D 10 February 2010     H 14:57     A terrificator     C 0 messages

Feb.-10, 2010 - The public opinion defines sorcery as a sum of magic arts performed in the aim of commanding events according to the will of one fellow. The witch or sorcer is thus that one who claims having magic capacities and use them not for universal knowledge like the wizard but generally for producing negative effects against people.

Everyone keeps in memory some records of a story coming from the ages which tells us about some terrible witch curses. A witch or a terrible wizard has emitted a curse on somebody... a country farm.. a complete region... As a result, the people, the cattle, the fiels resulted unfertile. Usually, the responsible was pointed by the angry rabble: often a recluse male or female, old, a shepherd far away from the village. And the poor people designed to the popular anger was burned at stake for cancelling the curse.

This is for history and superstitions, from now on comes a more rational explanation.

Mid-February in France, in the French mounts of Vosges, near the village of Thann, has surged a troubling report. It is the story of an Alsatian woman, Mrs. Singer, whose arable lands and cattle seem to be victim of a witch curse. During 20 years, 850 sheep died, the fields became unfertile, the mother of Mrs. Singer died after drinking the source water, flowers disappeared and trees did not give fruits any more… the ground became unfertile… and the farm as well its inhabitants were considered cursed. At least, the enigma was resolved in February 2010, by a scientist in toxicology: the curse was in fact a poisoning by copper. Copper oxide was put voluntarily at the top of the source on a great area so that people and animals of the farm below, die slowly but surely. As a result, victims are susceptible of Cu toxicity (poisoning). A complaint has been deposited by Mrs. Singer. (This report has been related by the french media France Info).

Copper poisoning was common in Europe in the Middle Age. Because it is a slow poisoning occuring on a long period it was rather undetectable at those times and remains today so. Copper may be the oldest metal in human use with artifacts dating to 8700 BC. It was well known in alchemy. Copper has a number of important functions in the human body and its unbalance cause serious troubles of wealth but its excess too. The problem usually occurs when there is too much of it in the soft tissues of the body with Cu poisoning resulting from taking small amounts of copper daily, as in cooked or pickled articles, for a length of time. From its excess result a toxicity to humans, including carcinogenicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity, acute toxicity and toxic pollution for aquatic organisms.

Sheep are unic in that they accumulate copper in the liver more rapidly than other farm animals. Still today, science needs animals to make a diagnosis about copper because it’s only when in the case sheeps die in great number that copper toxicity may be suspected, requiring then a veterinarian or a laboratory for identifiying the sources of copper.

As a conclusion, we may say that the recurring image, implemented in our memories, of the witch hurling a curse is a total error. The person designed to the rabble (generally an old shepherd, uggly, illetrate, solitary) was rather an intelligent man or woman, having simply a different sense in apprehending the world. Superstitions about witches come simply from the fight and misunderstanding of two forms of intelligence: the solar one against the antic lunar one. And indeed, considering the lack of medecine in the Middle Age, living old and far away from a village, was rather a sign of intelligence because the people living closed to animals as sheeps and nature developped early a natural and instinctive understanding of their surrounding, on the contrary of the humans living grouped in the village, sensible to illness propagation but filling secure because protected behind city walls.

And so, superstitions about the curse of the witch is no more consistent: the pleage about unfertility simply explained by copper poisoning.

Also in this section


7 September 2023 – WITCHCRAFT RITUAL


12 March 2022 – WITCHCRAFT

11 March 2022 – THE BLAIR WITCH