Nightmares Spirits That Cause Nightmares


Nightmares Spirits That Cause Nightmares Cover NIGHT-MARES: SPIRITS THAT CAUSE NIGHTMARES

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Contents

Definitions.

A Charm to Control the Night-Mare (James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps,
England).

Nightmare Charm or Spell against the Mara (Biot Edmonston and Jessie M. E.
Saxby, Orkney Islands).

A Shetland Charm (Karl Blind, Shetland Islands).

The Alp (Johann August Ernst K"hler, Germany).

Vanlandi, King of Sweden, and Huld, the Witch Woman (The Ynglinga Saga of
Snorri Sturluson, Iceland).

Beliefs Concerning Alps and Mares (Karl Bartsch, Germany).

The Mirt (A. Kuhn and W. Schwartz, Germany).

Baku, Eater of Dreams (Japan).

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Definitions

The mare in nightmare is not a female horse, but a mara, an Anglo-Saxon and Old
Norse term for a spirit that sat on sleepers' chests, causing them to have bad
dreams.

Such a mare-induced bad dream is called a nightmare in English, a mareridt in
Danish, a couchmar in French, and an Alpdruck or Alptraum in German.

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A Charm to Control the Night-Mare

S. George, S. George, our ladies knight,
He walkt by daie, so did he by night.
Untill such time as he her found,
He hir beat and he hir bound,
Untill hir troth she to him plight,
She would not come to him that night.

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Nightmare Charm or Spell against the Mara

Pulling from my head the longest hair it possessed, and then going through the
pantomime of binding a refractory animal, the nurse slowly chanted this spell:
De man o' meicht
He rod a' neicht
We nedder swird
Nor faerd nor leicht,
He socht da mare,
He fand da mare,
He band da mare
Wi' his ain hair,
An' made her swear
By midder's meicht,
Dat sh" wad never bide a neicht
What he had rod, dat man o' meicht.

There are different versions of this incantation, and I [Mrs. Saxby] forget
which it was that the old nurse used on the occasion mentioned. Therefore I
have given the one which is most familiar to me.
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A Shetland Charm

Arthur Knight
He rade a' night,
Wi' open swird
An' candle light.
He sought da mare;
He fan' da mare;
He bund da mare
Wi' her ain hair.
And made da mare
Ta swear:
'At she should never
Bide a' night
Whar ever she heard
O' Arthur Knight.

THE ALP

The alp is a demonic being which presses upon sleeping people so that they
cannot utter a sound. These attacks are called Alpdracke (nightmares).

A girl told how the alp came to her through a keyhole. She was not able to call
for help. Later, she therefore asked her sister to call out her name in the
night, and then the alp would go back out through the keyhole.

In Zwickau they claim that the alp will go away if one invites him for coffee
the following morning.

It is also believed that the alp crushes animals to death. For example, if
young geese, are placed in a pig pen and then die it is said that the alp
crushed them to death. If rabbits die, and it appears that they have been
crushed, a broom is placed in their pen, which protects them against the alp.

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Vanlandi, King of Sweden, and Huld, the Witch Woman

Svegdir's son was named Vanlandi, and he took the kingdom after him and ruled
over the Wealth of Uppsala. He was a great warrior and went far over the land.
He had stayed one winter in Finland with Sn> the Old, and there married his
daughter Driva. In the spring he went away, whilst Driva stayed behind, and he
promised to come back after three winters, but he came not for ten winters.

Then Driva had Huld the witch woman called to her, and sent Visbur, hers and
Vanlandi's son, to Sweden. Driva paid Huld the witch woman to draw Vanlandi to
Finland with sorcery or else to kill him. When the spell was being furthered,
Vanlandi was in Uppsala, and he had a longing to go to Finland, but his friends
and advisers forbade him, and said that it certainly was Finnish witchcraft
which caused his wanderlust. Then he became sleepy and said that the Mare was
treading on him. His men sprang up and would help him, but when they came to
his head she trod on his feet, so that they were nigh broken; then they resorted
to the feet, but then she smothered the head, so that he died there. The Swedes
took his body and burned it near a river which was called Skuta; there was his
standing-stone set up. Thus says Tjodolv:

But on the way
To Vili's brother
Evil wights
Bore Vanlandi;
Then there trod
The troll-wise
Sorceress
On the warrior lord.
And there was burned
On the Skuta bank
That generous man
Whom the Mare killed.

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Beliefs Concerning Alps and Mares

It is believed that by stopping up the keyhole, placing one's shoes with the
toes facing the door, and then getting into bed backwards one can protect
oneself against nightmares or "Mortriden." [mare rides].

Further, one can put something made from steel, for example an old pair of
scissors, in one's bed straw.

A person suffering from nightmares should urinate into a clean, new bottle, hang
the bottle in the sun for three days, carry it -- without saying a word -- to a
running stream, and then throw it over one's head into the stream.

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The Mirt

The name most often found in northern Germany ends with a pronounced "t," and
can be grammatically either masculine or feminine. The compound "nightmirt" is
also very common. The forms "mir" (masculine) and "mire" (feminine) also exist.
The designation "alp" is recognized as well.

All of these names are used to designate the spirit being that sits upon a
sleeping person's chest, thus depriving him of motion and speech. The
approaching being sounds like the gnawing of a mouse or the quiet creeping of a
cat. The m†rt can be captured by grasping it with an inherited glove or by
closing up all of the room's openings as soon as the sleeping person begins to
groan.

Mirt-pressure (also called a mirt-ride) can be prevented by crossing one's arms
and legs before falling asleep.

In the Oldenburg district, in Saterland, and in East Friesland, the alp is
called "wirid–Črske" or "w„rid–Črske."

In the vicinity of Wendisch-Buchholz the same being is called the "Murraue." The
fear that it causes the sleeping person does not cease until it gets light in
the room.

Some pine trees have twigs that grow together in curls until they look almost
like nests. During a rain storm, one must be careful to not stand beneath such
a twig, because if rain drops fall on a person from such a nest, the murraue
will surely sit on him during the night.

A person whose eyebrows grow together is called a murraue.

A murraue can be either a man or a woman, but only a person born on Sunday. If
they are pressing against you, you should say that you want to give them
something, then they will come the next day to get it. Braunsdorf near
Forstenwald.

The murraue creeps up a sleeping person's body from below. First you feel her
weight on your feet, next on your stomach, and finally on your chest, and then
you cannot move a muscle. However, if you think that you know who she is, you
must call her by name as soon as you perceive her, and she will have to retreat.
Teupitz.

If a mirt is pressing against you, and you presume that it is an acquaintance,
you need only call him by name, and he will have to appear in his physical form.
Once a m†rt was pressing against a man. He called out the name of his beloved,
and in an instant she was standing before him. From Elm.

It helps to prevent being ridden by a nightmirt when in the evening one places
one's shoes next to the bed with the toes pointing outward. Varneitze near
Winsen on the Aller.

If there are seven boys or seven girls in one family, then one of them will be a
night-mare, but will know nothing about it. Moorhausmoor.

On the island of Baltrum the male mare is called "wilroder" and the female mare
is called "rittmeije."

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Baku, Eater of Dreams

In Japan, among Superstitious people, evil dreams are believed to be the result
of evil spirits, and the Supernatural creature called Baku is known as Eater of
Dreams.

The Baku, like so many mythological beings, is a curious mingling of various
animals. It has the face of a lion, the body of a horse, the tail of a cow, the
forelock of a rhinoceros, and the feet of a tiger.

Several evil dreams are mentioned in an old Japanese book, such as two snakes
twined together, a fox with the voice of a man, blood-stained garments, a
talking rice-pot, and so on.

When a Japanese peasant awakens from an evil nightmare, he cries: "Devour, O
Baku! devour my evil dream." At one time pictures of the Baku were hung up in
Japanese houses and its name written upon pillows. It was believed that if the
Baku could be induced to eat a horrible dream, the creature had the power to
change it into good fortune
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