Sunday, 12 February 2012

Curses in Literature 2: 'The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral'

'Hello! My name is Buffy. Ask me about curses.'

- Buffy the Vampire Slayer,  episode 1, Season 6

Welcome to Buddha's Black Dog, my blog on curses and spells: for what it's about  (and my other blogs) see

Buddha's Black Dog is  organised thematically, and older posts will be linked to  after each post.

M R James - author of many classic ghost stories - has a rather good curse  in  'The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral'.

When I grew in the Wood
I was water'd wth Blood
Now in the Church I stand
Who that touches me with his Hand
If a Bloody hand he bear
I councell him to be ware
Lest he be fetcht away
Whether by night or day,
But chiefly when the wind blows high
In a night of February.
This I drempt, 26 Febr. AD 1699. John Austin.

The curse is found in an old carving in the church. The reference to 'water'd with blood' indicates that the tree from which the carving was made was a site of sacrifice - probably human as well as animal.

The complete text of this rather disturbing story can be found here.

See also


Ancient Curses 1: the Curse of Akkad

Ancient Curses 2: Otzi the Ice Man

Ancient Curses  3: Egyptian Curses
Ancient Curses 4: a professional's counter-spell

Curses and Music 1: The 27 Curse and Amy Winehouse

Curses in Literature 1: the Jackdaw of Rheims;postID=8036703344964600731

Curses that Worked 1: the Curse of Shakespeare's Tomb

Proverbial Curses 1
Theatre Curses 1: Macbeth
Historical Curses 1: the Monition of Cursing Against the Border Reivers

My other blogs are

A Glasgow Album - a photoblog drifting in a melancholy manner around the city

and photographs of dogs tied up outside shops and other places (not too melancholy)

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