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Norway's Demon Wall

Atlas Obscura reveals the existence of a strange wall in Norway called The Demon Wall. Read this to understand its history:

The demons are tiny, and legion. Scowling, tongue-flicking devils, no bigger than a thumbnail, and strange animals pile together in a tangle of dog legs and rabbit ears, each smaller than the next. The lines of the painting are so fine that the tiniest figures seem to pull the viewer into an infinite Satanic menagerie.

The story of how the demonveggen, or demon wall, came to be is as strange and disturbing as the mural itself. It’s a tale of scandal, fraud, and possible madness that begins with Gerhard Gotaas, one of Norway’s leading conservators of the mid-20th century. His work preserving and restoring medieval church art was wide-ranging and respected. But in 1940, when he entered a small village church in Sauherad to restore centuries-old artwork, he saw demons. Researchers determined earlier this year that, instead of reviving a 17th-century painting, Gotaas actually spent two years creating a monstrous mural from his own imagination. That revelation is just part of the story, however. Scant and contradictory clues only deepen the mystery of what might have possessed him to create the hellish image.

“We couldn’t believe it. We were shocked by how much he really did,” says Susanne Kaun, a conservator at the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage (NIKU). Kaun undertook the demon wall investigation with her colleague, art historian Elisabeth Andersen. Through archival research and scientific analysis of the mural itself, the team discovered not only that Gotaas invented the demons, but also that he destroyed all remnants of the original art, painted more than 300 years earlier. “That’s really the most shocking thing, from a conservator point of view,” says Kaun. “He found something there that was old, and he painted over that. He changed what he found. He has to have known what he did.”


Obsidian ‘Spirit Mirror’ Used by Elizabeth I’s Court Astrologer Has Aztec Origins

This from the Smithsonian Magazine -

An obsidian “spirit mirror” used by John Dee, an advisor to England’s Elizabeth I, traces its origins to Aztec culture, a new study published in the journal Antiquity suggests.

A Renaissance polymath whose interests ranged from astronomy to astrology, alchemy and math, Dee advised the queen from the start of her reign in 1558 to the 1570s. As court astrologer and scientific advisor, he advocated for overseas exploration and the establishment of colonies.

“Later he became involved in divination and the occult, seeking to talk to angels through the use of scryers (those who divine the future), who used artifacts—like mirrors and crystals,” the study’s lead author, University of Manchester archaeologist Stuart Campbell, tells Ashley Strickland of CNN.

Today, the British Museum owns the mirror, which is on display in London alongside two similar circular obsidian mirrors and a rectangular obsidian slab that may be a portable altar, reports Tom Metcalfe for National Geographic. Researchers had previously suspected that the artifacts originated with the Aztecs, and the new study confirms this chemically.

Read the full article here.


Nicolas Cage's Pyramid Tomb

Another fascinating article from Atlas Obscura -


Wellness Practices - Curanderismo

Curanderismo

Centuries after the Spanish colonization of Latin America, this form of folk healing emerged as a combination of the traditional healing practices of Aztec, Maya and Inca people, and foreign Catholic rites. Called curanderismo, it derives its name from the Spanish verb curar, or “cure,” and has served as an antidote to illnesses that were often believed to be punishment meted out by displeased gods. Practitioners are referred to as curanderos and they are active even now, offering herbs, prayers and massages to followers across Central and South America, the U.S. and beyond.

This from OZY.


The Dybbuk Box

GhostsDybbuks are thought to be malevolent spirits that haunt the bodies of the living and make them crazy. For some this is a total superstition but for others .... who knows? Using this fear in some people, some entrepreneur created what he called "A Dybbuk Box" ostensibly holding the aura of one of these spirits. And there begins the tale .......

 

Finally, the truth behind the 'haunted' Dybbuk Box can be revealed
By Charles Moss for Input

In Jewish folklore, a “dybbuk” is a trouble-making spirit that possesses the living. An old cabinet that came to be known as the Dybbuk Box was bought by Kevin Mannis in 2001. Eventually, the “cursed cabinet” spooked more than a few people and sparked the inspiration for a Hollywood film. Charles Moss has the old cabinet’s origin story, from the man who sold it on eBay in 2003.

Here is more from an article in Input Magazine