Folk Lore - Superstitious Beliefs in the West of Scotland within This Century
by James Napier
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The Professor writes very positively as to Beltane day being the second day of May, not the first day as is supposed. The Royal Charter granted to the Burgh of Peebles for holding a fair or market on Beltane day, is given in the Burgh Records of Peebles, p. 85:—"As also of holding, using, enjoying, and exercising within the foresaid Burgh weekly market days according to the use and custom of the said Burgh, together with three fairs, thrice in the year, the first thereof beginning yearly upon the third day of May, called Beltane day, the same to be held and continued for the space of forty-eight hours thereafter." The date of the Charter is 1621, but it is evident that the third of May had been previously kept as Beltane day. The Professor is also mistaken in stating that the Beltane fair of Peebles was to be kept for eight days. The third fair, held in August, continued eight days, but the fairs in May and June were kept for two days according to the Charter. That there were two days known as Beltane at the beginning of last century is evident from a book of Scotch proverbs published in 1721 by James Kelly, A.M., in which occurs the following,—

"You have skill of man and beast, Ye was born between the Beltans."

In all probability the discrepancy as to the day originated through the Church substituting a Christian festival for a heathen one; and although the date was changed, yet through force of custom the name of the old festival was retained, and in localities where the power of the Church was comparatively weak, the older, the original day for the festival would probably be kept as well as the newly appointed Church festival. This view of the matter is rendered probable from the fact that the Church did institute a great festival, to be held on the third of May, to commemorate the finding of the cross of Christ. The legend is as follows:—When the Empress Helena was at Jerusalem about the end of the third century, she discovered the cross on which Christ was crucified, and had it conveyed to the great church built by Constantine her son. This cross was exhibited yearly to the people, and many miracles were wrought by it. A festival, as I have said, was instituted in commemoration of the discovery, and this was held on the third of May, and was called Rood or rude day. Churches were built and dedicated to the Holy Rood, among which was that which is now Holyrood Palace. Where the Church was powerful, as in Edinburgh and Peebles, Rood day would be the important festival, and Beltane would gradually become incorporated with it, the names Beltane day and Rood day becoming synonymous. Thus we may account for Edinburgh and Peebles keeping Beltane on the third day of May, while in Perth and other northern counties where the Church influence was weaker, the festival would be kept according to the older custom on the first of May.

In Druidical times the people allowed their fires to go out on Beltane eve, and on Beltane day the priests met on a hill dedicated to the Sun, and obtained fire from heaven. When the fire was obtained, sacrifices were offered, and the people danced round the fire with shoutings till the sacrifices were consumed; after which they received portions of the sacred fire with which to rekindle their hearths for another twelve months. Besides mountains, there were evidently other localities where sacrifices and the ritual of Sun-worship were observed, and which received appropriate names in accordance with their character as sacred places. Some of these names still survive, as for instance:—

Ard-an-teine—The light of the fire.

Craig-an-teine—The rock of the fire.

Auch-an-teine—The field of the fire.

Tillie-bet-teine—The knoll of the fire; and so through a great many other names of places we find traces of the Baal and fire worship. So widespread and numerous are the names which recall this ritual, that we can see quite clearly that the spirit of their religion thoroughly dominated the people. In Ireland, at Beltane, the Pagan Kings are said to have convoked the people for State purposes. The last of these heathen kings convoked a grand assembly of the nation to meet with him on Tara, at the feast of Beltane, which the old chroniclers say was the principal feast of the year.

Respecting this feast, Dr. Jamieson says, introducing a quotation from O'Brien, "Ignis Bei Dei Aseatica ea lineheil, or May-day, so called from large fires which the Druids were used to light on the summits of the highest hills, into which they drove four-footed beasts, using certain ceremonies to expiate for the sins of the people. The Pagan ceremony of lighting these fires in honour of the Asiatic god Belus gave its name to the entire month of May, which to this day is called Me-na-bealtine, in the Irish, Dor Keating." He says again, speaking of these fires of Baal, that the cattle were driven through them and not sacrificed, the chief design being to avert contagious disorders from them for the year. And quoting from an ancient glossary, O'Brien says, "The Druids lighted two solemn fires every year, and drove all four-footed beasts through them, in order to preserve them from contagious distempers during the current year." I am inclined to think that these notices describe a sort of modified or Christianized Beltane, that driving the cattle through the fire was a substitute for the older form of sacrificing cattle to the sun. Until very lately in different parts of Ireland, it was the common practice to kindle fires in milking yards on the first day of May, and then men, women, and children leaped through them, and the cattle were driven through in order to avert evil influences. They were also in the habit of quenching their fires on the last day of April, and rekindling them on the first day of May. In certain localities in Perthshire, so lately as 1810, (I have referred to this before), the inhabitants collected and kindled a fire by friction, and through the fire thus kindled they drove their cattle in order to protect them against disease, and at the same time they held a feast of rejoicing.

As already mentioned, the Romans held several festivals at the beginning of summer, and many of their observances on these occasions were introduced into this country, and became incorporated with the Beltane practices. For example, the Romans held a festival in honour of Pales, the goddess of flocks and sheepfolds. The feast was termed Palilia. Lempriere states that some of the ceremonies accompanying the feast consisted in "burning heaps of straw, and in leaping over them; no sacrifices were offered, but purifications were made with the smoke of horse's blood, and with the ashes of a calf that had been taken from the belly of its mother after it had been sacrificed, and with the ashes of beans; the purification of the flocks was also made with the smoke of sulphur, also of the olive, the pine, the laurel, and rosemary. Offerings of mild cheese, boiled wine, and cakes of millet were afterwards made. Some call this festival Palilia, because the sacrifices were offered to the divinity for the fecundity of their flocks." There was also a large cake prepared for Pales, and a prayer was addressed to the divinity by shepherds, as thus given by Dr. Jamieson:—

"O let me propitious find, And to the shepherd and his sheep be kind; Far from my flocks drive noxious things away, And let my flocks in wholesome pastures stray. May I, at night, my morning's number take, Nor mourn a theft the prowling wolf may make. May all my rams the ewes with vigour press, To give my flocks a yearly due increase."

The Romans held another festival in honour of the goddess Flora. It began on the 28th April, and lasted three days. The people wore garlands of flowers, and carried them about with branches of newly-budded trees. There was much licentiousness connected with this feast.

Reference has already been made to another Roman festival which was celebrated early in May. This was called the Lamuralia, and its purport was to propitiate the favour of the ghosts or spirits of their ancestors. I am of opinion that the English May feasts are a survival of the Floralia, and, as kept during the middle ages, were not free from some of the indecencies of the Floralia. In my remembrance, the first of May, in the country west of Glasgow, was honoured by decking the houses with tree branches and flowers. Horses were also similarly decked. The Church did not attempt to abolish these heathen festivals, but endeavoured to dominate them, and substitute for legends of heathen origin connected with them legends of Church origin. In this they partly succeeded. The following account of the Beltane festival, as it was kept in some districts in Perthshire at the close of last century, taken from the statistical accounts of certain parishes, will shew how persistent these ancient customs were, and also how some other festivals latterly became amalgamated and identified with Beltane:—

"In the Parish of Callander, upon the first day of May," says the minister of the parish, "all the boys in the town or hamlet meet on the moors. They cut a table on the green sod, of a round shape, to hold the whole company. They kindle a fire, and dress a repast of eggs and milk in the consistence of a custard. They knead a cake of oatmeal, which is baked at the fire upon a stone. After the custard is eaten up, they divide the cake into as many portions, and as similar as possible, as there are persons in the company. They blacken one of these portions with charcoal until it is perfectly black. They put all the bits of cake into a bonnet. Every one blindfolded draws a portion—he who holds the bonnet is entitled to the last. Who draws the black bit is the devoted person to be sacrificed to Baal, whose favour they mean to implore in rendering the year productive of substance for man and beast. There is little doubt of these human sacrifices being once offered in the country, but the youth who has got the black bit must leap through the flame of the fire three times." I have myself conversed with old men who, when boys, were present at, and took part in these observances; and they told me that in their grandfathers' time it was the men who practised these rites, but as they were generally accompanied with much drinking and riot, the clergy set their faces against the customs, and subjected the parties observing them to church discipline, so that in course of time the practices became merely the frolic of boys.

In the Parish of Logierait, Beltane is celebrated by the shepherds and cowherds in the following manner. They assemble in the fields and dress a dinner of milk and eggs. This dish they eat with a sort of cake baked for the occasion, having small lumps or nipples raised all over its surface. These knobs are not eaten, but broken off, and given as offerings to the different supposed powers or influences that protect or destroy their flocks, to the one as a thank-offering, to the other as a peace-offering.

Mr. Pennant, in his Tour through Scotland, thus describes the Beltane observances as they were observed at the end of last century. "The herds of every village hold their Beltane (a rural sacrifice.) They cut a square trench in the ground, leaving the turf in the middle. On that they make a fire of wood, on which they dress a large caudle of eggs, oatmeal, butter, and milk, and bring besides these plenty of beer and whiskey. Each of the company must contribute something towards the feast. The rites begin by pouring a little of the caudle upon the ground, by way of a libation. Every one then takes a cake of oatmeal, on which are raised nine square knobs, each dedicated to some particular being who is supposed to preserve their herds, or to some animal the destroyer of them. Each person then turns his face to the fire, breaks off a knob, and, flinging it over his shoulder, says—'This I give to thee,' naming the being whom he thanks, 'preserver of my sheep,' &c.; or to the destroyer, 'This I give to thee, (O fox or eagle),' spare my lambs,' &c. When this ceremony is over they all dine on the caudle."

The shepherds in Perthshire still hold a festival on the 1st of May, but the practices at it are now much modified.

As may readily be surmised, there were a great many superstitious beliefs connected with Beltane, some of which still survive, and tend to maintain its existence. Dew collected on the morning of the first day of May is supposed to confer witch power on the gatherer, and give protection against an evil eye. To be seen in a field at day-break that morning, rendered the person seen an object of fear. A story is told of a farmer who, on the first of May discovered two old women in one of his fields, drawing a hair rope along the grass. On being seen, they fled. The farmer secured the rope, took it home with him, and hung it in the byre. When the cows were milked every spare dish about the farm-house was filled with milk, and yet the udders remained full. The farmer being alarmed, consigned the rope to the fire, and then the milk ceased to flow.

It was believed that first of May dew preserved the skin from wrinkles and freckles, and gave a glow of youth. To this belief Ferguson refers in the following lines:—

"On May day in a fairy ring, We've seen them round St. Anthon's spring, Frae grass the caller dew to wring, To wet their een; And water clear as crystal spring, To synd them clean."


To sun worshippers no season would be better calculated to excite devotional feelings towards the great luminary than the period when he attained the zenith of his strength. It is probable, therefore, that as his movements must have been closely observed, and his various phases regarded by the people, in the language of Scripture, "for signs and for seasons, for days and for years," that the turning points in the sun's yearly course, the solstices, would naturally become periods of worship. That the Summer solstice was an important religious period is rendered probable from the following curious observation concerning Stonehenge, which appeared in the Notes and Queries portion of the Scotsman newspaper for July 31, 1875. The Scotsman's correspondent states that "a party of Americans went on midsummer morning this year to see the sun rise upon Stonehenge. They found crowds of people assembled. Stonehenge," continues the writer, "may roughly be described as comprising seven-eighths of a circle, from the open ends of which there runs eastward an avenue having upright stones on either side. At some distance beyond this avenue, but in a direct line with its centre, stands one solitary stone in a sloping position; in front of which, but at a considerable distance, is an eminence or hill. The point of observation chosen by the excursion party was the stone table or altar near the head of, and within the circle, directly looking down. The morning was unfavourable, but, fortunately, just as the sun was beginning to appear over the top of the hill, the mist disappeared, and then, for a few moments, the onlookers stood amazed at the spectacle presented to their view. While it lasted, the sun, like an immense ball, appeared actually to rest on the isolated stone of which mention has been made. Now, in this," says a writer in the New Quarterly Magazine for January, 1876, commenting upon the statement of the Scotsman's correspondent, "we find strong proof that Stonehenge was really a mighty almanack in stone; doubtless also a temple of the sun, erected by a race which has long perished without intelligible record."

I think it is not a very fanciful supposition to suppose, from the still existing names of places in this country bearing reference to sun-worship, that there were other places than Stonehenge which were used as stone almanacks "for signs and for seasons," and also for temples. Grenach in Perthshire, meaning Field of the Sun, where there is a large stone circle, may have been such a place; and Grian-chnox, now Greenock, meaning Knoll of the Sun, may have originally marked the place where the sun's rising became visible at a certain period of the year, from a stone circle in the neighbourhood. As far as I have been able to discover, there remains to us little trace of the manner in which the midsummer feast was kept in this country in prehistoric times, but so far as traces do remain, they appear to indicate that it was celebrated much after the same manner as the Scottish Celts are said to have celebrated Beltane. Indeed, the Celtic Irish hold their Beilteme feast on the 21st June, and their fires are kindled on the tops of hills, and each member of a family is, in order to secure good luck, obliged to pass through the fire. On this occasion also, a feast is held. A similar practice was common in West Cornwall at midsummer. Fires were kindled, and the people danced round them, and leaped singly through the flames to ensure good luck and protection against witchcraft. The following passage occurs in Traditions and Hearthside Stories of West Cornwall, by William Bottreill, 1873:—"Many years ago, on Midsummer eve, when it became dusk, very old people in the west country would hobble away to some high ground whence they obtained a view of the most prominent high hill, such as Bartinney-Chapel, Cambrae, Sancras Bickan, Castle-au-dinas, Cam-Gulver, St. Agnes-Bickan, and many other beacon hills far away to the north and east which vied with each other in their midsummer night blaze. They counted the fires, and drew a presage from the number of them. There are now but few bonfires to be seen on the western heights; yet we have observed that Tregonan, Godolphin, and Carnwath hills, with others far away towards Redruth, still retain their Baal fires. We would gladly go many miles to see the weird-looking, yet picturesque dancers around the flames, on a cairn or high hill top, as we have seen them some forty years ago." The ancient Egyptians had their midsummer feasts, as also had the Greeks and Romans. During these festivals, we are told that the people, headed by the priests, walked in procession, carrying flowers and other emblems of the season in honour of their gods. Such processions were continued during the early years of the Christian Church, and the Christian priests in their vestments went into the fields to ask a blessing on the agricultural produce of the year. Towards the beginning of the twelfth century the Church introduced the Feast of God, and fixed the 19th June for its celebration. The eucharistic elements were declared to be the actual presence of God, and this, the consecrated Host or God himself was carried through the open streets by a procession of priests, the people turning out to do it honour, kneeling and worshipping as it passed. This feast of God may have absorbed some of the ancient midsummer practices, but the Feast of St. John's Day, which is held upon the 24th June, has in its customs a greater similarity to the ancient sun feast. On the eve of St. John's day, people went to the woods and brought home branches of trees, which they fixed over their doorways. Towards night of St. John's Day, bonfires were kindled, and round them the people danced with frantic mirth, and men and boys leaped through the flames. Leaping through the flames is a common practice at these survivals of sun festivals, and although done now, partly for luck and partly for sport, there can be little doubt but that originally human sacrifices were then offered to the sun god.

There was quite a host of curious superstitions connected with this midsummer feast, especially in Ireland and Germany, and many of these were similar to those connected with the feast of Hallowe'en in Scotland. In Ireland, in olden times, it was believed that the souls of people left their sleeping bodies, and visited the place where death would ultimately overtake them; and there were many who, in consequence, would not sleep, but sat up all night. People also went out on St. John's eve to gather certain plants which were held as sacred, such as the rose, the trifoil, St. John's wort, and vervain, the possession of which gave them influence over evil. To catch the seed of the fern as it fell to the ground on St. John's eve, exactly at twelve o'clock, was believed to confer upon the persons who caught it the power of rendering themselves invisible at will.

In my opinion, the great prehistoric midsummer festival to the sun god has diverged into the two Church feasts, Eucharist and St. John's day; but St. John's day has absorbed the greater share of old customs and superstitious ideas, and so numerous are they that the most meagre description of them would yield matter for an hour's reading.


The northern nations, like the Hebrews, began their day in the evening. Thus we have Yule Eve, and Hallow Eve (Hallowe'en), the evenings preceding the respective feasts. The name Hallowe'en is of Christian origin, but the origin of the feast itself is hidden in ancient mythology. The Celtic name for the autumn festival was Sham-in, meaning Baal's Fire. The Irish Celts called it Sainhain, or Sainfuin; Sain, summer, and Fuin, end,—i.e., the end of summer. The Hebrews and Phoenicians called this festival Baal-Shewin, a name signifying the principle of order. The feast day in Britain and Ireland is the first of November. The Druids are said on this day to have sacrificed horses to the sun, as a thank-offering for the harvest. An Irish king, who reigned 400 A.D., commanded sacrifices to be made to a moon idol, which was worshipped by the people on the evening of Sain-hain. Sacrifices were also offered on this night to the spirits of the dead, who were believed to have liberty at this season to visit their old earthly haunts and their friends,—a belief this, which was entertained by many ancient nations, and was the origin of many of the curious superstitious customs still extant in this country on Hallowe'en. Dr. Smith, commenting in Jamieson's Dictionary on the solemnities of Beltane, says, "The other of these solemnities was held upon Hallow Eve, which in Gaelic still retains the name of Sham-in,—this word signifying the Fire of Peace, or the time of kindling the fire for maintaining peace. It was at this season that the Druids usually met in the most central places of every country to adjust every dispute and decide every controversy. On that occasion, all the fires in the country were extinguished on the preceding evening, in order to be supplied next day by a portion of the holy fire which was kindled and consecrated by the Druids. Of this, no person who had infringed the peace, or become obnoxious by any breach of law, or guilty of any failure in duty, was to have share, till he had first made all the reparation and submission which the Druids required of him. Whoever did not, with the most implicit obedience, agree to this, had the sentence of excommunication passed against him, which was more dreaded than death; none being allowed to give him house or fire, or shew him the least office of humanity, under the penalty of incurring the same sentence." The ancient Romans held a great and popular festival at the end of February, called the Ferralia. At this season, they visited the graves of their departed friends, and offered sacrifices and oblations to the spirits of the dead; they believed that the spirits of the departed, both the good and the bad, were released on that particular night, and that, if they were not propitiated, these spirits would haunt throughout the coming year their undutiful living relatives. In all probability, though the time of celebration is different, these Roman ceremonies and the Hallowe'en ceremonies in this country had a common origin. In the year 610, the Bishop of Rome ordained that the heathen Pantheon should be converted into a Christian church, and dedicated to all the martyrs; and a festival was instituted to commemorate the event. This was held on the first of May, and continued to be held on this day till 834, when the time of celebration was altered to the first of November, and it was then called All Hallow, from a Saxon word, Haligan, meaning to keep holy. This change was doubtless made in order to supply a Christian substitute for some heathen festival—in all probability the festival of Sham-in, which, as we have seen, was an old Druidical feast. Some time after this alteration in the time of holding the feast in honour of the martyrs, in 993, another festival was instituted for the purpose of offering prayers for the souls of those in purgatory, and this feast was kept on the second of November, and was called All Souls. The following legend was either invented as a plausible reason for instituting this additional feast, or the legend, being previously well known and accepted as truth, was really the bona fide reason for the institution:—"A pilgrim, returning from the Holy Land, was compelled by storm to land upon a rocky island, where he found a hermit, who told him that among the cliffs of the island was an opening into the infernal regions, through which huge flames ascended, and where the groans of the tormented were distinctly audible. The pilgrim, on his return, told the Abbot of Clugny of this, and the Abbot appointed the second day of November to be set apart for the benefit of souls in purgatory, which was to be kept by prayers and almsgiving." It is easy to perceive that, while in the festival of Hallowe'en we have the survival of the old Druidical festival of thank-offering to the sun-god for the ingathering of the fruits of the earth, we have also in these two festivals of All Saints and All Souls the survival of the ancient Ferralia, or festival to the dead, when offerings were made to both good and bad spirits, to prevent them haunting the living; and thus we can account for the prevalence of the numerous superstitions concerning ghosts and evil spirits connected with the festival of Hallowe'en. That these Church feasts were regarded as the substitute for the Ferralia of Pagan Rome is verified by Father Meagan in his work on The Mass. We quote from Jamieson:—"Such was the devotion of the heathen on this day by offering sacrifices for the souls in purgatory, by praying at the graves, and performing processions round the churchyards with lighted tapers, that they called the month the month of pardons, indulgences, and absolutions for souls in purgatory; or, as Plutarch calls it, the purifying month, or season of purification, because the living and dead were supposed to be purged and purified on these occasions from their sins by sacrifices, flagellations, and other works of mortification." Plutarch, I think, must have referred to the month of February as the purifying month. Father Meagan has not referred to the change of date made by the Church. Doubtless the Christian Church, in instituting these festivals, intended, by divesting them of their heathen basis, to christianise the people; but, like Naaman of old, the worshippers, while they worshipped in the buildings in conformity with the regulations of their new teachers, yet retained many of their old Pagan beliefs and ceremonies, and even their teachers were not thoroughly de-Paganised,—and so the old and new commingled and crystallized together.

In all the four festivals we have been considering, there survive relics of fire-worship, and through all there runs a similarity of observance and belief; but the special practices are not everywhere joined to the same festival in all localities. In this part of the country, the special observances connected with Hallowe'en were, in other parts of the country, observed in connection with the summer festival. Now, however, we are glad to say, these superstitious ceremonies and beliefs in their old gross forms are fast passing away, or have become so modified that we can scarcely recognise their relations to the old fire-worship.

In 1860, I was residing near the head of Loch Tay during the season of the Hallowe'en feast. For several days before Hallowe'en, boys and youths collected wood and conveyed it to the most prominent places on the hill sides in their neighbourhood. Some of the heaps were as large as a corn-stack or hay-rick. After dark on Hallowe'en, these heaps were kindled, and for several hours both sides of Loch Tay were illuminated as far as the eye could see. I was told by old men that at the beginning of this century men as well as boys took part in getting up the bonfires, and that, when the fire was ablaze, all joined hands and danced round the fire, and made a great noise; but that, as these gatherings generally ended in drunkenness and rough and dangerous fun, the ministers set their faces against the observance, and were seconded in their efforts by the more intelligent and well-behaved in the community; and so the practice was discontinued by adults and relegated to school boys. In the statistical account of the parish of Callander, the same practice is referred to. It is stated that "When the bonfire was consumed, the ashes of the fire were carefully collected in the form of a circle, and a stone put in near the circumference for every person in the several families concerned in getting up the fire; and whatever stone is moved out its place or injured before next morning, the person represented by the stone is devoted or fey, and is supposed not to live twelve months from that day." In all probability this devoted person was in olden times offered as a sacrifice to the fire god on the great day of sacrifice, which was the festival day. The belief that the spirits of the dead were free to roam about on that night is still held by many in this country. Indeed, where the forms of the feast have all but disappeared, the superstitious auguries connected with it survive. Burns particularises very fully the formulae of Hallowe'en, as practised in Ayrshire in his day, and as this poem is well known, it would be superfluous to follow it in detail here; but I cannot refrain from drawing attention to the suggestions which one of the practices which he mentions affords in favour of the supposition that it is a relic of an ancient form of appeal to the fire god—I refer to the practice of burning nuts. It seems likely that in ancient times the priests, who claimed prophetic power through the reading of auguries, used this method of deciding the future at this particular season of the year, and chiefly during the holding of the feast.

Although I have confined my remarks to the four feasts, Yule, Beltane, Midsummer, and Hallowe'en, because they are the oldest and most properly national, there were a number of other heathen feasts, emanating principally from Roman practice, which the Church converted into Christian feasts, notably what is now called Candlemass. On the second day of February, the Romans perambulated their city with torches and candles burning in honour of Februa; and the Greeks at this same period held their feast of lights in honour of Ceres. Pope Innocent explains the origin of this feast of Candlemass. He states that "The heathens dedicated this month to the infernal gods. At its beginning Pluto stole away Proserpine, and her mother Ceres sought for her in the night with lighted torches. In the beginning of this month the idolaters walked about the city with lighted candles, and as some of the holy fathers could not extirpate such a custom, they ordained that Christians should carry about candles in honour of the Virgin Mary." This method of keeping the feast of Candlemass does not now prevail in this country; so far as the laity are concerned, the festival may be said to have died out, but according to Dr. Brewer, the festival is kept by the Roman Catholic Church as the time for consecrating the candles used in the Church service.

Formerly there were other public festivals, as Lammas, Michaelmass, &c., which the Church had substituted for heathen feasts which have ceased to be public festivals, and I trust we may indulge the hope that the time is not far distant when, instead of all such festive relics of heathenism, the Church and people will substitute one daily festival of obedience to the honour of the founder of Christianity, viz., the festival of a righteous life.



Acts of Assembly against keeping Popular Festivals, 155 Acts of Sessions against keeping Yule, 155 Ague, A Cure for, 95 All Hallow's Festival, its Origin, 177 Animals in People's Stomachs, 103 Anthropomorphism, 5 Appendix, 143 Appointment of 25th December for Christmas, 152 Apple, The, Superstitions concerning, 122 Aspen, Superstitions connected with, the 124 Ash, Superstitions connected with, the 124 Astoreth, The, of the Jews, 10 Augustine's, St., or Austin's Mission, 152 Auguries connected with Funerals, 64 Aytoun on Fairyland, 21

Baal, Name of Sun-God, 10, 161 Babies Carried off by Fairies, 34, 40 Babies to be taken up a Stair first time taken out, 31 Bannocks at Yule and New-Year's Day, 160 Baptism, Early Practices at, 31 Baptismal Water, 140 Bedding at Weddings, 53 Beetles, Superstitions connected with, 116 Beilteine, Baal's Fire, 161 Belief in Fairies in this Country, 27 in Ghosts Visiting People, 176 in Witchcraft still Survives, 68 Beltane, 161 Customs in Ireland, 166 Festival in Perthshire, 168 Day, First of May, 162 Held in some Counties on 3rd May, 162 Birds Flying over a Person's Head, 114 Black Art, The, 75 Blessing the Candles to be Used in Church, 181 Bonfires at Hallowe'en, 179 Bonny Kilmeny, 22 Booths in connection with Temples, 153 Bottreill's Hearth Stories of West Cornwall, 173 Boutree, or Bourtree, Defence against Evil-Eye, 126 Breaking Looking-Glass on the Wall, 137 Bride's Cake, Practices connected with, 51 Bull of Innocent VIII. against making Compacts with the Devil, 17

Candlemas, Relation of, to Festival of Februa, 181 Casting of Calf by Cows Prevented, 84 Cats Dying in the House not Lucky, 117 Caul, Child's, its Influence, 32 Celtic Irish hold Beltane at Midsummer, 172 Celtic Names of Places indicate Sun-Worship, 149 Ceremonies on St. John's Day, 174 Changing of Babies by Fairies, 46 Charms and Counter Charms, 79 for Curing Diseases, 91, 93 Child Rowland in Elfland, 26 Children Cutting Teeth, 137 Cholera, its First Visit to this Country, 14 National Fast for, Refused, 15 Christianity consistent with Nature, 16 Christian Creeds not always consistent with Nature, 16 Christmas Fixed to be kept on the 25th December, 152 Church's, The, Enactments against Devil's Devices, 27 Church, The, Punishing Deviation from her Creed, 17 Clover, Four-Leaved, its Influence, 130 Coal Explosions, Prognostics concerning, 138 Cock Crowing with his Head to the Door, 114 Cold Tremour, foreboding Death, 138 Coral Beads, their Influence, 36 Cornwall, Beltane Fires in Midsummer, 172 Cows, Restive, foreboding Evil, 136 Cricket in the House, 114 Cure for an Evil Eye, 36 Cutting the Nails of Young Children, 139

Deaf and Dumb possessing Second Sight, 72 Death Warnings, 56 Defending the Bride against Evil Influences, 51, 54 Deid Bell, 66 Deification of Stars, 145 Devil conferring Supernatural Power, 28 Making Compacts with the, 77 Dew-Collecting on First May, 170 Different Nations modifying Customs, 151 Dirgy, or Dredgy, after Funerals, 63 Disease Transferred to the Lower Animals, 92, 96 Divining by Bible and Key, 106 by Cups, 110 by a Staff, 108 Double Ears of Corn, 139 Dousing Rod to find Springs or Mineral Veins, 109 Dress put on Wrong Side Out, 137 Druids, 147 Druidism in Ireland, 150 Druidical Customs at Beltane, 164 Duties of New-Married Wife in Old Times, 55

Ear Tingling, 137 Ecclesiastical Influence Leading to Wrong Ideas of God, 6 Eclipses Portending Evil, 141 Eggs Laid upon Good Friday, 114 Elder, or Bourtree, The, 125 English Opinions of Yule Feasts in Scotland, 156 Evil Eye, Influence of, 30, 35, 37 Exorcising Ghosts, 11 Extracts from Presbytery Records on Witchcraft, 67

Fairy Legend, A, 119 Fairies, What They Are, 26 Fairies, Brownies, and Elfs, by Rev. Mr. Kirk, 19 Fairyland, its Government, 21 Family Feasts at New-Year, 161 Fascinating Children Prevented, 139 Fasting Spittle, 98 Feast of God, 173 Feasts to Evil Spirits, 12 Ferralia Festival like Hallowe'en, 176 Ferns, Common, its Seed, 128 Festivals of Druids at Winter Solstice, 153 Fire, the Earthly Symbol of the Sun, 10 Fire-Worship in Scotland in 1810, 84 Fires Kindled on Mountains at Midsummer, 173 First of May Customs, 167 First-Footing at Yule, 156 First-Foot to Present a Gift, 160 Flora, Goddess, her Feast at Beltane, 167 Floralia, or First of May Observances, 167 Foot Itching, Sign of, 137 Formula for Exorcising Ghosts, 11 Forks, their First Use and Effects of, 15 Four-Leaved Clover, 130 Funeral Customs, 63 Old, in Highlands, 65

Guardian Angels, 59 Gems, their Significance, 102 Glamour, 132 Giants and Dwarfs of Middle Ages, 19 Girl's Petticoat Longer than Frock, Omen of, 137 Goat, Beliefs concerning, 119 Goodman's Croft, 140 Golden Rose, 129 Gods of the Babylonians, B.C. 2000, 7 Greeks in Classical Times, 8 God, Different Ideas concerning, 5 Haco Fixing 25th December for holding Christmas, 154 Hades, 11 Hallowe'en Practices, 175 Hallowe'en Practices in Perthshire, 180 Hand over Hand Divining, 110 Hand Itching, its Meaning, 137 Hansel Monday, 155 Hare Crossing Road, Seeing a, 117 Hazel, The, 125 Hen, A, Crowing like a Cock, 113 Herring-Fishing on Sabbath, its Consequences, 142 Hogmanay, 154 Hooping-Cough, Cure for the, 95 Holly, The, 123 Holy Fire, 176 Holyrood, Origin of, 163 Horse Shoe, Protection from Witchcraft, 139 Horse, A, Neighing Towards a House, 114 Human Hair in Birds' Nests, 114 Hydrophobia, How to Prevent, 101

Influence of Charms, 89 Influence of May Dew, 170 Influences, The Evil, Communicated by Dress, 39 Initial Letters of Man and Wife's Name, 138 Intermixing of Heathen with Christian Practices, 18 Intercourse held with Infernal Fiends, 17 Isabella Goudie's Confessions, 22 Itching of the Nose, 136

Jamieson, Dr. on Pales' Customs, 167

Killing Spiders, 115 Kirk, Rev. Mr., on the Nature of Fairies, 20 Knife Presented as a Gift, 138

Ladybirds, 116 Lammas Festival, 181 Lamuralia, an Ancient Festival, 167 Lee Penny, The, 95 Legend of Burd Ellen, 22 Legend of Purgatory, 177 Lily, The, 130 Like Wakes: and reasons for keeping them, 61 Love Charms, 89 Luck for new dress, How to procure, 137 Lucky Animals, 120 Lucky People to meet first, 32 as First Foot, 160

Making Effigies to Torment People, 77 Mandrake, its Influence, 90 Marriage Customs Sixty Years Ago, 46 Party meeting a Funeral, 51 Marrying in May, 43 Merlin the Wizard, 23 Metals made under certain Constellations, 93 Michaelmas, 181 Midfinger free from Canker, 99 Midsummer Feast among the Ancients, 173 Festivals in this Country, 170 Milk Bewitched, 81 Milking the Tether, 75 Mistletoe Gathering, 150 its Influence, 124 Modern Superstitions, 34 Money given to Poor at Funerals, 64 Moon Worship, 98 a Female Deity, 10 Murders discovered by Bleeding of Corpse, 85 Murrain in Cattle Prevented, 84 Mutes have Supernatural Gifts, 72

Names of Places connected with Fire Worship, 164 with Sun Worship, 172 Natural Phenomena ascribed to Divinities, 9 New Year's Day, an Ancient Roman Festival, 151 Observances, 159 Festival, 154 New Moon, Prognostics, 98 New Zealand Divining, 108

Oak, a Sacred Tree, 131 Oaths to Satan, 88 O'Brien on Beltane, 165 Observances at Loch Tay on Hallowe'en, 178 at Yule, 156 Odd Numbers Lucky, 109 Old Religions mixing with Christianity, 179 Omens connected with Bees, 115 with Magpies, 115 Onion, a Disinfectant, 127 Origin of Hallowe'en, 177 of All Souls, 177 Overturning Chair on Leaving Table, 138

Pales, Goddess of Flocks, 166 Palilia, Ancient Festival, 166 Pennant's Account of Beltane in the Highlands, 169 People Selling themselves to the Devil, 27 Person first met in the Morning, 136 Peruvian Ancient Sun Worship, 146 Phoenicians in Britain 1000 B.C., 148 Photographs not Lucky, 142 Place at Dinner, 138 Plants Gathered on St. John's Eve, 174 Plough first seen in Season, 136 Portends for Good or Evil, 136 Prayers Unanswered, Cause not Sought, 14 said Backwards, 134 Prayers to the Gods, 13 Precious Stones: their Virtue, 102 Preparations made for Yule, 156 Priests, their Office and Power, 9 Professor Veitch on Beltane, 162 Providence—General and Special, 18 Purgatory, Proof for, 172

Recovering Stolen Babies, 40 Red Colour a Charm, 80 Relics in Curing Diseases, 102 Repeal of Law against Witchcraft, 68 Ringing Bells at Funerals, 66 Robin Redbreast, 111 Rocking an Empty Cradle, 137 Rood Day Changed to Beltane, 162 Roman Festivals in Spring, 166 Marriage Customs, 45 Rose, an Emblem of Silence, 129 Running the Broose, 49 Rowan Tree Protection against Witchcraft, 79

Sacred Fire Practice this Century, 83 Salamander, The, 118 Salt: its Influence, 33 to Spill: its Significance, 139 Scissors Presented as a Gift, 138 Scoreing aboon the Breath, 38 Second Sight, 71 Session: Acts against keeping Yule, 155 Seventh Son a Doctor, 90 Sheep Prevented Casting their Lambs, 84 Sham-in, Ancient Feast of Druids, 175 Shepherds keeping Beltane in Perthshire, 169 Sin Eaters, 60 Speaking Aloud to One's Self, 138 Spell to make a Fire Kindle, 135 Spider, A Legend concerning, 115 Spittle Confirming Bargain, 100 Spittle, Customs connected with, 100 Social Habits of Elfland, 26 Sorcerers, 108 Souls of the Departed, 11 Sooth Sayers, 10 Sow to Meet in the Morning, 120 St. Augustus, 152 St. John's Day Festival, 174 St. John's Wort: a Talisman, 128 Stealing Children and Youths by Fairies, 21 Star Gazers, 10 Stonehenge, 171 Strangers on the Grate, 140 Stye, Cause of, 96 Stye, Cure for, 97 Suicides, Superstition relating to, 85 Sun Worship in Ancient Times, 146 Sun, Primary God of the Ancient, 9 Survival of Sun Worship, 145 Superstitious Rites with a Corpse, 60 Superstition, Meaning of, 2 Swallows, Omens connected with, 112 Sympathetic Cures, 91

Thank-offering for Answer to Prayer, 13 Theory of Curing by Charms, 91 Touching for Disease, 91 Touching of a Corpse to Prevent Dreaming of it, 63 Twin Nuts in One Shell, 136

Visions, Seeing, 72 Visit to Stonehenge on Midsummer, 171

Warts, Cure for, 97 Weighing Children Unlucky, 137 Willow, The, 125 White Butterfly, 115 Wishes Fulfilled, 87 Wishes against Self: an Oath Fulfilled, 88 Withershins, 133 Witches, A, Account of Fairyland, 22 Witches Changing their Shape, 70 Wizards, 10 Wodrow's Opinion on Murdered Corpse Bleeding, 85 Woman Carried away by Fairies in Arran, 29 Wraiths, 58 Written Charms, 91

Yellow Hammer, The, 112 Yule: its Meaning, 149 Yule converted into Christmas, 154 Yule Observances Transferred to New Year's Day, 157


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