DEAD TIME STORIES
MOTHER GOOSE AND THE MALLEUS MALEFICARUM
In my dream I was in another time – I would say the 1800’s or even earlier. There seemed to be a lot of mud and horse manure in the streets. There were also sick people and some who looked like they were near death. I looked ahead in the road and there was the man in the black cloak walking the streets.
He was not wearing a cowl he was wearing a hat and carried a bag. He was walking toward me or me toward him I really don’t remember and before we passed on the street there was a cart with flowers and squash, pumpkins and apples. I decided to take an apple. There was no one there to pay for the apple and so I rubbed it in my shirt. The plague doctor said something to me in a voice that was muffled by the mask. He said to me with a nervous laugh; always remember an apple a day keeps doctor away.
That is all I can remember about the dream. Now, you may be wondering why I could possibly dream of a plague doctor saying this to me. Well it is simple. The night before the show I was watching a new cable show on TruTv called “Adam Ruins Everything.” It is about a guy who basically reveals the truth about certain beliefs we cling to that are unfounded.
The show was about how wedding rings are a scam, food drives are worthless, and for some reason there was a segment where he says “an apple away keeps the doctor away.”
Well after the dream, I came into the office obsessing about the dream. I Googled the origins of the axiom an apple a day and I found out that its origins are from an old Welch proverb:
Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.” In the 19th century and early 20th, the phrase evolved to “an apple a day, no doctor to pay” and “an apple a day sends the doctor away,” while the phrasing now commonly used was first recorded in 1922. There has also been a version where dentist is substituted for the doctor.
However, it is argued that varied versions of this saying were attributed to Mother Goose and various nursery rhymes that have a dark past. The “doctor” in question was a 16th century doctor and the full rhyme was more like a witches spell:
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away
Apple in the morning – Doctor’s warning
Roast apple at night – starves the doctor outright
Eat an apple going to bed – knock the doctor on the head
Three each day, seven days a week – ruddy apple, ruddy cheek.
The poem or nursery rhyme as some people call it is loosely associated with the black plague and the doctor that is to be warned off with an apple is the same doctor who wears the beak like mask and the black hat.
In fact I stumbled upon a book called the “Secret Meaning of Nursery Rhymes” by Linda Alohin. On page 14 of the book it talks about the “apple a day” poem and in the corner of the page is the figure in the video 11B-X-137 we talked about on my radio show. There was also a Pinterest photo that was also associated with the Black Plague Doctor.
I have been aware for some time about a paranormal anomaly known as “The Black hat Man.” I wrote an article about “The Black Hat Man” back in the late 1990’s called “In the Hue of Midnight.”
I am now curious that this entity is a shadowy figure that has been conjured by a simple nursery rhyme or spell that brings him to the bedsides of people and frightens them.
The entity is usually described as a tall shadow man dressed in a long black trench coat and wearing a wide brimmed hat. He is distinctively male and witnesses say that he has no face or a shadowy blurred face.
The Hat Man seems to be different than most shadowy figures often staying for a prolonged period of time and sometimes he even touches his victims some even claim that they feel like they are being examined or in some cases smothered by the entity.
After a visit from this entity people feel as if something bad will happen to them, maybe an accident or ill health.
I then thumbed through the nursery rhyme book to find out more about the connections to Mother Goose. There were no direct connections as listed because the saying was first seen in print in 1866 – however on page ten, there was an eerie rhyme about Mother Goose that indicated the mother of nursery rhymes was a witch and many of her rhymes were connected to spell casting and witchcraft.
Here is an example:
“Old Mother Goose, when she wanted to wander,
Would ride through the air on a very fine gander.
Mother Goose had a house,’Twas built in a wood,
Where an owl at the door as a sentinel stood.”
There is also this rhyme about her:
“Cackle, cackle, Mother Goose, have you any feathers loose?
Truly have I, pretty fellow, half enough to fill a pillow.
Here are quills, take one or two, and down to make a bed for you.”
With every rhyme I found there were artist’s depictions of Mother Goose riding a goose, wearing a pointy hat and in some depictions handling a broom.
The words of the original Old Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme can be interpreted to find a darker meaning to the identity of ‘ Mother Goose’! The title ‘Mother Goose’ probably originates from the 1600’s – the time of the great witch hunts. Comparisons can be made between the Mother Goose in the nursery rhymes and the popular conception of witches we have today.
Witches were able to fly. In art work that depicts Mother Goose. It looks as if her broomstick has been replaced by a goose, hence the name – Mother Goose. In some depictions, she carries a broom while riding a Goose. Her sentinel is an owl. Witches were known to a have ‘familiars’ most often cats but also owls.
Much like Harry Potter, he had an owl called Hedwig.
It is also known that owls are symbolically associated with clairvoyance, astral projection, and magic, both black and white.
The owl was known as a harbinger of bad tidings and doom throughout Europe, and put in appearances as a symbol of death and destruction in a number of popular plays and poems. For instance, Sir Walter Scott wrote:
“Birds of omen dark and foul,
Night-crow, raven, bat, and owl,
Leave the sick man to his dream —
All night long he heard your scream.”
Even before Scott, William Shakespeare wrote of the owl’s premonition of death in story of Lady Macbeth.
If you remember there were three witches in the play Macbeth. They were there to represent evil, darkness, chaos, and conflict. They were there to establish a time of moral confusion. In the first act the witches chant a rhyming spell:
“Fair is foul, and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air.”
This reminds me once again of the black hat figure wearing the beak mask because at the time of the Black Plague there was a miasmatic theory, that plague and evil was in the air and this is what caused the disease thus the mask had to be worn in order to keep the doctors from getting sick.
The witches in Macbeth were old crone’s who lived in the woods, as we see in the Mother Goose rhyme she was hidden there.
In Macbeth, we hear the familiar rhyme:
“Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
The rhyming witches and their spells remind us that entities will arrive if you invite them in.
People were obsessed with witches during the 16th and 17th centuries when there was limited understanding of the cause of devastating events, such as storms, drought and disease. The disasters were believed to be brought about by supernatural forces which resulted in witches being blamed.
A book called the ‘Malleus Maleficarum’ was published in 1486 as guide used for the torture and persecution of witches – a bestselling book of those times, only being out-sold by the Bible.
Witchcraft was outlawed in England in 1563 and a Witchcraft Act was passed in 1604.
Similar to what we call Satanic Panic the witchcraft hysteria grew and eventually led to the Parliamentary appointment of Matthew Hopkins as Witchfinder General in 1644.
His task was to seek out witches, in fact it became profitable for him because he was said to have been paid twenty shillings for each witch he condemned.
During his interrogations he was guided by books like the ‘Malleus Maleficarum’ which stated that an animal Familiar “always works with the witch in everything.”
A familiar usually was an animal of some kind.
Mother Goose has been seen in artwork with her trusty goose, a cat, frog, pig, raven, Goat, Wolf, Crow, Bat and Mouse , It is also believed that Witches ran apothecaries where natural tinctures were used containing blood or even whiskers or hair from these familiars.
The dark hated Plague doctor would carry with him in his sack, frogs and leeches to bleed the buboes of the victims of the Black Plague.
Many nursery rhymes originated in the 16th and 17th centuries and the children of these eras would have been familiar with stories of witches and witchcraft. Many of the children would recite many rhymes and couplets that have a dark meaning to them.
It is a common belief that most traditional children’s songs and stories were designed to inform kids via metaphor about a potentially harsh world in a time where children worked and traveled and were essentially treated more like miniature adults than “kids”. But originally, fairy tales were told to many different audiences, ghost stories and tales of witches, child catchers and conjured entities were also told by frightened villagers.
The legends were based in a belief in paranormal machinations; poorer people were always encountering demons, specters, goblins, and shadowy figures.
These stories were common amongst the peasants – they were graphic, terrifying and even recorded in history as real events. They were then changed and metaphor was used to illustrate a lesson. Only after they were first recorded by early folklorists did the stories obtain morals and, eventually, kiddie-friendly endings that removed the graphic violence and occasional cruel twist ending.
Such is the legend of the children’s rhyme, “Ring around the Rosy, pocket full of posies ashes to ashes we all fall down.”
It has been argued that this rhyme has ties to the Black Plague, the Black Death, and the Pneumonic Plague.
For centuries, these plagues were known as a ghastly and horrible ways to die. The victim’s skin turned black in patches, and the inflamed glands or ‘buboes’ in the groin, combined with compulsive vomiting, a swollen tongue and splitting headaches, made it a horrible, agonizing killer.
Though there were other euphemisms to describe the various plagues like “Great Mortality” and the “Great Pestilence,” these diseases produced coughing sneezing and black boils caused by dried blood under the skin from internal hemorrhaging.
The first indications of these plagues were a red ring that formed around your cheeks. Then you would begin to sneeze as the bacterial infection held you in its deadly embrace. The bacterium would spread to the victims’ lungs, causing them to fill with frothy, bloody liquid. This derivative of the disease was known as the pneumonic plague, and would quickly spread from person to person through the air.
In the spring and summer of 1665, an outbreak of bubonic plague spread from parish to parish until thousands had died and the huge pits dug to receive the bodies were full. People were dying at the rate of 7000 per week.
The smell of death permeated the streets, and it was wise to carry with you a pocket full of flowers to give relief the pungent smell of putridity. Physicians used to carry scented herbs and flowers, in an attempt to ward off the plague. Traditional 17th century London physicians wore the long robes and the long beaked mask with posies and other aromatic herbs stuffed inside.
The bodies needed to be burned to kill the bacteria before the mass graves were filled, resulting in the phrase “Ashes Ashes”. In other versions of the verse, the phrase was “Achoo Achoo”, indicating the sneezing associated with these plagues.
There are many people who have decided that this particular rhyme does in fact have ties to the plague of 1665; however, the first renditions of the rhyme were not written until 1881. This means that, if it were truly a rhyme that was created during the plague, it would have to have been recited for nearly six hundred years. This makes the plague connection suspect.
However, one third of the earth’s population, perhaps more, succumbed to the plague and it could have been picked up very quickly as an elegy or a culling verse, taken from something that was created before. It could be a parody of a previous song or verse.
It is also possible that the rhyme was taken from a Hindu ritual. Richard Stoney has researched the possibility of the rhyme’s being attached to the destruction and reincarnation ritual, “The Twilight Dance of Shiva.” Shiva is known as the god of destruction.
In the ritual, Shiva is encircled with roses. Then a circle of fire moves about Shiva, and mountains flatten and the Universe is burned. The idea is to dance around Shiva until you fall down from exhaustion.
The connections and the dot connecting of nursery rhymes always seems to have an element of death, plague, oppression, mental illness and witchcraft.
Even in some artist interpretations of “Old Mother Hubbard” the old woman is seen as a witch who after not finding a bone, bakes a loaf of bread for her dog to make happy. And Mary Mary who was quite “contrary” was a murderous psycho path, namely Queen Mary I of England, and is the basis for the children’s game Bloody Mary.
So be warned of the Dead Time stories that are told like witches spells. Mother Goose may be a fictitious witch, but the stories attributed to her seem like spells that spin in the autumn twilight. The stories from the old books of the witch hunts and the various plagues remind us of the dark figures and shadows of the man in the black hat. Also,the man with the beak mask, representing death.
As the last page is turned and the storybook closes, we lie back in our bedrooms and stare at the shadows cast by the moonlight. It may be wise to check under our beds to make sure that no dark demon from the lowest levels of hell is waiting to take possession of our souls.
While we are on the floor checking, it may be wise to pray to God, or else face the alternative and that is becoming prey to some calculating devil.