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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

bezoar A reddish stone found in the entrails of animals, usually a concretion like a kidney stone. It is also said to be extracted from an aged toad's head. Used as a powerful amulet or charm, particularly against poison.
      The aetite or aquilaeus is a similar stone found in the stomach of an eagle, a hollow stone formed of iron oxide, and claimed to be able to detect a thief and to heal epilepsy. When bound to a woman's arm, they say, it prevents abortion, and fastened to her thigh, it aids in giving birth. It is actually just as effective when fastened to the father's key chain or, better still, left inside the eagle.
      In Shakespeare's play As You Like It, the duke says:  


      The toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head.

      Which goes to show how much dukes know.
      Aside from the spurious magical qualities ascribed to these concretions, the term bezoar is now properly used to designate any sort of antidote to a poison.
      See also charms.



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