Fluchstein - Fluchstein

Cursing Stones auf Inishmurray

Curse stones , English "cursing stones", "cure" or "curse stones" are stones with which fellow with a curse or black magic should be occupied. In their effect they are similar to the escape boards (defixio) with Greek or Latin inscriptions , which were used in the areas of ancient Greek and Roman culture . In northern Europe the Celts used such stones to conjure up luck or bad luck. In some cultures, figurative objects such as voodoo dolls are also used to harm people from afar through magical acts or Atzmänner, but also curse bells or escape pots (African nungus). [1]

Celtic curse stones

In some island Celtic legends it is described that ritual processions, but also every other turning movement, had to take place in the course of the sun - i.e. clockwise ( deisel ) - if they were to produce a positive effect. Counter-clockwise rituals caused misfortune or curse. [2]Evidence of the use of curse stones comes almost entirely from tradition in the west and northwest of Ireland, but it is likely that they were common throughout the country. Some early historical sources suggest they have early origins. In Ireland and the Gaelic parts of Scotland there are stones that have an early church reference and are usually based on the exercise of power by an early Christian saint. This is also indicated by the Christian cross on the cursing stone that was found on the Scottish island of Canna in 2012 and in the portholefits, which stands at the early Christian cross of Canna, which is why it was dated to around 800. Only two survive in Ireland after the others are reported to have been destroyed by the Catholic Church during the early 19th century.

This was also observed when using curse stones: an altar stone , actually a Bullaun (stone base, -quader), one or more curse stones were laid and the altar then walked around counterclockwise, if you wanted to curse someone. If you moved in the opposite direction, it should have a healing effect . This turned the curse stone into a wish stone . Even today, on the Irish pilgrimages, the stations with the bullauns are walked around in the direction of the sun. The curse stones were mostly rounded pebbles. Such stones are on an "altar" in front of Inishmurray Monastery ( County Sligo, Ireland ). [3] [2]

The custom of the curse stones was apparently also known to the mainland Celts , as the large number of stone balls found at the Vosegus sanctuary in the Donon massif (in the Vosges in Alsace ) seems to prove. They were made of sandstone the size of a hen's egg and since they were not located near grave sites, a gift to chthonic gods can be ruled out at this location . [2]

„Cursing stone“ von Canna

On the Hebridean island of Canna , a smaller cursing stone (here in the sense of "cursed stone") was found , rather by chance , which is considered to be the first such find in Scotland. It was probably created around the year 800. The roughly 25 centimeter stone was found in an old cemetery. A simple cross is carved on one side. As was later determined, it fitted exactly into a recess in a rectangular stone at the foot of the Canna Cross. Katherine Forsyth, Expert on the culture and history of the early Celtic-speaking peoples, rated this find as extremely important, as such stones were previously only known from Ireland. It is also a rare top or capstone. These stones are usually from the early Christian era and have been used by pilgrims until modern times. The Oberstein is turned clockwise (auspiciously) while a prayer is said. [4]

Modern curse stone

The Cursed Stone, Millennium Bridge Subway in Carlisle, Photo from 2007

Even in the 21st century there is still a nationally known story about the alleged effect of such a curse stone. In the northern English city of Carlisle, for example, a modeled granite curse stone was commissioned as a work of art for a pedestrian underpass from the sculptor Gordon Young, which is said by some citizens, including the liberal-democratic city council and witch tracker Tim Tootle, that after the erection of the 14-ton art object hit the city by several disasters. Among other things, from the foot and mouth disease or from the devastating floods in 2005. In addition, unemployment has risen sharply and the football clubCarlisle United in the relegation 2004 remained unsuccessful. They therefore called for the bloc to be destroyed. The stone was cursed by the artist from the Archbishop of Glasgow , who was supposed to protect the place against looters in 1525. In order to mitigate the persistent negative effect on Carlisle, Christian groups, including the Bishop of Carlisle, Graham Dow, demanded that the stone be blessed with the word of God from Paul's letter to the Philippians , chapter 4, verse 6, and thus to bless the city redeem. [5]

Sagas, legends, reception

The curse stone (plow stone) from Herrliberg on Lake Zurich is a large boulder in the canton of Zurich and, according to legend, was created when two lovers were struck by lightning under a curse from their father and then sank into the ground. [6]

In his poem The Burial of King Cormac , Samuel Ferguson describes how curse stones were used to curse the legendary king Cormac mac Airt because he turned away from the old gods. [7] His death and the subsequent burial is then confirmed with the description of a miracle that is supposed to show that belief in one God is more powerful than all pagan curses by the Druids . [8th]

Curse stones can also appear in board games or computer games. For example in "Barbarossa and the Riddle Masters", the game of the year 1988. [9]


  • Helmut Birkhan : Celts. Attempt at a complete representation of their culture. Publishing house of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna 1997, ISBN 3-7001-2609-3 .
  • Patricia Monaghan: Cursing stones. In: The encyclopedia of Celtic mythology and folklore. Facts On File, New York 2009, ISBN 978-1-4381-1037-0, S. 111.
  • Christiaan Corlett: Cursing stones in Ireland. In: Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society. Band 64. The Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, Galway 2012, S. 1–20.


Individual evidence

  1. László Vajda, Thomas O. Höllmann: Ethnologica . Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden 1999, ISBN 3-447-04209-5 , p. 34 (books.google.de).
  2. a b c Birkhan: Celts. Pp. 806-807, 942-943.
  3. Cursing Stones. on sligoheritage.com
  4. ‘Cursing stone’ found on Isle of Canna. In: BBC News. 20. Mai 2012, abgerufen am 30. Juni 2015.
  5. "Curse Stone" makes the whole city tremble. In: Kölnische Rundschau. March 9, 2005, accessed June 30, 2015 . ; Carlisle fears the Curse Stone. In: Hamburger Abendblatt. March 5, 2005, accessed June 30, 2015 . ; BBC Cumbria website ; Tanya Gold: They're doomed: the curse of Carlisle. In: The Guardian. March 9, 2005, accessed July 1, 2015 .
  6. Peter Ziegler: Sagas and legends about Lake Zurich . Gut, Stäfa 2005, ISBN 3-85717-162-6 , Der Fluchstein von Herrliberg. ; The saga of the plowstone on pflugstein.ch
  7. Samuel Ferguson: The Burial of King Cormac. auf ucc.ie
  8. T. W. Rolleston: The death and burial of Cormac. In: The High Deeds of Finn and other Bardic Romances of Ancient Ireland. G. G. Harrap & Co., London 1910, S. 202–206; (gutenberg.org) The Death and Burial of Cormac Mac Art. 2007, abgerufen am 1. Juli 2015.
  9. Game of the Year 1988 - Barbarossa and the Puzzle Masters on spieldesjahres.de