Ship’s cats have been sailing the seven seas alongside humans for centuries. They were not usually taken along as pets or tourists, but performed an essential role controlling vermin. Rodents managed to find their way on to most types of ships and cats being a natural enemy were taken along to reduce their number.
The exhibition “Spellbound: Magic, Ritual & Witchcraft” at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford examines the history of magic over eight centuries, and shows how our ancestors used magical thinking to cope with the unpredictable world around them. Nick Swarbrick reviews the exhibition and the subjects which it explores.
In some regions of Madagascar, it is considered fady to eat certain lemurs, meaning local taboos can actually act as a shield to protect specific species. However, aye-ayes appear to be the only lemur associated with fady leading to their persecution. How did the aye-aye end up drawing the short straw when it comes to local folklore?
The image of the Gypsy conjures up ideas of a carefree people, who live life without rules and restrictions. In reality, being a real Romany Gypsy is not a life of lackadaisical sea-shore living. In fact, our lives are quite the opposite.
The final article in the series exploring common superstitions is ‘fingers crossed.’ Crossing your fingers is a common gesture in English speaking countries for luck or to cover up little white lies, but where does it originate from?