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kind. Their faith in the touch of a Macdo- “ The chips or cuttings of a gibbet, or galnald is very great."
lows, on which one or more persons have been Ibid. vol. iii. p. 379: The minister of executed or exposed, if worn next the skin, or Applecross, in the county of Ross, speaking round the neck in a bag, will cure the Ague, of the superstitions of the parish, says, « There or prevent it." are none of the common calamities or distress I saw, a few years ago, some dust, in which ful accidents incident to man or beast but | blood was absorbed, taken, for the purpose of hath had its particular Charm or Incantation: charming away some disease or other, from off they are generally made up of a group of un the scaffold on the beheading of one of the connected words, and an irregular address to | rebel lords in 1746. the Deity, or to some one of the Saints. The In “ The Life of Nicholas Mooney," a nodesire of health, and the power of superstition, torious highwayman, executed at Bristol, reconciled many to the use of them; nor are April 24th, 1752, with other malefactors, we they, as yet, among the lower class, wholly read, p. 30, “ After the cart drew away, the fallen into disuse. Credulity and ignorance hangman very deservedly had his head broke are congenial; every country hath its vulgar for endeavouring to pull off Mooney's shoes ; errors; opinions early imbibed and cherished and a fellow had like to have been killed in for generations are difficult to be eradicated.” mounting the gallows, to take away the Ropes
Ibid. vol. i. p. 507: “ The minister of that were left after the malefactors were cut Meigle parish, having informed us that in the down. A young woman came fifteen miles churchyard of Meigle are the remains of the for the sake of the Rope from Mooney's neck, grand sepulchral monument of Vanora, called which was given to her; it being by many also Vanera, Wanor, and Guinevar, the Bri apprehended that the Halter of an executed tish Helena,” adds: “ the fabulous Boece person will charm away the Ague, and perrecords a tradition prevailing in his time, viz. form many other cures." that, if a young Woman should walk over the In the « Times“ newspaper of August 26, grave of Vanora, she shall entail on herself 1819, in an account of the execution of a Jew, perpetual sterility.”
named Abraham Abrahams, on Pinnenden See Luciani Opera, p. 272.
Heath (copied from the “Maidstone Gazette,'') Grose says, “ To cure Warts, steal a piece we read : “ After the body had hung some of beef from a butcher's shop and rub your time, several persons applied for permission warts with it: then throw it down the neces to rub the hand of the deceased over their sary-house, or bury it; and as the beef rots, Wens, which by the vulgar is stupidly believed your warts will decay.” See more supersti to be a cure for those troublesome swellings; tions relating to Warts in Turner on the * Dis but the Jews in attendance told them they eases of the Skin," and in La Forest, “ L'Art could not suffer the body to be touched by de soigner les Pieds,” p. 75.
any but their own people, it being contrary to 6) Grose says, that is a Dead man's Hand is their customs." supposed to have the quality of dispelling tu Grose has preserved a foreign piece of sumours, such as Wens, or swelled glands, by perstition, firmly believed in many parts of striking with it, nine times, the place affected. France, Germany, and Spain. He calls it, It seems as if the hand of a person dying a • Of the Hand of Glory, which is made use of violent death was deemed particularly effica by housebreakers to enter into houses at night cious; as it very frequently happens that without fear of opposition. nurses bring children to be stroked with the “I acknowledge that I never tried the hands of executed Criminals, even whilst they secret of the hand of glory, but I have thrice are hanging on the gallows."
assisted at the definitive judgment of certain « A Halter, wherewith any one has been criminals, who under the torture confessed hanged, if tied about the head, will cure the having used it. Being asked what it was, Head-ach."
how they procured it, and what were its uses “ Moss growing on a human skull, if and properties ? they answered, first, that the dried, powdered, and taken as snuff, will cure use of the Hand of Glory was to stupify those the Head-ach."
to whom it was presented, and to render them
motionless, insomuch that they could not stir' and also that, if a candle in a dead hand be any more than if they were dead; secondly, introduced into a house, it will prevent those that it was the band of a banged man; and, who may be asleep from awaking. The inthirdly, that it must be prepared in the mates, however, were alarmed, and the robbers manner following :- Take the hand, right or fied, leaving the hand behind them." left, of a person hanged and exposed on the 6) The Ephialtes, or Nightmare, is called highway; wrap it up in a piece of a shroud or by the common people Witch-riding. This is winding-sheet, in which let it be well squeezed, in fact an old Gothic or Scandinavian superto get out any small quantity of blood that stition. Mara, from whence our nightmare may have remained in it: then put it into an is derived, was in the Runic Theology a earthern vessel, with zimat, salt-petre, salt, spectre of the night, which seized men in and long pepper, the whole well powdered ; their sleep, and suddenly deprived them of leave it fifteen days in that vessel ; afterwards speech and motion. See Warton's first “ Distake it out, and expose it to the noon-tide sun sert. Pref. to Hist. Engl. Poet.” in the dog-days, till it is thoroughly dry; A great deal of curious learning upon the and if the sun is not sufficient, put it into an Nightmare, or Nacht-mare, as it is called in oven heated with fern and vervain: then com German, may be seen in Keysler's “Antiquipose a kind of candle with the fat of a hanged tates Selectæ Septentrionales," p. 497 et seq. man, virgin wax, and Sisame of Lapland. The following is from the “ Glossarium The Hand of Glory is used as a candlestick to Suio-Goth." of Prof. Ihre, tom. ii. p. 135 : hold this candle when lighted. Its proper “ Mara, Incubus, Ephialtes, Angl. "Nightties are, that, wheresoever any one goes with mare. Nympham aliquam cui hoc nomen this dreadful instrument, the persons to whom fuerit, pro Dea cultam esse a Septentrionalibus it is presented will be deprived of all power of narrat Wastovius in Viti Aquilonia, nescio motion. On being asked if there was no quo auctore. De Vocis origine multi multa remedy, or antidote, to counteract this Charm, tradunt, sed quæ specie pleraque carent. Arthey said the hand of glory would cease to morice mor notat somnum brevem et crebro take effect, and thieves could not make use turbatum, mori somnum ejusmodi capere (v. of it, if the threshold of the door of the house, Pelletier in Dict. Britamique) quæ huc and other places by which they might enter, apprimé facere videntur. Alias observavit were anointed with an unguent composed of Schilterus, More pro Diabolo vel malo Dæthe gall of a black cat, the fat of a wbite hen, mone apud veteres Alemannos usurpari. Marand the blood of a screech-owl; which mix lock, plica, quæ sæpe Capillos' homivum ture must necessarily be prepared during the contorquet. Verisimile est, credidisse superdog-days."
stitiosam vetustatem, istiusmodi plicas Incubi Grose observes that this account (literally insultibus esse adscribendas. Richey 1. c. a translated from the French of“ Les Secrets du Mähre, equa, nominis rationem petit, quum Petit Albert," 12mo. Lion. 1751, p. 110) and equorum caudæ similem in modum sæpe the mode of preparation appear to have been complicatæ sint." given by a Judge. In the latter there is a strik A writer in the “ Athenian Oracle," vol. i. ing resemblance to the Charm in "Macbeth." p. 293, thus accounts naturally for the Night
The following paragraph in the “ Observer" mare: “ 'Tis effected by vapours from crude newspaper of January 16th, 1831, shows that and undigested concoctions, heat of blood, as the hand of glory is not uuknown as a sup after hard drinking, and several other ways." posed Physical Charm in Ireland : “ On the
(7) Grose says, “a stone with a hole in night of the 3rd instant, some Irish thieves at it, hung at the bed's head, will prevent the tempted to commit a robbery on the estate of Nightmare ; it is therefore called a HagMr. Napper, of Lough-screw, county Meath. stone, from that disorder, which is occasioned They entered the house armed with a Dead
by a hag or witch sitting on the stomach of man's Hand, with a lighted candle in it, be
the party afflicted. It also prevents witches lieving in the superstitious notion that a riding horses; for which purpose it is often candle placed in a dead man's haud will not tied to a Stable key." be seen by any but those by whom it is used; L A stone not altogether unsimilar was the
Turquoise. “ The Turkeys," says Fenton, in his “ Secrete Wonders of Nature,'' 4to. 1569, b.l. p. 51 b, “ doth move when there is any peril prepared to him that weareth it."
The Turquoise (by Nicols in his “ Lapidary') is likewise said to take away all enmity, and to reconcile man and wife.
Other superstitious qualities are imputed to it, all of which were either monitory or preservative to the wearer.
Holinsbed, speaking of the death of King John, says, “ And when the King suspected them (the Pears) to be poisoned indeed, by reason that such precious stones as he had about him cast forth a certain sweat, as it were bewraeing the poison," &c. See Reed's edit. of Shaksp. vol. vii. p. 308.
The tites, or Eagle Stone, has been more than once mentioned as a Charm of singular use to parturient women. (See pp. 2, 105.) Levinus Lemnius says : “ It makes women that are slippery able to conceive, being bound to the wrist of the left arm, by which from the heart toward the ring finger, next to the little finger, an artery runs; and if all the time the woman is great with child this jewel be worn on those parts, it strengthens the child, and there is no fear of abortion or miscarrying." English Transl. fol. 1658, p. 270.
Ibid. p. 391: “So Coral, Piony, Misseltoe, drive away the falling sicknesse, either hung about the neck or drank with wine." “ Rosemary purgeth houses, and a branch of this hung at the entrance of houses drives away devills and contagions of the plague; as also Ricinus, commonly called Palma Christi, because the leaves are like a hand opened wide.'' “ Corall bound to the neck takes off turbulent dreams and allays the nightly fears of children. Other jewells drive away hobgoblins, witches, night-mares, and other evill spirits, if we will believe the monuments of the
from the Queene of the Goblins,” is deprecated in Holiday's comedy of “TexnOramia," signat. E b..
So Coles, in his “ Art of Simpling,' &c. 12mo. Lond. 1656, p. 68, “ It hath been credibly reported to me from severall hands, that if a man take an Elder stick, and cut it on both sides so that he preserve the joynt, and put it in his pocket when he rides a journey, he shall never gall."
In Richard Flecknoe's “ Diarium," &c. 8yo. Lond. 1658, p. 65, he mentions, “How Alder-stick in pocket carried
By horsemen who on highway feared, His breech should nere be gali'd or wearied, Although he rid on trotting horse, Or cow, or cowl-staff, which was worse : It had, he said, such vertuous force, Where vertue oft from Judas came, (Who hang'd himself upon the same, (o) (c) It is said in Gerrard's “ Herbal,” (Johnson's edition, p. 1428,) that “the ARBOR JUDÆ is thought to be that whereon Judas hanged himself, and not upon the elder-tree, as it is vulgarly said."
I am clear that the mushrooms or excrescences of the elder-tree, called Auriculæ Judæ in Latin, and commonly rendered Jews' eares," ought to be translated Judas' Ears, from the popular superstition above mentioned.
Coles, in his “ Adam in Eden," speaking of “ Jewes Eares," says “it is called, in Latine, Fungus Sambucinus and Auricula Judæ : some having supposed the Elder-tree to be that whereon Judas hanged himself, and that, ever since, these mushroomes, like unto eares, have grown thereon, which I will not persuade you to believe." See also his “Introduction to the Knowledge of Plants," p. 40.
In " Paradoxical Assertions and Philosophical Problems," by R. H., 8vo. Lond. 1669, Second Part, p. 2, is a silly question, “ Why Jews are said to stink naturally? Is it because the Jews'-ears grow on stinking Elder (which tree that fox-headed Judas was falsly supposed to have hanged himself on), and so that natural stink hath been entailed on them and their posterities as it were ex traduce ?"
In the epilogue to Lilly's “ Alexander and Campaspe," written in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, a passage is found which implies that elder was given at that time as a token of disgracc : “ Laurel for a garland, or Ealder for a disgrace."
Coles, in his "Introduction to the Knowledge of Plants," p. 63, tells us that “Parsley was bestowed upon those that overcame in the Grecian games, in token of victory.” So also Bartholomæus, De Proprietatibus Rerum, lib. xvii. fol. 249, “ De Apio. Somtyme victours had garlondes of it, as Isidore sayth, lib. xvii., Hercules made him fyrste garlondes of this herbe." I find the following in Green's Second Part of Conny-catching, signat. B 4 b, “Would in a braverie weare Parsley in his hat."
(8) The following is the ingenious emendation of the reading in a passage in “ King Lear," act ii. sc. 5, by Dr. Farmer : “ Saint Withold footed thrice the oles,
He met the Night-mare and her nine foles." Oles is a provincial corruption of Wolds, or Olds.
“ That your stables may bee alwaies free
For which, in sooth, he was to blame,) | “To spit upon cattel, they held it good Or 't had some other magick force,
against witchery." To harden breech, or soften horse,
(12) In the “Gent. Mag." for October 1804, I leave 't to th' learned to discourse." p. 909, is given an engraving of an Ash-tree, In Blagrave's Supplement to Culpepper's
growing by the side of Shirley-street (the road “ English Physician," 8vo. Lond. 1674, p. 62,
leading from Hockly House to Birmingham), “ It is reported that, if you gently strike a
at the edge of Shirley Heath, in Solihull pahorse that cannot stale, with a stick of this
rish. The upper part of a gap formed by the Elder, and bind some of the leaves to his
chizzel has closed, but the lower remains open. belly, it will make him stale presently. It
The tree is healthy and flourishing. Thomas is also said, and some persons of good credit
Chillingworth, son of the owner of an adjoinhave told me, but I never made any expe
ing farm, now about thirty-four years of age, riment of it.) that if one ride with two little
was, when an infant of a year old, passed sticks of Elder in his pockets, he shall not
through a similar tree, now perfectly sound, fret nor gaul, let the horse go never so hard."
which he preserves with so much care that he The first of these superstitions is again men
will not suffer a single branch to be touched, tioned in Cole's “ Adam in Eden."
for it is believed the life of the patient depends In the “ Athenian Oracle," vol. ii. p. 545,
on the life of the tree; and the moment that is the following relation : “ A friend of mine,
is cut down, be the patient ever so distant, the being lately upon the road a horseback, was
Rupture returns, and a mortification ensues. extreamly incommoded by loss of leather ;
It is not, however, uncommon for persons to which coming to the knowledge of one of his
survive for a time the feling of the tree. In one fellow travellers, he over-persuaded him to
case the Rupture suddenly returned, and more put two Elder sticks into his pocket, which
tification followed. These trees are left to not only eased him of his pain, but secured
close of themselves, or are closed with nails. the remaining portion of posteriours, not yet
The woodcutters very frequently meet with excoriated, throughout the rest of his journey."
the latter. One felled on Bunnan's farm In “ Aú Hue and Crie after Cromwell,"
was found full of nails. This belief is so pre4to. Nol-nod, 1649, p. 4, we read :
valent in this part of the country, that instances
of trees that have been employed in the cure “ Cooke, the recorder, have an Elder Tree,
are very common. The like notions obtain And steel a slip to reward treacherie.".
credit in some parts of Essex. In a previous There is a vulgar prejudice that, “if Boys | part of the same volume, p. 516, it is stated be beaten with an Elder stick, it hinders their that this ash-tree stands “close to the cottage
of Henry Rowe, whose infant son, Thomas (10) Lupton, in his fifth book of “ Notable Rowe, was drawn through the trunk or body Things," edit. 1660, 8vo. p. 182, says: of it in the year 1791, to cure him of a Rup“ Make powder of the flowers of Elder, ga ture, the tree being then split open for the purthered on a Midsummer-day, being before pose of passing the child through it. The boy well dryed, and use a spoonfull thereof in a is now thirteen years and six months old: I good draught of borage water, morning and have this day, June 10, 1804, seen the ashevening, first and last, for the space of a tree, and Thomas Rowe, as well as his father month; and it will make you seem young a
Henry Rowe, from whom I have received the great while."
above account; and be superstitiously believes (") Camden, in his “ Ancient and Modern that his son Thomas was cured of the Rupture Manners of the Irish," tells us that “ to pre by being drawn through the cleft in the said vent Kites from stealing their chicken, they
ash-tree, and by nothing else." R. G. hang up in the house the Shells in which the The writer first quoted, in p. 909, refers to chickens were hatched." See Gough's edit. the vulgar opinion * concerning the power of of Camden, 1789, vol. iji. p. 659. See also Ash-trees to repel other maladies or evils, such Memorable Things, noted in the “ Descrip as Shrew Mice, the stopping one of which tion of the World,” p. 112, where it is added, animals alive into a hole bored in an ash is
imagined an infallible preventive of their ravages in lands."
White, in the “ Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne," informs us, p. 202, that « In a farm-yard near the middle of this village stands, at this day, a row of pollard. ashes, which, by the seams and long cicatrices down their sides, manifestly show that in former times they have been cleft asunder. These trees, when young and flexible, were severed and held open by wedges, while ruptured Chile dren, stripped naked, were pushed through the apertures, under a persuasion that, by such a process, the poor babes would be cured of their infirmity. As soon as the operation was over, the tree, in the suffering part, was plas. tered with loam, and carefully swathed up. If the parts coalesced and soldered together, as usually fell out where the feat was performed with any adroitness at all, the party was cured; but, where the cleft continued to gape, the operation, it was supposed, would prove ineffectual. Having occasion to enlarge my garden not long since, I cut down two or three such trees, one of which did not grow together.
« We have several persons now living in the village who, in their childhood, were supposed to be healed by this superstitious ceremony, derived down perhaps from our Saxon ancestors, who practised it before their conversion to Christianity.
« At the south corner of the plestor, or area, near the church, there stood, about twenty years ago, a very old grotesque hollow pollard-ash, which for ages had been looked on with no small veneration as a Shrew-Ash. Now a shrewash is an ash whose twigs or branches, when gently applied to the limbs of cattle, will immediately relieve the pains which a beast suffers from the running of a shrew-mouse over the part affected : for it is supposed that a shrew-mouse is of so baneful and deleterious a nature, that wherever it creeps over a beast, be it horse, cow, or sheep, the suffering animal is afflicted with cruel anguish, and threatened with the loss of the use of the limb. Against this accident, to which they were continually liable, our provident forefathers always kept a Shrew-Ash at hand, which, when once medi. cated, would maintain its virtue for ever. A shrew-ash was made thus (for a similar practice see Plott's “Staffordshire'] : Into the body
of the tree a deep bole was bored with an auger, and a poor devoted shrew-mouse was thrust in alive, and plugged in, no doubt, with several quaint incantations long since forgotten. As the ceremonies necessary for such a consecration are no longer understood, all succession is at an end, and no such tree is known to subsist in the manor or hundred.
“As to that on the plestor, the late vicar stubb'd and burnt it,' when he was waywarden, regardless of the remonstrances of the by-standers, who interceded in vain for its preservation, urging its power and efficacy, and alleging that it had been * Religione patrum multos servata per an
nos.'"(*) (a) The following illustration of the barbarous practice of enclosing field-mice was received by Mr. Brand, in a letter from Robt. Studley Vidal, Esq., of Cornborough, near Biddeford, a gentleman to whom he was much indebted for incidental information on the local customs of Devonshire; dated May 9th, 1806 :
“ An usage of the superstitious kind has just come under my notice, and which, as the pen is in my hand, I will shortly describe, thongh I rather think it is not peculiar to these parts. A neighbour of mine, on examining his sheep the other day, found that one of them had entirely lost the use of its hinder parts. On seeing it I expressed an opinion that the animal must have received a blow across the back, or some other sort of violence, which had injured the spinal marrow, and thus rendered it paralytic: but I was soon given to understand that my remarks only served to prove how little I knew of country affairs, for that the affection of the sheep was nothing uncommon, and that the cause of it was well known, namely, a mouse having crept over its back. I could not but smile at the idea ; which my instructor considering as a mark of incredulity, he proceeded very gravely to inform me that I should be convinced of the truth of what he said by the means which he would use to restore the ani. mal, and which were never known to fail. He accordingly despatched his people here and there in quest of a field-mouse; and, having procured one, he told me that he should carry it to a particular tree at some distance, and, enclosing it within a hollow in the trunk, leave it there to perish. He further informed me that he should bring back some of the branches of the tree with him for the purpose of their being drawn now and then across the sheep's back; and concluded by assuring me with a very scientific look that I should soon be convinced of the efficacy of this process, for that, as soon as the poor devoted mouse had yielded up his life a prey to famine, the sheep would be restored to its former strength and vigour. I can, however, state with certainty, that the sheep was not at all benefited by this mysterious sacrilice of the mouse. The tree, I find, is of the sort called witch-elm, or witch-hazel.”