This is a work in progress. Comments and additions are welcomed. Write R. Mackay dmackay@nbnet.nb.ca
Maritime people are subject to storms that appear for no known reason and destroy all that they have, or are confused by fish that are one year abundant and the next year inexplicably gone. Because of this, they don't try to predict or control their environment, but rather move through it with survival skills based on a combination of handed down folk-savvy and improvisation. -from the Co-Evolution Quarterly, Fall, 1979) George Putz. He was talking about sea-faring folk, but our farmers have similar quarrels with the weather. The east coast is, admittedly, the place where the temperature can rise, or plunge through thirty degrees in a single day, summer or winter. It has been described, unfairly we think, as a country where one can expect ten months of winter and two of "damned poor sledding." We also quarrel with Putz's suggestion that the exercise of folklore has nothing to do with attempts (however futile) to control the environment. Actually, the "counter-charms" and "white-magic" which we direct at the weather,and other enemies, is omen-based and has everything to do with trying to outsmart the old god-spirits of fire, wind and water. Professional folklorists tippy-toe about the definition of their craft. Dr. Marius Barbeau managed one that topped two hundred words! To avoid the long-winded approach we consulted a Victorian dictionary, where folklore was given as: "traditional customs, beliefs, tales, or sayings, especially those of a superstitious or legendary nature, preserved unreflectively among people; and the comparative science which investigates the life and spirit of a people as revealed in such customs and tales." This is only a little better, although we could tilt teacups with the idea that folklore is a "science", but it has to be remembered that science used to be defined as "systemized knowledge" as opposed to the "arts" and "crafts" which demanded manual rather than cerebral skill. The shortest definition we could locate was: "Folklore is anything you don't get from books!" Having arrived at this, we now propose to "gloss it over". As we use

the word, it is unrelated to the Icelandic "glossi", a blaze; the Swedish "glossa", to glow; and the Middle High German "glosen", full of light. The Middle English "glose" is our source, a word imported by way of France from the Latin "glossa, a difficult word requiring explanation." Related to this is the word "glosagra, a gouty pain in the tongue" and "glossary, , a collection of glosses, or explanations of words and passages." At the least, we may succeed at "buffing up" words and phrases from the past, but hopefully we may be able to suggest some of the sources of local belief. We will try to to tread carefully, remembering that a "glosser" was defined, not only as, " a writer of glosses, a commentator, or a scholiast", but also as, "a glutton." Overfeedings on information led to what my great-grandfather's generation referred to as a "book-bound" condition, which might mean "physical constipation" or "a bloated brain", the ultimate effect of literacy. It was easy for them to criticize in a day when four out of five people lacked the ability to read and write! At that time, the plucking of spoken words from the air, their temporary entombment on paper, and their resurrection, was considered a very crafty process by the "word-bound", those who were neither fluent nor literate. The business of magically binding words was sometimes refered to as "trickery", a word borrowed from the Old Danish "trekken" , "to draw in outline without colour." Their "runes" or letters of the alphabet were exactly that, the mysterious "runeslags" or "written-strokes". These were divided, according to use, as "maalrunor" (speech-runes),and "trollrunor" (troll or magic-runes). These last were further distinguished as "skaderunor" (mischief-runes) and "hjelprunor" (help-runes), the last being sub-divided into five sub-species. The godi (god-helpers) had no trouble telling one kind of rune from another but the common man considered one as magic-laden as the next. Trickery was originally understood to be a gift from the gods, but when they were discredited in Christian times, it was explained that literacy might be assisted by demons, imps, gnomes, pishogues, or the Devil himself. The Christian priests could read and write, but it was explained that their craft was visited on them by the angels of God, and it was noted that they did not use runes but a form of the Roman alphabet. The Christians were only able to bring down the pagan religions of Europe because of their attachment to a magical book, which they called the Bible. These contained the God-spells of their faith, words which were implicitly full of power. Their antagonists, the druids of the Celtic lands, and the godi of Teutonic Europe, were essentially oral priests. Highly educated,

"they preferred to transmit their lore orally to chosen disciples; to record it...would have lessened its magic. They did not want too familiar a congregation: the less avaliable the mysteries the more potent their effect."

"What we don't get from books" was at first referred to as "ceaird" by the Celtic rulers of Britain. They were largely displaced by the Anglo-Saxons who spoke of their handwork as the "crafts". After 1066, the Norman conquerors denigrated the crafts of the "whits", "wits" or "witches", labelled what they did witchcraft, and "put down" about a thousand of them in Britain between 1542 and 1735. Witchcraft, now regarded as a body of superstitions, is suspected of having been a collection of oral rites as well as things people did by hand. These superstitions were yesterday's warmed over religious beliefs, tramped on and replaced by Anglo-Normans. State sanctioned "craft" was afterwards called art and its practitioners artists or artisans. This word distinguished it from the more than slightly suspect eastern practices, which were often intentionally confused with what the half-wits and nit-wits did, and were called magic. Under the new regime, some of the crafts were splintered off to create the more cerebral sciences. One sage sage defines the difference in this way: "Science teaches us to know and art to do." Initially, very little of this was a matter of record, but that changed as Christian missionaries taught people to read and write so that the magic of God's spells could spread over the land. In all this it has to be remembered that superstitions are the other fellow's dotty beliefs. When the druids opposed Saint Patrick and turned their staves into snakes this was dismissed as "sgoil dubh" or black art, but when he generated a snake, which swallowed their illusions, this was called a "miracle". The success of Christianity in Britain was based on the fact that book-bound words travelled of their own accord, and that the Christians fought fire with fire. Among other things, the old "saints" of the British Isles are on record as having controlled weather, rejuvenated the dead, and predicted the future, activities now usually ascribed to "witches", charlatans, satanists, and other undesirables. Ceaird, the crafts, the arts, or magic was the control, or supposed control, of the elements of nature (fire, wind and water) through the assistance of a supernatural being (e.g. God) or beings (the pagan gods). Magic incorporates the science of primtive peoples, lumping valid connections

of cause-and-effect with error-ridden assumptions. These superstitions have been integral to all religions, embarassing at that may be to modern-day Christians. The gradual failure of belief in blights and blessings in Europe arose from the development of scientific literacy, which was indirectly promoted by religious interests. It must be remembered that the official church believed in the Devil, demons, and spirits, condemning those who went to them for knowledge. The fathers never suggested that magic was unworkable (as most thinking people now do), but said that uncanny advisors had to be avoided as the source of evil, false, or "black magic". No ban was ever placed on "white" or "natural magic", which resulted in "miracles". This kind of magic survives in the very repectable"natural sciences", which deal directly with actual physical objects: thus, chemistry, physics, biology, and geology as opposed to mathematics and similar "abstract" or "pure sciences". Magic may be loosely distinguished as "sympathetic", based on the idea that "like begets like"; as "divination", or fortune-telling; and as thaumaturgy, or wonder-working, which is now the province of physicists, chemists and stage-magicians. There are two esential kinds of sympathetic magic. The simplest is imitative magic, which assumes that the part can influence the whole. An example would be wetting a cloth with sea water and dashing it against a stone, thus agitating it and transferring the motion to the larger body of water, causing waves. Another traditional kind of sympathetic magic is entitled contagious magic. This proceeds on the half-baked notion that things which were once in contact have a "psychic connection" and that whatever is done to one reacts on the other. The simplest example of this is seen in the old belief that there was some magical connection between any severed portion of the human body (e.g. hair or nails) and the larger whole. The witches of medieval times used to incorporate these objects into a wax ball, give it the name of the person they wished to torment. They would then burn it if they wanted to create a fever in their victim or freeze it if they wanted him to suffer chills. They could, of course, fill it full of pins in which case he would suffer pin-pricks and great pain. Divination aims at getting hidden knowledge of the past, or "hind-sight"; of the present; or the future, "fore-sight". Variants of these skills are the abilty to see over vast distances, something the Anglo-Normans labelled "clairvoyence" but the Anglo Saxons called, more simply, "clear sight". A few adepts possessed the rarer "clairaudience", or "clear-hearing", an ability to hear things at a great distance in the past, present, or future. The means to this end always involved a supernatural helper, who was frequently responsible for the

difficult leg-work. The means of rousing this creature to do work varied. Rousing nature-spirits associated with the dead was called necromancy. Some magic-workers went omen-seeking by looking at heavenly bodies, a craft named astrology; others were able to find clues after the casting of sorts (in the form of runes, dice or playing-cards), and their craft was sortilege, the practitioners being termed sorcerers. The oldest form of divination was augury, which looked to flocks of birds for its first inspiration, but went on to the business of examining the entrails of animals or their droppings. Thaumatury, or wonder-working, was generally more spectacular than these simpler crafts. Alchemy, which attempted to change base metals into gold, to indefinitely prolong human life, and create a universal cure for all disease, sometimes ended in wonderful accidents, and has had its aims, and dangers, preserved in the sciences of chemistry, physics and medicine. More fun, but fewer practical results came from jugglery, the manipulation of objects which are always in sight, and legerdemain, or sleight-of-hand, which was much used by the godi, the druids, and early Christian missionaries. Such feats as turning wooden rods into snakes and causing ladies to float in the air became the properties of stage magicians. Trickery, which we have already referred to as word-magic was a very broad field. It included not only spell-binding, or the imprisonment of sounds on paper using a pointer, or speller, but simple control of the spoken language in terms of modulation and word choice, and ventriloquism, which was once thought to be valid magic. Hypnotism, or the projection of "animal magnetism" was also seen as devil-inspired, the use of words and magical amulets to draw off and take temporary charge of the soul of another. Word-magic was the province of politicians, kings, god-priests and lesser folk, who were sometimes called enchanters and enchantresses (the makers of charms or verbal spells). Another trickster was the conjurer, who supposedly invoked secret names in order to call up some creature from the dark side. Folklore includes every kind of magic, but much of it does centre on curses, oaths, charms, spells, blights, and blessings, hexes and countercharms,which have to do with vocalizing or enscribing words. The old Anglo-Saxon word "cursian" is of uncertain origin, but its intention is well understood. The curse was, and is, a collection of words in the form of a prayer or invocation, intended to direct harm at an enemy. Having a tendancy to look for long-winded classical models, the Anglo-Normans referred to the curse as a malediction or imprecation. Curses were generally straight-forward expressions of detestation, for example: "Hate ye one another!" as opposed to to the blessing: "May the luck of the road go with

you!" Anathema has been weakened, over time, so that it has little more force than a curse, but it was originally a solemn curse visited on an evildoer by the Christian church. The oath is a little more powerful, calling upon God, or one of the gods, to witness a curse as: "The Devil take you!" or "God damn you!" The impious , or slip-shod use of oaths was termed swearing. The word blight has special reference to curses or oaths directed against growing things, and confers with bleach, that which makes green and growing things white. Charm derives from the Anglo Saxon "cirm", the voices of a flock of birds. To make his magic, the charmer chanted, or recited, a musical verse. Eventually charms, Christian and heathen, were written down and these inscribed tablets of wood, or "books" were given the same name and almost as much power as the vocalization. Shrinking the book and the message created an effective magical charm, which could be worn about the neck or at the waist, and this was sometimes called a talisman or amulet. The Anglo Saxon "spell" applied to the spoken word; a phrase, a saying, or even a tale, but in prose rather than poetic form. It has been guessed that there is some relationship between this word and the Middle English "spell", meaning "a splinter of wood". Thus the source of the wands of faerie and the school pointer, which could be used either to draw a protective circle, or release the letters of the alphabet from their magical-binding, so that they might be understood by pupils. A speller was, of course, implicit in the art of spell-binding. In Germany the hexen were witches because of special spells they created, inscribing six-pointed stars, rather than circles, to keep them safe from the creatures they conjured into our world. In a few places within the Maritimes the verb "hex" describes this special variety of magic-making. Counter-charms are usually the last resort of common-folk against these various forms of craft or magic, and may represent any form of wordsmithery combined with, or independent of, other kinds of magic.

abscess Folk medicine: To cure an abscess write "words from the Bible" on a slip of paper and hide the paper. Creighton, BM, p. 194. According to tradition the "holiest" words in the New Testament are "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost" . See this and word, written . The necessity for hiding the real name of God, or the god, "with which his power was inextricably bound..." is pagan. It has been noted that the god Odin had at least three hundred names (Ygg, the Valfather, the Wild Huntsman, Asa, to mention a few). "...it was believed that he who possessed the true name possessed the very being of god or

man, and could force even a deity to obey him as a slave obeys his master." James G. Fraser, TGB, p. 304. This "naming of names" was supposed to transfer the disease to the mortal-god, who willlingly took it "to earth" at his death, leaving it there at his reincarnation. abortion Folk medicine: Pennyroyal was thought to bring on an abortion. Creighton, BM, p. 194. American Pennyroyal oil was officially listed as "an intestinal irritant and abortion causing agent" in 1916 - Hylton, TRHB, p. 532. acne Folk medicine: Place two tablespoons of flour and two tablespoons of salt in a glass and stir with an iron nail. Let stand and then drink. Creighton, BM, p. 194. See iron, which appears to be the magical catalyst in this "medicine". The pagan gods, ghosts, the little people, and other dangerous spirits all disliked iron, which was frequently employed as a counter-charm against them. Sympathetic magic of the contact, or homeopathic kind, is involved in the belief that some of the protective spirit of the iron passed to the liquid in stirring. acorn Sympathetic Magic: It was the practice to crochet tiny jackets for acorns and use these as pullstrings for window blinds. In time, wooden and metal facsimilies appeared and more recently tiny metal acorns were seeen at the end of pullstrings for electric-light fixtures. Folklore says that the walnut and the elm are always by-passed by lightning. This is quite untrue as a I have stood ten feet from an elem which was decimated by a strike! Nevertheless: "Beware of the oak, which draws the stroke. Beware of the ash, which courts the flash. Creep under the thorn, for protection till morn". The Northmen associated the oak tree with Thor, god of thunder and placed acorns on their windowsills hoping he would be propitiated and send his hammer elsewhere. The practice continued until very recently, the connection between electricity and lightning and an acorn pullstring being of exceptional interest. alder

Divination, Symp[athetic Magic: 1. Useful as a divining rod , a forked stick required to discover metals, hidden streams, treasures, secret crimes, thieves, ghosts and sundry spirits and god-spirits. 2. Sympathetic Magic. Alders could be eradicated if they were cut after the "bad" moon in August. Sometimes referred to as the Devil's tongue . The Middle English word "aldir" derives from the Anglo-Saxon "alr" and confers with the Swedish "elle". The English word "elder" from the Anglo-Saxon "ealdor" originally identified a parent, head of the family or person of rank or dignity. Such were the Scandinavian "ellefolk" or light elves, inhabitants of the ellemoors, rivers and marshes, who were never daybound and could travel with ease through air, fire, wood, water and stone. Alders "often grow in moist ground forming thickets." Following the principle of imitative magic that "like attracts like" this was thought to be an appropriate medium for finding water, water-spirits, or related evil-beings. It is a surprise to find any local memory of the "bad" moon in August, but it was recalled by Hermoine Benoit of Markhamville, N.B. In Celtic custom, their druids counted time from the sixth day after the new moon, "from whence they dated the beginning of their months, of their years, and of their thirty years' cycle, reasoning that by the sixth day, the moon retained plenty of vigour having not run half its course." The particular pagan holy day, obliquely referred to as coming after the "bad" moon, was perhaps the Lunastain or Lugnasad , celebrated on or about the date now called August 2. This was one of the Celtic Quarter or Rent-Paying Days , supposed to have been put in place by the god Lugh (who corresponds with Loki) in memory of his foster-mother Taillte. This was essentially a time for athletic games, from which the August Highland Games descend, but in older times there was also an important fire-festival, which included human sacrifices. The latter explains the bad reputation of this quarter of the year, the "bad" moon being observed as the full or "bloodstained" moon, which announced the periodic killing of the "alder-folk". The Celts usually stored up foreign elfs for use in this season, prefering them to their own citizens. The cutting down of these "alders" was made to correspond with the dying quarter of the moon, on the theory that acts of death at this time sympathetically damaged the reproductive powers of all of that kind. Alder brush, the totem plant of the elle-folk, was thought susceptible to these same destructive forces, or spirits, of nature. The alder is not distinguished from the elder in European folklore and Danish peasants respected the Hyldemoer (Elder-mother) and her ministrant spirits who lived amidst the roots of the tree. Before taking any wood they would give an oath that they would return to fertilize the forest floor at death.

Tales are told of those who omitted this rite and died soon after cutting the alder. "It was, moreover, not prudent to have any furniture made of elder wood. A child was once put to lie in a cradle made of this wood, but Hyldemoer came and pulled its legs, and gave it no rest till it was put to sleep elsewhere. Old David Monrad relates, that a shepherd, one night, heard his three children crying, and when he inquired the cause, they said that someone had been sucking them. Their breasts were found to be swelled, and they were removed to another room, where they were quiet. The reason is said to have been that that room was floored with elder." Keightley, TFM, p. 99. All Saint's Eve Sympathetic Magic: 1. A candle was placed in each window of the house. 2. Elderly villagers carried presents of food to their poorer neighbours. Formerly known as the Samhainn . See also Hallowe'en . This was, unquestionably, the time of one of the two most important firefestivals among the Celts of ancient Britain. alternating with the Beltane , or May Eve . "The first of May and the first of November mark turning points of the year in Europe: the one ushers in...summer, the other heralds winter... Of the two feasts Hallowe'en was perhaps of old the most important since the Celts would seem to have dated the beginning of the year from it rather than from Beltane." Among the old Celts this was considered an appropriate time to admit kinship with the less fortunate and to invite the souls of the departed to "revisit their old homes in order to warm themselves by the fire and to comfort themselves with the good cheer provided for them in the kitchen or the parlour. But it was not only the souls of the departed who were hovering "when autumn to winter resigns the pale year." Witches then sped on their errands of michief...The fairies, too, are all let loose." Fraser, TGB, pp. 732-737. In this situation candles had the double duty of serving as leading lights for departed kinfolk and as a circle of window-flame against malignant spirits. It has been noted that the old Celts greatly feared the imponderable dark and as their outdoor bonfires burned to the last spark, they fled home with shouts of "The cropped black sow seize the hindmost." In an attempt to minimize the pagan aspects of this festival the Christians renamed the Samhainn All Saint's Eve, although it was also called All Hallow's Eve, or Hallowe'en, which see, for some interesting pagan connotations.

All Saint's Day In Acadia, a time for playing tricks. Sometimes called "jour de tours " (tricks day). Particularly favoured was the stealing of cabbages. All Soul's Day Confluent with All Hallow's E'en or Hallowe'een , which, see. "Three successive masses were celebrated in the black vestments at thechurch, and attended by all, visits to the cemetary either individually or occasionally in the context of a parish ceremony for the dead..." Daigle, TAOTM, p. 497. Folkloreinsisted that this was atime for the return of the dead. As a result, people did not butcher at this time, nor plough, for fear of injuring the dead. See also "criee de ames". alphabet Divination: 1. Twirl and apple by the stem reciting the letters of the alphabet. The letter at which the stem parts from the core indicates the given name of a potential loved one. Creighton, BM, p. 180. 2. "...when Hilda was a child she was troubled ... I went to work and got my uncle to put nine letters of the alphabet over the door...My uncle put them down because he could read and talk them... The witch couldn't go under them..." Creighton, BM, p. 47. 3. "In olden times if a witch put a spell on you...nine letters were put above the door, written upside down. A witch couldn't go through it." Creighton, BM, p. 47. 4. "at Little Blanford...an "a" or a "v" or an "x" would be put on a paper and nailed up on the cattle's stalls (as protection against witchcraft). Creighton, BM, p. 47. The manipulation of spoken words by kings, priests-kings and community leaders gave them an aura of magic, reinforced when it was discovered that symbols, representing them, could be bound to tablets of stone, wood, parachment or paper. Even more awe-inspiring was their ability to unbind the letters returning them to the original vocalized form. This attitude is expressed in example #2, which suggests that literate "word-smiths" are needed to create a "word-spell". The witch was generally unable to read and write and, naturally, hindered by such a spell. Gillian Tindall has noted: "Very few witches can ever have possessed grimoires , for the very simple reason that few could read or -probably- practice that style of highly ritualized magic." She also said: "The alphabet has in itself a quality of mysticism and power to illiterate people. They tend to treat the written word as if it had some virtue per se; there are recorded instances...of a scrap of paper with words on it being regarded as an amulet by someone who is actually

ignorant of what the words say." An interesting example has been cited in the case of Chief Justice Holt who tried a suspected witch, arraigned for possessing a written "charm ". When he examined the evidence he found it to be a few inconsequential Latin words penned in his own hand. As a student he had been short of rent-money and had traded this "charm" to her telling her it would cure her sick daughter. Influenced by this embarassing discovery, he subsequently acquitted many of the "witches" brought before him. Earlier still, the elements of language were considered a divine gift in northwestern Europe. The Scandinavians, for example, said that their runes were given them by the god Odin. In casting the runes they practiced sortilege an act which led to divination or fortune-telling. These alphabetic helpers were called "hjelprunor" (help-runes) to distinguish them from those having other functions, but it would appear that these distinction were never made with the Roman alphabet which succeeded it. alum Folk Medicine: 1.Alum rubbed on a canker will relieve the swelling; 2. is crushed in molasses to cure the croup; 3. is burnt and applied as a remedy for "proud-flesh" (inflammed skin). Creighton, BM. An aluminum compound once widely used as a styptic and an astringent, having some of the properties ascribed to it in common lore. amadan Magic Race: Also spelled amaden, amadon, omadan, omadawn, omadhawn, omidown, omigon,the latter forms preferred on Prince Edward Island according to Pratt, DPEIE, p. 105. According to him the omadan was comparable with the gommie, kittardly, nosic, or oshick, being "a fool or simpleton. This god-spirit was slightly more in Gaelic legend, being clearly "amadan na briona", "the fiery fool" and "the most dangerous sidh in Celtic lore aside from Queen Mebd, or Maeve." amulet Sympathetic Magic: There were many examples of physical objects being placed in contact with the body to serve as a guard against illness and/or witchcraft. 1. Holed coins were placed on strings and hung about the neck.

See charm string . 2. Burled or knotted wood was sometimes kept in a pocket to ward of arthritis. 3. "We carry potatoes for arthritis to this day." 4. Copper bracelets were worn on the left arm to guard against arthritis. 5. Muskrat skin was placed on the chest to cure asthma. 6. "Cow dung poultice for bealings and infections; it holds the heat." 7. Nutmegs were hung from the neck against high blood pressure and nosebleed. 8. "Carry nutmegs as protection against boils." 9. Red flannel placed near the chest would ease soreness in that region. 10. Salt herrings were bound to the soles of the feet to reduce fever. 11. Live frogs wrapped in a red flannel bag were hung at the throat to assist against goitre. See also stone , ring. In earlier times amulets were more sophisticated often consisting of an ornament, a gem-stone, a tiny scroll, or a package containing some relic of a god-spirit, fastened to a part of the body. Amulets were created through the use of charms and spells, and when writing became common, these, or a god-spirit symbol, might be seen inscribed on the amulet. Originally a talisman was understood to be any magical message or figure added to a amulet, but the distinction between talisman and amulet is now vague. In addition, the two of them are frequently confounded with the charm used to activate the talisman on the amulet.

animal magnetism Wonder Work: Some individuals were supposed to have been able to make iron and wooden objects stand in contradiction to the usual laws of physics. "There was a steward on a ship who put a broom in the centre of the room and would beckon it toward him and it would lean in his direction. Then he would wave it away and it would go back. He could make it go all around him..." This man was able to show similar control over soup ladels, and billiard cues, having five of the latter doing "gymnastics" for him at one time. "When I went to school many years ago our teacher would blindfold one of us and the rest would circle his waist with our fingers touching. Then the scissors would be put some place and Blindy would feel himself drawn towards them. The teacher had no idea what happened but spoke of magnetism and steel, but I found that wiothout anyone near me I would be pulled toward anything that was chosen, and that the power was coming from those sitting around the room." Creighton, BM, p. 190.

The term "animal magnetism was also applied to mesmerism, or hypnotism, and in this and the above case, it was presumed that an unseen, and reprehensible force was in action. The steward, in the above tale, was dismissed from his position because the captain feared that his "magnetism" might interfere with the operation of the ship's compass. While hypnotism has some status as a craft, this other form of animal magnetism is more closely related to modern sleight-of-hand, or legerdemain. ankles Divination: Small ankles denote aristocratic blood. In the past peasants no doubt had swollen ankles as a result of their work, while kings and courtiers had more opportunity to favour their legs. In pagan Europe it was believed that individuals were periodically reincarnated within their class, and that their heritage was always visible, even where parentage was uncertain. angel Sympathetic Magic: The passage of angels was denoted by a pause in conversation, an event which always occurred twenty minutes after each hour. Creighton, BM, p. 168. We have no explanation for this periodicity. apple Sympathetic Magic: 1. A strange man visited Pubnico, N.S. at a time when any such event was "outstanding". He attempted to pressure a young girl to eat an apple, but she wisely refused. Afterwards it was broken open revealing something identified as either "poison or magic". "They connected the incident with witchcraft because people in nearby communities were supposed to practice it." Creighton, BM, p. 61. 2. Farmers refrained from burning apple wood as a source of heat. It is noteworthy that "of all the sources of danger none are more dreaded by the savage than magic and witchcraft, and he suspects all strangers of practicing these black arts ." - Fraser, TGB, p. 226. Apples are the fruit of magical trees and in much earlier times, in France, the great "monard" (monarch), made entirely of straw, was paraded on the twenty-fifth of April before being deposited in the oldest apple tree in the village. There he had to stay as a guardian spirit until the first apples were gathered. At that time he was removed, burned and his ashes cast into the river, activities reflecting even earlier days of human-god sacrifice. Again, the fertility

practice called "escouvion" was carried out amidst apple trees until the mid eighteen hundreds. Observed every year on the eve of the first Sunday of Lent,and exactly a week later, it involved the younger people, who ran at night through gardens and orchards, hurling torches among the branches to scare off nature-spirits and insure that they might bear fruit. "The custom is still pretty general in the canton of Aargau in Switzerland to plant an apple tree for a boy and a pear tree for a girl, and the people think the child will flourish or dwindle with the tree." -Fraser, TGB, p. 79l. Finally, it must be noted that the fruit, sectioned horizontally, shows the seeds arranged in a five-star pattern, the heraldic symbol of the "Lord of the North Star", whose name the Gaels insisted was "better left unspoken." For the record he was called Nur or Ner by the Welsh and the Nathair (one who is not the Father) by the Scots and Irish. He lived beyond the north wind in the Pole Star, which was immobile in the sky, and about which all other stars travelled. In the north-lands several Scottish clans have carried flags showing three silver stars on a blue-black ground, showing their allegiance to this remote pagan god. It may be suspected that , elsewhere,he was called Odin, or Ygg, the latter Eddaic form being preserved in the Isle of Eigg, Scotland. It was formerly believed that some portion of the spirit of the god was present in all organic matter, but especially in that marked by the god. In Britain apple trees were never completely stripped of fruit, the surplius being left as the "pixie's harvest". Although these were generally understood to have fallen to the hands of local children, none of them would pick the last apple which was the possession of the pixy known as "the apple-tree man". If this rite was followed it was noticed that next crop was always better than the last. April Sympathetic Magic: Because of the nature of the weather usual to this month it was called "lean-gut" or "gut-starved April". April Fool's Day A day for pranks. See also Poisson d'avril . asafoetida Folk Medicine: A substanced used to grease pigs "as a protection against witchcraft", and "rubbed on doors to keep the devil out. Creighton, BM, p. 51.

This medicine, no longer well-known, takes its name from Latin words, which have the sense of "putrid gum". Asafoetida was the fetid or rancid gum of various Persian and East Indian plants (specifically Ferula asafoetida and others) . In Victorian times it was supplied in the form of dark brown teardrop shaped masses and was identified as an antispasmodiac. It had a strong repulsive odour and a taste somewhat like garlic. ash Sympathetic Magic: 1. Children who suffered rupture or illness were passed through a slit made in a sapling ash. 2. Splinters of ash were pinned into clothing as a specific against rheumatism. Passing a child through an ash was believed to bring him into contact with an ancient protective god-spirit long associated with mankind. Aside from venerating the oak, the druids practised their rites in ash groves and used its branches as wands which could counteract witchcraft. Montague Summers has noted that ash-sap was fed to newborn Scot's children, "first, because it acts as a powerful astringent, and, secondly, because it possesses the property of resisting the attacks of witches, fairies, and other imps of darkness." Considering this Anglo-Saxon mothers used to hang the cradles of their children from the branches of the ash tree. The world tree of northern mythology, "Yggdrasil", was of ash and men were aroused from an oak log by three of the gods. Avents, Les Among Acadians, the four weeks preceding Christmas. No weddings or festivities took place during this time. Roman Catholics were expectyed to say sixty-six rosaries before Christmas . If a sixty-seventh was said on Christmas Eve the supplicant thought himself certain to obtain whatever favour might be requested of God. "In Kent County, New Brunswick, people would recite the "Thousand Hail Mary's" on Christmas Eve for the same purpose." Daigle, TAOTM, p. 497. baby Sympathetic Magic: 1. If a child did not cry the first time it was placed in the mother's arms this was considered a good omen. 2. A child was guaranteed good luck if it received a birth-gift from the parents. 3. At Christian baptism some Scottish families added three drops of sea-water to that in the font.

4. After baptism and ailing child would improve in health. 5. A baby was not allowed to see its image in a mirror until it was more than one year old. 5. Adults were advised not to cross over a baby on the floor because it would never live to maturity. 6. To cut a child's eyelashes at an early age meant they would be promoted to grow long. 7. Children's nails were bitten rather than cut off. 8. Tickling a small child was thought to promote stuttering. 9. Rocking a baby's cradle while he was elsewhere would cause him to cry. 10. Children who slept with adults would have their growth stunted. Because infants were completely vulnerable they were frequently chosen, in the remote past, as subjects of blood sacrifice to pagan gods. After these gods became indistinguishable from the Christian, Satan, it was still generally thought that they continued this tribute: "And aye every seven years they pay the teind to hell." It was also generally held that witches, fairies, and devils abducted humans, particularly children, reserving some of them to the "teind" or "fire-festivals". Tindall thinks it is "psychologically significant" that minority groups have traditionally been accused of sacrificing children to some devil-god, the gypsies, Jews and even Roman Catholic nuns and fathers having been suspected at various times. Sometimes the abductors left a "changeling ", or substitute child, with the parents, so that the childstealing was not immediately evident. In older times, changelings were described as "given to many Antick practices", sometimes behaving without obvious cause or showing an inability to talk, walk or stand. Currently, it seems obvious that these were individuals suffering a physical disorder such as William's Syndrome, mongoloidism or some spastic disorder, but such conditions have never been obvious to laymen at the birth of a child. Once the physical or mental differences were noted, the infant might be rejected, since few parents were willing to admit that they might have sired a freak. The fact that changelings usually lived short lives reinforced the folk tale that they were fairy children, who were doubtless reclaimed at death. Changelings have been characterized as having "an outrageous appetite, a foul bad temper and addicted to fits of squalling and howling, unwelcome guests in any home!" Considering this, it can be understood why Maritimers hoped that their babies would lie placidly in arms at the first introduction. H. A. Guerber has said: "It was customary among the northern nations to bestow some valuable gift upon a child when he cut his first tooth." Originally, this was a formal procedure of bestowment involving the child and his parents. Without it, the child's legacy was sometimes ursurped. Although the modern-day gift was

small, it was once as large as the parent's power would allow; thus Frey, the son of Niord and Skadi received "the beautiful realm of Alf-heim, or Fairyland, the home of the light elves," now identified as a considerable part of the country called Sweden. Christians were not alone in using water to wash away sins, or dedicate a child to a particular god. Long before their kind arrived on the shores of North America, the Abenaki used to dip their children in sea-water as an act of consecration. The god-helper, called Glooscap was sometimes spoken of as one of a giant race that came out of the eastern sea. Some of the Celtic people maintained they were related by marriage to Fomors, or sea-giants, who emerged from their western ocean. When Maritime Scots added a drop of sea-water to the baptismal font, they honoured this ancient pagan connection. In the elder days, a "magical sympathy" was considered to exist between humans and any severed part(s) of their body; thus the belief that, "whoever gets possession of hair or nails may work his will at any distance, upon the person from whom they were cut." The chewing away of nails by the mother prevented this. In many cases, the hair of children was left uncut until they were mobile and in control of their spirit . In the pagan world, all objects, animate and inanimate, contained some degree of this spirit, and objects placed in long contact shared a similar spirit. The cradle of a child gradually assimilated some of his life force placing him in sympathetic contact with it. If it was disturbed while he was elsewhere, he was supposed to be aware of this and might respond by being fractious. The idea that cutting hair promoted growth seems to have arisen from the observation that pruning and pinching off plants caused them to show increased vigor. The business of weakening the spirit of the child by walking over him or by having him sleep in the same bed has sexual connotations. While these were not sex acts, they were seen as related, and things which are equal to the same thing being equal to one another, this was considered dangerous. The reasoning here was that "spiritum" tended to drain from the less powerful to the more powerful, thus the adult received while the child lost spirit, and sometimes weakened and died. In medieval times, when hygiene was not considered, children probably did suffer from being in too intimate contact with adults. backrunner Magic Race: A invisible spirit which accompanied each individual from birth. Also known as the hindrunner . Gifted individuals, witches and magicians could see their backrunner and project their internal soul upon it creating a familiar , able to travel and observe the past.Possession of this ability is referred to as hindsight or backsight . In each case what is observed,

superimposed on the present, appears to have been a reinactment of an event that had actually taken place many years before. An example was the experince of Mrs. Fred Redden of Middle Musquodobit: During the Second War she was visiting with friends in an apartment on Barrington Street in Halifax when she was aroused from sleep by the sound of men arguing as if they were present in the room. Forcing herself to look she found four men seated at a card table. Central was "a big man with an oily look" and "adark moustache...He had a knife in his hand and the blade was silver. It was the sound of cards and whisky bottles that woke me up...I was too frightened to call my friends or knock on the wall to wake them up. When daybreak came the noise stopped, but I still didn't open my eyes until my friend's husband came through the room on his way to work." She later learned that the room had formerly been a gathering place for card games and became personally convinced that she had "looked back on an event bagpipe Sympathetic Magic: To hear the sound of a bagpipe in the ear prognosticated news of a death. bannock Divination: "In Scotland (and Scottish areas of Maritime Canada), amongst the rural population..the girdle took the place of the oven and, the bannock of the loaf (of bread)." McNeill, TSK, p. 169. In modern usage a bannock is a rather large round flat "cake". When this is cut into sections or smaller rounds before being fired the divisions are called "scones". These baked goods could be made from barley, pease, or oats, and the first gridles were simply a circle of rocks upon which the dough was leaned, a fire being established in the centre. Oatcakes were once involved in casting the future. The "bonnach Bealltain" or Beltane oatcake baked "for the first day of summer" (May 1) appears to have been the only survivor, in this land, of the "Quarter Cakes" fashioned in ancient Scotland. The others were: the bonnach Bride, baked on Brigit's Day (locally called Groundhog Day); the bonnach Lunastain , or Lammas cake, marking the feast of the first harvest, and the bonnach Samthain, or Hallowmas bannoch, baked for the first day of winter. In the old country the Beltane cake was described as "baked with eggs and scalloped around the edges". It was distributed with great ceremony, one piece (marked by a black bean or "carline" being looked for by the company. Whoever received this was termed the "cailleach bealltain" (Beltane hag), "a

term of great reproach". This unfortunate was made the victim of fire in the earliest feasts but in more humane times he was pelted with eggshells and subject to mock quartering and burning. "...while the feast was fresh in memory, they affected to speak of the cailleach beal-tine as dead." Thomas Pennant, present at a Perthshire fire-festival in 1769, noted that the rites began "with spilling some of the caudle on the ground as a libation, and that besides oats and milk, the cake contained "plenty of beer and whisky..." There are many associated rites (see Fraser, TGB, starting with page 715) but I have heard of only one survival in Atlantic Canada. The custom of rolling oatcakes down a hill on May 1 also occured until recently in Scotland. In both places it was felt that the person whose cake shattered would die or be unfortunate during the year. These particular Beltane cakes were washed over with a thin batter of whipped egg, milk or cream to make them a little more resistant to wear and tear. In New Brunswick I have one report of Yule Bread being put to similar use. bannoch Salainn Divination: This was a salted oatcake, baked in the ordinary way except for the addition of a surplus of salt. It was "eaten in the Highlands at Hallowe'en to induce dreams that would fortell the future. No water might be drunk, nor any words spoken after it was eaten, or the charm would not work." McNeill, TSK, p. 175. This superstition was common in Gaelic districts and resembles a use made of salted herring . It was claimed that the future loved one would arrive in a dream offering water to slake the thirst. banshee Magic Race: 1. "The banshee, that wiling nightime creature omen of death to Irish (and Scottish) families was mentioned in Cape Breton. Mackenzie, TIOCBI, p. 60. barn ghost Magic Race: Men sleeping in barns were sometimes troubled by the hot breath of a horse disturbing their sleep. Usually the horse was not seen although those who encountered it heard and felt its presence. bear Magic Race: Woe unto ye Bocabecers Ye Hansons and ye Turners You think more of your logs

Than you do of your God. You wouldn't come out of the woods To bury your old father. There shall come to you a bear. Not the race of little black ones That roam the Bocabec hills. But the great all consuming bear With jaws of iron and teeth of brass. Above is one form of a curse supposedly pronounced on the two Charlotte County families whose adherents refused to come home from a lumber camp for the burial of their patriarch. This diatribe supposedly had its origin in a funeral service at which an indignent preacher vented his wrath. The curse was supposed to have brought bad luck to a number of families who were not in the direct line of descent. See also Spray, WOTW, pp. 124-125. bed Sympathetic Magic: 1. People were required to enter and exit bed from the same side under pain of developing a bad temper for that day. This is related to the idea that a unwelcome visitor might be expected if one entered a house by one door and left by another. When out ancestors lived in weems, souterrains or other hidden underground dwelling-places they usually had two hidden entrances, their neighbours being what they were. In those days, people who had to exit their bed in an unusual direction were usually chased by unexpected "guests" and might be expected to be left in a bad mood for the remainder of the day. bedpost Divination: When sleeping in a strange bed the next love match was determined by naming the four bedposts after prospective suitors. This led to a dream of true love. Creighton, FOLC, p. 17. Bedposts were made of wood taken from trees, and trees have been considered the prime source of human spirit in both European and North American myths concerning the creation of life. Sir James Fraser claimed that, "tree worship is well attested for all the great European families of Aryan stock." In the pagan religions tree-spirits were frequently represented as existing simultaneously in plant and human form, and this

seems basic to the above belief. The naming of names was apparently meant to draw desired spirits into the wood, after which a forerunner might be consulted through dreams, to suggest which of the four would be the next mate. bee Sympathetic Magic: 1. To have a bumble bee or a wasp enter a house meant that someone would visit. 2. One of the most virulent witch-familiars was the white bee. Among English countrymen, no distinction was made between bees and flies. The Devil was, of course, identified as "the lord of the flies" and white was the colour locally identified with the garments of witchcraft. The visitor was not expected to bear good news, and in one instance after "a snow white bumble bee sat on the cow" she failed to give milk." (Allandale, N.S.) berries Divination: An unusually large crop of berries in a given season pointed to a hard winter. Bible Sympathetic Magic: 1. Objects were not to be placed upon a Bible or bad luck resulted. 2. An opened Bible could be used as a talisman to ward off witches and their ilk. Magically bound words, recently referred to as written language, were considered to focus power, see alphabet . The spells of the Christian god, commonly known as the gospels, were contained in this book, which was anciently assumed to harbour his spirit . Placing secular items on a holy object led to the possibility of raising the wrath of the one God. Tindall has noted that, "The Christian cross and Bible were often used in distinctly pagan ways, as protective objects." She recalls that the family Bible was commonly used to "strike down" a wen, or any other mysterious bodily lump. bird Sympathetic Magic: 1. It was considered a bad augury to have a bird enter a house. If one entered hoping on one foot, this was considered exceptionally ill news, especially if a family member was travelling at the time. "They would be very concerned until he returned. And if they had the chance at all, they would catch the bird to see whether it had two feet." 2. It was

considered ill-mannered and of bad omen to bring any wild bird into a home. 3. A bird flying into a windowpane prognosticated death in the family. 4. The whippoorwill was especially associated with the occult because of its noctural habits and black colouration. It also had the bad habit of calling just before dawn when evil spirits were taking their last licks. To hear a single call of this bird was considered to be an omen of death, but additional calls suggested one would have little sleep but a long life. Those who felt harassed by the whippoorwill pointed their finger and psychically "shot it dead" to counter any trouble. In Europe, the human soul was often conceived to be a bird, which fluttered beneath the breast-bone. It was also guessed that the external souls of evil men flew to other places in this familiar . Black birds were especially suspect as an evil omen. An injured bird was an injured witch (see gorbey) , and thus apt to be wrathful. birth Children were told that babies were found in the hay, in a woodshed, in a pond, a spring, a stump, or under a cabbage leaf. Those who pressed the question were told that the new child had been delivered to the home by the doctor, the mid-wife, or the Indians. In Acadian communities the arrival of l'enfant was often blamed on the micareme, which see. Folk Medicine: 1. A saucer of garlic placed on the stomach ofa pregnant woman prevented miscarriage. Daigle, TAOTM, p. 479. Sympathetic Magic: A baby born with a clenched fist was likely to be "tightfisted" with money. black Widows and widowers commonly wore black for a year and a half. The sisters and brothers of the dead dressed in balck for a year. In addition to wearing black clothing, the widower also wore a black armsband. Also noted among the Adcadians, see Daigle, TAOTM, p. 489. black art Sympathetic Magic: 1. "To be a witch you had to curse your father and mother and read the black art books." Creighton, BM, p. 19. 2. "The wife of Daddy Red Cap, the wizard, had a friend visiting...She had told this friend that she could teach her the Black Art and then she could put a spell on anyone..." Creighton, BM, p. 20. 3. "Joe P. told me about Germans having books on black arts..." Creighton, BM, p. 43.

The world black is derived from Teutonic sources, including forms descriptive of ink and sooty smoke. Perhaps the original "black art" was necromancy, the Anglo-Norman business of conjuring up souls of the dead. Confusion seems to have centred about the spelling of the Latin word "necros" (dead) on which necromancy (calling up the dead) was based. For a time, the word was represented in Old French as "nigromancie" (calling up the black), apparently from confusion of "necros" with "nigros" (black). black bird Sympathetic Magic: All black birds, particularly those belonging to the crow family, were considered familiars of god-spirits, the fay or witches.

black bull Sympathetic Magic: The black bull was an infrequent aspect of the Devil, but Old Man Riley of Saint Peters, Cape Breton confessed to meeting him as he came down the hill behind his house "in a great squall of wind." Commanded by Father Henry McKeagney to leave off this particular soul, the bull became, "a great long-eared black dog ." Harassed by the Christian "His Satanic Highness" took off across the surface of the waters of the nearby bay "like a great streak of lightning." Mackenzie, TIICB, p. 61. black cat Sympathetic Magic: A black cat crossing the path was taken as an omen of bad luck. Cats of this colour were formerly excluded from sailing vessels and it was said: "If you see a black cat on starting travel , you might as well return, for no good will come of it!" Cats were formerly placed in wicker baskets and burned in mid-summer fires throughout Europe. As late as 1648, King Louis XIV attended one of these spectacles at Paris, lighting the fire with his own hand. He danced about the blaze in true pagan fashion and afterwards participated in feast at the town hall. The ashes from this "godsacrifice" were taken away by the common folk who believed they might serve as good-luck charms. The conjecture was that these animals were under the influence of witchcraft or actual witches caught in their familiar form. Aside from the fact that a god-spirit, devil, or witch might be present in the cat, black, which is the absence of colour, had nasty connotations, being sympathetically related to storm clouds, bad weather, and by this route, with bad luck.

blessing Sympathetic Magic: Usually the witch indulged in curse-mongering and spell and/or charm-making but Creighton has mentioned at least one instance where a witch extended a blessing to a Amherst, N.S., family so that they afterwards had good luck and prosperity. Of course, amateurs frequently attempted to bless their friends, overlooking the fact that it was once considered a serious pagan rite. Examples of blessings include: " May my soul lies within you; May you beat as the pulse of my heart; May the road rise to meet your feet, and the sun stand always at your back; May god hold you in his hand; May the rain fall warmly on your doorstep." In less sentimental times, such phrases were sometimes termed "false music". The word "bless" is derived from the Anglo-Saxon "bletsian", and was based on their word "blod", which is the equivalent of our "blood". To bless an individual once implied conscecrating him to the service of a god through the sprinkling of blood. It will be noticed that the Christian baptism, or blessing, substituted holy water for this purpose. Nevertheless, this water is symbolically referred to as "the blood of the Lamb". Used in the old sense "bless" may indicate to wave or brandish a weapon (presumably preparatory to some blood sacrifice). In less dangerous times, the priestly class continued to utter a few words of benediction at the time of the sprinkling and "blessing" came to be regarded as these charms as distinct from the act of spotting the consecrated person with blood or water. blessing of the bicycles blessing of the boats Annually at Cape Pelee, N.B. A widow of a fisherman lost at sea tosses a funeral wreath of flowers into the waters of the Northumberland Strait. The assembled ships are decortatyed with flags and streamers. blight Sympathetic Magic: The general craft of the witch was referred to as blighting or witching or witchcraft . Blights were usually seen as originating from a hex , curse or spell directed by the witch against humans, animals or plants. Originally, the word blight was restricted to happenings affecting the fields and agricultural products and it is perhaps related to the English words

"bleak" and "bleach", the meaning being "to make white or pale". It came to mean any injury in plants which resulted in withering and decay and was extended from this to include animals. blindness Sympathetic Magic: Blind men were often gifted with the two sights and might envision the past or the future. Thus, the blind Isaiah Dunbar, living at home in Northamptonshire England is supposed to have seen the forerunner of his brother Moses, as the latter was being hung at Saint John, N.B. in 1777. Trueman, GPATT, p. 12. blood Sympathetic Magic, Divination: l. "Gifted individuals could staunch the flow of blood by passing a hand over the cut." Fraser, FONS, p. 25. Charm: 2. To induce love in an unsuspecting individual, a drop of blood was placed on an edible, e.g. candy or an apple, and given to eat. 3. Witches had to contract with the Devil in their own blood. See also book. 4. Losses at sea were sometimes presaged by the appearance of bloodstains on dishes which were being washed. 4. It was unlucky to have blood fall upon a quilt. It was once a common belief that, "the spirit of the animal is in the blood." Animals were bled in the belief that those who drank or ate blood consumed the soul of the creature. The Norn, or Vala, of northern Europe, collected captives, bled them, and plunged their own arms, to the shoulders, in tubs of blood, to feed on the spirits of the newly dead. Fraser thought that, "the mangling of the body, the theory of new birth and the remission of sins through the shedding of blood, have their origin in savagery...Their true character was indeed often disguised under a decent veil...reconciling even the most cultivated of them to things would otherwise must have filled them with horror and disgust." "...the Gauls used to drink their enemies' blood and paint themselves therewith (to assimilate the power of their spirits), So also they write that the old Irish were wont; and so have I seen some of the Irish do, but not their enemies' but friends' blood, as, namely, at the excution of a notable traitor at Limerick, called Murrough O'Brien, I saw an old woman, which was his foster mother, take up his head while he was quartered and suck up all the blood that ran thereout..." From such beliefs, persisted the idea that a fraction of ones' spirit was passed to a another when blood was consumed. Witches gave their blood symbolically to the devil and were believed bound to him just as their blood was bound, in mystical symbols, to the page. This was made more awe inspiring to the witch because of the

fact that she was usually incapable of word-spelling, and thus incapable of liberating the letters of the alphabet which were tied to the parchament. blood charmer Sympathetic Magic: A person gifted with the ability to staunch the flow of blood. He would "place one hand on the patient's head and the other hand on the wound. The patient had to speak his full name and then the charmer whispered some words from Ezekial whereupon blood clotted and the wound healed." Spray, WOTW, p. 7. blue Sympathetic Magic: 1. Mariners would not paint a ship, or their house, blue. 2. Local seamen would never purchase, and did not wish to receive, greeting cards featuring bluebirds. The Teutonic god Odin was described as "clad in a suit of grey, with a blue hood, his muscular body enveloped in a wide blue mantle flecked with grey, an emblem of the sky with its fleecy clouds." Noting this the Danes painted their longships blue, created blue sails, and fashioned blue body-armour. Actually, the above statement is a generalization, a minority of Maritimers favoured this colour: John Benson, of Lornville, N.B., went to sea (and was lost there) in "the blue painted boat with the red streak." It was claimed that those sharing the blood of the "sea-people" would suffer no harm from using the colour, and the ending "son" identifies this man as one of Scandinavian extraction. Those of Celtic, or other background, tried to avoid offending this foreign god by refraining from using his colour. The bluebird was, of course, originally considered an familiar of the god Odin, and therefore a creature to be avoided. bodach Magic Race: Used locally for an old, impolite rustic. A word taken directly from Gaelic, translating as the cow-herder. The bodach was anciently considered one of the sidh , or little people , a creature who took residence with "humans", providing manual labour in exchange for a small ration of food and clothing. A proud, if reduced god-spirit, the bodach revolted at anything resembling patronage and if overpayed for his services might turn into a raging bogeyman . His female equivalent was the cailleach or old hag. bogan Magic Race: Also spelled bauken, bawken, bocain, boccan, bochdan. Used

"rarely" with respect to nasty children, according to Pratt, DOPEIE, p. 20. More usually a designation for the bog-man or bogeyman . According to Sir Andrew MacPhail, "witches, ghosts and fairies were so common they excited little interest. Bocans were a more serious menace. A bocan might leap upon a boy in the dark at any moment..." TMW, p. 108. The bocan clearly derives from the Cymric "bwgan" and may relate to the Gaelic "bodach". bogeyman Magic Race: On seeing a bogey or a ghost-spirit employ the following countercharm : "Criss-croos, double-cross. Tell that monster to get lost!" bonfires The levees between Baton Rouge and New Orleans are lighted by fires on Christmas Eve . "Some say the tradition goes back 240 years, but no one knows for sure when it started - or where." In this century it has been suggested that they were beacons for Pere Noel (Father Yule) who travelled the river in his pirogue (dug-out canoe. It has also been said that they were erected to light the way to Christ's Mass, or that they originally served as the "bone fires" in which the local Indians cremated their dead. Nolan J. Oubre Jr., fire chief in Gramercy and defacto chairman for thr rites noted: "Another reason was to be noisy at midnight. They used to light them at midnight years ago, and put bamboo acne reed in it so that it would pop like firecrackers." Until the 1890s, the wood was piles in conical fashion, towers of driftwood, stuffed with bamboo. Most do not exceeed 25 feet, but in more competitive times neighbours vied to build the tallest and parishoners at Reserve built a 100 foot tower. In the late Victorian period, the base was restricted to a square of 24 feet, the height not to exceed 25 feet. Currently that has been revised to a base of not more than 12x24 feet, but Oubre admits that the rules are not rigidly enforced and "We have in the past few years been building them as much as 42 feet." Today, the main injunction is that logs should be positioned so that they fall into the water when the structure breaks apart. The traditional teepee shape has lately been abandoned for log cabins, a chimney for Santa Claus and the like. Janet McConnaughey, Associated Press, Nov. 29, 1989. The Middle English "bonefire" was literally a fire used to consume bones, the French equivalent being "le feu de joie" (the fire of joyfulness, mirth, glee). The 'cajuns of Baton Rouge were the Acadians of Atlantic Canada, hence this entry. Nolan Oubre's guess that the fires might be bone fires or fires created to make noise are not far from the mark. The custom

of the Noel, Yule, or Wheel Fire was widespread in Europe but especially noted "in England, France, and among the southern Slavs." A French writer of the 17th century denounced a countinuing belief in the "tefoir" a brand fired on Yule Eve and put in the flames for a while during each of the twelve days of Yule. Taken out on the Twelfth Night it was kept under the bed to protect the household against fire, lightning, thunder, chilblains on the heels in winter, illness among cattle and as a tonic for men. In the spring ashes from it were strewn on the fields to "save the wheat from mildew." In various parts of France these brands, or the charred Yule log of later days, was kept and used to light the fires of the next Yule-season. In most places the presence of this sacrificial wood was believed to guard against witchcraft, and noise-making was a traditional means of exorcising evil spirits. In pagan times the flames were fed with oak, this tree being especially associated with Thor, god of thunder. Enemies of the tribe were often ritually associated with the god, and burned, to relieve the countryside of the ills caused by witchcraft. In later times, witches were burned for the same reason being loosely associated with pagan daemons. Here again, their bones and ashes were spread on the fields to assure the well-being of crops in the new year. It is suspected that fire-rites were attempts to reinvigorate the failing sun of mid-winter through sympathetic magic. The sacrifice of the "god" was not considered sacreligious since he was reincarnated in the days following Mother Night, the longest of the year. bons soirs Acadian, "good nights". Courtship period, the couple being carefully supervised by the girls parents. One or two nights, and Sundays, were permitted following local conventions. On the first evening a girl might show returned interest in the visitor by throwing a twig on the floor, at which he might sit beside her. Later she would place a jug of water on the table and he would drink before going to her side. If the jug was ommitted the courtship was over. THe courtship was of short duration terminating quickly or ending in marraige. Daigle, TAOTM, p. 485. bone Sympathetic Magic: 1. To have the bones crack indicated better days ahead. Creighton, BM, p. 157. 2. Maritime fisherman used to take some care to see that the bones of fish were returned to the sea. 3. Ghosts might be generated by digging up old bones. See Creighton, BM, pp. 29-30. "With things belonging to the dead, whether its their bones or brlongings, you should leave 'em lay." Bert Power of East Ship Harbour, N.s. quoted by

Creighton, BM, p. 31. Interestingly, Europeans shared the belief that bones were sacrosanct with the local Indians: "It was a religious act among our people to gather up all bones very carefully and either throw them in the fire, or into a river where beaver lived...our domestic animals must never gnaw the bones because this would not fail to diminish the species of the animal which fed us. Maillard, quoting Lkimu. book Sympathetic Magic: 1. The power to practice witchcraft was obtained from the black books. "To be a witch you have to curse your father and mother and read the black art books." Creighton, BM, p. 19. 2. When a book was dropped in had to be stepped on to avoid bad luck. "learned books of any kind were regarded as in themselves powerful documents by the illiterarte; a man who could actually read one had an exceptional power usually reserved to priests...One can see how, from this, an idea of the magic quality of the book itself would develop." Tindall, HOW, p. 121. It has to be recalled that, in colonial times, only one in five could read and write. The "black books" were technically known as "grimoires", virtual "grammars" of magic. By the late Middle Ages, they had become repositories for traditional spells , and so-called ancient wisdom, which was actually the "rubbish dump" for the discarded theories of various eastern religions. Tindall has described these book as, "the pornography of the Middle Ages" and suggests that few garden-variety witches possessed them, since they were no better educated than the common man. It may be guessed that many of them did claim to be word-smiths, and may have kept an impressive-looking book, being careful to shield the contents from anyone capable of reading and writing. "It is not everyone who could see the elves...The eleves however, have the power to bestow this gift on whomever they please. People also speak of the elf-books which they gave to those they loved, and which enabled them to foretell future events." Keightley, TFM, p. 81. book-bound Sympathetic Magic: 1. People who were "overeducated" and pompous were sometimes referred to as book-bound, but more often the word referred to the complaint commonly called constipation. 2. "Book-bound is an expression meaning the animal needs a physic. The creetur has what

appears to be leaves that are all burned up, and these leaves must be loosened. There is a stoppage in the book. You must give raw linseed oil in treating a creetur. If you use boiled linseed oil it will kill her. Give the animal plenty the first time, or you will lose her." Creighton, FOLC, p. 101. See book. boot-jack Sympathetic Magic: It is unlucky to take a boot-jack aboard a vessel. borrowing Sympathetic Magic: A witch called to account by a countercharm could "get relief" and reinstate the original spell if she was able to borrow. "If you refused the third time, she's done for, finished...dead." Creighton, BM, p. 46. borrowing days Sympathetic Magic: In Gaelic communities the last three days of March were termed the "borrowing days", times for very rough weather. In Scotland it was held that the Cailleach Bheur wishing to extend her waning power over the weather borrowed three days which once belonged to April, tacked them onto March, and vested them with the worst possible snowstorms. bread Sympathetic Magic: 1.Inverting a loaf of bread would upset a ship at sea. 2. Floating bread on water would come to rest over a corpse. 3. Bread was traditionally offered to people who had moved to a new community. 4. To have "a hole in the bread tray", or allow it to stand empty on the table, was bad luck. "...many communities (that) subsist mainly by agriculture have been in the habit of killing and eating their farinaceous deities in their proper form of corn, rice, and so forth, or in the borrowed shapes of animals and men." Fraser, TGB, p. 578. Men were thought to contain the god spirit, liberated to the ground at their death. From here, it entered crops, and by this way bread. Bread, therefore, had a mystical connection with human life, and as bread was the "ship" of the spirit, so the ship at sea was thought of as a container for the spirits of men at sea. Turning a loaf was seen as imitative magic, with like affecting like. Again, since like attracts as well as begets like, it was thought that a floating loaf would come to rest over a corpse as long as some spirit remained in residence.

bride Sympathetic Magic: "Happy is the bride the sun falls on." Fraser, FONS, p. 30. The various sun-gods of Europe, including Huw, Heus and Frey, were also identified as agricultural and war deities. One duty of any god of sunshine and summer showers was the power to raise crops in the fields and promote the growth of animals. Any bride married on a sunny day was, therfore, favoured by a god with fertility and the possibility of a large family. broomstick Sympathetic Magic: Witches could not cross over or under a broomstick. One nailed above a doorway had the same force as a horseshoe. The broomstick takes us back to the mythical nature of trees. The ash and the elm tree were supposed to have contained the spirits of the first man, called Ask, and the first woman, named Embla. In addition, the northern gods often took a few centuries of rest within the tallest trees of the forest. The "riding-stick" of the witch was sometimes represented as a simple forked stick, although more often, as a broom. Her transportation was actually provided by a tree-spirit, with the broom acting as a residence and real-world manifestation of this creature. In the literature, the witch is frequently pictured as greasing herself, "all over", with "flying ointment", placing the broom between her legs and shouting out a "geisreag", or fieryspell, after which powerful forces carried her up into the night air through the chimney. In the air , she flew on the back of the "geisboch" or he-goat, a satyr-like "demon of the upper-air". This kind was mentioned by Reginald Scot in Discoverie of Witchcraft, London, (1665): "Many wonderful and incredible things did he also relate of this Balkin, affirming that he was shaped like a satyr and fed upon the air, having wife and children to the number of twelve thousand, which are the brood of the Northern Fairies, inhabiting Southerland and Catenes, with the adjacent islands. And that these were the companies of spirits that hold continual war with the fiery spirits of the mountain Heckla, that vomits fire in Islandia (Iceland)." Traditionally, these spirits of the air, were inactive and embodied in wood or buried deep in underground caverns during the daylight hours. Since they served witches at night, they wished nothing to do with them in their off-hours, and would actually prevent them from coming near. brownie

British soldiers Sympathetic Magic: Soot burning at the back of the stove was called British soldiers. To see them suggested it would rain . Refered to in Pratt's Dictionary of Prince Edward Island English as British soldiers, bear's matches or devil's matches but used in an entirely different context: "the bright red nodules of the lichen (Cladonia cristella) that grows on rotting logs and stumps." Edible, it has the appearance of old-fashioned wooden matches. Typically the "marching soldiers", as they were also called, would follow the draft, appearing as pins of light marching away from the flame and up the chimney. There is no mythical or legendary reason for this effect, but it does have a basis in physics. When air pressure is low, as before a storm, wood burns incompletely, creating soot within a stove and on the inside of adjacent stovepipes. As this material contains unburned elements, the heat of the fire ignites them into a brief but sparkling life. British soldiers, therefore, march before storms. buggerlug Magic Race: Locally applied in a familiar, or insulting and contemptuous manner to humans, but it refers to a very antique god-spirit of mixed racial origins. The root of "bugger" , as used above, is the Cymric "bwg" from which derives the various English little people known as the bug, bugbear, bugleboo and bugaboo. The Gaelic line includes the bogle, boggle, and possibly the bogan and the bodach. From these have developed the infamous bogeyman . All correspond with the English word "boy" and suggest a creature of fearful habits. More distantly, connections can be shown with the slavonic word "bog", which indicates a "god". The Gaelic god Lugg, or Lugh, appears in the latter part of "buggerlug". He was a god of song, dance, promiscuous love and other athletic endeavours. He can be shown as the equivalent of the English fairie lob-lie-by-fire, the Irish leprachaun, the Germanic lubberkin, and the elder god Loki lucharman, the god of contained fire and an admirer of "filthy lucre". burial Sympathetic Magic: 1.It was believed that witches might be saved from damnation by live burial followed by an immediate sowing of a crop over the grave. Once the crop was gathered all evil departed from the region. 2. A

Lunenburg man discovering his wife was a witch killed her with a shovel and buried the body in a dung pile. Creighton, BM, p. 64. 3. In ordinary burials volunteer pallbearers, rather than family members, carried the corpse. No matter how far the church the coffin was always transported on the shoulders and, at first, never on a wagon behind animals. In mythology the earth has been described as "Mother Earth" since this goddess was considered the source of all life. Premature burial was seen, not as death, but as rebirth, the good elements of the spirit of the witch emerging in reincarnated form, the bad remaining behind with the soil goddesss. "This rite is the same as rebirth. Symbolic burial, partial or total, has the same magico-religious significance as immersion in water..." Eliade. PICR, p. 251. bundling board butter Sympathetic Magic: Where butter would not churn, a heated poker was sometimes plunged into it. Creighton, BM, p. 43. The poker consisted of iron, a material widely used in driving off fairies, witches and devils. Sir James Fraser noted that the metal could always be employed "as a charm for banning ghosts and other dangerous spirits...in the Highlands of Scotland the great safeguard against the elfin race is iron, or better yet, steel." It has been supposed that this antagonism toward the metal lies in the fact that these "races" were put down by men carrying ironbased weapons. Heating the poker was a little "extra touch" since the witch would be burned by it before her spirit could flee from the milk. Callithumpian candle Sympathetic Magic: 1. On Christmas Eve at least one candle was placed in every window in the house "to light Our Blessed Lady on her way to Bethlehem." "Store-bought" candles were thought unworthy, "so they made their own in molds for that purpose." Fraser, FONS, p. 102. 2. Holy canles had the virtue of never blowing out at burial processions even when carried against a "terrible gale of wind." Mackenzie, TIICB, p. 61.

Surrounding a place with a ring of fire was a pagan practice to keep off evil spirits as much as to attract beneficent ones. Factory made candles were considered to contain less spirit than those made by hand, since they were made from inorganic waxes rather than animal fats. Fire has played a central role in all pagan religions, and lamps or candles were frequently lit at shrines of the gods and goddesses to sanctify an oath or a curse . Fraser thinks there is an analogy here with "the custom of the Catholic practice of dedicating holy candles in churches." With respect to season for lighting candles; "we known from expess testimony of the ancients that (Christmas) was instituted to supersede an old heathen festival of the rebirth of the sun, apparently conceived to occur after Mother Night (Dec. 23), the shortest day of the year...it is no very far-fetched conjecture to suppose that the Yule log was originally designed to help the labouring sun of mid-winter to rekindle his seemingly expiring light." Some similar purpose can be seen for miniature fires in the windows of the home. As to candles: "occult writers all state that the witches, at the sabbat, approach the devil with candles in their hands." It was rumoured that these were of human tallow, and this is possible, since it is recorded fact that medieval thieves made candles of human tallow in order to "pursue their midnight trade unseen." The presumption was that the dead rendered down into fats which gave a "dead light" invisible to all but the amulet-maker. Treasure seekers used to fashion "a big candle made of human fat" which they nailed to a crescent-shaped branch of hazel as a third prong. It was believed that the candle would crackle and make loud noises above a horde. The most rudimentary "candle" was called "the hand of glory", the dried and embalmed hand of a dead murderer, in which was placed a candle made with human tallow. This was carried by robbers, and when seen by a householder rendered him as motionless as if he were dead. So much for "worthy" candles! Candlemas The secular name was Daks Day or Groundhog Day , infrequently, Brigit's , or Bride's, Day. 1. "The name Candlemas comes from the fact that on this day people had candles blessed at the Church. In the home, it was these consecrated candles that were lighted for protection against the threat of lightning, or kept burning beside the body when a member of the family died." Daigle, TAOTM, p. 491. 2. "The Acadians used this quiet period of winter as an excuse for special celebrations. It was the general custom to make Candlemas rounds several days before the holiday. Groups of about ten men per township, sometimes in masks and costumes, would go from house to house to collect the food required for a community supper which would

take place the evening of February 2. Only those who contributed food were invited..." If a family was willing to contribute the disguisers were invited to enter and were entertained with the following traditional song, accompanied by dancing Sir husband, madam wife, Have ye not supped. Go to you barrel And fetch me some pork. Go to the keg (or attic) And fetch me some flour. Having place the contributions in sacs they would then intone: Thank you, my good people, For having given at Candlemas. A day will come When God will repay you. On Februray 2, proper, women went early to the house chosen for the festivities to prepare the communal meal. The central dish varied between regions but some featured "les crepes de la Chandeleur", or Candlemas pancakes. "In New Brunswick... each guest was required to flip his pancake in the pan...If he failed (and) it fell to the floor, the clumsy guest had to eat it there...without using either hands or fork." 3. The supper was normally followed by dancing, and the next day surplus food was distributed to the poor." Daigle, TAOTM, pp. 491-492. 1. A candle or kerosene lamp, whose flame failed without cause, signalled death. cap of luck Sympathetic Magic: The caul, a part of the amnion, the membrane enveloping the fetus prior to birth, sometimes found covering the head of the child at birth. This was considered a favourable omen, relating the child to the water-peoples, and preserving him from death by fire or drowning. Midwives used to sell the cauls to witches and magicians for their nefarious projects. See runner . carrot Sympathetic Magic: To eat carrots caused good night vision and curly hair.

Carrots were red and this colour was associated with fire. Since fire-brands allowed improved night vision, it was assumed that carrots might produce a similar effect. In ancient Britain most curly hair was red or sun-coloured, so that a similar cause-effect was imagined. It has since been discovered that carrots happen to be rich in vitamin C, which does improve night-vision. cat Sympathetic Magic: 1. To cause a wind a black cat was imprisoned under a basket. Creighton, FOLC, p. 15. 2. It was said that that a cat's nose would invariably point sky-ward just before a storm. Creighton, FOLC, p. 19. 3. A black cat was thought to presage bad luck, a white cat, good. Creighton, FOLC, p. 20. 4. When cats washed their faces so that a paw passed over the ear, company was expected, the cat's outstretched tail indicating the direction from which the visitor might be expected. Creighton, FOLC, p. 22. 5. Sea captains often kept cats as mascots but would not allow a black cat aboard ship. 6. If a black cat crossed a fisherman's path, he would return home. 7. It was thought that any individual who threw a cat, of any colour, overboard would not live to reach port. 8. When a cat washed its face company was expected. 9. To keep a young cat from wandering butter used to be smeared on its forepaws. 10. Those who moved considered it bad luck to take the cat to a new home. 11. Cats were never left alone in a room with a sleeping infant "less they get on its chest and strangle it." Creighton, BM, p. 136. 12. A cat had nine lives. 13. When the witch used a cat as a familiar her body remained at home stripped of its skin. In that state she was very vulnerable to countercharms . 14. "The Rocky Bay (Cape Breton) people had strong feelings of fear and dislike toward cats, particularly black cats." Mcakenzie, TIICB, p. 61. 15. Cats of all colours were given access to the stage of theatres . 16. Three coloured cats were lucky, and especially the male tortoise-shell, Our understanding of what constitutes a familiar has been clouded by the fact that fairies, devils and gods were all shape-changers, and the cat was one of their favourite forms. God-cats, devil-cats, and fairy-cats might act as familiars for a witch, on the other hand they might be free agents, doing their own evil on their own time. The cats cast into the sea, as a deliberate spell meant to raise storm, were not true familiars, which, see. Some consider the northern goddess Nerthus, or Freya, as the proto-witch. She travelled the sky in a chariot "drawn by cats, her favourite animals, the emblems of caressing fondness and sensuality...As the swallow, cuckoo, and cat were sacred to her in heathen times, these creatures were supposed to

have demoniacal attributes, and to this day witches are depicted with coalblack cats beside them...Freya, like all heathen divinities, was declared a demoness or witch, and banished to the mountain peaks...Broken (Germany) being pointed out as her special abode, and general trysting place of her demon train on Valpurgishnacht." In former days it was common for people to think of themselves as possessing an external as well as an internal soul or spirit (see runner ). The witch referred to this as her external spirit as a familiar, while others called it the fore-runner, back-runner, fylgie, or home shadow. The Celts, in particular, favoured the cat as their totem-animal, which they said went visibly, or invisibly before, or after them. This shadowanimal's existence was tied to that of its human and vice-versa, injury to one reflecting immediately upon the other. The above superstitions are explicable in terms of these beliefs. Black cats were considered particularly virulent since they were the colour of storm and death. To entrap a black cat aroused, sympathetically, the spiritual fury of the blackened sky. Sea captains steered clear of black cats, not only because they might be witch-familiars, but also because they might attract the notice of similarly coloured spirits of the air. cattle Sympathetic Magic: 1. Cows bulls and oxen kneel and say their "prayers" at twelve o'clock on Christmas Eve. Although they can divine the future at this time, it is unwise to listen to their voices. 2. Cattle were treated for witchcraft by having a heavy iron chain thrown over the shoulders. Practitioners insisted this weight would "break the legs" of anyone responsible for troubling . Divination: 3. Cattle were sexed by holding a ball of string over the pregnant animal. If it swung to the right a heifer was expected; to the left, a bull calf. "Taken alogether, the conincidences of the Christian with the heathen festivals are too close and too numerous to be accidental. They mark the compromise which the Church in the hour of its triumph was compelled to make with its vanquished yet still dangerous rivals." Fraser, TGB, p. 419. The festival, now called Christmas, was thus moved from January sixth to December twenty-fifth because the pagans celebrated the "birthday of the sun" which they called Yule (Wheel) on that date "festivities in which the Christians also took part." Noticing the greater popularity of the Yule, the Church fathers "resolved that the Nativity of Christ should be celebrated on that day, and the Epiphany on the sixth of January." The idea that cattle

might talk was totally pagan, arising from their concept that men and animals were similar spiritual creatures, periodically reincarnated in one form or the other. Some held that they held their tongues from insignificant chatter, while other held that their failure to speak was because the elder gods had bound their tongues because they were gossip mongers. Whatever the case, Mother Night, which came after the shortest day in the year, was known as the beginning of a period of unbinding, which lasted through the twelve days of Yule. Cattle, and other animals were free to talk at this time, but usually restricted what was said to serious, and therefore life-and-death, subjects. The use of iron against witchcraft was traditional, and it was especially potent in the form of interlinked rings , or chains. Rings were, customarily, binding agents, amulets used to prevent the escape of the spirits that animated cattle. cauchemare Magic Race: Acadian equivalent of the Gaelic alp or the English night mare . cap of luck Sympathetic Magic: see caul . caul Sympathetic Magic: Individuals born with a portion of the amniotic sac in place over their heads were said to possess the two sights . See runner and cap of luck . chain Sympathetic Magic: 1. To ward of witches or prevent cows from kicking while being milked a chain was placed over the shoulders of the animal. 2. Revanters , or ghosts, who had led evil lives were often forced to carry a chain. Thus, at Glen Margaret, N.S., Creighton was told of the wraith of a big man who walked "rounded like he was hauling a chain down over the rocks by the brook, BG. p. 89. 4. The Devil was sometimes considered similarly encumbered and woodsmen who heard the ghostly sound of chains from the forest referred to this phenomena as "the devil's chain". 5. Chains have been seen as evidence of hindsight . At Ditch Brook, Queen's County on land once extensively surveyed, ghost chains were thought to represent actual happenings in the past. chair Sympathetic Magic: 1. To place two chairs so that they inadvertently faced

one another indicted that the family might expect a visitor. 2. To rock an empty rocking chair brought illness to the owner. 3. To leave an empty chair rocking attracted bad luck to the house. 4. Chairs generated bad luck when rotated on one leg. Chairs were constructed of wood and mankind was supposed, in pagan theology, to have arisen through the release of certain tree-spirits. There was, therefore, a close association between men and wooden artifacts. Chairs facing one another, suggested they would soon be filled. A rocking chair assimilated some of the spirit of its usual user, thus rocking it, rocked in the empty state rocked the stomach of the absent owner and tended to make him ill. Any empty chair, moved in any fashion, was thought likely to catch the attention of malignant spirits, who might like to gobble up the fraction of human spirit attached to it. The expected reaction was after the fashion of tempting fate, along the lines of, "Speak of the devil..." changeling Magic Race: Changelings were fay-substitutes for children who were seen to be malformed, mentally defective, or ill-tempered. Folklore suggested that the spirit of the true child had been abducted into one of the hollow hills and its place taken by an elderly elf or fairy whose death was imminent, by an immature elf whose parents wished him to benefit from contact with humans, or by a magically animated log. "Frozen limbs", or "infantile paralysis" was once considered proof that a child was actually a changeling, the problem being seen as a case of inept craft. charm Sympathetic Magic: 1. "Charms for getting rid of witches were naturally taken from the Bible..." Creighton, BM, p. 38. 2. "Old Mrs. Meisinger could charm. My father had a felon on his finger and she used to come down and cure that. She whispered words..." Creighton, BM, p. 204. 3. To charm it was suggested that the charmer drop grains of wheat into a tumbler while intoning, "The Father, Son and Holy Ghost". "For the ribs you've got to have nine grains...Do this three times...If the patient believes blisters will appear on the grains and the pain leave the patient." 4. "A woman can't show another how to charm. If must pass from man to woman and back again in opposite generations. It helps to make a cross on the back of the hand when each of the three holy words is said." 5. An authentic charm contributed by Mr. Merrill Young of Sackville, N.B. to Creighton's book Bluenose Magic: "Pass a hand over the injured part in a circle a few inches

from the actual injury and say: "Hovela, hovela, kavela, streck. Es morris a free, is alles aveck." It was noted that this was a phonetic interpretation of corrupt German, the sense being: "To get rid of the pain is the only purpose." In his book, Dictionary of Demonology, Collin de Plancey (1793-1887) agreed with us, noting that, "charms are effected through words spoken or written down." He had heard, before his time, of a craftsman, "who by lighting a certain lantern (and voicing an appropriate charm) was able to induce all the women in the room to disrobe and dance for him (an art which sounds very like hypnotism). He added that the Greecian writer, Pliny, saw charms used "to extinguish fires, stop the flow of blood from wounds, set broken bones, stop the flow of blood from wounds, prevent chariots from overturning, etc." To ward off sword thrusts Christain knights said: "Sangus Christi; sit inter; te; et me." As we have mentioned it was never uncommon to use the Bible in a materialistic manner, and the words in it were thought particulary potent, if they happened to occur in triplets, or express three ideas, eg. "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Nail Old Donald to this post." "It is indisputable that simple people of all ages have regarded prayer as less of a "communication with a Higher Spirit" than a form of spell against harm." Incidentally, the chief difference between a charm and a spell is that the former is usually chanted or sung, the latter spoken in normal cadence. A local example: "The blessed Lord Jesus Christ who was baptized in the River Jordan for us and rose again, commandeth this blood to stop." As an example we addend "A Charm to Win Love": "O Christ, by your five wounds, by the nine orders of angels, if this woman is ordained to me, let me hold her hand now, and breathe her breath. O my love, I set a charm to the top of your head, to the sole of your foot, to each side of your breast, that ye may not leave or foresake me. As a foal after the mare, as a child after the mother, may you follow and stay with me till death comes to part us asunder. Amen." This is a peculiar mix of pagan and Christian symbols and is reminiscent of the dedication to witchcraft in which the "devil" of the coven placed his hands similarly on the body of a novitiate, claiming all between these points for the service of the Dark Lord. The Christian God is also mentioned in a charm intended to cause enmity between lovers: "Take a handful of clay from a new-made grave, and shake it between the couple, saying: Hate ye one another! May ye be hateful to each other as sin is to Christ, as bread eaten without blessing is to God!" Presumably pagan gods were exhorted in earlier times?

Certain activities and the handling of ritual objects went on at the same time as the chanting, and in time no distinction was made between amulets and charms. In the latter-day charms recorded in the grimoires , words are abandoned for activities and objects. Thus, "Charm for Improving the Memory": "If the heart, eye or brain of a Lapwing or black plover be hanged upon a mans necke, it is profitable against forgetfulness and sharpeneth mans understanding." charmstring child Sympathetic Magic: It was thought bad luck for a man to step over a child on the floor. chimney-sweep Sympathetic Magic: One had to bow three times to any passing chimneysweep. Minorities, and particularly working people, were formerly mistrusted as potential thieves, murderers and witches. In passing a "wind-twirl", or the visible fairies that travelled within, sensible men always bowed three times in mock respect. While they did not like admitting their vulnerability, it was known to be wise not to offend those who had physical or magical power. charivari Sympathetic Magic: Also spelled shivaree. A rite in which young men of the village disguised themseleves for the sole purpose of harassing newly-weds with noise, song, and rebald suggestions. Sometimes directed against coupled who the neighbours felt were "mismatched", it typically ended when the groom gave money or dribk to the assembly. Christmas Divination: 1. "The dumb animals kneel in their stalls at Christmas", and had the power of speech (which was taken from them because they carried so much harmful gossip). At this season they were able to divine the fate of humans, but it was considered dangerous to consult them. Fraser, FONS, p. 102 2. At Christmas Eve mate-seekers entered the cellar, took three turns round (presumably, clockwise), looked in a mirror and observed the shadow

man or woman of their intended. 3. Sometimes they were unpleasantly confronted by an image of the Devil. Creighton, FOLC, p. 19. 3. "Green Christmas, full graveyard; Green Christmas, white Easter." Creighton, FOLC, p. 104. Sympathetic Magic: 4. In the parts of Atlantic Canada settled by Germans, the Yule, or Christmas-tide consisted of twelve days of celebration, starting with Mother Night (Dec. 23rd), and terminating January 5th. During this time people observed the custom of "belsnickling", referred to as "mummering" or "guising" (i.e. disguising) in other places. In colonial times, participants followed the European habit of donning animal hides and crudely made masks before setting out to belsnickle. In some parts these rites were called Kris Kringling or Santaying. Usually younger members of the community were the only ones active enough to follow such rites to their conclusion, and in later days make-shift disguises were substituted for animal furs. At each house which was visited, the children knelt and said prayers before being admitted to see the Christmas tree. which might be trimmed with fruits, small cakes, sticks of candy, apples and doughnuts. Even the poorest members of the community offered visitors raisin cakes, from the tree, cut in the shape of Kris Kringle. Explaining the custom, a Rose Bay, N.S. resident said: "We belsnickled by mouth organ and musical instruments but had no singing. We wore masks and people had to guess who we were." It is recorded that most groups carried ox-bells to announce their arrival and that some carried tambourines, violins, auto harps, triangles and violins, providing light entertainment and step-dancing at ever stop-over. Wonder-Work: 5. People would not approach certain wells after dark on Christmas Eve because the water was supposed to be converted to wine. Sympathetic Magic: 6. Between Christmas and Old Yule it was considered necessary to visit homes and eat Christmas cake at each. Consumption of twelve different cakes guaranteed good luck for each month of the coming year. 7. Individuals born on Christmas Day were gifted with the two sights , and had the ability to foretell the future. Some of these were considered witches and were always accorded the mug-up . See Creighton, BM, p. 57. 8. Holly and mistletoe was brought into the home on Christmas Eve. It was bad luck to put it in place before this and it had to be destroyed no later than Twelfth Night eve. 9. Christmas cake, or fruit-cakes were not sampled before Christmas Eve. 10. Familiar spirit-faces were seen in the flames from the Yule log on Christmas Eve, but viewers were warned that death attended any figure which appeared to cast a headless shadow. 11. An overcast Christmas day was hoped for as it predicted a bountiful harvest: "Light Christmas, light sheaves; dark Christmas, heavy sheaves."

For the first entry concerned with talking animals see cattle . The business of human deaths being connected with a green Christmas, had to do with the old pagan contention that there was a finite quanitity of spirit shared among plants an animals. Any unusual surge of energy into plants necessarily robbed animals bringing about their death. The belief that a green Christmas would be followed by a white Easter related to their belief in equilibrium, an idea expressed in the phrase: "To every action there is an equal an opposite reaction." Most of the European tribes practised totemism, so it was not surprising that dressing in hides appealed to their descendants. This was certainly a means of getting in touch with the spirit of animals, a commodity believed to remain to some degree in their bones and skins after they were dead. There is another possibility: Men have been known to play the part of scapegoats, allowing the evils of disease or black magic to be symbolically diverted from the general population to them. For example, on eve of the last day of the year, or Hogmanay, it used to be a custom in the highlands of Scotland for an individual to dress himself in a cow's hide. With horns on his head, this fellow went from door to door attended by young fellows, each armed with a staff to which was tied a strip of raw-hide. Round each house, the horned man ran three times, hotly pursued by his "friends", who knocked loudly on the walls of the house and made the pretense of beating off this "devil". Afterwards, they were admitted, after which one of the company pronounced a blessing on the home. Each visitor singed his hide in the hearth fire and smudged the nose of every person and domestic animal found within. "This was imagined to secure them from diseases and other misfortunes, particularly from witchcraft... The whole ceremony was called "calluinn because of the great noise made in beating the hide. It was observed in the Hebrides...down to the second half of the eighteenth century at least..." This seems to be a survival of the ancient periodic custom of selecting a scapegoat by lot, heaping the ills of the community on him through curses and spells and then burning him alive to "take them to earth". In later versions of the ceremony, the victim, who was usually an enemy of the clan or a liability due to age or anti-social attitudes, was merely banished or ostracized until the time of the next fire-festival . In some situations those who chased the horned devil may have disguised themselves after their animal totems so that they would not be known to the kin of the scapegoat. In the long run, mummering became formalized in the medieval morality plays and eventually emerged as thinly disguised extortion. In Newfoundland the guizers, or disguisers, had reason to remain anonymous, since they were largely common folk who

took advantage of the season to harass their employers. The ceremony always involved attempts on the part of householders to identify their guests, and if they were unsuccessful the visitors sometimes engaged in a little more rough-and-tumble than was called for. It is not surprising that there was trouble in regions where the guizers were young men rather than children and the treats liquor instead of candy. The proscription against visiting certain "holy" wells because they might be filled with "wine" has to be understood in terms of the blood-sacrifices of scapegoats, which sometimes took place at the site of the old European round-wells. During the Christmas season, which the old Scots named "the daft days", all but criminal laws were suspended and even this was lifted for the scapegoat, who was usually treated in king-like fashion until the last evening of the Yuletide. At that time "holy wells" often seemed to contain wine. The eating of "cakes" at the Yule season is universal in northern Europe. F. Marian McNeill described the Scottish Yule-cake as, "a thin bannock of oatmeal cut into quarters, symbolizing the cross...These cakes were baked before daybreak on Christmas morning." Each person who received one attempted to keep it intact until the evening feast supposing that damage meant that his hopes for the year were similarly shattered. It is very unlikely that the Yule cake originated with the Christians since it was the custom to pour some of the batter as a "libation" to the earth. We suspect that these edibles spring from the Yule Boar, or Boar of Atonement, which is still fashioned in Scandinavia. The grain from the last sheaf of harvest is used to make it, and throughout all of Yule this cake, baked in a pan having the shap of a pig, is kept on the table. In some places the Boar is "sacrificed" to the cattle on Yule-eve, elsewhere it is fed to the ploughman and horses just before they go to work at the spring planting. "Formerly a real boar was sacrificed at Christmas, and apparently also a man in the character of the Yule Boar. This may be inferred from a Christmas custom still observed in Sweden. A man is wrapt up in a skin, and carrioes a wisp of straw in his mouth, so that the projecting straws look like the bristles of a boar. A knife is brought, and an old woman, with her face blackened (like some latter-day mummers) pretends to sacrifice him." Fraser, TGB, p. 535. However this Yule-cake is, or was, treated, it was thought that the return of the grain-spirit to the soil (after passing through the bowels of men and beasts) guaranteed a bountiful harvest. As it was then good luck to consume the god-spirit, it remains so, although the reason has been

obscured. churning Sympathetic Magic: Under the influence of witchcraft butter would fail to develop in the churning process, and the following day, was frequently found "filled with maggots". Creighton, BM, p. 54. circle Sumpathetic Magic: 1. A circle seen surrounding the moon was the omen of storm. A circle is a ring, which see. 2. For many years following a death, the people of Acadian communities decorated the burial site with small white pebbles collected from the seashore. These were usually arranged "in the shape of a cross surrounded by a circle." Daigle, TAOFM, p. 489. clairvoyent physician Sympathetic Magic: "In 1881, the New Brunswick Medical act was passed preventing anyone except licensed physicians to practice medicine, but this did not include "clairvoyent physicians practicing prior to 25th March, 1881." clothing Sympathetic Magic: 1. Fishermen would not wear articles of women's clothing at sea. 2. A thread found clinging to a dress suggested that new clothes would soon be forthcoming. 3. Misbuttoned garments had to be left that way through the day. Changing the order brought bad luck. 4. For a girl to put on a man's hat implied that she wanted him to kiss her. 5. A petticoat longer at the back than the front meant that the father loved the girl more than the mother. Creighton, BM, p. 163. 6. A garment put on inside out should be left for good luck. Changingit was a bad omen. 7. Ironing the tail of a man's shirt was bad luck. 8. "Dress your head before your feet; and disappointment you will meet." 9. The bill had not been paid on squeaking shoes. 1l. It was bad luck to place a hat on a bed, or shoes on a table. 12. A fragment of cloth torn from the clothing of a witch could be used as a countercharm . Bewitched animals were sometimes revived by burning material from this source beneath their noses. It was long maintained that, because of long contact, a sympathy existed between any individual and his clothes, so that anything that was done to clothing reflected ultimately on the owner. It was once common for a person who had a grudge against another to attempt to obtain cloth, particularly that which had been in contact with the sweat of his body. If this could be

done, the charm-maker would place it in wax, or leaves, and burn the whole slowly in the fire. As the object burned the victim fell ill, and when it was reduced to ashes, he died. In the late Victorian period, a resident of Berend, Germany, was detected trying to steal honey. Fleeing, he left his coat behind. The enraged apiarist mauled the coat severely, while the thief hearing of this, and aware of the implication, took to his bed and died. Such sympathetic magic stood behind the idea that the clothing of a witch could be used as a countercharm. Fishermen avoided taking female clothing to sea on their own bodies for thinking that a witch-spirit might gain control of them. coal Sympathetic Magic: Coal found on the road was thought best picked up, spit on, and thrown over the left shoulder, with no attempt made to observe where it fell. cobweb Divination: Cobwebs seen on the grass in the morning pointed to dry weather. coffin Sympathetic Magic: In repairing a ship, menacing times lay ahead for that vessel if the defective portion had to be cut away in the shape of a coffin. Here, the nature of the danger was very straightforward, a symbol of death foretelling the coming of death, or at least attracting the attention of malignant spirits. coin Sympathetic Magic: 1. If a child was overlooked the mother boiled a coin (usually silver) in water and gave the liquid to the victim to drink. If witchcraft was involved the coin turned black. Creighton, BM, p. 43. 2. It was common to build a coin into any door leading to sheds where animals were housed, "to keep evil spirits off." Creighton,BM, p. 50.See also money, silver . 3. At wakes for the dead, coins were placed on the eyes of the corpse. Silver was used against fairies as often as witches. A peddlar on the Nova Scotian shore frequently found the tail and mane of his horse lutined over-

night. He ascribed this to the little people, and treated the horse to water in which a silver coin had been washed. When he did this the badly knotted hairs separated without combing.

colours Stock cars have individual colours and some stock car racers consider it bad luck to drive a car bearing another man's design and colours. constipation cooking Sympathetic Magic: 1. A woman was advised against baking while menstruating. 2. Pregnant women were certain to bake well-developed cakes. 3. The cake would fall if the eggshells were thrown into the fire before it was out of the oven. 4. To bake on Monday was to bake all week. 5. In cooking, wise people stirred clockwise or with the sun. 6. It was bad luck to allow a kettle to boil dry. 7. When the spouts of two kettles crossed bad luck was expected. 8. Spilling salt was bad luck, which could be lifted by throwing a little over the left shoulder. 9. Finding a doubleyolked egg was good luck. 10. Stirring the tea in the pot was said to stir up strife. Our ancestors had no explanation for the periodic loss of blood now called menstruation, but they had noted that bleeding was generally dangerous to both men and women. Since it was known that bleeding sometimes resulted in death, it was considered that the loss of blood from a woman might sympathetically affect her closest relatives. During the time of menstruation it was thought wise for the woman to avoid touching objects belonging to her husband and to refrain from cooking his food. If she handled any article belonging to him, it was suspected that he might fall ill; were she to touch his weapons in this sate, he would be killed in the next battle. Among North American Indians women retired from their village while they remained "dangerous." "...they dwelt apart by themselves, strictly abstaining from all communications with men, who shunned them as if they were stricken with the plague." In Europe, Pliny suggested that the "curse" might turn wine to vinegar, blight crops, kill seedlings, blast gardens, cause fruit to fall from trees, cloud mirrors, blunt razors, rust metals, kill bees, cause mares to miscarry..." See menustration for more. The parallel between a pregnancy and a well-developed cake is quite apparent. If a full

egg was thrown into a fire, it was recognized that its contents would shrivel and burn. The egg was considered to have a sympathetic attachment to its shell, so that burning the latter was thought to damage the contents, even where they were removed to the cake. Monday, or moon-day, was associated with a waxing situation, which could not logically be completed until the next phase, in seven days time. Doing anything clockwise was the Christian, and the sensible way. Allowing a container to boil dry was certainly bad for the kettle, but was also viewed as "killing" the water and thus damaging men, who were noticed to be partly constructed of "water". corpse Sympathetic Magic: 1. To avoid unpleasant hauntings one should kiss the corpse of a departed relative. 2. A corpse should be touched to avoid "unpleasant memories", Creighton, FOLC, p. 20. MaNeil suggested the hand shopuld be placed on the forehead of the dead. He said that this ritual was intended in case "the spirit of the man should meet you again, you would not fear him in a way that would create any difficulty...MacNeil, TUD, p. 215. 3. "Happy is the corpse the rain falls on." Fraser, FONS, p. 30. See also, death . 4. Ships carrying the dead were incapable of making headway. "In Barra the corpseis not touched but there is a plate of salt placed on its breast." Grant, HFW,p. 269. Corpus Christi Day In every Roman Catholic parish, the Sunday following the Corpus Christi was marked by a procession of the Holy Sacrements outside the church. During the two weeks before these rites, two wayside altars were erected along the route to be followed by this parade. These altars were placed before the homes of an honoured parishoner, or erected in a field from timbers draped in white sheets and decorated with branches and flowers. The usual Christian rites were accompanied by a military guard whgich accomapnied the Sacrementys. This honour guard consisted of men dressed "In blue trousers with yellow stripes up each side and white shirts, with white and red ribbons draped across their chestd, wearing military caps and carrying rifles (muskats in the old days)... All attended mass, the "military" remaining outside the church where they fired two salutes, one when the priest blessed the crowd and another during the final benediction. countercharm

Sympathetic Magic: Sometimes referred to as a charm or a blessing , the counter-charm was created by a witch-doctor , or a knowledgeable citizen as protection against witchcraft. counter-clockwise Sympathetic Magic: Turning any ship, vessel, or dory against the direction of the sun was bad luck. In European mythology there are numerous deities of the sun, agriculture and war, for example Frey of the northlands, and Hu and Kai of the Celtic regions. It was noticed that the sun moved in a clockwise fashion, a "natural" progression in the eyes of supporters of these, and the Christian God. There were other gods, who were popular from time to time. The most notable was Tyr, Tiu, Tue, Deu, Ziu, Deuce, or Heus, who was more interested in war than agriculture, and was left-handed, having lost his right arm to the god-wolf Fenris. One of the principal gods of Asgard, and a son of Odin, Tyr was a god of courage, invoked by those who wished to obtain victory on the battlefield. He was symbolized by a sword, and his adherents performed "great sword dances, where various figures were performed." It was said that his sword was, after his death, positioned to catch the first rays of the morning sun, and that any sword point was "considered so sacred it became customary to register oaths upon it." Since this god stood "at the left-hand of darkness" those who came after claimed that outward sword-strokes, and motions based on them, were unlucky. Interestingly, Hu and Kai can be shown to relate to the various left-handed counting Sympathetic Magic: It was said to be unlucky to count the stars in the heavens or the gravestones in a churchyard. covered bridge Sympathetic Magic: For good luck people entering a covered bridge were expected to hold their breath until they emerged from the far side. cow Sympathetic Magic: 1. A cow licking a window was bad luck. 2. To stir cream with a knife meant that the cow would give milk streaked with blood. 2. Some Maritimers claimed to have seen a witch milk a cow, at a distance, by placing an enchantment on a glove and stripping it over a pail. 3. Witches were also accussed of obtaining milk from their neighbour's cows by placing

spells on barnyard straw, which they sucked and spit into their own pails, several miles distant from the source. 4. Witches also invaded cow-barns as invisible familiars , but to milk the cows, had to materialize, making their presence obvious to the victimized farmer. Creatures of evil were considered to dwell beneath mirror-surfaces including those formed by glass windows. By exposing his mouth, or soul-entrance to the glass, the cow allowed the possibilty of having some demon pass into her, and from there to the rest of the family. In milking a glove the witch placed hands on a facsimilie udder and teats. Since it was a matter of obervation that milk could be drawn into the mouth through a hollow straw, the countryman could see no impediment to the witch sucking milk from the primr "milk-bottle" on tyhe cow, provided an appropriate spell was voiced. Insubstantial forms such as fog, ghosts, and invisible familiars could be scarey but could not do much damage or work. It was assumed that the witch had to reconstitute herself in a more material form before she could milk a cow. cradle Sympathetic Magic: Self-propelled cradles have been reported, which "rocked whether a baby was in it or not." Some were said to move to the accompaniment of ghostly music. cramp knot Folk Medicine: A small burl, or knot, from a tree, carried in the pocket to prevent leg cramps. Poteet, SSPB, p. 34. cranberry poultice Folk Medicine: Cranberry soaked rags were applied to the skin as a remedy for erysipelas, an "acute, infectious skin disease... Poteet, p. 34. cricket Sympathetic Magic: 1. A cricket in the house was good luck. 2. Crickets were not to be molested because the survivors would eat the socks of people living in the house. criee de ames "Auction of the souls of the dead". "Animals or vegetables would be brought on All Soul's Day and sold at auction on the church steps. The money collected was used to cvelebrate masses fore the dead." Daigle, TAOTM, p.

497. cross Sympathetic Magic: 1. People slept with their arms and/or legs crossed to ward off dreams. 2. Stockings crossed before the bed ensured a good night's sleep. 3. To cross the finger while telling an "untruth" negated the lie. 4. Crosses of dogwood (often filled with new pins and needles, or studded with nails and knives ) were used as a countercharm against witchcraft. 5. Crosses made of hazelnut wood were equally effective. 6. Small dogwood crosses "about as long as a man's finger" were "carried in the pocket to keep the witches off." Creighton, BM, p. 39. 7. "Christian doors made of panelling that forms a cross were made that way to keep witches out." Creighton, BM, p. 39. 8. The sign of a cross made toward the chest of an individual protected against evil and witchcraft, but one directed away from the body had the fgorce of a curse . "There was an old fellow didn't belong here, but he didn't live far away either. He was considered an old witch. we all put him down as one and we didn't trust him. I see that old man cross my father's property...After that he had to do away with a whole breed of cattle. West Pubnico, N.S., Creighton, BM, p. 46. 9. Accidentally crossed chips of wood were referred to as an "augury" in Scottish communities. "I believe when they saw it they would expect good luck according to how good the augury looked!" Joe MacNeil, TTUD, p. 209. 10. To see the atmospheric effect known as "the cross before the moon" indicated bad weather. Creighton, BM. p. 266. 11. To make butter "come" the churner sometimes marked the shape of a cross on the wooden churn using a live coal from the hearth. Mackenzie, TIICB, p 60. 12. "Some women were reputed to be witches : the only vocational requirements were a cross, mean look and a tongue fluent in profanity." Mackenzie, TIICB, p. 60. 13. At the cemetary the head of the grave was initially marked with a wooden cross, on which was inscribed the name and age of the deceased and his date of death. This was later replaced with a permanent monument. Daigle, TAOTM, p. 489. See also circle. crow Sympathetic Magic: 1. Fishermen who had a crow cross over their bow would return immediately to port, or spit "so it wouldn't do no harm". 2. A crow seen standing at the peak of a roof indicated bad luck for the inhabitants. 3. On seeing a black crow, one must spit, close the eyes, turn the head away and count ten to avoid sorrow. Creighton, BM, p. 138. Divination: 4. "One crow sorrow, Two crows joy, Three crows a wedding,

Four crows a boy, Five crows silver, Six crows gold, Seven crows a secret, Never to be told. See Creighton's variations on this rhyme, BM, p. 138. Curse: 4. "I'm going tonight for Christmas Eve treats, telling you that tomorrow is Christmas Day; and if you don't give me a treat, may the black crow pluck out your eyes." Dunn, HS, p. 51. 5. It was considered excessively dangerous to mistreat a "gorbey". Those who plucked any member of the crow family might expect their hair to fall out before the next dawn. All black birds have traditionally had a bad reputation, but members of the crow family (including the raven, Canada jay and the blue jay) have been particularly suspect. In Atlantic Canada the Gaels call the jays "gorbeys" a word borrowed from the French "corbeaux". In his book The Birds of Nova Scotia, Robie W. Tufts denigrates the crow: "Few persons have anything good to say of this bird. Its call note is discordant; it steals eggs from the nests of valuable songbirds; it plagues the farmer...and pecks holes in ripening pears and apples." He mentions that ravens are equally disliked for their stealing meet from hunters. Tufts describes their ability to detect food and pass the word of it to others of their kind as an "uncanny power". The jays, he dismisses as bold, impetuous thieves, whole-heartedly hated by fur-trappers for stealing bait. Pierre Delancre, a medievalist, wrote that witch-priests conducting the black mass traditionally shouted out: "Black crow! Black crow!" at the moment of the elevation of the host. Of course, the Gaelic name for the witch, "baobh" implies a human hag or a carrion crow. All of this negative publicity is one sided, and even Tufts admits that the crow destroys "great quantities of grasshoppers, crickets and other insect pests, to say nothing of innumerable field mice." It is hardly co-incidence that the the god called Odin sat with two great ravens on this shoulders, one named Thought and the other Memory. Each day at dawn, he released them into Middle Earth, and at dusk awaited their return with reports from the world of men. Naturally, these northern men carried his ravens on their banners, and used them to decorate the sails of their ships. It may have been coincidence that these viking sailors were regarded with as much distaste as their bird. There was a time when British seamen were really at hazard, when the "black crow" crossed their bow at sea, or when they returned home and found the raven banner flying from their ridge pole. Spitting was, by the way, a favoured Norse means of sealing alliances and this may partially explain #3. Evil "demons" often vapourized between first and second sight, so it was considered useful to turn away during this ritual. The remaining superstitions may be considered from a similar starting point,

bearing in mind that the crow was considered a good luck symbol north of the Isles. curse Sympathetic Magic: It was held that a curse could never settle on a a completely innocent person, but once generated had to come to rest on some individual. In the event that it was not redirected it was believed to rebound on the curse-maker. Thus, people who suffered bad luck without apparent reason were said victims of, "another man's curse". Similarly others were thought recipients of , another man's blessings." In some communities a curse was referred to as "scriss". Thus a witch might promise: "I'll put a scriss on you!" Other common curses include: "May the crows pick meat from your backbone; May you rot in the swamp; Die, and give the crows their pudding; Hell's cure to you; The Devil's luck take you; May your last dance be a hornpipe on the air; May the grass grow tall before your door; The devil go with you, and sixpence; then you'll neither lack money nor company; The marsh gas take you; Sweet bad luck to you; Six eggs be your's; the half-dozen of them rotten; May you melt off the earth like snow into the ditch; May you melt like butter in the summer sun. The reference to crows was somewhat like the old Irish phrase "May the curse of Cromwell fall on your roof!" Crows , or ravens, were symbolic of the god Odin and his detested Danish underlings. Hel was the daughter of Loki, god of fire. Calling for her "cure" was expected to place the cursed in Nifelheim, the land of the dead. Dancing on the air was a metaphor for hanging. The Devil was never notable as a lucky individual and was considered poor company. Marsh gas used to be considered the cause of consumption, or tuberculosis, thus this phrase was also meant to bring death. Many of the older imprecations were based on historical events or poetical metaphors that require even greater mental gymnastics in explanation. We are puzzled by the word "scriss" but think it might relate to the Gaelic "scrite" and the English "scrip", in which case, it identifies a written, as opposed to a verbal curse. The Anglo-Saxon "cursian" was a verbal spell which called upon a god (demon, witch or fairy) to assist in bringing evil upon some individual. De Plancey classified curses as: 1. Those meant to create "criminal love; 2. Those meant to generate hate; 3. Curses against procreation; 4. Curses meant to cause sickness; 5. Death curses; 6. Insanity curses; 7. Those meant to destroy property and wealth. The Gaels said that the curse was embodied

energy, which they described as a "gisreag", literally a burst of fire. By calling on the god, the curse-monger drained off some of the "spiritum" from the prime source and directed it against his enemy. Along the line of a current theory of physics that, "Energy cannot be created or destroyed..." this had to be put to use, and if not, fell upon the person who called for it. The ancient world was a place of checks and balances, where those possessing too much of the god-like spirit would ultimately lead to an inability to control it. Short-changed individuals might hope that their fortune would be better in the future, or if not then, then at a later incarnation. The force opposite in effect to the curse was called the blessing . An Irish historian notes: "There is a strange opinion upon the subject of curses. The peasantry think that a curse, no matter how uttered will fall on something, but that it depends on the person against whom it is directed whether or not it will fall on him. A curse, we have heard them say, will rest seven years in the air, ready to light on the person who provoked the malediction. It hovers over him, like a kite (hawk) over its prey, watching the moment when he may be abandoned by his guardian angel ; if this occurs, it shoots with the rapidity of a meteor on his head, and clings to him in the shape of illness, temptation or some other calamity." Colum, ATOIF, p. 424. Daks Day Sympathetic Magic: Lunenburg County, N.S. From the German "dachs" (badger). The equivalent of the English Groundhog Day, which see. dame blanche Magic Race: Acadian equivalent of the white woman . dammer Magic Race: Currently, a bad child, a brat. The Damnions were orinially tribesmen of southern Britain, who were not universally liked. dance Sympathetic Magic: Dancing and card-playing were considered devilish activities. Participants of the dance were frequently abducted by the Devil himself. dark Sympathetic Magic: It was bad luck to shake a tablecloth after dark.

Throughout Europe, house-spirits (variously called kobolds, brownies or bodachs) had charge of all clean-up operations after dark. They had jealous charge of their small duties and could become enraged boogie-men if offended. dead Sympathetic Magic: 1. To dream of the dead meant there would be a storm the following morning. 2. It was once customary to bury a bed-bug with the dead to eliminate them from the house. Creighton, FOLC, p. 63. 3. It was bad luck to transport a corpse aboard a vessel. 4. Camping on a burial sit gave rise to ghosts . Creighton, BG, p. 32. 5. "The dead don't come back unless they want something." Jim Muise, Bear River, quoted by Creighton, BG, p. 32. 6. The dead were conservative and disliked changes made in their old homes or properties. The ghost of Outer Wood Island, Grand Manan, N.B. appeared in daylight to upbraid men who were placing telephone poles on "his" land. Similarly, a master carpenter at Victoria Beach, N.S. supposedly returned to upbraid men who repaired his house: "Don't do that. Why are you doing it that way?" were his usual words for latter-day workmen. Creighton, BG, p. 37. 7. "The people of Washabuckt (Nova Scotia) believed that departed souls in trouble returned to their old fields and homes and remained there until their kinfolk had expiated their sins...for some wrong they had done in life." MacNeil, THHINS, p. 73. Storms and death were intimately related in the minds of men, so one can see why it might be supposed that a vision of the effect might act as a cause? The individual bed-bug placed in his own cardboard-box coffin had its spirit taken to earth in a very ordinary bit of scapegoating . The spirit of this one was seen as part of the whole population, and it was considered that the bad luck of the individual would transfer to the larger infestation. Vessels were seen as animated by wood-spirits, hence the reference to them as "she" rather than "it". To place death within any "living" object might lead to its loss through contamination. death 1. In Acadian communities when the destitute died their goods were auctioned at the church door, the money going towards a fund applied to masses for their souls. Daigle, p. 488.


Magic Race: Variant of the god Heus, Tues. Tiu. or Tyr, a northern European deity of war and agriculture, whose symbol was the sword. See curse , particularly the local: "May the deuce take you!" Devil Sympathetic Magic: 1. "See the Devil in this world; miss him in the next." 2. The Devil resembled the witch in making use of familiars . The form of this breed is varied: In 1968 he was described as a man-like being "all fiery red and with horns", but he has been noted as a black cloud, a woollen blanket, a sphere of pure energy, a horse, dog, cat, crow, etc. 3. "The hindmost man will be caught by the beast." MacNeil, TTUD, p. 195. 4. It was risky to challenge the Devil or call upon him for assistance. He was always willing to comply but his services were bought at a terrible price. Jilted lovers sometimes gave oath that they would "dance with anyone, even the devil himself!" This done, a stranger usually appeared providing a compliant partner who left the dance carrying the oath-taker off with him through a hole blasted in the ceiling. In other situations he left an imprint of his hand burned in his partner's back, returned the girl to her home and abducted her in the midst of a thunder storm, or simply created mayhem on the dance floor when he was observed to have cloven feet rather than shoes. 5. The Devil was an expert fiddle player and gambler . 6. The Devil was identified by having cloven hooves or those of a horse . 7. The Devil has been described as "a man with streaks of fire coming from his eyes and mouth. It was a dark night, but he himself provided enough light for them to see him clearly." Creighton, BG, p. 101. 8. It was bad luck to bargain with the Devil since it was widely known that "he collects first." 9. The only artifact left behind by the Devil after he claimed a victim was the shoes. 10. Mr. Edward Gallagher said that ten people observed the Devil aboard the Mary B. Grier while she was docked at Boston. "Three times he came and peered around the mainmast...He had red eyes like a blaze opf fire." Creighton, BG, p. 107. 11. The Devil was attracted by swearing . The English word "devil" is from the Anglo-Saxon "deoful", and the Germanic "teuful", i.e. "full of Tiu". Tiu, Tue, or Tyr was a very definite northern god of war, whose symbol was the exposed sword. His name remains in the day called Tuesday, but the Christians managed to submerge his memory and the blood-thirsty rites associated with him. They successfully confounded his personality with the Hebrew spirit of evil known as Satan, and used "full of Teu" as an easy catch-all for all debilitated pagan gods. He was not at first represented as a horned deity, but became so in medieval times when he was

confused with certain Teutonic hunter-gods, who did bear the horns of deer, sheep, goats, or cows. The business of the devil taking the hindmost relates, at least in part, to the old Celtic festival of Samhainn, or Hallowe'en. According to Sir John Rhys, the people of Wales lit a ritual bonfire on that evening, "and men still living can remember how the people who assisted at the bonfires would wait till the last spark was out and would suddenly take to their heels, shouting at the top of their voices, "The cropped black sow seize the hindmost!" The saying...implies that originally one of the company became a victim in dead ernest." devil devil's chain Wonder Work: The sound of the devil's chain in the deep woods was a bad omen. The "chain" had the ability to pace a hearer. One listener admitted: "I thought this must be a devil's warning, and I never went to see that girl again." Creighton, BM, p. 109. devil's darning needle Sympathetic Magic: Individuals were warned against sleeping in the vicinity of any "devil's darning needle" or dragonfly. It was believed that it might sew together the fingers or toes or lips of anyone within reach. devil dog Magic Race: See dog. "There was an old black dog that used to jump out at people by the little bridge at Negro (Nova Scotia). One time grandfather Ross was going to Clyde on foot. It was late afternoon but not quite dark and he had his wedding suit on. He had to pass an old house with one or two tall trees beside it and, when he got abreast of the house, this thing came out and grabbed him. He could go back down the road, but it wouldn't let him go ahead, and it tore all his clothes off. The funny part about it was that it was light all around and still there was nothing to be seen..." Creighton quoting Mr. Reuben Smith of Blanche, N.S., BG, p. 162. devil's egg Sympathetic Magic: See whore's egg . devil's jew's harp Wonder Work: The old-fashioned crack-handled telephone, having a mouth piece at the end of a long black projection fastened to an oak box, with an

independent hearing-piece. The "jew's harp was made of iron and its music was proof against the fay but the sound was discordent to some. The devil's jew's harp, like the telephone, was apparently composed of magical elements. Whatever the case, early communities were thrown into turmoil by the introduction of the "party-line" and subsequent gossip, hence this nick-name. devil's light Sympathetic Magic: Evil individuals were pursued by the Devil's light, which was intent on retribution. See bochdan , revanter , runner , gopher . devil's picture book Divination: Local name for playing cards. See sortilege . devil's tongue Sympathetic Magic: See diving rod and alder . diddling Sympathetic Magic: mouth music. In pioneer societies when instruments were scarce dances were accompanied by nonsense syllables uttered from "a strong throat ands mouth". Alternately known as gob, cheek or chin music and in parts of Cape Breton as "port a beul". The effect is known as "diidling", "lilting", or "dowdling". disease Sympathetic Magic: 1. One interviewee told Mary L. Fraser that disease could be transferred by picking a stone from the ground and spitting upon it. When the stone was returned, the pain and/or disposition went to earth with it. Fraser FONS, p. 25. Disease was anciently blamed on the invasion of the body by an evil-spirit . It was reasoned that demons of disease might be expelled by making the human body a uncomfortable dwelling place or by transferring the illness to another person or an effigy, which might be nothing more than a stick, leaf or stone. In the above case, the sufferer was required to think that the disease-spirit was in his spit, although it sometimes helped to vocalize, or cast a spell , as "There goes my cold!" The earth, containing a large amount of god-spirit, was considered to have a vast capacity to assimilate evil spirits. disturbance

Sympathetic Magic: Mariners avoided localized disturbances at sea. This seems reasonable enough since they might have marked water-spouts or races, but in the past our ancestors suspected these were caused by nucks or sea-serpents. divination divining rod Sympathetic Magic: A forked branch from a tree, hazel, alder, beech or apple being preferred, used to discover hidden metals, treasure, streams, treasure, crimes and thieves. This is the same Devil's Tongue supposed to have been ridden by witches to their sabbat. De Plancey also notes that "their possession is attributed to fairies and powerful sorcerers." Locally, the rod was often used to divine water. De Plancey said that the forked branch was used by holding the two smaller branches in the hands and proceeding to search the lanmdscape. "When his foot is placed on top of the object that is being sought, the rod will turn independently in the searcher's hands..." See also alder . Donal Dhu door Sympathetic Magic: Doors with panels separated by a cross warded off devils. The symbol known as the cross pre-dated Christianity and has many forms including the swastika and the suadvastika (whose arms are prolonged to the left rather than the right. All such symbols were thought of as having the effect of charms, talismen, or religious tokens, being especially signs of benediction and good luck.

death Sympathetic Magic: 1. Wearing a new hat to a funeral courted death. 2. Answering three knocks and finding an empty doorway was an omen of death. 3. "Death comes in threes ." 4. The last name uttered by a dying person identified the next to go. 5. The howling of a dog signified death. 6. Driving nails on a Sunday promised death. 7. A picture falling from the wall, a bird flying into a window or a home, having a cow lick or bawl at a window

indicated death was on the prowl. 8. A person exposed to a vision of himself was thought doomed to death, see runner . 9. Ploughing the first snow under led to a death. 10. In sowing grains, if a row was missed, a death was anticipated. 11. Those who slept on their stomachs were destined to die by drowning. 12. Two lamps placed on a table brought death within twenty-four hours. Creighton, BM, p. 149. 13. The elderly "come and go with the leaves." 14. If a corpse lies in a home over the weekend, another would come to the parlour before the following Sunday. Creighton, BM, p. 150. 15. Friends of the departed were expected to kiss or touch the corpse. The hand of a murderer would bleed on contact. Failure to so led to another death in the family. 16. Salt was placed on the chest of the corpse, "to keep the soul from wandering". 17. At wakes mirrors were covered with white cloth and sheeting was placed over all the furniture. This was to avoid seeing reflections of the next person destined to die. 18. Those who shivered without reason said, "Someone walks on my grave!" 19. When a mother died, an ailing daughter would improve in health. Creighton, BM, p. 150.

dishcloth Sympathetic Magic: A dishcloth, dropped to the floor, presaged the visit of a stranger; a wet cloth, a female; a dry cloth, male. Creighton, FOLC, p. 22. It was once thought that runners or shadow men travelled before or after every individual and that these spirits attempted to announce the arrival of their human counterpart by making knocking sounds outside the house, by swinging on the doors, or causing objects to be dropped. In the above case, it will be remembered that women traditionally used dish clothes, hence their forerunners would choose a wet cloth, while the male runner would select one that was dry. dog Sympathetic Magic: 1. The image of a dog appearing behind an individual meant he was an enemy. Creighton, BM. p. 134. 2. The howling of a dog was an omen of death. 3. Persons inadvertently walking under a ladder could avoid bad luck by keeping their fingers crossed until they saw a dog. 4. Those who sighted a white horse were advised to cross their fingers until they spied a dog. 5. Persons in danger from magic were warned not to call the name of their dog, supposing that the dog would ally himself with the supernaturals. The feamle of the species was considered the most useful to her master, but a greater potential danger. "...if you let some blood from

her ear, she would tear the spectre apart, although it were Satan..." MacNeil, TTUD, p. 217. 6. It was unwise to set dogs loose after farm animals or wild beasts after sunset, but once done they were not to be restrained. MacNeil, TTUD, p. 217. 7. On New Year's Day in Scottish settlements a dog might be ushered to the doorway of each home, given a piece of bread and driven away with shouts. All the ills of the community were considered laid on the animals head and carried away with him as he retreated. In places, any creature approaching on this morning might expect to be greeted with a bucket of cold water, so a cat or dog was carried along to serve as a scapegoat in this rite. Folk Medicine: 8. For a sore to heal properly it was advised that a dog should be allowed to lick the open wound. 8. When a dog ate grass at dusk rain was predicted. 9. Dogs herard and saw events beyond the range of the human senses. Thus, they often "pointed out" bands of invisible fairies or ghosts. "The picture of familiars...is confused by the fact that witches claimed the Devil appeared to them in the form of a cat or dog, as well as in the more obvious animal-god incarnation of ram or goat. These animals were not true familiars...The true familiar was an imp or "devil" with a small "d", always small a domestic pet. Sometimes these seem to have been a gift to the witch from the Prince of Darkness, sometimes they were handed down (from person to person in a family)." Tindall, HOW, p. 94. "Dogs were ordinarily faithful companions of magicians. Actually it was the devil who ttok the form of a dog in order that he might follow magicians without arousing suspicion. He was always recognized however...black always betrays the presence of the devil under the dog's skin..." De Plancey, DOW, p. 55 Looking at the above superstitions with the dog representing the Devil, or a minor devil, or a witch, it can be seen that our ancestors were attempting to court or avoid confronting the supernatural. dog days July 22 until August 23. People thought that fresh waters were unhealthy, and that the ocean was suspect; children were not allowed to go swimming. dogwood Sympathetic Magic: Dogwood thole pins were used as oarlocks on dories, for general good luck and to keep witches away.

The dogwood was any species of flowering tree, bearing the genus name "Cornus". In Great Britain, these were commonly called the alder buckthorn, spindle tree, bird cherry, woody nightshade, or the guelder rose. In America the name became attached to the Flowering dogwood, sometimes called the stripped maple, shadbush, or hobblebush. door Sympathetic Magic: To enter by one door and leave by another invited strangers and bad luck. This belief is attached to the fact that our ancestors often lived in secret underground rock-framed souterraims or weems. Typically, these were equipped with at least two long entryways, equipped with constrictions and deadfalls, in the event of unwelcomed visitors. In olden days, to enter by one door and leave by another usually indicated a following of enemies. It is noteworthy that that "fairy-hills" were always described as having two doors on opposite sides of the mountain.