The word talisman refers in its widest sense to an object made to protect the owner, to avert the power of evil, and promote well-being. Talismanic objects in various cultures belong to realm of magic and made in many different forms and sizes some were even worn as clothing like the shirt.
The history of talismanic shirts goes back a very, very long way. The prophet Joseph (Yusuf in Arabic) is believed to have owned one that protected him from hardship and evil. It is even credited with performing miracles – as when it restored the vision of Joseph’s father Jacob (Ya‘qub in Arabic), following an instruction recorded in the Qur’an, Surah Yusuf (XII, verse 93):
اذْهَبُواْ بِقَمِيصِي هَـذَا فَأَلْقُوهُ عَلَى وَجْهِ أَبِي يَأْتِ بَصِيرًا وَأْتُونِي بِأَهْلِكُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ
“Take this, my shirt, and cast it over the face of my father; he will become seeing. And bring me your family, all together.”
Though talismanic shirts were used as protection from disease, famine, difficult child birth, sudden death, and the unpredictability of travel, it is believed that the majority of these shirts were meant for use in battle. Particular verses from the Qur’an that refer to victory were commonly inscribed on shirts worn under armour – the word of God was intended to protect the owner while they fought.
Four distinctive types of Islamic talismanic shirts have been identified: Ottoman, Safavid, Mughal (Indian) and West African –none of which can be dated to earlier than the 15th century. Each group has its own unique stylistic approach to the shape of the garments and the talismanic formulas used, as well as the design of the illumination.
The tradition of talismanic shirts – known as the Ottoman magic shirts- dates from Turkey’s shamanist past. Back then, the shirts, engraved with geographical designs, were believed to protect the person who wore them against diseases and enemies.
With Islam, the geographical designs became verses from Quran and the “talismanic shirts” entered the Ottoman Palace, to be mostly worn by crown princes, to protect them from the wrath of their brothers and contenders to the throne or to assure they had plenty of offspring to ensure their line of blood continued.
By comparison to how accurate curators can sometimes be about the making of these incredible shirts, their function is far more debatable. Unfortunately, there are very few sources that discuss or even mention the use of these objects. One source, written in the 1530’s in Istanbul, describes a shirt made by a holy man in Mecca through which neither bullets nor swords could penetrate. That shirt was commissioned for the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (1520—1527) by his wife Hürrem Sultan, and still survives to this day. It is housed in the Topkapı Palace Museum in Istanbul.
The Talismanic Shirt was worn by the Ottoman Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent (1520—1527) under his armor at the Mohacs Battle and during other military confrontations. It was prepared by the head (or court) astrologer (Münecimbashi) according to his time of birth and contains the Al-Fath (Victory) Sura and other Suras of the Koran. (Image Source)
Another Topkapı shirt was commissioned for Cem Sultan (d.1495), son of Sultan Mehmed II, and includes not only the exact date and time at which the construction of the shirt was begun, (30 March 1477, Tuesday, 12:36pm, the Sun in 19 degrees Aries), but also the exact date and time it was finished (29 March 1480, Sunday 3:57am, the Sun in 19 degrees Aries). Topkapı’s dated example gives an unusually accurate idea of how time consuming the production of such garments could be – three years to complete a single shirt.
In ancient Slavic culture it was common to have a talismanic shirt – tight fitting garment, worn as a sort of armour. It was supposed to hold back diseases and the evil eye and protect from enemies on the battlefield.
Traditional Slavic warrior shirts featured magic symbols and some amulets could be stitched or embroidered directly to onto the collar, sleeves and the bottom part.
Left: Sketch of Slavic male ritual shirt. Right: Sketch of Slavic male warrior shirt (Image Source)
Usually the decoration was made in red pattern represented a “fire-line”. Main spiritual protecting element of warrior shirt was so called “shield” rectangular piece, outlined with a different colour, in the top front of the shirt. Containing some special symbols it believed to possess strong protective powers.
During the Viking Age there were so called berserkers (or “berserks”) super skilled Norse warriors who are primarily reported in Icelandic sagas to have fought in a trance-like fury, a characteristic which later gave rise to the English word “berserk.” They are said to be possessed by the spirit’s of the animals they worshipped, at the times, Berserkers join up with the regular Vikings to fight alongside them for unknown reason, they are said to jump into the battle without any fear or hesitation and were ready to slaughter anyone who stands in their way.
An engraving of an image shown on a Vendel era bronze plate discovered in Öland, Sweden. Depicted are a berserker about to decapitate his enemy on the right and Oden on the left. Oden’s famous characters markers are not present.
Interesting fact that these warriors would often go into battle without mail coats, wearing instead a kind of shirt or coat (serkr) made from the pelt of a bear (ber-). The bear was one of the animals representing Odin, and by wearing such a pelt the warriors sought to gain the strength of a bear and the favour of Odin.
This expression berserk most likely arose from their reputed habit of wearing a kind of shirt or coat (serkr) made from the pelt of a bear (ber-) during battle. The bear was one of the animals representing Odin (Odin is a widely revered god in Norse mythology), and by wearing such a pelt the warriors sought to gain the strength of a bear and the favor of Odin.
The bear-warrior symbolism survived to this day in the form of the bearskin caps worn by the guards of the Danish and British monarchs, the Royal Life Guards and the Queen’s Guard.
‘Appraiser of Doom’ Helps Sell the Most Famous Crime Scenes
Meet the man who helped sell the Heaven’s Gate mansion, Jeffrey Dahmer’s apartment building, the Sharon Tate property, and other notorious real estate.
Randall Bell shows a blood stain at the Heaven’s Gate mansion
Randall Bell, known as the “Appraiser of Doom” and the “Master of Disaster,” spent years evaluating commercial property in Southern California in the 1980s when the routine started to get dull. That’s when he decided to work on more interesting properties. That decision has lead him to work on some of the most infamous crime scenes in the country, including the mansion where 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult committed suicide in 1997 to hitch a ride with the alien spacecraft hiding inside the Hale-Bopp comet.
“With Heaven’s Gate, I waited till after they finished taking out the bodies,” Bell recently told Rolling Stone. “But when I went in, I just wanted to barf because it smelled so bad. There had been bodies decomposing for three days, and there was blood all over the place — blood on the carpet and the marble, all throughout the house.”
Over the years Bell and his firm Landmark Research has been called in to appraise a variety of damaged real estate such as Bikini Atoll, where the US tested nuclear weapons in the 1940s and 50s, the World Trade Center, the federal building bombed by Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City, Hiroshima, Columbine, Chernobyl, and all manner of natural and man-made disasters.
As far as crime scenes go, Bell has helped determine the value of property carrying the stigma of the country’s most well-known murders. Bell has worked on Sharon Tate’s house where the Manson Family murdered her and her guests in 1969, the JonBenét Ramsey house, the OJ and Nicole Brown Simpson crime scene, the Menendez house, Jeffrey Dahmer’s apartment building in Milwaukee, and numerous other lower profile cases.
Bell was even among the first people allowed in the Los Feliz murder mansion 50 years after a doctor murdered his wife there. The group he was with conducted a seance while inside the home.
The Loz Feliz murder mansion
Bell says a crime scene generally sells for 10-25% loss of value.
“The Lizzie Borden house in Rhode Island, that property, they monetized that crime, if you will,” Bell says. “They have bed and breakfasts and you can sleep in the room where Lizzie Borden’s mother was murdered with an ax for hundreds of dollars a night. But as a general rule, those kinds of things don’t happen.”
So how does he determine value?
Bell uses a list of over 400 items in 10 classifications known as the Bell Chart. Items which may devalue a property include zoning changes, terrorism, contamination, landslides, and crime.
“The first rule I got is you gotta be realistic,” Bell says. “Trying to make the value go up is tough. With Neverland, that’s never gonna turn into Graceland because it’s simply too remote. You look for any opportunity, but generally speaking, a crime scene is not gonna become a museum or tourist attraction. What I’m trying to do is mitigate the damage. I’m trying to make the best I can out of a bad situation, recognizing that it’s not gonna be normal or have a normal return. You’re just trying to minimize the losses. We divide everything into 3 categories: cost, use and risk. The costs are the cleanup costs of the blood or the bullet holes or what have you. In one case, Satan worshippers were coming into the house and they started a fire inside the garage in a Satanic ritual, so those all have costs. The second element of use means the house isn’t being normally used, so there’s a way to calculate the loss of use. And the word ‘risk’ is synonymous with stigma, which means there’s a resistance on part of the market to pay full value.”
In the case of Dahmer’s apartment building, however, Bell says the property actually sold for a profit.
The empty lot where Jeffrey Dahmer’s apartment building once stood in Milwaukee
“When he was arrested, at the same time, coincidentally, there was a group called Campus Circle, and they were trying to buy up all the housing in the area that was crime-ridden where Dahmer lived and create more student housing in Marquette University.”
Bell says the Dahmer building was throwing a wrench in Campus Circle’s plans, so they bought the property. “The owner of the apartment complex knew they were highly motivated and he held out for a premium.”
Today, the building is a vacant lot surrounded by a fence. Sharon Tate’s home and the Heaven’s Gate mansion were also razed. But the locations still draw curious visitors.
Sharon Tate’s home being torn down in 1994
“I worked on the Sharon Tate property. That property was bulldozed, and I’m telling you, tourists still go by that property to this day,” Bell told Rolling Stone. “So bulldozing doesn’t accomplish anything, really. The Heaven’s Gate mansion was bulldozed completely — the fences, the driveway, every tree — and they rebuilt on it, and people point to the property to this day, and say, ‘That was the Heaven’s Gate mansion.’”
While Bell doesn’t believe in ghosts, he says there was something strange at the Heaven’s Gate estate. While conducting tours with the media, people always said they felt unease in one particular room.
“Everyone identified the same room,” Bell says. “I kept that to myself, but the room everyone was referring to was a room where there were four bodies, two bunk beds with four bodies. There was no blood in the room, there was nothing — you gotta understand, there were 39 bodies in the house, so there were bodies in every single room, so there wasn’t anything special about that particular room, but everyone said that who I took through the house.”
Bodies being removed from the Heaven’s Gate estate
For more about Randall Bell’s experiences, how to appraise a crime scene, and how to scare off Satan worshippers read the Rolling Stone interview right here.
Russian Witches Cast Spells to Help Vladimir Putin
If I’ve lost the witches, I’ve lost Russia.
No need to worry, President Putin. That paraphrasing of U.S. President Lyndon Johnson’s comment about trusted news commentator (no, that’s not an oxymoron – at least it wasn’t in 1968) Walter Cronkite’s scathing analysis of the Vietnam War is pure fiction. A group of witches in Russia have taken it upon themselves to cast spells upon the enemies of Putin and Russia. Did you just feel a needle pass through your heart or your head? Did any world leaders?
“He who hears and does not hear, who sees and does not see, who was and will be, will not forget my word: Rise the great power of Russia, direct the path of Vladimir Putin truly and righteously, through my word. Breathe, Mother Earth, embracing Russia on all sides.”
The Moscow Times and Russia Today reported on this (both sites have pictures and a video) and other spells cast this week in Moscow on behalf of Vladimir Putin by Alyona Polyn, founder of The Empire of the Strongest Witches, whose website describes the purpose of the organization:
“The main and most important objective of the EMPW is to improve the vital activities of the Earth and increase the quality of life for the people possessing knowledge – those required for the Earth to ensure interaction.”
That doesn’t sound so bad, does it? The group calls for the planting of trees – not real trees but “ritual” ones that that execute “the powerful energy rituals for the recovery of the Earth.” So, it sounds like The Empire of the Strongest Witches is in favor of a green world, not one based on fossil fuels. Is this really the kind of help President Putin is looking for?
Asked exactly who Putin needed support and protection against, the witches did not provide specifics. One explained that the curses were against “all who attack him” and said that “spiteful critics” must be silenced.
That makes more sense. Support the president by cursing his enemies and critics. (In some countries, these are two different groups.) There are probably a few other world leaders who would like that kind of support from their country’s witches, although none can pull them together in the kind of numbers Russia has. The Moscow Times provided these figures:
“According to Russian Health Ministry data, around 800,000 people earned a living from performing as folk healers, psychic mediums and other similar services in 2017.”
Not only does Russia (and President Putin) have a lot of witches, they’re organized — with The Empire of the Most Powerful Witches calling itself the “mother of all witches and witchers” and keeper of a list of legitimate witches that anyone can access to make sure they’re dealing with an authorized spell giver and not a “charlatan.” Alyona Polyn herself is available at the Empire’s headquarters in Moscow, where:
“We have gathered here to make the world better off through Russia.”
The Empire of the Most Powerful Witches states that it loves the entire Earth and “disliking any country is denying a part of the Earth, same as disliking any part of your body. A noble cause … but can they really help Mother Earth by helping Father Putin?
What will happen if Putin loses the witches? We may not want to find out.
SOURCE: Mysterious Universe
A Very Pagan Christmas Special
Explore the dark origins of Christmas with this pagan Christmas special from Macabre Mondays.
When you dig just under the surface of modern Christmas you begin to find the joyous holiday full of ghosts, monsters, and other darkness. For creeps like us it’s basically a second Halloween. Colder, yes, but with equal amounts of macabre merriment.
Macabre Mondays host Malia Miglino invites you to join her festivities as she explores the holiday’s pagan roots:
Human sacrifice, Yule logs, mistletoe…what do all 3 of these things have in common? Easy – Christmas AND Paganism. I’m breaking the door open on the origins of Christmas and Creeps, it’s DARK.
From the ancient Romans who celebrated Saturnalia to the Vikings who poisoned human sacrifices with mistletoe to Charles Dickens ghost stories….the history of Christmas is long, varied, dark and stolen. So grab some wine, prepare a feast and settle in for a crazy night of lore and Yule while I celebrate with some of my favorite ghosts of Christmas’s past.
For more Macabre Mondays subscribe on Youtube right here.
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