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”

Raven Stones, Turnip Patches, and Guardian Snakes

A cunning person protects the turnip patch from thieves: After a new turnip patch was planted, ploughed, and fenced, the owner would summon a snake to guard it. If a thief would try to come into the patch, the guardian snake would attack. It would guard as long as the turnips were growing, until they… Continue reading Raven Stones, Turnip Patches, and Guardian Snakes