Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/303

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


Obeah in the West Indies. 293

Obeah," as the paper describes Hayti, "he must have become an adept in the ' black art,' and have been allowed access to the arcana, from which he copied with his own hand into the book found on him on the day of his capture the gruesome and ludicrous receipts, the perusal of which excites horror or hilarity." (I may say, however, that no evidence of the existence of this book appeared in the reprint of the evidence except the reference to it made by St. Hill.) So it was then that Montoute was enabled to " work upon the cupidity of his old chum St. Luce Leon, and on the credulity which he discovered in Edgar St. Hill, both staunch believers in and, in a small way, practisers of obeah, to join him in a grand coup which was to secure them the means of power and wealth beyond the dreams of avarice."

The author of a little brochure on " Obeah," which pre- ceded the reprint of the evidence, in commenting upon the trial makes a distinct and very interesting reference to this book, and says that " when Montoute Edmond was arrested at Monchy there was found in a blue bag which he carried about with him a book in which were copied in a good hand a great many formulce for attaining certain advantages or for bringing harm. The receipts, or formulae, were in many instances disgusting, in all ridiculous, but in every instance drawn up in fairly correct French. Among these is the formula of La Main de Gtoire, which would seem to be the one which the Monchy murderers undertook to work out.

"'Take the hand of one who has been hanged (or strangled), dry in the sun in the dog-days (August, September, October), or, if the sun should not be hot enough to dry thoroughly and quickly, dry the hand in an oven. When thoroughly dry sprinkle the hand with salt and a number of other ingredients (which are stated), and wrap it in a piece of coffin-pall. Then make a taper of virgin wax, and anoint it with various fantastic oils and fats. Fix the taper between the fingers of the dried hand. The light of