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  • Getting-to-Heaven Spell July 2, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Getting-to-Heaven Spell

    Location: This spell is only attested in the Countryman, a British magazine in 1949, for Cornwall. Bit suspicious of its authenticity, but then desperate circumstances… (Anon 1950, 155) Aim: To assure that a sinner of his or her deathbed will get through the pearly gates. Ingredients: A black rooster, a death bed, a dying man […]

    Mumps Spell June 20, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Mumps Spell

    Location: Ireland (Wilde 1888, 199), late nineteenth century Aim: To cure the mumps Ingredients: a piece of rope, an alarm clock, nine black stones, a torch, a holy well. Method: (i) go out with your torch before dawn and find nine black stones (ii) once the sun is up tie the rope into a noose […]

    Birth Pangs Spell June 13, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Birth Pangs Spell

    Location: this spell was attested in Salem, Massachusetts, 1670. It was used by one Zerobabel [[great name]] Endicott (Carter 1986, 23). Zerobabel (aka Zerubabbel) was a physician and here we have the sometimes thin line between 17C magic and 17 medicine.* Aim: to relieve birth pangs Ingredients: ale wort, ant nest, ant trowel, pre-heated oven, […]

    The Butter Love Spell May 28, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Butter Love Spell

    Location: Ireland (Wilde 1888, 195), late nineteenth century Aim: ‘To Cause Love’ Ingredients: new plate, new butter, a bucolic retreat, and an ‘O woman loved by me’ Method: (i) buy a new plate, make sure that it has never been used (ii) Put golden butter on the plate. (iii) Find the one you love. (iv) […]

    The Copper Piece Spell March 24, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Copper Piece Spell

    Location: this spell is attested in a court case from 1856 (Anon 1856) from the West Riding of Yorkshire. The spell had been carried out by a famous Leeds cunning man, Harrison, and his client, William Dove, had unfortunately graduated onto murder on the advice of his master, a crime for which he would later […]

    Vulva Bread Spell March 17, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Vulva Bread Spell

    Location: this spell seems to have been used throughout the west Midlands and North of England. Aim: to seduce a man or to cement a sexual relationship with a man. Ingredients: flour, water, salt, a good sense of rhythm and an ample backside. Method (i) young woman makes bread (ii) when the bread is ready […]

    Fairy Wind Rescue Spell March 8, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Fairy Wind Rescue Spell

    Location: West Ireland Aim: To rescue a man, woman or child captured by the fairies as they ride by in their fairy breeze: note that in Ireland it was commonly believed that the fairies travelled across the country is winds, typically whirling winds. Ingredients: A fairy wind, some dirt. Method: Ireland 1808 (Neilson 1808) (i) […]

    Prayer Book Marriage Spell February 25, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Prayer Book Marriage Spell

    Location: Magic spells for determining future husbands and wives are to be found throughout Britain. But spells usually involve church porches. This spell with a prayer book is only to be found in the English west country. Aim: To see your future spouse. Ingredients: table, fire, food, drink, prayer book, attractive partner. Method: West Country Spell […]

    The Witch Bottle Spell February 19, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Witch Bottle Spell

    Location: The witch bottle spell seems to have been used against witchcraft throughout much of early modern and modern Europe. Aim: To free a human victim from a witch’s spell by attacking the witch. Ingredients: A bottle, fire, and then various other objects including urine, nails, pins, salt and thatch. Method Ridgewell, Essex (Anon 1859) […]

    The Invisible Bean Spell February 12, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Invisible Bean Spell

    Location: the spell is described by the English writer John Aubrey in the 1680s. He alleges though that it was from ‘[t]he Jewes’. Aim: to grow a number of magic beans that will render the eater briefly invisible. Ingredients: some black beans, a decapitated human head, a young child. Method Aubrey’s Spell (Aubrey 1881, 102-3) […]

    The Raven Stone Spell February 10, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Modern
    The Raven Stone Spell

    Location: tradition found in the Germanic regions of Continental Europe and Scandinavia, and also in parts of Britain. Aim: The collection of the raven stone (korp-sten in Scandinavia, Lloyd 1854, 331) that will render the owner invisible, though note that the stone is also credited with bringing luck and curing humans and cattle of diseases: […]

    Beach’s Book of Shadows February 9, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Ancient, Medieval, Modern
    Beach's Book of Shadows

    Beach has a heaving filing cabinet full of spells: spells from the Middle Ages, spells from early modern Europe and spells from as recently as the Second World War. Some of these apparently date back to deepest antiquity; some are probably the spontaneous invention of men and women with borderline psychologies and would, as such, […]