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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Watch out for those looks..that Evil Eye!

In this day of modern science and technology, you would think that old wives tales, myths and legends told by our grandparents and their parents would be things of the past.  But, I have found that there is so much known about the unknown, especially in matters that come to Italian witchcraft and spells.
Yes, you read it correctly…witchcraft.  I grew up in an Italian family where these traditions are still thriving.   In fact, many Italians today continue to believe and   I have found a huge following of these beliefs throughout all of Italy but especially prevalent in Rome and further South.  Ironic isn’t it?  Rome, the capital of Catholicism, is still entrenched with medieval and pagan traditions to ward off evil and how to remove or cast spells, in particular, the Malocchio or Evil Eye.
Malocchio, in literal terms, means bad (mal) eye (occhio).  It is a longstanding traditional spell thought to influence the lives of people by casting looks of bad thoughts or envy.  The evil eye giver either does this intentionally or involuntary, with the latter being the most popular in order for their “victim” to experience sickness, misfortune or loss of property and/or money.  I know a lot about this because you see, I have been a victim myself, having had the evil eye cast on me, several times.  How do I know?  I had all the signs: sickness without reason or cause, misfortune, bad luck and downright misery.  Nothing I did helped to ease all this influx of bad tidings following me and entering my home.   So, I did what every good Italian girl would do...I called my mom.  Thankfully, my mother is very familiar with the malocchio; she can recognize it but more importantly, remove it.
So, one night, we began the ritual.  The bowl of water with the olive oil drops.  I had to look away so that the evil does not bounce back on me as my mother observed the oil and water mixing.  Then, she began her quiet chant and suddenly, she exclaimed, “YOU HAVE IT!  SEVEN WOMEN AND THREE MEN GAVE IT TO YOU!” 
Seven women and three men… wtf?   Well, that could be anybody! It could have been the cashier at the supermarket or maybe my friend’s cousin or her husband…anyone!    But, with the malocchio, the acknowledgement of who cast the spell is sometimes enough to remove it, but in my case, since there were so many, it wasn’t and my mother had to continue with the ritual.  She restarted chanting a prayer as she continued with the drops of oil in the water.  Then,  she took matches and burned the evil eye in the bowl…some use scissors or a knife to go through,  the eye and I think it depends on what part of Italy the family is from but the idea is  all the same …kill the eye and remove the spell.  After killing the eye, she took a wine bottle outside and smashed it, spilling it all over my driveway, “for extra protection” she stated along with instructions to my husband to clean up the wine for the wine needed to be washed away from our home. 
Right about now, you may be thinking how kooky all this is but truth be told, after all was said and done, the headache and nausea I had for a solid week immediately lightened up and was completely gone within two hours.  Issues that were happening in my house were fixed or resolved and my son won $50 bucks off a lottery ticket…all within that same day.  Coincidence?  Maybe,  but the timing of it all leaves one to wonder.  Yes, I am one of those that hold some belief in it, only because of past experiences through me and other family members.  So, while I wait for Christmas eve, the only day that one is allowed to learn it so that I could carry on the tradition in my family, I will keep wearing the Italian horn or devil’s tooth on my chain, ensure that salt is located in the four corners of my home and bless my children with red amulets for them to carry for their protection.   Oh, and it’s OK if you don’t believe, just don’t let me catch you looking at me, I know how to give it too!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Is It More than just White Noise?

On April 19, 2004, my father called me at 7:30pm even though he was pronounced dead at 11:30am that morning.   My father’s sudden death was caused by a massive heart attack that no one saw coming.  He died instantly, or so the coroner explained.  I guess for the dying, that may be the better way to go rather than endure a long and suffering death caused by disease but for the living that remain, the pain is much more intense.  The opportunity to have said goodbye was never offered; closure became a nonfactor and still is to this day.   
On that night and for the next two consecutive nights, I received the same call.  I was still distraught from the entire goings on of the past days that I really didn’t pay too much attention but looking back today, I wonder.  I still remember those calls vividly:  the phone rings and I happened to be near it each time.   I hazily say “hello?” and all I hear is static with a faint voice in the background. 
The first night, I thought it was a bad connection or a crossed line so I just shrugged it off and not give it a second thought.  The second night, the phone rings again at the exact same time as the previous night.  Interestingly  that I happened to be there for I had swung by my house for only five minutes just to pick up various papers and pictures as I was meeting the rest of my family at my mother’s house.  I picked up the phone and abruptly answered with a rushed “hello.”   
Once again, I heard the static but this time, with various voices faintly in the background.  At first, I thought the call was coming from Italy where the majority of my parent’s relatives still live and given the fact that I had made a call to Italy that morning to break the news.  I even spoke in Italian to whoever was on the line indicating that  I could not hear them well.  I waited to see if the line would clear or if the party would hang up but neither happened.    Rather, the static on the line grew more intense as it began drowning out the voices I initially heard.  I began to grow impatient and since I did not have the time to wait, I rudely hung up and left the house.
The third night, all was done.  The arrangements for the wake, the funeral, the church, the flowers and all else on the task list was completed.  It was late, my husband and my children had already gone to bed but I could not sleep.  I was exhausted but my mind was racing, awake, imagining.  I sat in a dark living room with wandering eyes about, hoping to catch a shadow of something, anything- hoping, praying for a haunt…anything that could be a sign from my dad  (I envisioned a Hollywood-like appearance of some kind).  But I got nothing and as I laid my head to rest on the back of the rocker, I was abruptly shaken by the phone ringing.  I thought it was my mom needing something so I quickly ran to grab the phone.  Once again, I heard the static but this time, it was faint and appeared that a voice was whispering through that static.  As exhausted as I was on this night, I was also crabby and moving towards angry…at my situation, for my mother and at my father.  This time, I was feeling ticked that someone keeps calling, playing games with me so, I didn’t bother to wait for the person on the other line.  I didn’t wait for the line to clear; I just simply clicked the OFF button on the receiver and ended it for good.   I did have caller-id so I scrolled through the past calls to look for the owner of those three mysterious calls and interestingly enough, they all originated from a number called UNKNOWN. 
I have heard about the EVP topic from paranormal investigations on TV but never really paid much attention to it, till now that is.  EVP stands for Electronic Voice Phenomenon and thought to be electronically generated noises that resemble speech, but are not the result of intentional voice recordings or renderings but rather of paranormal origin. 
OK, so now you are thinking that all of this is either hokey or you are completely enthralled.  I choose to be enthralled for today, I really believe it was my father, trying to reach me in order to give me that closure that I so yearned.    It was on April 22, 2004 at 11:52pm that I received that last phone call and I have never had one like that since.  So, you tell me, is it really more than just white noise?  I think it is.  Oh, excuse me, I must be going now, my phone is ringing….odd. 
Let me hear your side!

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