Home eBooks Index eBooks by Author Glossary Search eBooks

The Clyde Mystery

The following is from The Clyde Mystery by Andrew Lang:

XXII--Survival of Magic of Stones

If "incongruous with the earlier Scottish civilisation" the use of "charm stones" is not incongruous with the British civilisation of the nineteenth century.

In the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries (Scot.) (1902-1903, p. 166 et seq.) Mr. Graham Callander, already cited, devotes a very careful essay to such perforated stones, circular or triangular, or otherwise shaped, found in the Garioch. They are of slate, or "heather stone," and of various shapes and sizes. Their original purpose is unknown. The perforation, or cup not perforated, is sometimes in the centre, in a few cases in "near the end."  Mr. Graham Callander heard of a recent old lady in Roxburghshire, who kept one of these stones, of irregularly circular shape, behind the door for luck. {88} "It was always spoken of as a charm," though its ancient maker may have intended it for some prosaic practical use.

I take the next example that comes to hand.

"Thin flat oolite stones, having a natural perforation, are found in abundance on the Yorkshire coast. They are termed "witch stones," and are tied to door keys, or suspended by a string behind the cottage door, "to keep witches out." {89} "A thin flat perforated witch stone," answers to an uninscribed Arunta churinga; "a magic thing," and its use survives in Britain, as in Yorkshire and Roxburghshire. We know no limit to the persistence of survival of superstitious things, such as magic stones. This is the familiar lesson of Anthropology and of Folk Lore, and few will now deny the truth of the lesson.

XXIII--Modern Survival of Magical Wood Churinga - Footnotes


Copyright Scotland from the Roadside 2019