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Window Watchers

Placed near windows to protect the home from evil spirits

There are many types of household talismans, intended to protect the household from ill intent. Amongst these may be listed witch balls, horse shoes, a hawthorn planted beside the gate etc.
One such talisman is know as a Window Watchers. These are wooden figures, usually handmade by itinerant wise person, which were placed in windows - inside or out - of cottages, and houses. Their unsleeping eyes were believed to watch vigilantly for external threats, and protect the house, and household from what ever bad look that may come walking down the garden path.
In some districts it was the corn dolly that performed the roll of household guardian. They seem to have been considered of temporary effectiveness and it was considered essential that they be replaced each year at harvest time. With the wooden window watcher there was a tradition of renewing its power and effectiveness by bathing it in the morning dew, following a night of a full moon.
Most examples are in the form of figures, cut in simple outline, and painted with a rudimentary face. Examples are know were the details are roughly inscribed with a knife or other sharp object. Sometimes more detail is added, such as items of clothing. Lengths of wool or string may be attached to represent hair.
On occasion the talismans are recorded attached to a door post in a manner resembling a mazuzah, and some Window Watchers do carry inscriptions, but none are of a biblical nature.
The appearance of a face is almost universal, and these are often of a startled countenance.
As with most form of folk magic it was considered essential that for a window watcher to do its work it must be made of natural materials.

 

The Curioseum

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