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magic

An antique Ouija board

Be Careful What You Wish For: Ouija Boards Unraveled

Ouija boards—also called spirit boards or talking boards—have been part of various cultures long before the introduction of the "game" in the 19 th century. "Ouija", in fact, is the name of the game...
"Delphic Oracle" Painting by Heinrich Leutemann. Image source: art-prints-on-demand.com

Spells, Charms, Erotic Dolls: Love Magic in the Ancient Mediterranean

It was a well-kept secret among historians during the late 19th and early 20th centuries that the practice of magic was widespread in the ancient Mediterranean. Historians wanted to keep the activity...
"The Black Man", an aspect of Nyarlathotep as described by H. P. Lovecraft in "The Dreams in the Witch House" (1932). (Jens Heimdahl/CC BY SA 4.0) A replica of necropants at The Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft in Holmavik, Iceland. At the right of the pants is the magical symbol (nábrókarstafur) that is part of the ritual and at its feet are coins. The exhibit is behind glass and lit from above with a harsh yellow light. (Bernard McManus/CC BY 2.0)

Necropants: Did Icelandic Sorcerers Really Make Magic Pants Out Of Human Skin?

A museum in Iceland is home to the only known pair of necropants: pants made out of human skin. Legend has it that Icelandic sorcerers would tear the skin off of a dead friend’s body and clothe...
Kamehameha the Great

Secret and Safe: Hawaiian Royal Burials and the Missing Bones of Kamehameha the Great

The magical properties associated with the bones of Hawaiian kings were valuable to the ancient Hawaiians, and were even seen potentially dangerous. Great rites and elaborate ceremonies were...
Pasiphae

Pasiphae: Daughter of the Sun, Wife of a King, and Mother of the Minotaur

Pasiphae is a figure from Greek mythology. She is best-known as the wife of Minos, the legendary king of Crete, and the mother of the Minotaur. But Greek mythology has more to say about this...
 ‘Idun and the Apples’ (1890) by J. Doyle Penrose.

Idunn: The Rejuvenating Goddess that Keeps Norse Deities Young

Idunn (Iðunn) is one of the most important goddesses in Norse mythology. The name of this goddess has been variously translated to mean ‘The Rejuvenating One’, ‘Ever Young’, and ‘Rejuvenator’, which...
Constantine TV Series logo

Ancient Mythology Is Embedded Within the Constantine TV Series

Constantine is an American TV series that centers around the character of John Constantine, a British exorcist and occult detective who hunts supernatural entities. The entire Constantine series is...
The Blå Jungfrun labyrinth.

Blå Jungfrun Island, Sweden: Where Witches Dwell and Labyrinths Confuse

Its natural beauty led the Swedish government to declare the island of Blå Jungfrun, often translated as ‘Blue Maiden’, a national park. However, there is a dark side to this site and the island has...
Detail of the Berlin bust of Nefertiti; and the latest 3D sculpture of the queen based on the mummy of the Younger Lady; design by Anand Balaji

Religion and Magic in Amarna: A World of Confusion in Akhetaten—Part II

The population that inhabited Akhenaten’s brand new city, Akhetaten, in Middle Egypt was ill at ease with the massive religious uncertainty their monarch had unleashed. A question mark hung over not...
As an amulet, the popular Wedjat eye symbolized health and protection; design by Anand Balaji

Religion and Magic in Amarna: Battling Forces from Different Realms—Part I

The ancient Egyptians held magical practices in high esteem and used it for a variety of purposes in almost every sphere of life. Their worldview was not restricted to that which occurred on earth,...
A curse tablet wrapped around a chicken bone.

Ancient Sex Curse Revealed: May Your Penis Hurt When You Make Love!

Curse tablets in the ancient world are like Facebook posts today—they were everywhere, created by almost everyone, and can still be found in the strangest of places. They could be broadly vague or...
Fragment of talisman used to exorcise the sick, Assyrian era.

Mixing Magic and Medicine: New Study Shows Mesopotamian Doctors Had to Battle Demons

Analysis of a collection of clay tablets confirms that a Mesopotamian doctor had to deal with more than just physical ailments. The ancient healer was expected to exorcise demons, ward off witchcraft...
An illustration of Vasilisa the Beautiful, by Ivan Bilibin.

A Freaky Fairy Tale of Ancient Folklore: Vasilisa the Beautiful and Baba Yaga

“[…] In the evening the girl laid the table and began waiting for Baba-Yaga. It grew dark. The black horseman swept by and it was night. The skulls’ eyes began to shine. The trees creaked, the dead...
Albany Bulb Sea Witch Prays to the Pink and Purple Sky.

Untwisting the Knotted History of Sea Witches

You might have noticed that Ursula, the antagonist in Disney's The Little Mermaid (1989), was a sea witch disguised as a half-human, half-octopus mythological hybrid creature . And, the antagonist of...
This Chinese-made mirror from the Yayoi Pottery Culture period (300 BC- 300 AD) was unearthed whole from an archaeological site in Fukuoka, Japan.

Rare 1,900-Year-Old Chinese Mirror Has Mysterious Inscription, Which is Coming True

An extremely well-preserved 1,900-year-old bronze mirror has been unearthed in Fukuoka, Japan. The artifact stands out for its fantastic condition and an intriguing description engraved on its...
The stones can fit in the palm of a hand or pocket. Pictured isone from a 2014 excavation

New Symbolism Noticed on Denmark’s “Sun Stones”

A total of 300 small stones believed to have been engraved with designs almost 5,000 years ago, have been discovered during an archaeological excavation on the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic...

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