spell has passed off, like some of the delusionists mentioned, claims not to know what he (or generally she) has done. Similar also are the negro voudoo ceremonies, those of the fire-eaters, or any other sham.

The wolf disguise, or transformation into a werewolf was that most often assumed for example in Germanic lands. The term wolf became synonymous with robber, and later (when the robber became an outlaw,) with outlaw, the robber and outlaw alike being called wolf and not some other animal (i.e., only the wolf-man surviving to any extent) firstly, because the wolf was plentiful; and secondly, because as civilization advanced, there came a time when the wolf was practically the only one of the larger undomesticated animals that survived. We can notice this in our own United States, for example in eastern Kansas, where at night coyotes and even wolves are sometimes heard howling out on the prairie near woodlands, or in the pastures adjoining farms, where they not infrequently kill smaller animals, and dig up buried ones. In Prussia also it is the wolf that survives to-day. American Indians, and other savages however do not restrict the transformations to the wolf, because other wild animals, are, or were till recently, abundant amongst them. As civilization advances, one by one the animal myths disappear with the animals that gave rise to them (like that connected with the mastodon); or else stories of such domestic animals as the pig, white bull, dog superseded them. When this stage was reached, as time went on and means of successfully coping with the brute creation became perfected, the animals were shorn of many of their terrors, and finally such stories as Aesop’s fables would arise. This however was psychologically a long step in advance of our were-wolf believing peoples of an earlier period.

Up to this point the illustrations have shown that the werewolf superstition went through various stages of development. The motives for assuming wolf’s dress (or animal skins or robes), at first were purely peaceful, for protection against cold, and to secure food by acting as decoys; then it was used for personal advantage or gain by foragers (or robbers) and spies; then for purposes of vengeance; later from a desire for power over others; and finally men (the professional and the superstitious) began to concoct fabulous stories which were handed down as tradition or myth, according to the psychic level of the narrator and hearer.


The starting point of the whole superstition of the harmful werewolf is the disguising as some common animal by members of savage races when abroad as foragers or scouts, in order to escape detection by the enemy. Like wolves they roamed the land in search of food. As stated above,” later fabulous report would represent them as possessing in their disguise the attributes of the animal they impersonated) and finally even of actually taking on animal form, either wholly or in part, for longer or shorter periods of time. Some of the North American Indian transformation stories represent men as having only the head, hands and feet of a wolf. The transformation into a werewolf in Germanic lands is caused merely by a shirt or girdle made of wolf-skin. This shirt or girdle of wolf-skin of the Germanic werewolf is the survival of the robe or mantle originally disguising the entire body. It would be but a step further to represent a person as rendering himself invisible by putting on any other article of apparel, such as the Tarnkappe. The stories especially in Europe were of the were-wolf rather than were-bear or other animal, because the wolf was the commonest of the larger wild animals. It was the stories of the commonest animal, the wolf, which crystallized into the household werewolf or transformation tales.

See also The Paranormal and Supernatural - 400 Books on DVDrom and Over 100 Books on Vampires & Werewolves on DVDrom

[For a list of all of my disks, with links click here]

The Ghost of Marie Antoinette at Petit Trianon by James H. Hyslop 1911


The Ghost of Marie Antoinette at Petit Trianon by James H. Hyslop 1911

See also Over 100 of the Freakiest, Creepiest and Scariest Books on DVDrom

From Wikipedia: "The Moberly–Jourdain incident, or the Ghosts of Petit Trianon or Versailles refers to claims of time travel and hauntings made by Charlotte Anne Moberly and Eleanor Jourdain.
In 1911, Moberly and Jourdain published a book entitled An Adventure, under the names of "Elizabeth Morison" and "Frances Lamont". Their book describes a visit they made to the Petit Trianon, a small château in the grounds of the Palace of Versailles where they claimed they saw the gardens as they had been in the late eighteenth century and saw ghosts including Marie Antoinette and others. Their story caused a sensation, and was subject to much ridicule."

From James J. Hyslop: An Adventure is written by daughters of two clergymen who find it best to conceal their real names. Each had certain experiences which she did not tell the other at the time, tho they were both walking together through the same park when they had the experiences. It was some months later that each ascertained that the other had had similar experiences at the time and it was then that they resolved to write them down independently. The present volume was the consequence. The ladies had gone to Versailles sightseeing and resolved to see the Petit Trianon. We shall not be able to give the readers a full account of the experiences because it would require quoting the whole volume for that. We can only commend reading it to every one interested in psychic research, regardless of explanations. Of course the first question which every one will ask himself is: "Is this romance or reality?" As the stories are told they seem perfectly incredible, tho psychic researchers are accustomed to quite as startling phenomena. But the manner of telling the story at first suggests romance and it is only the preface and the appended note by the publishers that tend to inspire trust in the seriousness of the incidents. But let us summarize the incidents.

Miss Morison gives her account first. Both ladies assert that they knew little of French history at the time. They were on a vacation in Paris when the experiences occurred. It was apparently a mere accident that brought them to the scene of their remarkable narrative.

Miss Morison writes that they had visited the Palace at Versailles when they resolved to visit the Petit Trianon. They started through the park and amidst many things each saw various scenes and objects that represented past history but did not discover that they were unreal. The story at this point is not always clear. The apparitions are not distinguished from the surrounding reality in each instance. This may be due to the circumstance that the writer is telling the story from the point of view of the experience at the time and not as discriminatingly understood later. But be that as it may, the following is the story.

"We walked briskly forward, talking as before, but from the moment we left the lane an extraordinary depression had come over me, which, in spite of every effort to shake it off, steadily deepened. There seemed to be absolutely no reason for it; I was not at all tired, and was becoming more interested in my surroundings. I was anxious that my companion should not discover the sudden gloom upon my spirits, which became quite overpowering on reaching the point where the path ended, being crossed by another, right and left.

"In front of us was a wood, within which, and overshadowed by trees, was a light garden kiosk, circular, and like a small bandstand, by which a man was sitting. There was no greensward, but the ground was covered with rough grass and dead leaves as in a wood. The place was so shut in that we could not see beyond it. Everything suddenly looked unnatural, therefore unpleasant; even the trees behind the building seemed to have become flat and lifeless, like a wood worked in tapestry. There were no effects of light and shade, and no wind stirred the trees. It was all intensely still.


"The man sitting close to the kiosk (who had on a cloak and a large shady hat) turned his head and looked at us. That was the culmination of my peculiar sensations, and I felt a moment of genuine alarm. The man's face was most repulsive,—its expression odious. His complexion was very dark and rough. I said to Miss Lamont, 'Which is our way?' but thought 'nothing will induce me to go to the left.' It was a great relief at that moment to hear some one running up to us in breathless haste. Connecting the sound with the gardeners, I turned and ascertained that there was no one on the paths, either to the side or behind; but at almost the same moment I suddenly perceived another man quite close to us, behind and rather to the left hand, who had, apparently, just come either over or through the rock (or whatever it was) that shut out the view at the junction of the paths. The suddenness of his appearance was something of a shock.

"The second man was distinctly a gentleman; he was tall, with large dark eyes, and had crisp, curling black hair under the same large sombrero hat. He was handsome, and the effect of the hair was to make him look like an old picture. His face was glowing red as through great exertion,— as tho he had come a long way. At first I thought he was sunburnt, but a second look satisfied me that the color was from heat, not sunburning. He had on a dark cloak wrapped across him like a scarf, one end flying out in his prodigious hurry. He looked greatly excited as he called out to us, 'Mesdames, Mesdames,' or ('Madame' pronounced more as the other) 'il ne faut (pronounced fout) pas passer par la.' He then waved his arm, and said with great animation, 'par ici. . .cherchez la maison.' The man said a great deal more which we could not catch.

"I was so surprised at his eagerness that I looked up at him again, and to this he responded with a little backward movement and a most peculiar smile. Tho I could not follow all he said, it was clear that he was determined that we should go to the right and not to the left. As this fell in with my wish, I went instantly towards a little bridge on the right, and turning my head to join Miss Lamont in thanking him, found, to my surprise, that he was not there, but the running began again and from the sound it was close beside us.

"Silently we passed over the small rustic bridge which crossed a tiny ravine. So close to us when on the bridge that we could have touched it with our hands, a thread-like cascade fell from a height down a green pretty bank, where ferns grew between stones. Where the little trickle of water went to I did not see, but it gave me the impression that we were near other water, tho I saw none.

"Beyond the little bridge our pathway led under trees; it skirted a narrow meadow of long grass, bounded on the further side by trees, and very much overshadowed by trees growing in it. This gave the whole place a sombre look suggestive of dampness, and shut out the view of the house until we were close to it. The house was a square, solidly built country house;—quite different from what I expected. The long windows looking forth into the English garden (where we were) were shuttered. There was a terrace round the north and west sides of the house, and on the rough grass which grew up to the terrace and with her back to it, a lady was sitting, holding a paper as tho to look at it at arm's length. I supposed her to be sketching, and to have brought her own camp-stool. It seemed as tho she must be making a study of trees, for they grew close in front of her, and there seemed to be nothing else to sketch. She saw us, and when we passed close by on her left hand, she turned and looked full at us. It was not a young face, and (tho rather pretty) it did not attract me. She had on a shady white hat perched on a good deal of fair hair that fluffed round her forehead. Her light summer dress was arranged on her shoulders in handkerchief fashion, and there was a little line of either green or gold near the edge of the handkerchief, which showed me that it was over, not tucked into, her bodice, which was cut low. Her dress was long-waisted, with a good deal of fulness in the skirt, which seemed to be short. I thought she was a tourist, but that her dress was old-fashioned and rather unusual (tho people were wearing fichu bodices that summer). I looked straight at her; but some indescribable feeling made me turn away annoyed at her being there.

"We went up the steps on the terrace, my impression being that they led up direct from the English garden; but I was beginning to feel as tho we were walking in a dream,— the stillness and oppressiveness were so unnatural. Again I saw the lady, this time from behind, and noticed that her fichu was pale green. It was rather a relief to me that Miss Lamont did not propose to ask her whether we could enter the house from that side.

"We crossed the terrace to the southwest corner and looked over into the cour d'honneur; and then turned back, and seeing that one of the long windows overlooking the French garden was unshuttered, we were going towards it when we were interrupted. The terrace was prolonged at right angles in front of what seemed to be a second house. The door of it suddenly opened, and a young man stepped out on to the terrace, banging the door behind him. He had the jaunty air of a footman, but no livery, and called on us, saying that the way into the house was by the cour d'honneur, and offered to show us the way round. He looked inquisitively amused as he walked by us down the French garden till we came to an entrance into the front drive. We came out sufficiently near the first lane we had been in to make me wonder why the garden officials had not directed us back instead of telling us to go forward.

"When we were in the front entrance hall we were kept waiting for the arrival of a merry French wedding party. They walked arm in arm in a long procession round the rooms, and we were at the back,—too far off from the guide to hear much of his story. We were very much interested, and felt quite lively again. Coming out of the cour d'honneur we took a little carriage which was standing there, and drove back to the Hotel des Reservoirs in Versailles, where we had tea, but we were neither of us inclined to talk, and did not mention any of the events of the afternoon. After tea we walked back to the station, looking on the way for the Tennis Court."

On the way back to Paris Miss Morison says the "thought returned,—' Was Marie Antoinette really much at the trianon, and did she see it for the last time long before the fatal drive to Paris accompanied by the mob?'"

The subject was not alluded to for a week between the ladies, but one day, "as the scenes came back one by one, the same sensation of dreamy unnatural oppression came over me so strongly that I stopped writing, and said to Miss Lamont, 'Do you think that the Petit Trianon is haunted?' Her answer was prompt, 'Yes, I do.' I asked her where she felt it, and she said, 'In the garden where we met the two men, but not only there.'"

The account then proceeds with details of common experiences until the two ladies resolved to write out their stories independently. The account then continues in the next chapter with Miss Lamont's narrative, which embodies the same facts as above with different incidents not observed by Miss Morison. Comparison led to a second trip to the place when additional apparitions occurred which I must leave to readers of the book to examine. The main point is that in successive trips the scenes of the first were not all seen and the place looked different. It occurred to Miss Lamont when she wrote her account that they had visited the Petit Trianon the first time on the 10th of August which was the anniversary of the French Revolution. This was a clue to the possible meaning of the incidents of their strange experience.

To make a long story short the discovery that many of the objects seen on that day were not really in the park and that some of the costumes observed were of the time of the Revolution and were not worn by any persons about the park led to historical inquiries. This took several years and further visits to the Petit Trianon. Obscure histories of the time of Marie Antoinette and maps of that period with drawings and pictures of the houses and various things in the park led to a complete identification of what they had seen, tho no such things now exist in the park. This extended down even to an old revolutionary plow which they had seen on the visit and which had disappeared perhaps a century ago. When the identification was made the next thing needed was an explanation.

The last chapter is a Reverie, a hypothetical construction of the cause of their apparitions. The ladies protest that they have never been psychic researchers and that they have a distinct aversion to spiritualism and all its ways. Apparently they are naively ignorant that they have been trespassing upon spiritistic grounds in both their experiences, their inquiries for identification and their final explanation. But however that may be they find that the incidents in their experience coincide with what most probably passed through the mind of Marie Antoinette during the last days of her life. It was the anniversary of her arrest and they assume that they had in some way come into communication with her mind, on the other side of the grave, and caught some of its dreams or reveries.

See also Over 100 of the Freakiest, Creepiest and Scariest Books on DVDrom

[For a list of all of my disks, with links click here]

The Philosopher's Stone by C.J.S. Thompson 1897


THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE by C.J.S. Thompson 1897

For more see Forbidden Knowledge and the Occult - 300 Books on DVDrom and Alchemy, the Philosopher's Stone and the Esoteric - 100 Books on DVDrom

The dominating ambition of the early alchemists was to discover the unknown. In the same spirit the modern worker in science gropes onward, and dreams of discovering some contribution towards solving the elixir of life, in the form, it may be, of conquering at least one fell disease. The ancient workers in alchemy confined their researches almost exclusively to metals; they believed that all natural things were composed of four elements, which they termed Fire, Air, Earth, and Water. "When these four elements are conjoined," says Roger Bacon, in his Radix Mundi, "they become another thing, whereas it is evident that all things in Nature are composed of the said elements being altered and changed."

But the patient researches of the alchemists were not so much due to a love for scientific investigation as to the overwhelming desire to gain wealth.

The majority had two fixed objects in view as the goals of their ambition, one being the discovery of some body that would be capable of transmuting the baser metals into gold and silver; and the other, the discovery of an elixir which would prolong the span of human life to an indefinite period. Both these objects seem to have been sought for by man from prehistoric times, and their origin is lost in antiquity.  Berthelot remarks that the term "Philosopher's Stone" does not occur in writings earlier than the seventh century, although the central idea is much more ancient.

The philosopher's stone was sought for by the Chinese philosophers at a very remote period, afterwards by the Greeks, Arabs, and others down to the seventeenth century.

Men of undoubted ability and genius wasted both their lives and their fortunes over the search for this illusive chimera, and-others condescended to fraud and trickery of the meanest description
in its pursuit. Apparently no alchemist of any repute thought it right to die until he had at least claimed to have solved one of these great problems. Thus claimants to the discovery were numerous. The descriptions given of the various processes in ancient manuscripts and works for producing the philosopher's stone are usually of a very elaborate description, and couched in the most fantastic language.

Failure to produce the desired result was invariably accounted for by -the omission to carry out some minute detail. Some who professed to have discovered the secret demanded large sums of money to reveal it, and several visited the various courts of Europe to demonstrate it by means of trickery and conjuring.

The notorious Dr. Dee, who flourished in the time of Queen Elizabeth, was one of the last claimants to the discovery, and is said to have received immense sums of money from dupes for imparting the coveted secret, which he demonstrated by means of an ingenious trick.

Realgar, mercury, sulphur, and many other substances were credited with the magical property of transmutation.

In the illustration, which is taken from an authentic engraving of the sixteenth century, we have a figure of the apparatus used for distilling the "Water of Life," the process for which is
described by Gesnerus in the Newe Jewell of Healthy printed in 1576. The alchemist, arrayed in his imposing robes, is depicted giving instructions to his assistant as to certain precautions to be taken in conducting the process.


Bacon states that sulphur and mercury are the mineral roots and natural principles upon which Nature herself acts and works in the mines and caverns of the earth ; the latter metal he believed to be the true elixir of the philosopher's stone; others, including Rhazes and Merlin, believed it to be an amalgam of gold and mercury, fantastically called the Red man and his White wife.

Concerning the vessels for producing this "Citrine body," as Bacon calls it, the most exact precautions were taken. Special apparatus was used, and a special heat, which was not to exceed the heat of the body. For this purpose horse-dung was employed. Senier, the philosopher, says: " Dig a sepulchre and bury the woman (mercury) with her man (gold) in horse-dung, the fire of the philosopher, until such time as they be conjoined".

Bacon's definition of alchemy was: "Alchymie is the art or science teaching how to make or generate a certain kind of medicine which is called the elixir. It teaches how to transmute all kinds of metals, one with another; and this by a proper medicine." George Ripley, a monk, in 1476, thought that he had discovered the much-coveted stone in pure sulphur. He says: "Let the two sulphurs, viz. the white and the red, be mingled with the oil of the white elixir that they may work the more strongly, and you shall have the highest medicine in the world to heal and cure human bodies, and to transmute the bodies of metals into the most pure fine gold and silver". Berthelot, who has made an exhaustive study of the subject, comes to the conclusion that the doctrines of alchemy concerning the transmutation of metals, did not originate in the philosophical views of the constitution of matter as generally supposed, but in the practical experiments of goldsmiths occupied
in making fraudulent substitutes for the precious metals. One cannot but think with pity of the immense labour expended and lost in the attempt made by many of these pioneers of science in their pursuit after this chemical chimera.

Paracelsus, as well as his predecessors, laboured studiously to discover some method for prolonging life. Like Bacon and Verulam, he maintained that the human body could be rejuvenated to a certain extent by a fresh supply of vitality, and it was his aim to find means by which such a supply could be obtained. In one of his works he gives the following reasons for this belief: "Metals may be preserved from rust and wood may be protected against rot. Blood may be preserved a long time if the air is excluded. Egyptian mummies have kept their form for centuries without undergoing putrefaction. Animals awaken from their winter sleep, and flies having become torpid from cold become nimble again when they are warmed. Therefore, if inanimate objects can be kept from destruction, why should there be no possibility to preserve the life-essence of animate forms?" For this purpose he prepared a remedy he called Primum Ens Melissa, which was made by dissolving pure carbonate of potass, and macerating in the liquid the fresh leaves of the melissa plant. On this absolute alcohol was poured several times in successive portions to absorb the colouring matter, after which it was collected, distilled, and evaporated to the thickness of a syrup. The second great secret elixir of Paracelsus was his Primum Ens Sanguinis. This was prepared by mixing blood from the medium vein of a healthy young person, and digesting it in a warm place with twice its quantity of alcahesl, after which the red fluid was to be separated from the sediment, filtered, and preserved.

The alcahest was his celebrated universal medicine, and was considered the greatest mystery of all. It was made with freshly prepared caustic lime and absolute alcohol. These were distilled together ten times. The residue left in the retort was mixed with pure carbonate of potass and dried. This was again distilled with alcohol. It was then placed in a dish and set on fire, and the residue that remained was the alcahest.

The following lines were found inscribed on the fly-leaf of an old work on alchemy, printed in 1550, and signed "Philo Veritas": —

ELIXIR VITAE

When fire and water, earth and air
In love's true bond united are,
For all diseases then be sure
You have a safe and certain cure.
I will affirm it's here alone
Exists the Philosophic Stone.
This is fair nature's virgin root,
Thrice blest are they who reap the fruit:
But oh! where one true adept's found.
Ten thousand thousand cheats abound.

In an ancient work in the library of York Minster, the writer came across the following in manuscript, signed "Raymund Lull:" :—

Remember man that is the most noble creature in com-
position that ever God wrought;
In whom be four elements proportioned by nature,
A neutral mercuriallyte which costeth right naught,
Out of his monie by manie it is bought;
And our monie be not all but our oxtalle towe,
Of the sun and the moon; which Raymund Said So.

For more see Forbidden Knowledge and the Occult - 300 Books on DVDrom and Alchemy, the Philosopher's Stone and the Esoteric - 100 Books on DVDrom

[For a list of all of my disks, with links click here]

Folk Medicine and the Influence Of The Sun And Moon by William Black 1883


See also Folk Medicine, Alternative Remedies & Herbal Cures - 100 Books on DVDrom andAlternative Medicine & Spiritual Healing - 175 Books on DVDrom

Folk Medicine and the Influence Of The Sun And Moon by William George Black 1883

[For a list of all of my digital books & disks click here]

Mead says that "the learned Kirckringius" relates the following story:—He knew a young gentlewoman whose beauty depended upon the lunar force, insomuch that at full moon she was very handsome, but in the decrease of the moon became so wan and ill-favoured that she was ashamed to go abroad till the return of the new moon gave fullness to her face and attraction to her charms. If this wore indeed the case, we can fully credit a later assertion of Mead, that the powerful action of the moon is observed not only by philosophers and students of natural history, but "even by common people, who have been fully persuaded of it time out of mind." True it is that Cornishmen believe that a child born in the interval between an old moon and the first appearance of a new one will never live to attain puberty; old people of extreme age are said to die at new or full moon. Galen is cited to the effect that animals born at full moon are strong and healthy. Bacon is said to have fallen invariably into a syncope during a lunar eclipse. In Sussex a new May moon is credited with curing scrofulous complaints when aided by certain charms. A correspondent in Rochester, U.S.A., tells me that an old black woman there asserts that asthma can be cured by walking three times round the house at midnight alone, at the fall of moon; to cure rickets, further, if you bury a lock of the child's hair at a cross-road it will be all the better if the full moon is shining. When the moon is one day old, he who is attacked by sickness, according to the leeches, "will be perilously bestead. If sickness attacks him when the moon is two days old he will soon be up. If it attacks him when the moon is three days old he will be fastridden, and will die. If it attacks him when the moon is four days old he will have a hard time of it, and yet will recover. If it attacks him when the moon is five days old he may be cured. If it is six days old, and sickness comes on him, he will live. If it be seven days old he will be long in a bad way. If it be eight days old, and disease attacks him, he will die soon. If it be nine, ten, or eleven days old he will be ill long, and, notwithstanding, recover. If it be twelve days old he will soon be up. If it be fourteen nights old, or fifteen, or sixteen, or seventeen, or eighteen, or nineteen, there will be great danger on those days. If it be twenty days old he will be long abed and recover. If it be twenty-one, twenty-two, or twenty-three, he will lie long in sickness and suffer and recover. If it is twentyfour he will keep his bed. If it is twenty-five he is perilously bestead. If he is attacked when the moon is twenty-six, twentyseven, twenty-eight, or twenty-nine days, he will recover. If he is attacked when the moon is thirty days old he will hardly recover, and yet will leave his bed." Martius, in his Erfurt address of 1700, speaking of the effect, according to rustics, of the moon's position upon the sap of growing plants, from which he says "primum nemo negabit, lunam virtute sua in corpore sibi subjecta manifesto agere," proceeds, "et observarunt medici ac chirurgi, referente Waldschmidio, non solum vulvera capitis in plenilunio ob cerebri turgescentiam majori cum periculo conjuncta esse, quam in novilunio, ubi cerebrum magis subsidet," but that all purgatives have happier issues when the moon is waning. Mead, following Galen, says the moon governs the period of epileptic cases, and that when he had met sailors who had contracted the disease by frights in sea-engagements or storms in Queen Anne's wars, he was often able to predict the times of the fits with tolerable certainty; "and T. Bartholin," he continues, "tells a story of an epileptic girl who had spots in her face which varied both in colour and magnitude according to the time of the moon. So great, says he, is the correspondence between our bodies and the heavens." Chaucer refers to a fever caused by the moon when he speaks of a blaunche or white fever in Troilus and Cressida—

And some thou seydest hadde a blaunche fevere,
And preydest God he sholde never kevere.

To cure warts in the west of Scotland, the sufferer is directed —instead of addressing words of endearment to the moon as would a Lancashire maid, desiring to know her true love— to stand still, and take a small portion of earth from under the right foot when he first catches sight of the new moon. The earth he makes into a paste, which he puts on the wart, wrapping it round with a cloth; plaster and cloth should remain till the moon is out.

Sir Kenelm Digby, in his Discourse on the Power of Sympathy, in a well-known passage asks if one would not think it a folly that one should wash his hands in a well-polished silver basin, wherein there was not a drop of water; "yet this may be done by the reflection of the moonbeams only, which will afford it a complete humidity to do it; but they who have tried it have found their hands much moister than usually; but this is an infallible way to take away warts from the hands if it be often used."

Mead's general explanation of the moon's influence is— "If the time in which either the peccant humour is prepared for secretion, or the fermentation of the blood is come to its height, falls in with those changes in the atmosphere which diminish its pressure at the new and full moon, the crisis will then be more complete and easy; and also that this work may be forwarded or delayed a day upon the account of such an alteration in the air, the distension of the vessels upon which it depends being hereby made more easy, and a weak habit of body, in some cases, standing in need of this outward assistance."

It is a common superstition that it is when the tide is at the lowest that death occurs. Who does not remember the end of Sir John Falstaff,—"A' parted," says the Hostess, "even just between twelve and one, even at the turning o' the tide;" and better than many other quotations will be the familiar words of Dickens in David Copperfield. Barkis is dying. "'He's a going out with the tide,' said Mr. Peggotty to me, behind his hand.

"My eyes were dim, and so were Mr. Peggotty's; but I repeated in a whisper, 'With the tide?'

"'People can't die, along the coast,' said Mr. Peggotty, 'except when the tide's pretty nigh out. They can't be born, unless it's pretty nigh in—not properly born, till flood. He's a going out with the tide. It's ebb at half arter three, slack water half an hour. If he lives 'till it turns, he'll hold his own till past the flood, and go out with the next tide.'

"I was on the point of asking him if he knew me, when he tried to stretch out his arms, and said to me, distinctly, with a pleasant smile:

"'Barkis is willing!'

"And, it being low water, he went out with the tide."

It is said, in Ireland, that if a woman's last child is born when the moon is on the increase, the next birth will be a boy, but if on the decrease it will be a girl. The following common lines, formerly repeated by Ulster midwives after they had marked each outside corner of the house with a cross, but before they crossed the threshold, is virtually a prayer to the moon. It is still, with the alteration of the third person to the first, in use as a prayer in rural districts:—

There are four corners to her bed,
Four angels at her head:
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John;
God bless the bed that she lies on.
New moon, new moon, God bless me,
God bless this house and family.

The influence of the belief in planetary influence was seen in the constellated rings to which reference is elsewhere made; and so recently as June 1875, at the inquest held on the body of Miriam Woodham, who died under the prescriptions of a herbalist, it was elicited that the pills he gave her were made from seven herbs which were governed by the sun. A Babylonian exorcism runs, "On the sick man, by means of sacrifice, may perfect health shine like bronze; may the Sun god give this man life; may Merodoch, the eldest son of the deep, give him strength, prosperity, and health; may the king of heaven preserve, may the king of earth preserve." The Assyrians trusted in an image of Hea placed in the doorway keeping away the evil spirits. The Finns invoke the sun by the name of Beiwe, "pour le proteger des demons de la nuit et guerir certaines maladies, specialement les infirmites de l'intelligence, de meme que les Accads leur Oud, qui personnifie la meme astre." A Persian remedy for bad dreams comes to me from America,— if you tell them to the sun you will cease to be troubled with them. The manifold contortions of the dervishes are supposed to repeat the movements of the planets. The devil dancers of Southern India are thought to tempt the evil spirits of the stars to enter them, and so become dissipated, instead of afflicting the people generally.

[For a list of all of my disks, with links click here]

Fracastorius could predict plague by the conjunction of many stars under the large fixed stars. Kircher, "after a strict examination of almanacs and astrological tables," pointed out the evil effects of a conjunction of Mars and Saturn, which he contended emitted both very deadly exhalations; myriads of animalcules were generated, and such diseases as small-pox, measles, or fever became inevitable." Culpepper declares the greatest antipathy to be between Mars and Venus in a passage which is as quaint now as it was once, no doubt, satisfactory: "One is hot, the other cold; one diurnal, the other nocturnal; one dry, the other moist; their houses are opposite; one masculine, the other feminine; one public, the other private; one is valiant, the other effeminate; one loves the light, the other hates it; one loves the field, the other the sheets; then the throat is under Venus, the quinsie lies in the throat, and is an inflammation there. Venus rules the throat (it being under Taurus, her sign). Mars eradicates all diseases in the throat by his herbs (of which wormwood is one), and sends them to Egypt on an errand, never to return more; this by antipathy. The eyes are under the luminaries; the right eye of a man, and the left eye of a woman, the sun claims dominion over; the left eye of a man, and the right eye of a woman, are the privileges of the moon; wormwood, an herb of Mars, cures both; what belongs to the sun by sympathy, because he is exalted in his house, but what belongs to the moon by antipathy, because he hath his fall in hers."

It was to the tail of the demon Rahu that the Indians traced, not only comets and meteors, but also diseases, and the name, Ketu, is said to be almost another word for disease.f The first time a Cornish invalid goes out he must go in a circuit, and with the sun; if he goes the contrary way to the sun there will be a relapse. When a New England woman will cure warts she rubs the wart seven times round with the third finger of the left hand with the course of the sun, and if she is truly gifted the wart will disappear in a few days; but not everyone, I am told, has the power to make this charm. This was the natural progression, and perhaps, as Dalyell has suggested, motion with the sun's apparent course may involve a religious act in following it with the gaze from below. To move against the sun was to exhibit respect for Satan, in much the same way as repeating the Lord's Prayer backwards was supposed to do. But going "widderschynnes," as this retrograde motion was termed, was much resorted to. When Thomas Grieve, with some idea of sacrifice in his mind, took an animal to kill for the cure of a sick family, he put the animal out of the window thrice, and took it at the door thrice, "widderschynnes." This was in 1623. John Sinclair carried his sister backward to the kirk, and then laid her to the north. To cure sleepy fever in north-east Scotland, the patient's left stocking was taken and laid flat. A worsted thread was placed along both sides of it over the toe, and the stocking was so rolled up from toe to top that the two ends of thread hung loose on different sides. Three times this stocking was passed round each member of the family contrary to the course of the sun. If a member were affected the thread changed its position from outside to inside, otherwise it kept its position. When the process had been gone through three times in perfect silence the thread was burned.* When, in former times, a baptismal party were about to start on the often long journey to the church where the ceremony was to be performed, a quantity of common table-salt was carried "withershins" (the spelling varies, but the word is the same) round the baby. When the salt had been thus carried round it was believed that the child, even in its unregenerate state, was safe from harm. Salt, of course, was in repute on account of its own celebrity; for, apart from the fact that salt, or salt and water, was applied anciently for distempered eyes, and used as a bandage for bites of mad dogs, salt was, as every reader of tales and ballads knows, a favourite way of procuring disenchantment. Noel du Fail recommends, to cure gout, that a piece of linen, which has previously been steeped in salted water, should be applied to the painful part.

The importance of time in birth, in disease, and other incidents of life, was suggested by consideration of planetary influence. If a child in China is born between nine and eleven o'clock, if his early path be rough at last he will arrive at great riches; and unlucky all his days will be the child born between three or five o'clock either of the morning or of the evening But although such importance attached to the time of birth in the celestial empire, yet the fate of a man might be modified by his good works, for one was told "your filial piety has touched the gods, a protecting star-influence has passed into your nativity sheet, and you will come to no harm." In Lancashire, persons born during twilight are supposed to see spirits, and know which of their acquaintance will be soonest to die; but others hold that this power belongs only to those born exactly at midnight. This perhaps arises from the superstition, common both in England and China, that midnight is a fatal period; consequently any spirit coming into being at that time might be supposed to have met those spirits which were quitting life. Not without reason, then, it would be argued they should be able to recognise what others, having no opportunity of ever seeing, could never know or recognise—the dead spirits. It was at midnight that rickety children used to be put naked on the Logan stone, near Nancledrea. By day-time it was impossible to move the stone, but exactly at midnight it would rock like a cradle. Many a child was said to be cured. It is after midnight of the seventh day of the seventh month that Canton women draw the magical water which, if used in cooking food for the patient, will cure cutaneous diseases or fevers.

Such water, though kept for years, will never become putrid. Rain which falls on Holy Thursday is, in the neighbourhood of Banbury, to return to our own country, carefully bottled for use in cases of sore eyes. So, too, in Worcestershire, a correspondent informs me, and probably generally over England, the superstition holds good. Good Friday bread, as known in the same county, is a small lump of dough put in the oven early in the morning of Good Friday, and baked until perfectly hard throughout. A small quantity of this, grated, is given to a patient when all other remedies fail. It is kept hanging from the roof. Hot cross buns, if kept from one Good Friday to another, are thought, in Lancashire, to prevent an attack of whooping-cough. On the whole, the reputation of Friday is good throughout folk-medicine. The most favourable time to visit a seventh son is said to be, in Ireland at least, on a Friday, just before sunrise—just at the cock-crowing perhaps, which in Europe generally was looked upon as the proper time for taking medicine. For plying venom, and every venomous swelling, the leeches say churn butter on a Friday from cream which has been milked from a neat or hind all of one colour; let it be mingled with water, sing over it nine times a litany, and nine times the Paternoster, and nine times an incantation. Even for deep wounds this Friday ceremony would be good.

In Scotland illness was expected to be more severe on Sunday than on any other day; and a relapse was anticipated if the patient seemed easier. And yet it was a day of special healing at many wells. Sick children were carried, on the first Sunday of May, to St. Anthony's Well, near Maybole, and on that day were the waters of the cave of Uchtrie Macken, and the white loch of Merton, most efficacious, and the well at Ruthven. The well at Trinity Gask was sought on the first Sunday of June. There appears to have been some old charm for toothache, which ran over the days for the week, for we have the following as a mock charm in A. C. Mery Talys:—

"The son on the Sonday,
The mone on the Monday,
The Trynyte on the Tewsday."

It was on Sunday that the people of Apulia circumvented the walls of their town nine times, to secure the cure of one bitten by a tarantula, or a mad dog.

When Shane, the son of Croohoore Bawn, was a priest in Rome, he saw one of the students shaving himself on a Monday.

"'Mor a smoh, lath veh vuan
Naw dane lum an Lnan,'

said Shane. 'What's that you're saying?' said the student. 'Why,' said Shane, 'it's an old Irish saying; and the meaning of it is, 'if you wish to live long, don't shave on a Monday.' 'I have you now,' thought the student, though he said nothing to Shane; but as soon as he had done shaving away he goes to the abbot, and told him what Shane said, saying it was a great crime for a priest to believe in any such thing, and that he had no right to be bringing his auld Irish pishogues (charms) to Rome." All rhymes as to the days of birth seem to agree that Monday's child should be fair of face, but I am surprised that the day of the moon should not have had more honour in the medical lore of the people. Possibly, further research may result in information on this point.

The first Wednesday in May is the day in Cornwall for bathing rickety children, and on the first three Wednesdays of May children suffering from mesenteric disease are dipped three times in Chapell Uny "widderschynnes," and widderschynnes dragged three times round the well. A ring of pure gold, inscribed with certain letters, was to be worn on a Thursday, at the decrease of the moon, by the patient of Marcellus (temp. Marcus Aurelius), who suffered from pain in the side. If the pain were in the left side the ring was to be worn on the right hand, and if in the right side the ring was to be worn on the left hand.

Vervain is recommended for "sore of liver" in the Herbarium Apuleii, if taken on Midsummer Day, and lithewort (Sambucus ebulus) for another complaint, if taken before the rising of the sun "in the month which is named July."

To conclude, let us note the days of danger, as the leech-books give us them. They are, in March the first, and fourth before the end; in April the tenth, and eleventh before the end: in May the third, and seventh before the end; in June the tenth, and fifteenth before the end; in July the twelfth, and tenth before the end; in August the first, and second before the end; in September the third, and tenth before the end; in October the third, and tenth before the end; in November the fifth, and third before the end; in December the seventh, and tenth before the end; in January the first, and seventh before the end; in February the fourth, and third before the end. It is not so long ago that medical men stoutly defended their belief in the influence of the moon on lunacy; and that a full moon has more influence than a waning moon is still a far from rare thought of country people.

See also Folk Medicine, Alternative Remedies & Herbal Cures - 100 Books on DVDrom andAlternative Medicine & Spiritual Healing - 175 Books on DVDrom

[For a list of all of my digital books & disks click here]