1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Evil Magic
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The object of “black” magic is to inflict injury, disease, or death on an enemy, and the various methods employed illustrate the general principles dealt with above and emphasize the conclusion that magic is not simply a matter of sympathetic rites, but involves a conception of magical force.
(a) It has been mentioned that contagious magic makes use of portions of a person’s body; the Cherokee magician follows his victim till he spits on the ground; collecting the spittle mingled with dust on the end of a stick, the magician puts it into a tube made of a poisonous plant together with seven earth worms, beaten into a paste, and splinters of a tree blasted by lightning; the whole is buried with seven yellow stones at the foot of a tree struck by lightning, and a fire is built over the spot; the magician fasts till the ceremony is over. Probably the worms are supposed to feed on the victim’s soul, which is said to become “blue” when the charm works; the yellow stones are the emblem of trouble, and lightning-struck trees are reputed powerful in magic. If the charm does not work, the victim survives the critical seven days, and the magician and his employer are themselves in danger, for a charm gone wrong returns upon the head of him who sent it forth.
(b) In homoeopathic magic the victim is represented by an image or other object. In the Malay Peninsula the magician makes an image like a corpse, a footstep long. “If you want to cause sickness, you pierce the eye and blindness results; or you pierce the waist and the stomach gets sick. If you want to cause death, you transfix the head with a palm twig; then you enshroud the image as you would a corpse and you pray over it as if you were praying over the dead; then you bury it in the middle of the path which leads to the place of the person whom you wish to charm, so that he may step over it.” Sometimes the wizard repeats a form of words signifying that not he but the Archangel Gabriel is burying the victim; sometimes he exclaims, “It is not wax I slay but the liver, heart and spleen of So-and-so.” Finally, the image is buried in front of the victim’s doors.
(c) Very widespread is the idea that a magician can influence his victim by charming a bone, stick or other object, and then projecting the magical influence from it. It is perhaps the commonest form of evil magic in Australia; in the Arunta tribe a man desirous of using one of these pointing sticks or bones goes away by himself into the bush, puts the bone on the ground and crouches over it, muttering a charm: “May your heart be rent asunder.” After a time he brings the irna back to the camp and hides it; then one evening after dark he takes it and creeps near enough to see the features of his victim; he stoops down with the irna in his hand and repeatedly jerks it over his shoulder, muttering cures all the time. The evil magic, arungquiltha, is said to go straight to the victim, who sickens and dies without apparent cause, unless some medicine-man can discover what is wrong and save him by removing the evil magic. The irna is concealed after the ceremony, for the magician would at once be killed if it were known that he had used it.
(d) Magicians are often said to be able to assume animal form or to have an animal familiar. They are said to suck the victim’s blood or send a messenger to do so; sometimes they are said to steal his soul, thus causing sickness and eventually death. These beliefs bring the magician into close relation with the werwolf (see Lycanthropy).