Weekend Compendium: 20 February 2016 brings you the week’s posts: the Witch of Leadville, eye-lash history, the ghost of a living woman, a discontented and destructive daemon, as well as creepy crawlies in hair and jungle.
Remove Your Hoops: Lightning Freaks There were a number of superstitions about lightning: it was bad luck to burn wood from a lightning-struck tree, oak trees were more likely to be struck than beech, a toothpick from a tree struck by lightning would cure toothache. And certain things would “draw” lightning: Milk in a pail, moist hay, bayonets, a warm horse, an umbrella or fishing rod–and ladies’ hoop skirts.
Hoodoos through History: Crossed eyes, lilacs, and man-killer engines Black cats, the number thirteen, broken mirrors–these were all objects of ill-omen in the past. But a hoodoo could be any one of a seemingly endless list of persons, places of things including clocks, mummies, ships, and trains. Let us grasp our rabbits’ feet and four-leaf clovers firmly and venture into the world of hoodoos of the past.
The Plague Shawl The history of disease is filled with cases of contagion spread by textiles. Was the 1878-79 Russian Plague caused by an infected shawl? Could a smallpox survive a year in the folds of a shawl, then kill?
Chignon Satire: Victorian Hairpiece Humor (part 2) We have previously looked at the hair-raising horrors of the parasitic “gregarines” in fashionable ladies’ chignons and waterfalls. Today let us comb through the archives for chignon satire. As with any extreme fashion, these appendages were the subject of much coiffure comedy.