the proper phase of the moon

During the era of the Black Plague, people believed amulets containing magic ingredients could protect them.

aunty bilious

One of Croll’s wilder recipes called for the powder of 18 dried toads, the first menstrual blood of young girls, white arsenic, orpiment, dittany root, pearls, corals and oriental emeralds. During the proper phase of the moon, one made these into cakes, then they were stamped with an engraving of a scorpion and a snake, put in a small metal box and worn near the heart.


image found at wonderlost

For the really wealthy he created pure gold cases with a sapphire, a hyacinth and four stones made from toads or spiders. Inside the case Croll sealed a small perforated gold pipe smeared with a paste of toad and vinegar and stuffed with linen rags wetted with menstrual blood.

gold dust

Jan Baptiste Van Helman’s zenexeton had as its active ingredient the worms that lived in the eyes of toads and the vomit of toads suspended upside down all obtained during July’s waning moon. Johannes Irmbler tried to copy the recipe but could not get the suspended toads to vomit so he used their faeces instead.

surinam toad with young hatching out of her back

see images of the fascinating Surinam Toad here

Published in: on September 6, 2009 at 9:04 am  Comments (33)  

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33 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. You really know how to ring my bell putting up that Surinam toad link. I’d like to know if the toads hang out with another weird aquatic South American, the mata mata turtle. Google image search for this gives a smorgasbord of grotesqueness.

    • wow – that is some turtle

  2. “During the proper phase of the moon, one made these into cakes”

    Just as well these ‘cakes’ were worn as amulets and not eaten – I doubt even Mr Kipling would have been able to market these successfully !!!

    • It’s the vinegar that worries me, some people can be so heavy handed

  3. Vomiting toads, first menstrual blood of young girls… those crazy freemasons and their games.

  4. “…people believed amulets containing magic ingredients could protect them.”

    They can’t? Then what should I do with this vile of holy water that was given to me at St. John Bosco when I was in 5th grade?

    • If you have a vile vial you should bury it in consecrated ground and sprinkle it with vinegar. It won’t achieve anything but it will get that vileness out of your house 😉

  5. I think I kissed that toad once…

  6. (and by “kissed” I mean slept with)

    • So are they YOUR babies jumping out of its back?

  7. How do you go about guaranteeing that you’ve got the first menstrual blood of a young girl? Do you make an arrangement with the parents? That’s an awkward conversation. “Hey, how’s the daughter? Got her menses yet? No, well, you let me know when she becomes a woman. I’ll have the bucket ready for my cakes.”

    • ok – that just wins “comment of the day”

  8. Very, very interesting stuff. I love the Wonderlost images. The toad emphasizes that nature works in mysterious and creepy ways.

    • hey nicole, welcome to the gimcrack. you have some fabulous links on your blog

  9. Hmm, and to think, flea powder would have done the trick 🙂

  10. that surinam toad needs a colonic

  11. Sucks to be a toad.

  12. you know, it’s always the virgin-based products that make the best talismans… damn… us middle-aged crustry broads got nothin to sell but our kidneys…

  13. ‘paste of toad’…. I wonder if my local supermarket sell it??? …

  14. I’m impressed.

  15. …hello gal,
    I read previous post
    I understand perfectly well what you feel

    I believe that there are 2 or 3 things that time cannot heal…

    I send you a kiss…meanwhile I try to send another to my soul.

  16. fourteen house wives need all the help they can get.

    • But that still leaves them 10 hours to themselves FFS.

  17. Unfortunatley the link to Croll is offlimits, too many folk have been there apparently.

    The power of nursemyra!!!!

    • I just tried it now and it seems to be working…..

      • One gesture by nursemyra and it worketh, again, thanks!


  18. So you’re telling me the amulets don’t work?

  19. Your subject matter is tres interesting.

    • as are your photographs…

      • Well, thank you!

  20. My how tasty toad vomit sounds right now.

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