by Linda Preston
If you felt there were spirits and demons all around you wouldn't you want to find a way to protect yourself?
To the pre-industrial peoples of Europe and elsewhere who lived in fear of dark forces in their physical environment precautions had to be taken. One of these was to make a spirit trap, which essentially consisted of an elaborate net or tangle of threads. The idea being that this could capture the spirits as they passed by and immediately stop their movements - especially entry into a house.
One typical device consisted of a copper loop criss-crossed with threads - traditionally red in colour - fixed to the top of a wooden stake. This would be hammered into the ground at a spot considered haunted or on an old, rarely used track - especially one leading to or from a burial ground.
Another way of trapping evil spirits was a 'witch bottle'. These were bottles filled with tangles of coloured threads; placed over an entrance door, they were thought to prevent entry of the spirits of witches flying about at night.
In Bavaria spirit traps could take the form of complex patterns of pebbles on the ground in front of an entrance door or of a circuit of threads or wires on a small wooden frame inserted into the ceiling beams just inside the door. Whilst in Russia it was traditional to throw a fishing net over a bride dressed for her wedding to prevent her being reached by malevolent influences from sorcery. Nets and 'cat's cradles' of threads were known to be placed on corpses in various areas of Europe to prevent the ghosts of the recently deceased leaving their resting place. At least one use of the ancient stone 'labyrinth' site was to trap or bind spirits. In Tibet 'devil traps' were placed on houses, described by one writer as looking like 'wireless aerials but much more complicated'. In China 'feng shui' practitioners would erect mirrors or place fearsome door-guardians sculptures to frighten off troublesome and evil spirits or erect other kinds of spirit repellents. The Native American 'dream-catcher' also has links to this belief - a hoop holds a web of threads to snare bad dreams, but there is a hole in the centre to let pleasant dreams drift through.
In the 21st century we may find the idea of 'spirit traps' quaint but to ancient people it was a necessary precaution against the constant threat of spirit attack or even worse - possession!
LINDA PRESTON WORKS AS A PROFESSIONAL PSYCHIC & WRITER OF PARANORMAL ARTICLES. HER WORK HAS BEEN FEATURED POSITIVELY IN NATIONAL MAGAZINES & SHE IS A FREQUENT EXPERT GUEST ON VARIOUS RADIO SHOWS. SHE CAN BE CONTACTED VIA HER WEBSITE AT http://www.psychicreadingsbylinda.co.uk