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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/684

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668
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

may therefore have been introduced by the Spaniards, for at one time l'envo├║tement was believed in nearly all over Europe; even yet credence is given to it among voodoo societies in Louisiana. L'envo├║tement consists in pricking and slowly melting a small wax figure representing the individual intended for a victim of magic art. Charles IX, of France, was said to have come to his

PSM V44 D684 Indian women spinning.jpg
Indian Women spinning.

death by means of wax figures made to his likeness and cursed by magic art which his enemies, the Protestant sorcerers, caused to melt, a little every day, thus extinguishing the life of the king by degrees as the figures were consumed.

That same monarch is said to have expelled thirty thousand sorcerers from the city of Paris; and during the reign of Henry III, France was supposed to be infested with one hundred thousand individuals who practiced the black art. Physicians in those days made the sorcerers responsible for all diseases that they failed to cure. Consumptives especially were supposed to waste away as the wax figures did when melted.

In former times the Indians used to abandon a house after one died in it, because they buried the body either in the house or at the back of it, and were very much afraid of seeing the ghost of the dear departed. Strange creatures, to weep so much at losing them, and then be terrified at the thought of their returning!

They believed that the lower animals also had souls, for they used to put with the corpse of their relations certain provisions