Sunday, March 15, 2009

Skulls and Bowls

Just a couple of odds and ends around a central theme, but don't expect anything other than the central motif to tie them together. No deep meaning, just tidbits.

-> Read an article in a magazine on biblical archeology that was about incantation bowls. These are apparently Jewish artifacts from the 3rd to 7th Century that relate to magic and demons and such. Not something I would have traditionally associated with Judaism, though it occurred to me the story of the golem is both Jewish and magic. Some have figures inscribed in the bottom, but all have these written incantations that spiral outward from the bottom. In an unusual twist, there are also incantation skulls, though these are much fewer and of somewhat questionable provenance.

-> There is a persistent rumor that the Skull and Bones group at Yale has the remains of Geronimo. There is now a lawsuit in the works to try and verify that and then return them to the Apaches if that is in fact the case, though despite persistent rumors it seems unlikely. Though it does make you wonder who's skull and bones the society actually has.

-> During medieval times of the methods for dealing with vampires was a brick in the mouth. This was done post mortem, and was applied much earlier than the stake through the heart method which was apparently popularized in more recent eras. The brick in the mouth was a medieval method (the news article was about a 16th Century skeleton) and if you ask me not well thought out. Why couldn't the vampire just take the brick out? However, the people back then felt it worked.

-> And last but not least, the concept of "lilith" as a general class of demon who afflicted young mothers and infants dates back much earlier than the specific "Lilith" later tied in with vampire lore (and other things). That one was apparently a medieval creation and came about much later. But the "liliths" of the demon variety show up much earlier, and are in fact mentioned on some of the incantation bowls.

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