When I was thirteen or so I invited my friend Margaret over and we spent the whole day together, had dinner with my parents, then sat around the “campfire” in the backyard. This was an old metal barbecue that my father set up on the large concrete slab at the back of our house where we could burn wood and enjoy the balmy summer night air. Margaret was a tall, gangly, unstylish girl (I was also not particularly stylish) who wore her light brown hair in a bowl cut all through junior high and high school. I don’t know if that was a decision of her parents or not (they were quite strict). She had very straight hair, which would have been totally the style in the 60s and 70s if she had just let it grow out. She got made fun of. My recollection is that her family was large and rather poor. We weren’t rich, either, but we were hospitable. I was never invited to Margaret’s house. The very idea of inviting me seemed to make her nervous. Something odd there. I never figured out what and didn’t inquire. She craved love and friendship, a refuge from the teasing and disdain of the cruel teenage years. She was often downcast and depressed but lit up whenever anyone paid her attention.

She was one of my strays. I always brought kids home who were outcasts (like me), who the cool kids shunned. Or I invited them to spend school lunches with me and my outcast friends. (Lunching rituals were extremely important in junior high and high school.) Recently, I was talking about this to another friend I’ve known since I was twelve and she said, “You were always sort of the den mother of our little group,” and I guess I was. A very old pattern going back to at least elementary school. Which is odd, since I’m an introvert who treasures my alone time.

So, Margaret and I sitting by the fire. I don’t remember if she stayed the night, but we were staring at the flames and talking well into the night. Eventually, we lapsed into a pleasant silence, each in our own reverie. And from one moment to the next, I was there in the backyard and also inside the flames. I had a vivid, absolutely realer-than-real vision of myself tied to a stake while flames rose around me. In the vision, I was screaming and looking out at the faces of the people watching me burn—a nighttime sky, their faces made pasty by the light of the flames, yelling, “Burn, witch!” Their expressions were pure hate mixed with glee at the spectacle of my punishment. Just their faces. No details of clothing except I think it was dark. I even smelled flesh burning and knew it was mine. (It smelled of burned hot dogs and, no, we didn’t roast dogs that night.) The name “Sylvia Thackby” popped into my head, and I had the complete conviction that was my name and who I was.

Then it was done. So vivid, so intense, so real. I turned to Margaret feeling the panic bubbling inside me.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

So I told her, all of it. I could see it bothered her a great deal, and why wouldn’t it? That was some crazy ass talk. (In retrospect I have to wonder if that’s why we stopped hanging around so much. She didn’t need a crazy person for a friend.) But I was full of manic enthusiasm. I wanted to research Sylvia Thackby. This was long before the internet, though, and I didn’t have the resources to travel to the kinds of libraries where I might get more information. I was just a kid. I had to let it go at the time. I have periodically fallen down the internet rabbit hole since and learned a few things.

First, accused witches in England and America were hung, not burned. The burning happened in Scotland and the Continent. So, if Sylvia existed she was probably in one of those places. My instincts even at the time of the vision told me it was the British Isles. The last legal execution of accused witches in Britain happened in the 17th century, and those accused were hung. (That doesn’t mean illegal burnings didn’t happen. They most assuredly did. In fact, a woman named Bridget Cleary was burned in Ireland in the late 19th century by her loving family who thought she was a changeling.)

Second, the name Thackby exists, but it’s not common. Most of the scraps of information I’ve found seem to settle in the Yorkshire area. Yorkshire was a hotbed of witch belief in the 17th century (probably earlier and later as well), but most legal executions there were hangings, I believe. I did find a list of servants from an estate in Warwickshire called Finham Park (from the Stoneleigh Parish Census of 1861). A young cowman named Christopher Kirby employed there  listed his birthplace in 1844 as Thackby in Oxfordshire. (An infamous unsolved murder of a supposed “wizard” occurred in Warwickshire in 1945, so it was not without its own witch hysteria.) A Google search of “Thackby Oxfordshire” brings up information on a town called Beckley, but no mention is made of Thackby in the Wikipedia article, so I don’t know what that’s all about. I do know that on July 26, 1640, Thomae Thackby baptized his daughter Maria in the Yorkshire parish of Kirk Ella, which until 1878 covered a seven mile area including part of what is now the Newington Parish of Hull and surrounds. The records of Kirk Ella stretch back to 1558. Witchcraft was made a capital offense in Britain in 1563. Also, I learned that a soldier named Levi Berry was K. I. A. in World War I in 1916. He enlisted in 1915 and his papers list his birthplace as “Thackley – Bradford – Yorkshire” where he was born on July 28, 1890. I even found one entry for a current resident of Hull with the last name of Thackby (first initial only), but I would never bother him or her with anything so foolish. This is my airy fairy obsession, after all, and nothing to do with that poor soul.

Third, the name Sylvia was not common in the British Isles until maybe the 18th century and that was mostly amongst the nobility and the rich. Sybil would have been a more likely name for a commoner and I got the distinct impression my girl was a commoner.

So I know a lot more than I did on that long ago campfire night but still not much. It has led to a lifetime fascination with witch accusations and persecutions. (The Devil in Massachusetts by Marion L. Starkey was the first nonfiction book I read cover to cover.) And I have always had a morbid fear of fire. Still, it could all be an elaborate hypnagogic vision that my neurodivergent brain turned into an obsession. I want to say that I don’t think so, that it has always from that night on carried the heavy internal weight of conviction, but who can say? That vision or dream or memory is as vivid today as it was that night.

I still need to check alternate spellings of Thackby (there are a number) and the genealogical sites but this is a casual obsession nowadays. I don’t really expect to find Sylvia Thackby no matter the spelling. If she existed, she was probably an outcast, some poor, odd or odd-looking woman who lived on the margins. Such people don’t leave historical records. Although the Scots and English kept good records of who they persecuted, many records were lost and it’s very possible Sylvia’s execution was vigilantism rather than de jure. But I’ll probably keep searching in my haphazard way. For one thing, it’s always fascinating to look.

And what about Margaret? We hung out a lot in junior high, but when we transferred to the larger student population of Venice High we kind of lost touch. We’d see each other now and then but had different friend groups. It happens. After graduating high school I only saw her one more time. About a year and a half later she called me out of the blue and asked if she could come over and introduce me to her…baby.

I was gobsmacked, to say the least, but I said sure. She arrived with a chubby baby in tow—about 9 or 10 months I’d say—but I can’t remember if it was a boy or a girl. (I’m going to call him a him since I don’t want to say “it.”) She’d finally let her hair grow and looked much more in the mode of the day, but still hardly stylish. She said she’d gotten pregnant by some guy who declined to marry her. Maybe it was still under negotiation, maybe a done deal. I wish I remembered. I felt sorry that she had the responsibility of raising a child on her own at such a young age. That feeling was counterbalanced by her excitement over the baby and the incandescent love on her face when she looked at him. Finally, here was someone she could love with all her heart who loved her back and needed her as much as she’d always wanted. She left, we promised to call, we never did, and I never saw her again. The usual casual carelessness of youth.

Margaret is lost to my personal historical record. I could probably find a trace of her if I wanted to join Facebook (I do not) or one of those alumni associations (again, no). I don’t imagine that incandescence lasted. It rarely does in life. But I can hope it did, can’t I? I can hope that the flames of life never reached her, the burning joy remained. I feel somewhat guilty that I don’t know. Then again, maybe it’s best I don’t. Some searches are best left abandoned.


Random quote of the day:

“Most witches don’t believe in gods. They know that gods exist, of course. They even deal with them occasionally. But they don’t believe in them. They know them too well. It would be like believing in the postman.”

—Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Desus and Mero, Beyoncé, or the Marine Corps Marching Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Well, this Musings post is grossly long, and maybe a bit dated, but I started throwing things into the file, then got caught up in the holidays—and God forbid anyone should be deprived of my Musings. [insert barf emoji] At least it has a lot of pictures.

One of my most profound mystical experiences, or contact with the numinous, was invoked by a dead cat. It changed me from near-atheist to “oh I get it now.” Thank you, Mocha. The Mocha Hierophany.

Mocha, an old soul from the 80s:

New Year’s Day sunset: Even enhancing the color on this doesn’t come close to the intensity of the light. Nothing ever beats Nature. Thank you, Nature.

The same sky from my friend who lives a few miles from here. This one captures the immensity of the sky better than mine did, how the clouds seemed to go on forever.

Here’s a question for you: is poetry a purely mammalian response to the world? Is magic? Would intelligent and highly advanced reptiles, for instance, have that sense of wonder and awe and poetry? I don’t want to be Mammalian-Centric.

I always think of the four of swords as the “rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated” card. (Yes, dad jokes help me remember the meanings.)

A few days before the new year (December 30th) I found out that I share blood with one of the accused Salem witches (Mary Leach Ireson). We’re descended from the same ancestor (Richard Leech) through the brother (Lawrence Leech) of my direct ancestor (Thomas Leech). Maybe that’s why I’ve always been obsessed with these trials. I particularly like the “maybe you were a witch but didn’t know it” line of questioning. Apparently, the “maybe I’m a witch but didn’t know it” defense worked because she wasn’t executed and lived until 1711.

As I’ve said before, women rarely appear in the historical record unless they’ve suffered some trauma.

I have so much work to do and a limited amount of time. But time is not my enemy. If I focus on what needs to be done, not allowing myself to be distracted, I will do what I need to do. The only reason I say it isn’t against me is because I will do what I can do. If time runs out, then it does. It will eventually anyway so why so sweat it?

You know that weird stuff you have to clear from your parents or grandparents’ homes when they pass? When you reach a certain age you can’t be arsed about good taste. Sometimes you just want stuff that makes you giggle or because you know it will chagrin some of the people who inherit it.

I finally got my Red Book set up so that people can actually see it instead of being hidden away in a room they can’t go in.

Last month I pulled my novel Venus In Transit out of the trunk. I started working on it in 1999. It was inspired by Patrick Harpur’s Daimonic Reality and later given shape and spin by George P. Hansen’s The Trickster and the Paranormal. Plus all those thousands and thousands of paranormal shows I’ve watched over the years and many another paranormal book. I had the novel in a fairly polished state and was getting ready to start marketing it when my mother had a stroke and my world went all to hell for several years. Then there was the very long and painful writer’s block afterwards.

Things started to loosen up for me artistically after watching season one of Hellier last year—and that’s when I had my Hellier related synchronicity storm. Which let me know I was on the right track creatively. I finished one novel this summer and started working on another. Then Hellier Season 2 came along. It fed my head yet again, and there was something about the discussion in that series of pushing through frustration that reminded me of the artistic process.

Whenever an artist, or at least any artist I know, reaches a point of frustration it’s often the sign of imminent breakthrough to a new way of doing things. Pushing through that frustration is a vital part of the process. So I got out that old paranormal novel with an idea to see if it really was ready to market and I fell into a hole with it for about a week. That edit is done, but when I got to the part in the story where my investigator discovers strange, small, three-toed footprints with dermal ridges, I thought, “No one will ever believe I didn’t get this from Hellier.” But those are the breaks. Hellier2 did encourage me to pull it back out of the trunk and that’s got to be a good thing.

Hellier is beautifully shot and edited. I remember when the granddaddy of paranormal shows, Ghost Hunters, premiered. They used that cinema vérité style which gave a feel of credibility (and because it was cheap to produce), but imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery. Most of what’s come since has been crap.

My life is a lot better since I’ve given up trying to find ultimate answers. I’m more content trying to find ultimate questions.

Well, I got within 100 pages of finishing Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson but my medieval porn book arrived so…sorry Neal.

Cats exist simultaneously in this time/space and in hyperspace which is why they always seem to take up a vastly greater amount of space than their physical bodies would imply.

I’ve been to both Disneyland and the “Disneyland of Cemeteries”—Forest Lawn—and I would choose to spend my eternity in neither of them. (Talk about terrifying!)

Lt. Col. Vindman during the impeachment hearings reading that paragraph to his dad and talking about it? “Don’t worry. This is America. We do what’s right here.” We have to justify his faith in this country. It’s been what was true in the past and we can’t let it fall away. DO THE RIGHT THING, AMERICA. And Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi talking to Vindman about the pride of being an immigrant and being an American? Yep, that’s the essence of what this country it’s always been.

A reminder to myself: “I can’t afford to hate anyone. I don’t have that kind of time.” —Takashi Shimura, in Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru
Sometimes when I see the Trumpets waving their Trump 2020 signs I think it says Trump ZoZo. (Demon In-Joke)
I will vote for Bernie if he’s the one although very reluctantly because I think he’s as much a Russian operative as Trump is. But anything blue is better than Trump.

Yes, I’m wanting a kitty again, why do you ask? Actually, I’m in the process of making the house kitten safe before I take that action. It’s a slow process, given the arthritic knees, but I am working towards that goal.
Weird irrelevant fact: Five of the accused Salem witches were executed on my father’s birthday, July 19. Eight were executed on my birthday, September 22. The other five were executed on August 19, and Giles Corey, the other victim of the hysteria, was pressed to death on September 19. I’ve always wanted to go to Salem, not so much for the touristy aspects as to pay my respects, but I doubt that will happen now. I watched an episode of America’s Hidden Stories on the efforts to finally locate the actual execution spot. Turns out the family who owns the property had handed down that knowledge through the generations but because no one in town wanted to talk about it, it had never made it into the history books. When the historians who were investigating it showed up on the property, the owner confirmed their suspicions. They erected a memorial there in 2017. So many secrets in Salem, so much official censorship.
I will admit that Action Bronson watching Ancient Aliens (Viceland) is infinitely more entertaining than Ancient Aliens. With Action, I don’t usually want to throw anything at the TV even once. Granted, Action Bronson is stupid in his own way, just not Ancient Aliens stupid.
I think the people in the Swiffer commercials are way the hell too anal.
Everyone is eager to label other people fools, but everyone has something they’re foolish about. I guess it’s a multiplicity of foolishness that makes a true fool—or maybe it’s a blindness to our own idiocy.
You never know what will launch someone on a screed. Sometimes it seems innocuous but echoes in the haunted chambers of their mind in ways the rest of us can’t see. Which is why I try not to take screeds too seriously. But sometimes they strike one of my private nerves—and we’re off!
So strange how one’s taste and appreciation changes over time, sometimes dramatically. Yet it’s necessary. If you’re not changing you’re stagnant and dead inside. I was just reading “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold, a poem that made my young undergrad heart go “blech” back in the day. It seemed so stiff and formal. But today when I read it, it flowed, it spoke to me, I really took it in. How strange and wonderful is the passage of time.
Bridging scenes are the worst. Going from point A to C in a necessary but difficult scene makes me want to scream. Sometimes it indicates I’m going in the wrong direction, other times it just means it’s boring. And will probably be edited out but I still have to write it first.
Whenever I hear the word Apologia I think it should be the name of one of Prince’s former backup musicians.
On Carl Jung’s birthday (July 26), I of course had a very interesting dream (said in a cheesy Austrian accent).

Boot straps

Sometimes the wild creatures in your heart
get too scared, remain restless, hide away.
My mother the horse-whisperer would have
spoken gently, stroking calmness back into
those creatures, and walked them through
the fear.

Sometimes you don’t have to put the bucket
far down the well before it fills.
Other times you hit the rocky bottom.
My grandfather, the water witch, would have
gotten out the willow rod and paced the land
to find a new well.

Sometimes you need to heal but it takes so long
and the medicine you need is so hard to find.
My great-grandmother the herb witch
would have walked the hills until she found
what she needed.

Sometimes you just have to pick yourself up
and do what needs doing.
Only you can find what you need,
only you can recognize the magic
when you see it.

Generations behind point me to the path.
But only I will recognize the magic when I see it.
And I must walk the walk.


*For the poetry project, phase one go here.

*For a definition of Phase 2, go here.

*To see all the poems in one place go here.

1. Let me thread you a story…(1-30)
2. Mayor Begay has been in office for some time now. We like the job he does and the way he cares for all the people of Portalville.
3. Weren’t always that way. We had us a mayor before who caused nothing but hard feelings and chaos. Mayor Covfefe.
4. As I’ve said before, folks in Portalville are generally accepting of everybody, but even good folks get scared sometimes.
5. If you’ve got an unscrupulous sumbich who likes chaos and playing on people’s fears it’s sometimes hard to break through the stramash,
6. and get people thinking sensibly once more. Mayor Covfefe was one of those sorts. Took over the City Council with his pack of yes men,
7. forcing agendas on the town nobody really liked but were too scared to oppose. Nobody trusted anybody else, see, and figured everyone
8. was out to get them, so no one wanted to listen to what others said without starting a yelling match.
9. So much screaming in the extremes when most folks just wanted to negotiate some peace that the City Council ground to a halt.
10. Weren’t no business getting done, or only what business lined the pockets of Mayor Covfefe and his cronies.
11. They tried to shred every principle we held dear here in Portalville, violating city by-laws like confetti.
12. Pretty soon folks was yelling at each other over every tiny thing that came along and forming parties of folk yelling in the same key.
13. We had us the Portalville League of Lawyers threatening to file suit over anyone who didn’t agree with them.
14. Fortunately, they mostly couldn’t agree with each other so their suits went nowhere or were easily dismissed by Judge Mathead.
15. Then we had us the Portalville League of Opposition. They didn’t really have a point of view except that they were in opposition…
16. to everyone else in town. “What are you opposing?” people would ask. “What have you got?” they’d answer.
17. The Portalville League of Witches got so fed up they put reversal spells on half the town. So many folks walked around
18. with heads on backwards they didn’t know if they was coming or going & got a much closer look at bodily functions than they ever wanted.
19. Finally, Sherman Begay, the town shoemaker, had enough. He formed the Portalville League of the Beleaguered to try to reassert sense.
20. Bar-Bar Shumay was one of the first to join, followed by Madame Mosibelle Nimby and her son Rupert.
21. They held giant clear-seeing resistance rallies where everyone who showed up got the scales lifted from their eyes.
22. Pretty soon, folks saw that Mayor Covfefe was a minor god of chaos, although no god of chaos is ever truly minor.
23. His magic had scared folks into going against their better nature, against what they knew was right.
24. (Then again, some folks ain’t got better natures and think right is only what is right for them. Even the most powerful magic
25. can’t do nothing to heal that kind of perversion. What’s required to fight them folks is a really big stick.)
26. Fear is a great motivator, but I got to believe love is, too. Once Sherman Begay, & Bar-Bar, & the Nimbys broke through the shouting,
27. let people see the truth, most folks came around. They realized that loving your neighbor wasn’t just a passel of pretty-sounding words.
28. It’s a way forward, a commitment to doing what’s right for the whole community.
29. Folks decided that they’d rather live in harmony than have their own way in every tiny thing. Compromise became a holy tenet.
30. Come next election, Mayor Covfefe lost by a landslide. And that’s how the new mayor, Sherman Begay the shoemaker, saved our souls.

This tale can also be found on Twitter @downportalville.

Random quote of the day:

“The witchcraft of sleep divides with truth the empire of our lives.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Demonology”


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.



Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah by Colm A. Kelleher and George Knapp

I’m not placing this book with the few UFO books in my possession, nor with the books on the occult or science. Not even with the books on folklore, although it contains all those elements. I am firmly placing this with my growing collection of books on the trickster—although I suppose it would fit in just as well with my collection on Faery. Although the authors mention the Native American myth of the skinwalker (or shapeshifting witch) in the title that’s just a convenient moniker taken from the Ute Indians of Utah who live near that “remote ranch” in an attempt to put a name on the phenomena occurring there.

In the religion and cultural lore of Southwestern tribes, there are witches known as skinwalkers who can alter their shapes at will to assume the characteristics of certain animals. Most of the world’s cultures have their own shapeshifter legends….In the American Southwest, the Navajo, Hopi, Utes, and other tribes each have their own version of the skinwalker story, but basically they boil down to the same thing—a malevolent witch capable of being transformed into a wolf, coyote, bear, bird, or any other animal. The witch might wear the hide or skin of the animal identity it wants to assume, and when the transformation is complete, the human witch inherits the speed, strength, or cunning of the animal whose shape it has taken. The Navajo skinwalkers use mind control to make their victims do things to hurt themselves and even end their lives…

Given the nature of the phenomena reported at that remote ranch, the idea of mind control seems a kind of refrain in the book. Fully half the book details the wealth of high strangeness that takes place, first to the Gorman family, then to the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS) researchers. The area had been known to the Utes and Navajos for generations as a wrong place, an abode of skinwalkers, and simultaneously a sacred place, where this world and the otherworld intersect. The white family who bought the ranch came from out of state and didn’t know the ranch’s bad reputation. They just knew they were getting it cheap and that finally they had a shot at making their cattle-ranching dreams come true. Unfortunately, the dream turned into a nightmare, replete with strange lights in the sky and buzzing “craft,” incursions of sasquatch (which the local Utes think are sometimes Bigfoot and sometimes skinwalkers posing as Bigfoot) and other weird and impossible animals. The Gormans were further plagued by cattle mutilations, poltergeists, and sabotage—a veritable state of siege. After three years of that and more, dreams shattered, the Gormans sold the ranch to NIDS so the scientists could do a thorough investigation. The scientists themselves soon came to feel as if they were the ones being investigated, toyed with, and made to confront the limits of science.

As I said, fully half the book recounts the frustrating experiences of the Gormans and the researchers on the ranch. Interesting at first, this section got repetitive. I enjoyed the drama of the first section, where the Gormans were faced with the onslaught of high strangeness, and I enjoyed the final section wherein the authors engage in philosophical and scientific discussions about what might be causing all this. Theories abound, but hard science does not.

If there is an intended message or lesson in all of this, what could it possibly be? Needless to say, everyone who played a part in the investigations has logged many a sleepless night while pondering this central question, without arriving at a satisfactory answer.

Whatever was happening at this ranch (and is still reportedly happening) seems to have more in common with quantum physics than Newtonian, giving an uncomfortable glimpse into the very strange universe we inhabit, one that changes shape depending on who is observing it. Not only is it stranger than we imagine, but stranger than we can imagine.

Random quote of the day:

“In the past, men created witches: now they create mental patients.”

—Thomas Szasz, The Manufacture of Madness


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.



In a vaguely Halloween-themed way, I thought I’d share some quotations from my current reading.

Leechcraft: Early English Charms, Plantlore, and Healing by Stephen Pollington

Another passage from Aelfric [Aelfric of Eynsham, c. 955-c.1010, a Christian homilist] includes the following aside:

Witches still travel to where roads meet and to heathen graves with their illusory skill and call out to the devil and he comes to them in the guise of the person who lies buried there, as if he would arise from the dead—but she cannot really make it happen, that the dead man should arise through her wizardry.

Because for Christians, there are no such things as ghosts, see? When a person dies, they either go to Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory. Anything that sticks around in this realm must therefore be an evil spirit, bent on tricking the living into believing things that are not Christian doctrine and thereby condemning their souls.

More on crossroads:

The association of witchcraft with burial at crossroads is interesting for it was traditionally reserved for those whose presence might defile holy ground if buried in a churchyard, such as heathens, witches, and various classes of criminal. Aelfric deplored the practice of certain women who went to crossroads and “drew their children through the earth”, perhaps similar to the Cornish tradition of passing a child through a stone with a suitable hole in it, such as the famous Men-an-Tol alignment on the Penwith peninsular; a kind of re-absorption and rebirth seems to be implied by the practice….

[A. L.] Meaney [in Women, Witchcraft and Magic in Anglo-Saxon England] cites an East Anglian parallel, where a sick child was placed head-down in a hole cut into the ground and covered with the turf, and that of making the child crawl beneath a bramble which is rooted at both ends. Contact with the earth—and so possibly transference of the disease—seems to be the constant factor. Or is this symbolic rebirth, leaving the affliction behind in the putative womb?

To which I would add, “Eeeeyorgh!” Tough to be a sick child back in the day. Truly spooky.

Ancient Christian Magic: Coptic Texts of Ritual Power edited by Marvin Meyer and Richard Smith

Or perhaps you’d like a Christian spell for protection against headless powers, because—Lord knows—that’s a common experience for all of us [Egyptian papyrus, 5th or 6th century]:

O angels, archangels, who guard the floodgates of heaven, who bring forth the light upon the whole earth: Because I am having a clash with a headless dog, seize him when he comes and release me through the power of the father and the son and the holy spirit, Amen.

AO, Sabaoth.

O mother of god, incorruptible, undefiled, unstained mother of Christ, remember that you have said these things. Again, heal her who wears this, Amen.

As for myself, I’m going to employ the following amulet, one to protect the entrance to a house from vermin [papyrus, 6th (?) century], that invokes Aphrodite, Horus, the Judeo-Christian deity, Yao Sabaoth Adonai, as well as the Christian St. Phocas, covering all the bases. It has nothing to do with ghosts and goggilies, but is personally appealing:

The door, Aphrodite,

Hor Hor Phor Phor, Yao Sabaoth Adonai, I bind you, arte[m]isian scorpion. Free this house of every evil reptile [and] annoyance, at once, at once. St. Phocas is here. Phamenoth 13, third indication.

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