834 – Fossils

Physical description:
21 fossilised sea urchins, various sizes and colours (shades of cream/brown/grey), one still attached to flint-type stone.
Museum classification:
Sea Witchcraft
Size:
30 x 30 x 25 - 130 x 80 x 50 mm
Information:
Sea Urchins or Echinoids. These fossils are highly prized by witches and have many magical uses. They are sometimes called shepherds' crowns or thunder-stones. A thunder-stone in your house will protect against lightning and in the dairy will prevent milk turning sour. If carried they protect you from poison and in the presence of poison they sweated. Ancient man placed sea urchins in graves and the Romans mounted them in bronze bands and wore them as amulets. According to a visitor to the museum, bakers hung them by their ovens as amulets, and called them 'fairy loaves'. Scarborough Museum has one from Essex (1912) which was used as a charm to ensure you would never be short of bread, one from Berkshire (1912) used to ward off evil spirits and witches, and also an Aristotle's lantern (sea urchin mouthparts) used as a charm against drowning (from Jersey, 1912) (information supplied by Tabitha Cadbury - see her report 'The Clarke Collection of Charms and Amulets' in the museum library).
Resource:
Object
Materials:
Stone
Sea Urchins or Echinoids. These fossils are highly prized by witches and have many magical uses. They are sometimes called shepherds' crowns or thunder-stones. A thunder-stone in your house will protect against lightning and in the dairy will prevent milk turning sour. If carried they protect you from poison and in the presence of poison they sweated. Ancient man placed sea urchins in graves and the Romans mounted them in bronze bands and wore them as amulets. According to a visitor to the museum, bakers hung them by their ovens as amulets, and called them 'fairy loaves'. Scarborough Museum has one from Essex (1912) which was used as a charm to ensure you would never be short of bread, one from Berkshire (1912) used to ward off evil spirits and witches, and also an Aristotle's lantern (sea urchin mouthparts) used as a charm against drowning (from Jersey, 1912) (information supplied by Tabitha Cadbury - see her report 'The Clarke Collection of Charms and Amulets' in the museum library).