As a nation state, Italy has emerged only in 1871. Until then the country was politically divided into a large number of independant cities, provinces and islands. The currently available evidences point out to a dominant Etruscan, Greek and Roman cultural influence on today's Italians.
The topic is inexact: the witches (= streghe) in the past , they were not to Campobasso but to Benevento town. the ignoring persons called witches and they burnt .... Perhaps, in truth, they were annoying persons for someone....
Peter, i have E-mailed you last week. Could you please send me any information that you can on San Polo Matese. I have family in San Polo, so i would like to know a little bit more about the town itself.
Hi everyone interesting topic. Both my greatgrandmothers were from the Avellino area, Pietradefusi and Montemilleto. One of them (I forget which one) was referred to a the white witch. Supposedly she used to "cast spells on people" , she also used alot of herbs to help people with illness. Seems some were afraid of her. When she came to America she still "practiced" (for lack of another word) Was this a common belief back in the 1850's?
Donna, the practice and belief is still common NOW. In the Italian communities, there were many folks who, while DEVOUT in their faith, performed "benedicaria". Others were "jettature", and could give / remove "il mal'occhio".
The benevento connection was made, yes, by Leland. Some other stories cite Campobasso, and still others from way up further North, and some even to Iritrea. My interest is in the Campobassani.
Of course the practice and belief still exists. You can only learn the "gift" to remove il mal'occhio on Christmas Eve, or from a person who could pass it on to you while on their death bed. I knew someone who could only teach it on a day in August as well as the other two days.
I paid my great aunt a visit this Christmas Eve and asked her about it (she still believes in it as do several people I met in Italy).
It was an interesting discussion and although she "gave me this gift" on that visit I don't know if I fully understand it.
Nuccia, you are lucky. My grandmother will not even discuss it with me. When her mother tried to pass her this "gift" (as the youngest girl of thirteen children) she flatly refused saying that the mal'occhio must be stopped. I only found out about this by accident as we have become closer since my mother's death. She stares me down whenever I bring it up and tells me to just put up something red and hope for an "overpass". I don't even know what that means!
As a native of Newark, NJ, I have a hard time thinking that anyone would dismiss "il mal'occhio" out-of-hand. In my experince, in Essex County NJ, even "i midigani" use the word. I can be reached for further by e-mail. PM me and I'll send it to you.
Thanks again, Nuccia.
By the way, Rev, my grandmother is Sicilian. I never said she dismissed it - she's scared of it! She doesn't want to perpetuate the practice of giving or removing because she thinks it should stop. She thinks that when you mess with the evil eye it comes back to you.
This is very interesting. I have decide to do some research and this is what I have discovered:
The Malocchio is an affliction known to almost all peoples. It is believe to be responsible for much human misery and suffering. Almost every Old World culture believes in the Evil Eye. Many people still believe in it and its effect on their lives. The Evil Eye is spoken of in The Bible in Mark 7:14-23 and is called one of the evils that comes from within and defiles a man. The basic cause for the Evil Eye is mentioned in The Bible, also. The cause is envy. Supposedly, a person can cast the Malocchio subconsciously without even knowing it. But the outcome is the same; misery and harm to an innocent person.
The most frequent symptoms of Malocchio are headaches, tearing eyes, general axhaustion and depression. Serious Malocchio can cause miscarriages, accidents, and even death.
On a positive note, Malocchio is not hard tocure. Firstly, one must remove the negative spiritual energy from the afflicted person. Secondly, the person is blessed and the negative energy is replaced with Holy energy.
Pour an 8oz glass of Holy Water into a small bowl and over it repeat an Apostle's Creed, An Act of Contrition, the Our Father, three Hail Marys and a Glory Be. Threpeat verses 1-10 of Psalm 7, three times. After the prayers rinse the hands of the cursed person ine Holy Water and pour the water otde front door of the home. This will break the bad intention. Now, go about your life and forget about it.
A Home Altar
You will need a place to set up an altar. A tabl a chest of draws or a bureau will do nicely.
The altar should be set properly. You could set down a nice white cloth or linen. You will need some candle holders; small brass ones bought at the five and dime are fine. Try to get small ones so that your altar isn't too cluttered. An ideal altar setup is pictured below: