5 posts tagged with superstition and magic.
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A spurious system of natural law as well as a fallacious guide of conduct

A critique of Sir James Frazer's The Golden Bough by Colin Dickey. "For all its erudition and analysis, The Golden Bough has for more than a century helped cement the idea that magic is inappropriate, wrongheaded thought. Yet what separates magic from religion or science is not its methodology—Frazer himself notes that it 'is therefore a truism, almost a tautology, to say that all magic is necessarily false and barren; for were it ever to become true and fruitful, it would no longer be magic but science'—it’s that ordinary people can do it, transforming their lives with the ambitious power of everyday thought." Via Lapham's Quarterly's Magic Shows issue.
posted by Kitty Stardust on Jul 26, 2012 - 62 comments

Jewish Exorcisms

“We got a bit excited because we realized that people have collected lots of dybbuk stories, but our fragment describes a real event, where you see how they come together and pray in order to exorcise the ghost from a widow,” [more inside]
posted by ServSci on Dec 21, 2009 - 11 comments

albino magic

Albinos often face mistrust and discrimination, perhaps because they tend to be portrayed as evil in popular culture. But in Tanzania and Burundi, weird delusions that albinos have magical powers mean that they are actually being hunted down, murdered and dismembered to harvest their supposedly magical body parts. One group of albino kids are trying to spread some sense by forming their own "magic" sports team.
posted by w0mbat on Sep 27, 2009 - 19 comments

Pre-modern home security

Apotropaios contains much fascinating information about the (here, mainly British and Irish) folk magic practice of concealing objects in buildings for ritual protection purposes. Yes, mummified Ceiling Cat is averting your evil. One aspect of the practice, the deliberate concealment of garments, has provided us with insight into ordinary costume of bygone days.
posted by Abiezer on Jan 27, 2008 - 26 comments

Lucky Amulet Archive

The Lucky W Amulet Archive : "A folkloric resource that contains hundreds of interlinked pages describing and illustrating amulets, talismans, lucky charms, and good luck pieces from around the world and all eras".
posted by taz on Jan 28, 2004 - 10 comments

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