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THE HAGS OF THE NIGHT AND THE GHOST THEY ENCOUNTER


Early necromancy is likely related to shamanism, which calls upon spirits such as the ghosts of ancestors. Classical necromancers addressed the dead in "a mixture of high-pitch squeaking and low droning", comparable to the trance-state mutterings of shamans


By Lynn Maconville, Artwork by Ricardo Pustanio © 2008

Witches as all believe deal with spirits of all the elements. A powerful witch is often believed to be openly able to communicate with the dead. As a natural Necromancer a witches studies of the occult and her powers are said to be those of seeing ghost and also controlling their actions.

Necromancy ) is a form of divination in which the practitioner seeks to summon "operative spirits" or "spirits of divination", for multiple reasons, from spiritual protection to wisdom. The word necromancy derives from the Greek (nekrós), "dead", and (manteía), "divination".

However, since the Renaissance, necromancy has come to be associated more broadly with black magic and demon-summoning in general, sometimes losing its earlier, more specialized meaning. By popular etymology, nekromantia became nigromancy "black arts", and Johannes Hartlieb (1456) lists demonology in general under the heading. Eliphas Levi, in his book Dogma et Ritual, states that necromancy is the evoking of aerial bodies (aeromancy). (page 64)

 

In the Hebrew Bible, the Medium or Witch of Endor in the First book of Samuel, chapter 28:3–25, was a woman "who possesses a talisman", through which she called up the ghost of the recently deceased prophet Samuel, at the demand of King Saul of Israel. After Samuel's death and burial with due mourning ceremonies in Ramah, Saul had driven all necromancers and magicians from Israel. Then, in a bitter irony, Saul sought out the witch, anonymously and in disguise, only after he received no answer from God from dreams, prophets or the Urim and Thummim as to his best course of action against the assembled forces of the Philistines. The prophet's ghost offered no advice but predicted Saul's downfall as king; Saul calmly accepted his doom and fell in battle the next day.

Saul sinned further in consulting this woman; the practice of necromancy was forbidden by the Torah. He also sinned by taking God's name in vain, as he swears by the Lord no harm will befall her.

In Judaism, some rabbis taught that the spirits of the dead hovered around the body for a year after a person died; this made the spirit of the dead person amenable to being truly summoned during this time, and indicated that the spirit so summoned truly was Samuel, and that Samuel was indeed supernaturally summoned by the witch.

Apparition of Samuel.

—Biblical Data:

A necromancer consulted by Saul in his extremity when forsaken by Yhwh, and whose ordinary oracles (dreams, urim, and prophets) had failed him. The story is found in I Sam. xxviii. 4-25. After Samuel's death and burial with due mourning ceremonies in Ramah, Saul had driven all necromancers and adepts at witchcraft from the land. But the Philistines gathered their forces and encamped in Shunem, and to meet them Saul mustered his army on Gilboa. The Israelitish king, terrified at the sight of the enemy's numbers, inquired of Yhwh, but received no answer. In this strait the monarch inquires for a woman , "who possesses a talisman" (Smith, "Samuel," p. 240) wherewith to invoke the dead, and is informed that one is staying at Endor. Disguised, Saul repairs to the woman's lodgings at night and bids her summon for him the one whom he will name. The witch suspects a snare, and refuses to comply in view of the fate meted out to her class by royal command. Assured, however, of immunity, she summons Samuel at Saul's request. At the sight of Samuel she cries out with a loud voice, and charges the king, whom she immediately recognizes, with having deceived her. Saul allays her fears and makes her tell him what she has seen. She saw "a god ["elohim"] coming up out of the earth"; "an old man . . . wrapped in a cloak." Before the spirit (unseen) Saul prostrates himself. Samuel complains at being disturbed, but Saul pleads the extremity of his danger and his abandonment by Yhwh. Samuel, however, refuses to give any counsel, but announces the impending downfall of the king and his dynasty. Saul faints, partly from physical exhaustion due to lack of food. The witch attempts to comfort him, and invites him to partake of her hospitality. Saul at first refuses, but is finally prevailed upon by the combined entreaties of the woman and his servants. He eats and departs to his fate.

Excerpt from: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=366&letter=E

Necromancy was widespread in ancient Greece from prehistoric times. In the Odyssey (XI, Nekyia), Odysseus makes a voyage to Hades, the Underworld, and raises the spirits of the dead using spells which he had learnt from Circe (Ruickbie, 2004:24). His intention is to invoke and ask questions of the shade of Tiresias, but he is unable to summon it without the assistance of others.

Although some cultures may have considered the knowledge of the dead to be unlimited, to the ancient Greeks and Romans, there is an indication that individual shades knew only certain things. The apparent value of their counsel may have been a result of things they had known in life, or of knowledge they acquired after death: Ovid writes of a marketplace in the underworld, where the dead could exchange news and gossip (Metamorphoses 4.444; Tristia 4.10.87–88).[

There are also many references to necromancers, called "bone-conjurers", in the Bible. The Book of Deuteronomy (XVIII 9–12) explicitly warns the Israelites against the Canaanite practice of divination from the dead. This warning was not always heeded: King Saul has the Witch of Endor invoke the shade of Samuel using a magical amulet, for example. Later Christian writers rejected the idea that humans could bring back the spirits of the dead, and interpreted such shades as disguised demons, thus conflating necromancy with demon-summoning.

Proof for the common knowledge of necromancy and belief in its power is also evident in the New Testament. Others in the court believed Jesus to be Elijah, another deceased prophet. This account is written in Christian Canonical Scriptures, mainly the book of Mark, chapter 6:14-16. “King Herod heard about this, for Jesus' name had become well known. Some were saying, ‘John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.’ Others said, ‘He is Elijah.’ And still others claimed, ‘He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.’ But when Herod heard this, he said, ‘John, the man I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!”

Caesarius of Arles (Kors and Peters, 48) entreats his audience to put no stock in any demons, or “Gods” other than the one true Christian God, even if the working of spells appears to provide benefit. He states that demons only act with divine permission, and permitted by God to test Christian people. Caesarius does not condemn man here; he only states that the art of necromancy exists, although it is prohibited by the bible.

Many medieval writers believed resurrection was impossible without the assistance of the Christian god. They translated the practice of divination as conjuring demons who took the appearance of spirits. The practice became known explicitly as demonic magic and was condemned by the Roman Catholic Church, (Kieckhefer 152). Though the practitioners of necromancy were linked by many common threads, there is no evidence that these necromancers were ever organized as a group.

Medieval necromancy is believed to be a synthesis of astral magic derived from Arabic influences and exorcism derived from Christian and Jewish teachings. Arabic influences are evident in rituals that involve moon phases, sun placement, day and time. Fumigation and the act of burying images are also found in both astral magic and necromancy. Christian and Jewish influences are found in the symbols and conjuration formulas used in summoning rituals. (Kieckhefer 165-166)

Practitioners were often members of the Christian clergy, though some nonclerical practitioners are recorded. In some instances, mere apprentices or those ordained to lower orders dabbled in the practice. They were connected by a belief in the manipulation of spiritual beings, (esp. demons), and magical practices. These practitioners were almost always literate and well educated. Most possessed basic knowledge of exorcism and had access to texts of astrology and demonology. Clerical training was informal and admission to universities was rare. Most were trained under apprenticeships and were expected to have a basic knowledge of Latin, ritual and doctrine. This education was not always linked to spiritual guidance and seminaries were almost nonexistent. This absence allowed some aspiring clerics to combine Christian rites with occult practices despite its condemnation in Christian doctrine. (Kieckhefer 153-154)

Medieval practitioners believed they could accomplish three things with necromancy: will manipulation, illusions, and knowledge. Will manipulation affects the mind and will of another person, animal, or spirit. Demons are summoned to cause various afflictions on others “to drive them mad, to inflame them to love or hatred, to gain their favor, or to constrain them to do or not do some deed,” (Kieckhefer, 158). Illusions involve reanimation of the dead, food and entertainment, or conjuring a mode of transportation. Knowledge is discovered through demons. Demons provide information on various things including identifying a criminal, finding items, or revealing future events.

The act of performing medieval necromancy usually involved magic circles, conjurations, and sacrifices as shown in the Munich Handbook. Circles were usually traced on the ground, though cloth and parchment were sometimes implemented. Various objects, shapes, symbols, and letters may be drawn or placed within that represent a mixture of Christian and occult ideas. Circles were believed to empower and protect what was contained within, including protecting the necromancer from the conjured demons. Conjuration is the method of communicating with the demons to enter the physical world. It usually employs the power of special words and stances to call out the demons and often incorporated the use of Christian prayers or biblical verses. These conjurations may be repeated in succession or repeated to different directions until the summoning is complete. Sacrifice was the payment for summoning. Though it may involve the flesh of a human being or animal, it could sometimes be as simple as offering a certain object. Instructions for obtaining these items were usually specific. The time, location, and method of gathering items for sacrifice could also play an important role in the ritual. (Kieckhefer, 159-162)

The rare confessions of those accused of Necromancy suggest that there was a range of spell casting and the related magical experimentation. It is difficult to determine if these details were due to their practices, as opposed to the whims of their interrogators. John of Salisbury is one of the first examples related by Kieckhefer, but as a Parisian ecclesiastical court record of 1323 shows, a “group who were plotting to invoke the demon Berich from inside a circle made from strips of cat skin,” were obviously participating in the church’s definition of “necromancy.” (Kieckhefer, 191)

Norse mythology also contains examples of necromancy (Ruickbie, 2004:48), such as the scene in the Völuspá in which Odin summons a seeress from the dead to tell him of the future. In Grógaldr, the first part of Svipdagsmál, the hero Svipdag summons his dead Völva mother, Gróa, to cast spells for him. In Hrólf Kraki's saga, the half-elven princess Skuld was very skilled in witchcraft (seiðr), and this to the point that she was almost invincible in battle. When her warriors fell, she made them rise again to continue fighting.

Herbert Stanley Redgrove claims that necromancy was one of three chief branches of medieval ceremonial magic, the others being black magic and white magic. This does not correspond to contemporary classifications, which use nigromancy and black arts synonymously.

Dumb Supper

One of the most common places to find the custom of Dumb Suppers in America is deep in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. In a tape-recorded interview conducted in 1954, an old settler told of a Dumb Supper that was a rite of divination concerned with the future fate of young women in marriage:

"In a dumb supper, you're supposed to set it at the hour of midnight, and two girls has to go backwards and pick up everything they get and put it on the table, till they get nine different things on the table to eat, like pepper and salt and butter and taters, and just anything to make the nine things.

The rules for Dumb Suppers vary in some particulars but are generally summarized by Llewellyn's Witches' Calendar October 1998:

1. The Dumb Supper must be held in Sacred Space.
2. All table service, plates, napkins, glasses and tablecloth, should be black.
3. No one may speak from the moment they enter the feast room until they leave.
4. Only lamps or candles are used for lighting.
5. Each living guest should bring a prayer written on a small piece of paper and a divination tool.

Before the Supper begins, place a black votive candle on the plate of each empty chair and a white one on the Spirit plate at the head of the table. The head chair is the Spirit chair and is shrouded. Light each candle. Place your hands on the shrouded chair and ask for Spirit to be with you. Walk to each ancestor and touch their chair, explaining that the ritual is being done in their honor.

The host of the feast sits in the chair opposite the shrouded chair. As each guest enters the room they should go to the Spirit chair, touch it, then go to each of the ancestors chairs and place prayer under each plate or say a simple prayer silently. Take your seat, join hands and pray a wordless blessing of the meal and for all present. The host serves the empty chairs, beginning at the head of the table. Then the host serves the living guests from oldest to youngest.

After the feast is done and all have finished eating, all join hands, silently asking for the blessings of Spirit on the living and the dead. Now is the time to gather all the prayers left under the plates and burn them in the candle flame of that person’s candle, catching the ashes in a container. On the sign from the host, the guests leave the area, stopping by empty places or ancestral altar on their way out.

After the host thanks Spirit, the guests return to share any impressions they received during the feast. After the table is cleared, divination can be done. Allow the candles to burn until all have gone home, and then snuff each candle. Throw the candle ends and prayer ashes into a moving body of water or bury them off the property.

Ancestor Night or November Eve Ireland, Scotland. People visit elderly relatives, family, and friends and make food that was special to honored friends and relatives. Old ways of looking at things are abandoned. It is a time of self reflection .
Buadh: Divining: (pron. BOO-ah) Ireland, Scotland Divining games are performed on Halloween by some in order to see their fortune for the New Year. A black cat is good luck, a white cat is bad luck. Halloween symbols are poisonous herbs. Three luggies: bowls with handles like Druid lamps are filled, one with clean, one with dirty water, and one left empty. The man is blindfolded and turned three times. If his left hand touches clean water, he marries a maiden; dirty, a widow; empty dish, not at all. He tries until he gets the same result twice. The dishes are changed each time.

Valloo: Dumb Supper A meal eaten in silence to which the dead are invited. The dead are present as invisible entities. Doors and windows are left unlocked to let them in the house. soddag valloo: dumb cake. The Samhain ritual, preparation of the ceremonial food, etc. must be overseen by nine women On Bealtaine it is nine men. Girls are given a small piece of dough, mixed with any but spring water. They knead the dumb cake with their left thumbs, in silence. Before midnight they prick initials on them with a new pin, and put them by the fire to bake. At midnight each lover enters and lay his hand on the cake marked with his initials.

Having a dumb' supper is fairly easy. First, the meal must be prepared with the intent of honoring those family members who have died. Then, set the table with a few (or several) extra place settings. The head of the table should certainly be left open for the spirit of an important ancestor or family member. Here, the tradition varies. In some traditions, it is said to cover the head chair in a black cloth, others say that it should be the only open chair at the table. Even other traditions state that several settings should be placed and left open for the dead who wish to dine. When it is time for the meal, turn off all unnatural lighting and light candles.

In the places of the dead, specific candles can be lit (either black or white). Everyone should be aware that spirits are going to join the meal and make sure to fix those plates first. They are the honorees, after all. After a silent prayer of thanks, everyone should begin eating in silence. When the meal is done, the live guests should all silently thank the ancestors who appeared. While the plates of the living are removed from the table, those of the dead should remain until morning, so that they may eat their fill through out the night. Afterward, divination can be done and the spirits who have come to be with their family may be willing to help.

This is a simple dumb supper. Many different areas have their own traditions. In the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, this tradition is supposed to foretell the personality of the husband of the young, unmarried women in the house. The dead will arrive to much commotion from the animals in the yard, dogs barking furiously, cats yowling, and even the wild clucking of chickens. They will then gift each young woman with an object and it will tell them about their husband.

In rural West Virginia, a slightly different version of the same tradition appears. Passed down from generation to generation, this version dictates that the meal must be eaten backward, with dessert first and appetizers last. Also, each place setting would be opposite of what it is normally with the fork being on the left and knife and spoon on the right.

The tradition of the Dumb' Supper is predominantly observed by pagans of today, even though some families in rural mountain communities in the United States may also still participate. Essentially, it is a supper by the living, for the dead. It is, then, performed on the night that the veil between the world of the living and the dead is at its thinnest, Halloween. Its tradition dates back hundreds, if not thousands, of years and has only changed slightly from generation to generation and location to location.


REFERENCES

Kieckhefer, Richard. (1997). Forbidden Rites. Sutton Publishing.
____. (1989). Magic in the Middle Ages. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-78576-6
Kors & Peters (2001). Witchcraft in Europe 400-1700. Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0-8122-1751-9
Vulliaud, Paul. (1923). La Kabbale Juive : histoire et doctrine, 2 vols. Paris : Émile Nourry, 62 Rue des Écoles.

 

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Witches' Voice
The Witches' Voice offers the latest (updated daily) in news and networking for the Modern Witch, Wiccan and Pagan Community.--http://www.witchvox.com/


Salem Witch Trials
Eerie memorabilia associated with the trials, such as the "Witch Pins" used in the examination of witches and a small bottle supposed to contain the finger ... --http://www.salemweb.com/guide/witches.shtml


Witches' League for Public Awareness
Dedicated to correcting misinformation about Witches and Witchcraft. The work of the League springs from a shared vision of a world free from all religious ... http://www.celticcrow.com/


The Witches Secret
The Witches Secret is a place where witches can visit to gather almost everything a witch could want.--http://www.witches.com.au/


The Witches Way
The Witches Way is a large Witchcraft website dedicated to the old ways, witches, and pagans.--http://www.witchesway.net/


Witchcraft - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Practitioners of Neopagan witchcraft generally identify as "witches" regardless of ... Belief in witches of this sort has been common among most of the ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witchcraft


Witches Net. Welcome to the Witches Network.
directory of witches. ... Witches Jokes - Jokes about Witches. Witches Poetry - Famous and not-so-famous Witches Poems. Witchcraft-4u [EXTERNAL LINK] ... http://www.witches.net/


Central
Witchcraft Central is your first source about witchcraft, witches, hags and hexes, pacts, sabbats, grimoires and relationships with the Devil. http://witches.monstrous.com/


 

 

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The Monkey and The Cock is said to grant to it's Lucky owner three significant wishes over a three year period . Passed virtually unchanged in form, generation to generation, comes this strange,"Monkey and Cock" curio statue as Voodoo dolls

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Featuring 30 chilling stories of real-life zombie encounters, this comprehensive and unsettling study draws upon traditions found throughout the world to dispel common depictions of zombies as lurching, flesh-eating automatons made popular by countless movies and books. This fascinating collection includes the stories of the Devil Baby of Bourbon Street, a monstrous creature complete with horns and tail that still lurks in the shadows of the Big Easy; Black Mama Courteaux and the great zombie war, involving hundreds of zombie soldiers battling for the supremacy of their queen; and the swamp child of Mama Cree, who still roams the bayous of Louisiana. In addition to the stories, a variety of zombie-related facts are explored, including ceremonies and initiations, zombies throughout history, sacred zombie and voodoo-related sites, and zombies and monsters of the Bible.




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The 2010 Most Haunted State To Hunt Ghost In America
An Excerpt From The "Catholic Demonologist Handbook" by Kenneth Deel
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