Warding off the Evil Eye

According to R.C. Maclagan's Evil Eye in the Western Highlands (Nutt, London 19 02) the Evil Eye superstition was widespread in the area well into the late 1800s. Possibly it still lingers in the Western Highlands of Scotland. The simplest way of telling who had the Evil Eye (the 'diagnostic mark') was to look out for persons with different coloured eyes but as he says 'all the parti-coloured eyes in Scotland would not account for a tenth part of the results accredited to evil eyes.' Atrtractive children were particularly prone and various dress codes are suggested to ward it off:


A woman of twenty-eight, whose information is quite
reliable, the daughter of a respectable man in one
of the inner islands, remembers when young people
talked a great deal about these things, and many were
very much afraid of them. "The idea was that it
was always the best and prettiest of beast or body
that was most liable to be injured by a bad eye.
(My) youngest brother was awfully pretty when a child.
They used to have him dressed in a red frock and
white pinny, and with his fair skin, fair curly hair,
and red cheeks, he was the nicest-looking child in
all the place. Many a time, when my father would
take him out, the neighbours would be warning him
to take good care lest some one might do the child
harm, and some would advise my father to go in and
take the frock and pinny off him, so that he might not
draw one's attention so much."

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Found in A.E. Waite's Occult Sciences (1891) between Belomancy and Capnomancy (divination by smoke) this method of detecting witches and sorcerers and also using a Bible for prediction etc., Belomancy, by the way, is divination by arrows...

Occasionally the forms of divination exceeded the bounds of superstition, and passed into the region of frantic madness. There was a short way the sorcerers which was probably the most potent discoverer of witchcraft which any ingenuity could devise. A large Bible was deposited on one side of a pair of weighing scales. The person suspected of magical practices was set on the opposite side. If he outweighed the Bible he was innocent; in the other case, he was held guilty. In the days of this mystical weighing and measuring, the scales may be truly said to have fallen from the eyes of a bewizarded generation, and to have revealed " sorcery and enchantment everywhere."

Bibliomancy, however, included a more harmless practice, and one of an exceedingly simple character. This was the opening of the Bible with a golden pin, and drawing an omen from the first passage which presented itself. Books like the Scriptures, the "Following of Christ," and similar works, abound in suggestive and pertinent passages which all men may apply to temporal affairs, but declares that he had recourse to it in all cases of spiritual difficulty. The appeal to chance is, however, essentially superstitious.