Needless to say. I have owned this book since I was in my teens. I've glanced through it from time to time and the book has travelled with me throughout the many house moves I've made. Recently and finally; while unpacking, after this last move. I decided it was time to read the entire work.
So happy I did. Because by page 80 I had my theme for my latest short story... Hill 60 Road. (You'll find it in the anthology)
As I move through the novel reading about different cultures and what people from and before the Middle Ages believed in. I came across a confronting and disturbing superstition in the books section HUMAN BEINGS WALLED UP ALIVE. An abhorrent practice that spread for centuries across a vast number of countries. As the pages unfold, my mind conjured accounts and visions about all those old buildings scattered throughout Europe, and what secrets their walls would reveal if one looked beneath the bricks and mortar. Needless to say, I won't be looking at another bridge or castle in the same way. I'll be wondering who is immurred in the foundations.
So, here, I'd like to share a little morsel of what I found... And I'm quoting directly from the author: Pages 79-80.
"At Holsworthy, North Devon, the parish church was restored in 1845. On taking down the south-west angle-wall a skeleton was found imbedded in the stone and mortar. There was every appearance of the body having been buried alive, and hurriedly. A mass of mortar was over the mouth, and the stones were heaped and huddled about the corpse; the rest of the wall had been build properly."
The parish church??? Burying a person alive so that the foundations would hold? W`th...*
There are many other stories about immurring living persons into foundations. Nevertheless, my modern mind couldn't help being astounded that the church; even back then, would also practice such a superstition. Thank goodness we have evolved.
As the author confesses, facts gathered in his time. (after doing extensive research), Claims the practice of burying a person alive into the foundations of any new building guaranteed its foundations would hold. And the fact, that this practice continued right into the late 1500s. To say the least. I am more than astonished, that parents sold their children to be immured alive.
As I move through the novel, THE EVIL EYE. I am more than fascinated about superstitions and what persons will do when they believe in the current and accepted collective consciousness. And as my analytical mind absorbs the information. I am then lead to assume; we are all, even now, in our super modern times, completely under the effects of brainwashing. What controls our thoughts? Our environment, or our accepted anthology of repetitive current events? We believe we are in control... but are we? History certainly affirms the collective. Back then, it appears, people had fear of displeasing deities and the devil. This created the strangest superstitions and belief systems. However, as I continue to read, I must take a step back and be sympathetic... How can I judge such an abhorrent practice just because I was born in the twentieth century? I come from an Italian heritage. And Italians are extremely superstitious. So, as an innocent, in childhood. My parents indoctrinated a fare share of superstitions. And shamefully, I must admit. I still don't want to walk under a ladder, or break a mirror.
My dad used to say... "Be careful how you speak, for an Angel may be passing, and might hear you."
Superstition was constantly and repeatedly drummed into my mind by well meaning parents. Did this have and affect on how I view the world? Do I really believe, the unknown can, and will, have a detrimental effect on my life? Should I deviate, or disbelieve what I was taught as a child? Will knowledge and learning alleviate the hold childhood conditioning schooled? Are those ignorant ancestors just like me? Indoctrinated by their time restricted belief system.
The answers to these questions will always remain with each individual. Nevertheless, I am resolved.... It doesn't matter. My superstitions are inconsequential. Yes, I have been brainwashed to believe there is a force more powerful than I can imagine. And there is a dark place in the universe my mind knows nothing about. These thoughts then lead me to the incredible belief; superstition came from somewhere. The unexplained isn't just restricted to time and ignorance. And anyway. We all love the unknown. The horror that lies in the darkness... I know I do...
I haven't finished reading the novel, and I'm hoping by the end, some of my questions will be answered. However, it's highly unlikely.
Fact is Stranger than fiction. The Evil Eye has surely proven that....
Thanks for reading...
Enjoy your day x