William Bottrell Folklorist

petitors. The Inquisition used blasting to its own ends, as one of many justifications for the crushing of pagans, heretics and political enemies of the Church.

In Paganism and Wicca, blasting and all other acts of harmful magic are considered unethical, a violation of the law, "An' it harm none, do what ye will." According to tenets of the Craft, Witches must use their powers for good, to help others and work in harmony with nature (see Wiccan Rede).

In many tribal cultures, however, such ethical distinctions are not made, and blasting continues to be among the acts of soRCERY carried out against people, animals, crops and possessions.


Guazzo, Francesco Maria. Compendium Maleficarum. Secau-

cus, N.J.: University Books, 1974. Remy, Nicolas. Demonolatry. Secaucus, N.J.: University Books, 1974.

Summers, Montague, ed. The Malleus Maleficarum of Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger. 1928. Reprint, New York: Dover Publications, 1971.

blessed be In Wicca and Paganism, "blessed be" is a widely used salutation and parting in conversation and correspondence. A common variation is "bright blessings."

Blight, Tamsin (1798-1856) Famous witch, healer and pELLAR of Cornwall, England, known as "the Pellar of Helston." Stories about her were recorded by the Cornish folklorist William Bottrell in the 19th century.

Tamsin Blight was born in Redruth in 1798, probably to a poor family. Her first name is sometimes given as Tamson in records. She also was called Tammy Blee (blee is Cornish for "wolf"). Little is known about her early life. Later, it was said that she was a descendant of the true pellar blood of Matthew Lutey of Cury.

In 1835, at age 38, she married a widower, James (Jemmy) Thomas, a copper miner who claimed to be a pellar. While Blight enjoyed a good reputation, Thomas did not. Reputedly, he was a drunk who repelled spells for young men in return for sexual favors. One newspaper story described him as "a drunken, disgraceful, beastly fellow, and ought to be sent to the treadmill."

His outrageous conduct damaged Blight's reputation. When a warrant was issued for his arrest for wanting to commit "a disgraceful offence" (i.e., an act of homosexuality), Blight separated from him. Thomas fled and was gone from Cornwall for about two years.

Blight continued her career as a pellar. People from far away would make pilgrimages to see her; sailors would get protective CHARMs from her prior to making voyages. She especially healed people who believed they suffered because of ill-wishing. Even when she was ill and confined to bed prior to her death, people still came to see her. According to stories, people would lie on stretchers by her bedside, and walk away healed.

Blight also divined the future, and expelled bewitchments of animals. She reportedly conjured spirits and the dead.

She evidently did not hesitate to curse those who angered her, however. One story tells of the village cobbler refusing to mend her shoes because she was not good about paying her bills. She told him, "You'll be sorry for that, for in a short while I will see to it that you have no work to do." The cobbler's business went into a tailspin, and he left the area.

At some point, Blight may have renewed her relationship with Thomas. She had a son, and Thomas may have been the father. She reportedly passed on her powers to her son.

Blight died on October 6, 1856.

Little was heard about Thomas until his death in 1874 in the parish of Illogan. An obituary described him as a wizard of great ability and repute.


Jones, Kelvin I. Seven Cornish Witches. Penzance: Oakmagic

Publications, 1998.

blood Called the "river of life," blood is identified with the soul and is the vehicle that carries the vital energy of the universe through the body. In MAGIC, blood is revered and feared for the miraculous power it possesses and confers. Blood that is let is believed to unleash power: sacrificial blood scattered on the earth regenerates the crops. Animals, fowl and humans are sacrificed in religious and some magical rites (see sacrifice). The blood of executed criminals is said to be a powerful protector against disease and bad luck, because of the energy of resentment and fury that is released upon execution.

Blood is used to bind oaths and brotherhood, either by mingling or in signing. Blood oaths are considered inviolate. According to lore, Devil's pacts are always signed in blood (see Devil's pact).

In folklore, the magical power of witches is neutralized or destroyed by burning their blood in fires—hence the common European method of execution by burning at the stake—or a practice called "blooding." Witches were "scored above the breath" (cut above the mouth and nose) and allowed to bleed, sometimes to death. Shakespeare made use of the blooding custom in Part I of King Henry VI, when Talbot sees Joan of Arc:

Devil, or devil's dam, I'll conjure thee;

Blood will I draw from thee, thou art a witch,

And straightway give thou soul to him thou serv'st.

A few drops of blood of a person used in magical CHARMs and spells, sprinkled in potions and wiTCH bottles or on effigies, is said to give a witch or magician power over that person, in the same manner as do HAIR AND NAIL clippings. Animal blood also is used in folk

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