Bible, Key & String – folk divination through time

📖🗝✨I’ve shared posts before regarding using keys & things like Bibles, prayer books or Psalters in folk magic in order to divine certain information, one post concerning the Medieval to Early Modern Period & another the mid-1800s, so I thought I’d share what seems to be an example surviving into modern times. This example of teenage girls using a key, string & a Bible in an effort to find out who they’ll marry was collected from a Margaret Wilson of Lilliesleaf in the Scottish Borders, 1990, recalling her younger years:

“When I was [young], right silly, I used to do these things with friends, girls together. I must have been about sixteen. The girl I worked beside she used a Bible; this Bible was opened at a certain place and a big door key was put in, and string tied round. You each put a finger below the key and you said letters. It was supposed to move at a certain letter; it moved, but I don’t know whether the other person was helping it move or not!”

Scottish Customs: From the Cradle to the Grave by Margaret Bennett (Unfortunately not sure how old Margaret Wilson was at the time of her interview)

⭐️ Previous posts referred to:

Medieval to Early Modern ➡️ here on this site &…

Mid-1800s ⬆️

(Side Note: Margaret Wilson’s account of the method they used also bears obvious similarities to Ouija boards – these aren’t of Scottish origin so I’ve waited to the end of the post to mention them. I think many people now are familiar with the relatively short history of the Ouija board & how it didn’t really get its “demonic” reputation until after films like The Exorcist came out etc, but I thought I’d link an article on it here just in case anyone’s interested: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-strange-and-mysterious-history-of-the-ouija-board-5860627/ ⬅️ Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, I think it’s interesting how certain things have ended up with very bad reputations in popular imagination while others haven’t despite being very similar 💭)

📸 Featured Photo credit: Pexel

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