The Library of Obscure Wonders

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Tag: history

Crom Cruach “bloody crooked one”

Child's Skeleton

Skeleton of the first born child, holding the upper arm bone of a man. Drawn on a page from a thrown out horror book. Original Miniature. I have a shoplet now where I sell such things.

In my hunting for ritual traditions for this time of year I’ve come across the cruel deity Crom Cruach. He was a pre-Christian God of Fertillity in Ireland who was propitiated with human sacrifice. His cult idol image was a gold figure surrounded by twelve stone or bronze figures. The first born child would be sacrificed to this idol in exchange for a good yield of milk and grain. An early King, Tigernmas, along with three quarters of his army, is said to have died while worshipping Crom on Samhain eve, commonly held on the  31st October.

Crom Cruach, the name possibly meaning “bloody crooked one”, “crooked stack of corn”, “crooked one of the mound”,  or “bloody head”, was worshipped until St. Patrick destroyed his icon. According to medieval legend St. Patrick raised his crozier (the ornamental staff of high ranking catholics) and the central golden figure fell face down to the ground with the imprint of the crozier left on it. The other figures then sank into the earth. The demon that lived inside the image appeared but St. Patrick cursed him and cast him to hell.

A bonfire ritual practiced in parts of Scotland and Wales this time of year may once have involved human sacrifice. The practice involves a bonfire with each participating person placing a stone in a circle around the bonfire. Everyone then runs around the bonfire with a torch shouting and exulting. In the morning the stones are checked, if any have been mislaid the person who set down that stone wont see out the year.

The Cyclops


Example of a Cyclops

A cyclops is a primordial giant with a single eye in the centre of his forehead. They are strong, stubborn and emotional. They are also very good blacksmiths and the noises proceeding from the heart of volcanoes can be attributed to their operations. Cyclopes are present in Greek and Roman mythology . On escaping Troy after the Trojan War, Aeneas landed on the Island of the cyclops.

Other creatures similar to the Cyclops include:

The  Arimaspoi, a legendary people who lived in the foothills of the mountains north of the Black Sea. They liked trying to steal gold from griffins so were constantly at war with them.

The Hitotsume-kozo of Japanese folklore are the size of ten-year old children, resemble Buddhist monks and have a “single, giant eye peering from the center of the face, along with a long tongue”

And apparently Odin, king of the Norse Gods, gave up one eye to gain wisdom and power.Cyclops ID Kit - mask, filing cabinet, drawings, bones, an eye.