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The world of the arcane

lucky charms in the form of horns and humpbacks

The last chapter deals with the colourful character of Raimondo de Sangro, Prince of Sansevero, a scientist and academic who was considered by many to be a magician and necromancer.
We also look at the phenomenon of mediums and spiritism, with a special look at Eusapia Palladino, the most important medium at the end of the 1800s in Naples. Other phenomena are also examined including superstitions, the evil eye and vampirism.


Raimondo de Sangro, Prince of Sansevero

As you walk amongst the alleyways of the historical centre of Naples, a visit to the Chapel of Sansevero is a must. It is only a few steps away from the square of San Domenico Maggiore, in the area once inhabited, in Roman times, by a colony of merchants from Alexandria in Egypt. In this place mystery and legend blend and transport the visitor into the fantastic world of Prince Raimondo de Sangro...

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30. Superstition, evil eye and "jettatura"

Naples is a city full of mystery, legend and wonder but also one full of magic, superstition and numbers. As Matilde Serao says: Tutte le superstizioni sparse nel mondo sono raccolte in Napoli e ingrandite, moltiplicate poiché la sua credulità è frutto dell'ignoranza, della miseria e delle sventure che a Napoli si sono alternate dai diversi attacchi del colera all'eruzione del Vesuvio nel 1872 (the various superstitions from all over the world come together in Naples where they are then magnified and multiplied because belief in them is the result of the ignorance, misery and tragedy that have beset Naples over the centuries from the cholera outbreaks to the 1872 Vesuvius eruption)...

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Eusapia Palladino

Eusapia Palladino was born in 1854 in the province of Bari. She lost both her parents while she was young and was brought up by relatives who knew nothing about schooling. She was something of a tomboy and was illiterate and unsophisticated. However, she had lots of charm and a strong character, and when she moved to Naples she was taken on as child minder by the Migaldi family. It was a period when people were very superstitious and easy to dupe. Spiritism sessions were really popular, and mediums and magicians attracted huge audiences who reacted with a mix of enthusiasm and fear...

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Mediums and spiritism in Naples

The final decades of the XVIII century and the early years of the XIX century, the period known as the Belle Epoque, were marked by a huge new interest in the esoteric which encompassed both philosophical meditation as well as medical treatment. Theosophical and anthroposophical theories were elaborated, and lots of spiritism sessions were held. There was interest in astrological predictions and experiments into hypnosis...

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Neapolitan Vampirism

Demons and vampires, madmen and magicians have all left their mark on Campania and Naples over the centuries. Intellectuals and laypeople alike, have feared and invoked them, revered and rejected them. It seems strange, but it was during the XVIII century, the Enlightened century, that their popularity grew and really took a hold on the collective conscience...

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