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The Hand Of Ghost

The Hand Of Ghost

In ancient Babylonia, seeing a ghost could be downright deadly. Dating to around the first millennium BC, ancient Mesopotamian texts on clay tablets went into great detail about illnesses and misfortunes stemming from the “Hand of Ghost.”Hand of Ghost seems to refer to both the illness and the method by which it was given.

The most deadly diseases were believed to be passed on by ghosts of people who died of specific causes, such as drowning, immolation, or murder. When a family member died in such a way, it was cause for particular concern because of the connection that continued between life and death through the blood of relations. Sometimes, particular afflictions were linked to how the person died. For example, those who were afflicted with asthma or had difficulty breathing had been touched by the ghost of a person who had drowned.

Supposedly, one of the first signs of a ghostly presence was a ringing in the ears. The eyes and ears were considered the most vulnerable parts of the living body. Wake up with headaches and a stiff neck, and you’ve likely been visited by a ghost. Ghosts were believed to reach out to the living through their dreams, so dreams of the dead—especially lucid dreams—needed to be fought with properly prepared elixirs and charms. The rituals to free someone from the Hand of Ghost were intense and could last up to six days.

Often, there were offerings made to the dead and to the Sun god, to whom the living appealed to stop the ghost from interfering with them. Home and body were sanctified and cleansed with oils while incantations were repeated to help clear the ghostly influence from the mind.In extreme cases, when there were many symptoms that indicated a ghost was relentlessly pursuing someone, the ritual could include slicing open that person’s temple with a knife and bleeding him or her within the protected confines of a temple facing to the north.