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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

evil eye The glance of certain individuals, described in the Malleus Maleficarum as “fiery and baleful eyes,” was said to induce curses and even death. The Latin term was fascinatio, and it was said to be prevented from doing damage to any intended victim about whose neck a band of multicolored threads had been fastened.
      Pliny the Elder prescribed spittle as an antidote to the evil eye, and the wearing of a fleur-de-lis amulet was believed to be effective for that same purpose. In modern Italy, the evil eye is generally known as mal d'occhio, but in the south, especially in Naples, it is jettatura, and in Corsica, innochiatura. Along the Mediterranean and in the Arab countries, the effect is taken quite seriously.
      The Frankish queen of the sixth century, Fredegund, was said to be endowed with the evil eye. Perhaps she merely lacked regal charm.

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