The “Holiness” of Holed Stones

“One of the most widely-spread of popular superstitions is that relating to stones having a natural perforation. These are everywhere believed to be inimical to all kinds of witchcraft, but more especially are they reckoned as protectors against the much-dreaded yet ever-present Evil Eye.” The above citation is how Frederick Thomas Elworthy started his short… Continue reading The “Holiness” of Holed Stones

The Burdensome Journey of Collecting Magic Objects

How did the magic objects end up in the museum collections? Most of these objects were collected in the late 19th and early 20th century. In this period, there was a huge effort to collect the “folk culture” of Finland to be preserved in archives and museums. Thus, researchers, students, schoolteachers, and other interested individuals… Continue reading The Burdensome Journey of Collecting Magic Objects

The Stoat – A “Furry Venomous Snake”

Among other animal remains, the magic object collections include a few heads or dried carcasses of stoats (Mustela erminea, Fin. kärppä). Where it is quite easy to understand the powerfulness of big predators, such as the bear, it may be a bit more puzzling why a stoat could be seen as useful in folk magic… Continue reading The Stoat – A “Furry Venomous Snake”