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Here are some examples of old time Spells and charms


To heal painful breasts


Catch two wood lice and eat them alive. W Harpey who collected this charm in 1882 reported that a patient following this treatment said " I was forced to try the wood lice sur, they were mortal nasty, I feel'd em crawling down my Croat, but they done me a sight of good to be sure.


To cure corns


Take off your shoe and stocking when you first see the new moon . Show your corn to the new moon and say " Corns down here, Narry warn up there" or crush a little slug and put it on the smooth side of an ivy leaf, then put it on the corn.


For a cracked heel in a bullock


Watch the creature until it lays down.when it stands up mark the spot where the bad foot touches the turf. Cut the piece of turf like a hoof and turn it topside down. This charm is also recorded in Devon in 1908 where the ailment is called a "kebab it". Capturing a footprint is also used in cursing magic - the footprint is believed to hold the essence of the person or creature to be harmed or healed


( The British book of spells and charms, Graham King, 2016, Troy books, London)

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Haha I love silly old "cures"


Carry a potato for arthritis.


A teaspoon of kerosene for asthma or croup.


Wear a nutmeg on a string around the neck to prevent boils.


Crossing water cures colds.


Rub goose grease on the soles of your feet for a cold. OR fish on the feet for cold.


Cold earrings in a pierced lobe will cure sore eyes or crossed eyes.


Tie salt herring around the neck for fever.


Turpentine and sugar for flu.


A cold key on the back of the neck for nosebleed.


Skunk oil for rheumatism. OR red flannel underwear for rheumatism.


Pass a child through the crotch of a tree 3 times for rickets.


A black cat's tail tied around the waist for shingles (if the shingles reached around and touched you would die!)


A dirty sock laid across a sore throat "the dirtier the better. If it will stick to the ceiling it's a sure cure".


Put a mustard plaster on the thumb for a toothache.


To cure tuberculosis: dig a hole and stay in it and eat a white egg laid by a black hen.


There are these and many many more. I only chose some of the silliest, the book contains some that may actually be worthwhile, but mostly just as silly.


(From the section on home remedies in  Bluenose Magic : Popular Beliefs and Superstitions in Nova Scotia / collected and edited by Helen Creighton 1968)



I couldn't imagine eating woodlice, taking skunk oil, or taking turpentine! Desperate times I guess!

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Well most of this I wouldn't try even if I thought it would work. So glad there are less repulsive ways to do things now.


The foot track thing really does work though. It can be a very powerful taglock, for healing or harm alike.

Edited by Solanaceae

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