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Origin of hocus pocus


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Hocus-Pocus may have started with a Norse sorcerer named Ochus, Bochus. It may be a shorter version of "hokuspokusfiliokus", which was a popular sacrilegious mockery of part of the Catholic mass, hoc est corpus filii ("This is the body of the son"). It certainly has a important place in the history of witchcraft.

 

Thomas Ady's "A Candle In The Dark"; or "A Treatise Concerning The Nature Of Witches And Witchcraft" (written in 1656) contains an early description of Hocus Pocus:

 

"I will speake of one man...that went about in King James' time...who called himself "The Kings Majesties most excellent Hocus Pocus" and so he was called, because that at the playing of every Tricke, he used to say, "Hocus Pocus, tomus talontus, vade celeriter jubeo", a dark composure of words, to blinde the eyes of the beholders, to make his trick pass the more currantly without discovery."

 

Early in the seventeenth century, magicians, conjurers, and jugglers went by the name "Hocus Pocus" or variations of it, as they traveled around the countryside practicing their trade.

 

Today, hocus-pocus simply means "flimflam", "nonsense", and/or whatever charlatanism.

 

The word "hoax" is a shortened version of "hocus-pocus"

 

 

***Taken directly from an old book I have purchased called "KNOCK ON WOOD & OTHER SUPERSTITIONS, AN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TALISMANS, CHARMS, SUPERSTITIONS AND SYMBOLS", by Carole Potter, 1983

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Hocus-Pocus may have started with a Norse sorcerer named Ochus, Bochus. It may be a shorter version of "hokuspokusfiliokus", which was a popular sacrilegious mockery of part of the Catholic mass, hoc est corpus filii ("This is the body of the son"). It certainly has a important place in the history of witchcraft.

 

Thomas Ady's "A Candle In The Dark"; or "A Treatise Concerning The Nature Of Witches And Witchcraft" (written in 1656) contains an early description of Hocus Pocus:

 

"I will speake of one man...that went about in King James' time...who called himself "The Kings Majesties most excellent Hocus Pocus" and so he was called, because that at the playing of every Tricke, he used to say, "Hocus Pocus, tomus talontus, vade celeriter jubeo", a dark composure of words, to blinde the eyes of the beholders, to make his trick pass the more currantly without discovery."

 

Early in the seventeenth century, magicians, conjurers, and jugglers went by the name "Hocus Pocus" or variations of it, as they traveled around the countryside practicing their trade.

 

Today, hocus-pocus simply means "flimflam", "nonsense", and/or whatever charlatanism.

 

The word "hoax" is a shortened version of "hocus-pocus"

 

 

***Taken directly from an old book I have purchased called "KNOCK ON WOOD & OTHER SUPERSTITIONS, AN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TALISMANS, CHARMS, SUPERSTITIONS AND SYMBOLS", by Carole Potter, 1983

 

Gee I always wondered where that phase came from.

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Guest Lilly

I love how so many things, such as "Hocus Pocus" have entered common usage with so little knowledge to most people of where it came from. Thanks Anjel, I feel like I have learned something today!

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Guest Tiger Lady

Thanks for adding that bit of historical reference to my library. I like knowing the origin of superstitutious beliefs. It makes for interesting coffee talk. :D

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