By TONY DAVIDSON
According to the legend, when the root is dug up it screams and kills all who hear it. Literature includes complex directions for harvesting a mandrake root in relative safety. For example Josephus (c. 37 AD Jerusalem – c. 100) gives the following directions for pulling it up:
A furrow must be dug around the root until its lower part is exposed, then a dog is tied to it, after which the person tying the dog must get away. The dog then endeavours to follow him, and so easily pulls up the root, but dies suddenly instead of his master. After this the root can be handled without fear. Extract from Chapter XVI, Witchcraft and Spells: Transcendental Magic its Doctrine and Ritual by Eliphas Levi.
A Complete Translation of Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie by Arthur Edward Waite. 1896
... we will add a few words about mandragores (mandrakes) and androids, which several writers on magic confound with the waxen image; serving the purposes of bewitchment. The natural mandragore is a filamentous root which, more or less, presents as a whole either the figure of a man, or that of the virile members.
It is slightly narcotic, and an aphrodisiacal virtue was ascribed to it by the ancients, who represented it as being sought by Thessalian sorcerers for the composition of philtres.
We dare not seriously affirm it, but all the same it is certain that man came out of the slime of the earth, and his first appearance must have been in the form of a rough sketch. The analogies of nature make this notion necessarily admissible, at least as a possibility.
The first men were, in this case, a family of gigantic, sensitive mandragores, animated by the sun, who rooted themselves up from the earth ; this assumption not only does not exclude, but, on the contrary, positively supposes, creative will and the providential co-operation of a first cause, which we have reason to call God. Some alchemists, impressed by this idea, speculated on the culture of the mandragore, and experimented in the artificial reproduction of a soil sufficiently fruitful and a sun sufficiently active to humanise the said root, and thus create men without the concurrence of the female.
Others, who regarded humanity as the synthesis of animals, despaired about vitalising the mandragore, but they crossed monstrous pairs and projected human seed into animal earth, only for the production of shameful crimes and barren deformities. The third method of making the android was by galvanic machinery. One of these almost intelligent automata was attributed to Albertus Magnus, and it is said that St Thomas (Thomas Aquinas) destroyed it with one blow from a stick because he was perplexed by its answers. This story is an allegory; the android was primitive scholasticism, which was broken by the Summa of St Thomas, the daring innovator who first substituted the absolute law of reason for arbitrary divinity, by formulating that axiom which we cannot repeat too often, since it comes from such a master:
" A thing is not just because God wills it, but God wills it because it is just. The real and serious android of the ancients was a secret which they kept hidden from all eyes, and Mesmer was the first who dared to divulge it; it was the extension of the will of the magus into another body, organised and served by an elementary spirit; in more modern and intelligible terms, it was a magnetic subject.
It was a common folklore in some countries that mandrake would only grow where the semen of a hanged man had dripped on to the ground; this would appear to be the reason for the methods employed by the alchemists who "projected human seed into animal earth". In Germany, the plant is known as the Alraune: the novel (later adapted as a film) Alraune by Hanns Heinz Ewers is based on a soulless woman conceived from a hanged man's semen, the title referring to this myth of the Mandrake's origins.
The following is taken from "Paul Christian". pp. 402–403, The History and Practice of Magic by Paul Christian. 1963: Would you like to make a Mandragora, as powerful as the homunculus (little man in a bottle) so praised by Paracelsus?
Then find a root of the plant called bryony. Take it out of the ground on a Monday (the day of the moon), a little time after the vernal equinox. Cut off the ends of the root and bury it at night in some country churchyard in a dead man's grave. For thirty days water it with cow's milk in which three bats have been drowned. When the thirty-first day arrives, take out the root in the middle of the night and dry it in an oven heated with branches of verbena; then wrap it up in a piece of a dead man's winding-sheet and carry it with you everywhere.
Hand of Glory or " Main de gloire" in French, was originally a name used as the exact name for the evil magical mandrake root (via French “mandragore” and thus “hand of glory”) that became very confused with the earlier legend many scholars believe in their research.
Mandrake is the common name for members of the plant genus Mandragora belonging to the nightshades family (Solanaceae). Because mandrake contains deliriant hallucinogenic tropane alkaloids such as atropine, scopolamine, apoatropine, hyoscyamine and the roots sometimes contain bifurcations causing them to resemble human figures, their roots have long been used in magic rituals, today also in neopagan religions such as Wicca and Germanic revivalism religions such as Odinism.
The confusion may have occurred because mandrakes are said to grow beneath the bodies of hanged criminals and often resemble human hands and organs or that of a human torso grasping with its long roots for the ground when pulled from the earth.
Habitat: Open woodland, deserted fields and stony places
Magickal Uses: *Poison*
Masculine. Mercury. Fire. Deities: Circe, Diana, Hecate, Hathor, Saturn
Protection, Love, Money, Fertility, Health. Few herbs are as steeped in magickal lore as mandrake. It is associated with the most intense practices of magick and especially well suited for love magick. It has great power as a visionary herb. It empowers visions, providing the impetus to bring them into manifestation. It intensifies the magick of any situation. A whole mandrake root placed in the home will bring protection and prosperity. Carried, it will attract love. The human shape of the root makes it well suited for use as poppet. (Substitute ash roots, apples, root of the briony, or the American may apple if the cost is prohibitive). To activate a dried mandrake, place it on the altar undisturbed for three days. Then place it in warm water overnight. The root will then be activated and ready for any magickal purpose.
Edible Uses: Fruit, though not advised. The fruit is about the size of a small apple, with a strong apple-like scent. Caution is advised in the use of this fruit, it is quite possibly poisonous.
Medicinal Uses: Cathartic; Emetic; Hallucinogenic; Narcotic. Mandrake has a long history of medicinal use, though superstition has played a large part in the uses it has been applied to. It is rarely prescribed in modern herbalism, though it contains hyoscine which is the standard pre-operative medication given to soothe patients and reduce bronchial secretions. It is also used to treat travel sickness. The fresh or dried root contains highly poisonous alkaloids and is cathartic, strongly emetic, hallucinogenic and narcotic.
In sufficient quantities it induces a state of oblivion and was used as an anaesthetic for operations in early surgery. It was much used in the past for its anodyne and soporific properties. In the past, juice from the finely grated root was applied externally to relieve rheumatic pains, ulcers and scrophulous tumours. It was also used internally to treat melancholy, convulsions and mania. When taken internally in large doses, however, it is said to excite delerium and madness. The root should be used with caution, and only under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. The leaves are harmless and cooling. They have been used for ointments and other external applications to ulcers etc.
Cultivation: Prefers a deep humus-rich light soil and a sheltered position in full sun. It also tolerates some shade. Prefers a circumneutral soil and dislikes chalk or gravel. Plants are liable to rot in wet or ill-draining soils. Plants are hardy to about -15°c. The roots are somewhat carrot-shaped and can be up to 1.2 metres long. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance and should be put out into their permanent positions as soon as possible. The root often divides into two and is vaguely suggestive of the human body. In the past it was frequently made into amulets which were believed to bring good fortune, cure sterility etc. There is a superstition that if a person pulls up this root they will be condemmed to hell. Therefore in the past people have tied the roots to the bodies of animals and then used these animals in order to pull the roots out of the soil.
Propagation: Seed - best sown in a cold frame in the autumn. The seed can also be sown in spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Root cuttings in winter. Division. Ths can be rather difficult since the plants resent root disturbance.
Little is known about why
or how hauntings occur. Thousands of hauntings
have been systematically investigated by researchers
and parapsychologists since the late 19th century.
Many explanations have been proposed, but there
is no conclusive evidence to support one more
strongly than another. Federic W. H. Myers,
one of the founders of the Society For Psychical
Research (SPR), London, who did extensive research
of apparitions in the late 19th century, believed
that most hauntings are fragmentary and meaningless,
the bits and pieces of an energy residue left
by the living after their death. Others who
have built on Myers' theory propose that hauntings
do not involve ghostly personalities, but are
those recordings of energy that take on personalities
to percipients who are psychically sensitive.
Psychic sensitivity may account for diverse
experiences phenomena and another does not.
There are several important
things to consider when embarking on this traditional
attempt to reach the “Other Side”
– simple signposts on a road less traveled
that can mean the difference between success
or failure, contact and a waste of time.
First and foremost there must be a defined PURPOSE.
This should be established at the start and
should be clearly defined so that all participants
are absolutely certain that they understand
the reason or need for the séance. These
reasons could vary – contact with a dead
relative, contact with the spirit world for
purposes of divination, guidance or comfort
– but they should be defined and, most
importantly, adhered to throughout the process.
Equally important is the talent
and skill of the conducting MEDIUM. This should
be a person whose abilities have been proven
in prior séances; this can usually be
determined by word of mouth recommendations:
remember, cost does not always determine quality
in this process and some very skilled mediums
offer their services for nothing, or next to
nothing. Other important qualities to look for
are evidence of compassion and sincerity on
the part of the conducting medium as these are
important to the contact process. In the event
that such a qualified medium is not available,
a person who displays the highest level of empathy,
sensitivity and seriousness can sit in as a
reasonable substitute. This must be someone
that all agree upon and who has demonstrated
at least circumspectly the ability to make contact
with the Other Side.
In the 21st century we have
come to know that the worlds paranormal mysteries
still surround us. From objects to places nothing
haunted nowadays goes un noticed. Haunted dolls
on Ebay, printings books and equipment to find
ghost. Television movies and paranormal news
from around the world. Courses in Ghost hunting
and of course the very real haunted internet.
And many skeptics say it's