Archive for the ‘Grim Ingredients’ Category

Ancient Egyptian cosmetics: ‘Magical’ makeup may have been medicine for eye disease

January 22, 2010

There’s more to the eye makeup that gave Queen Nefertiti and other ancient Egyptians royals those stupendous gazes and legendary beauty than meets the eye. Scientists in France are reporting that the alluring eye makeup also may have been used to help prevent or treat eye disease by doubling as an infection-fighter. (more…)

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Scrutinized – Animal sacrifice in Brazilian folk religion

August 29, 2009

Candomblé, a religion practiced primarily in South America and inspired by older African beliefs, makes much use of animal sacrifice. Researchers writing in the Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine carried out interviews with priests, priestesses and adherents of the religion, documenting the role sacrifice plays in their beliefs. (more…)

Grim Artifacts – A 17th Century Witch Bottle

June 13, 2009

Back from the dead, here to bring you the hottest news on malicious arts and morbid artifacts. The following was recently posted on Discovery news and to preserve this interesting story for future generations, we take the freedom to reproduce it here completely – with due credit, of course:

During the 17th century in England, someone urinated in a jar, added nail clippings, hair and pins, and buried it upside-down in Greenwich, where it was recently unearthed and identified by scientists as being the world’s most complete known “witch bottle.” This spell device, often meant to attract and trap negative energy, was particularly common from the 16th to the 17th centuries, so the discovery provides a unique insight into witchcraft beliefs of that period, according to a report published in the latest British Archaeology. Lead researcher Alan Massey, a former chemist and honorary fellow of Loughborough University, believes “the objects found in witch bottles verify the authenticity of contemporary recipes given for anti-witchcraft devices, witch-bottle-380x540which might otherwise have been dismissed by us as being too ridiculous and outrageous to believe.” An Old Bailey court record from 1682 documents that a husband, believing his wife to be afflicted by witchcraft, was advised by a Spitalfields apothecary to “take a quart of your Wive’s urine, the paring of her Nails, some of her Hair, and such like, and boyl them well in a Pipkin.”

The excavated bottle appears to have been made according to those, or similar, instructions. CT scans and chemical analysis, along with gas chromatography conducted by Richard Cole of the Leicester Royal Infirmary, reveal the contents of the bottle to include human urine, brimstone, 12 iron nails, eight brass pins, hair, possible navel fluff, a piece of heart-shaped leather pierced by a bent nail, and 10 fingernail clippings. Although some 200 early witch bottles have been identified, all were found opened, with their contents likely eroded or otherwise lost. This artifact, in contrast, had its cork closure still intact. (more…)

Grim Reality – Snake sacrifice at the baseball court

April 17, 2009

Here’s another nice story: a Tampa Bay area high school baseball coach has been temporarily relieved of his duties while authorities investigate the killing and burial of a snake on his team’s field. A Palm Harbor University High School second baseman said the coach told the team last week that they were “snake-bitten” and needed to stop their losing streak. So, the student said, the team bought and killed a snake, then buried it on the field during the school’s spring break. The coach wasn’t present. A Pinellas County schools spokeswoman said the coach was temporarily sidelined while authorities investigate. A sheriff’s office spokeswoman says nothing has been found on the field. (more…)

Grim Ingredients – Dog Sacrifices

April 14, 2009

National Geographic reported that a recently discovered medieval Hungarian town full of ritually sacrificed dogs could shed light on mysterious pagan customs not found in written records from the era. Bones from about 25 dogs were recently discovered in the 10th- to 13th-century town of Kana, Photograph courtesy Gyorgy Terei which had been accidentally unearthed in 2003 during the construction of residential buildings on the outskirts of Budapest. These sacrifices probably served much like amulets to ward against evil—for instance, to protect against witchcraft or the evil eye. About a dozen other canines were found buried under house foundations as construction sacrifices. Previous evidence of animal sacrifices—seen even under churches, in Budapest and elsewhere in Hungary—had been mostly isolated cases, but the new findings show that sacrifices were not that rare a phenomenon. It was practiced regularly in a Christian village. The fact that pagan customs such as animal sacrifice persisted for centuries side-by-side with the church is surprising. Christianity came to dominate the region after the first king of Hungary, Stephen I, began his rule in A.D. 1000. Under his reign, pagan rituals such as animal sacrifices were explicitly banned.

Ignorant as I am, I wondered if there are any references to dog sacrifices in the grimoires. A quick Google search yielded a magickal essay by Godfrey & Barynski which suggests a dog sacrifice is hinted at in Le Petit Albert: (more…)