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The Mysteries of All Nations Rise and Progress of Superstition, Laws Against and Trials of Witches, Ancient and Modern Delusions Together With Strange Customs, Fables, and Tales   By:

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THE MYSTERIES OF ALL NATIONS:

RISE AND PROGRESS OF SUPERSTITION, LAWS AGAINST AND TRIALS OF WITCHES, ANCIENT AND MODERN DELUSIONS,

TOGETHER WITH

Strange Customs, Fables, and Tales

RELATING TO

MYTHOLOGY DAYS AND WEEKS MIRACLES POETS AND SUPERSTITION MONARCHS, PRIESTS, AND PHILOSOPHERS DRUIDS DEMONOLOGY MAGIC AND ASTROLOGY DIVINATION SIGNS, OMENS, AND WARNINGS AMULETS AND CHARMS TRIALS BY ORDEAL CURSES AND EVIL WISHES DREAMS AND VISIONS SUPERSTITION IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.

BY JAMES GRANT.

LEITH: REID & SON, 35 SHORE. EDINBURGH: W. PATERSON. LONDON: SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, AND CO.

[THE RIGHT OF TRANSLATION IS RESERVED.]

REID AND SON, PRINTERS, LEITH.

PREFACE.

In whatever light this work may be regarded by arch├Žologists and general readers, the writer submits it to the public, chiefly as the result of antiquarian research, and actual observation during a period of nearly forty years. The writer does not attempt to define what superstition is, either in its broadest or most literal sense; but, as he desires the expression to be understood, it may be considered to imply a fear of the Evil One and his emissaries, a trust in benign spirits and saints, a faith in occult science, and a belief that a conjunction of certain planets or other inanimate bodies is capable of producing supernatural effects, either beneficial or prejudicial to man. Superstition, generally so called, has run through a course of ages from sire to son, leaving it still deeply rooted in the minds of many of the present generation.

Not a few seeming repetitions in this work are not such in reality, but are instances brought forward to mark the resemblance between the opinions prevalent in past and present times, and to illustrate the similarity of perverted views in various parts of the world.

The examples of superstition herein given are taken from an almost unlimited number, yet the writer confesses to have omitted many interesting particulars. In proof of this it may be stated, that while the last sheet of these pages was being revised, an esteemed friend wrote, saying: "I can quite corroborate what you say of Ireland; for lately, on my way from Macroom to Glengariff, at a weird mountain pass, the coach stopped to enable us to visit the hermitage of St. Finbar. There, beside a lonely lake, I saw a number of devotees, afflicted with various ailments, expecting to be healed through the good offices of the departed saint."

In spite of a determination to omit unimportant matter and to be concise, this volume has swelled out far beyond what was originally intended. The more the subject of superstition is studied, the more interesting it becomes. One judges of a nation's strength by its victories, of its industry by its products, of its wealth by its mines and cultivated fields, of its domestic condition by its diet and dress, of its moral condition by its laws, of its religion and intelligence by its literature; but before obtaining full knowledge of a people's convictions, it is necessary to search into their superstitions. In these are discovered the secrets of man's inner life, and by these also have been forged strong fetters, which have kept his soul in thraldom for ages.

If the author has succeeded in pointing out, that, notwithstanding the progress of science and the advancement of civilisation and Christianity, some of the darker shadows that have disfigured past ages are still floating over a portion of our social horizon, he feels his labour will not have been altogether in vain. Like many of the ghosts alluded to in the following pages, that of superstition needs only the continued light of day to shine upon it, in order to make it vanish for ever.

January 1880.

CONTENTS.

THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF SUPERSTITION.

CHAPTER I. PAGE Rise and Progress of Superstition The Serpent Cain's Departure from the true Worship Worship of the Sun, Moon, and Stars Strange Story of Abraham The Gods of Antiquity Ether, Air, Land, and Water filled with living Souls Guardian Angel Cause of the Flood Magic How the Jews deceived the Devil A Witch not permitted to live Diviners, Enchanters, Consulters with familiar Spirits, and Necromancers proved a Snare to Nations Charms worn by the Jews Singular Customs and Belief Prognostication Allegorical Emblems Marriage Customs Ceremonies at Death and Burials Divination among all Nations Observers of Times Opinion concerning the Celestial Bodies Power of Witches Wizards Necromancers' Power to call up the Dead 1

CHAPTER II... Continue reading book >>




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