The Pope's Eye and Betty Martin
Religious Authority, Superstition, Supernaturalism, Railways, Accidents
Describing the belief among the 'lower orders of intellect in Italy' in 'a ridiculous superstition' of the 'evil eye', notes that Pope Pius IX is held to be 'gifted with this sinister endowment' and that superstitious Italians claim that this power caused a railway train to fall off a drawbridge that the pope had blessed a few days earlier. Points out that the accident was caused by the train bolting when the drawbridge was up, which constitutes an act of 'common negligence'. Also notes that, since nobody was hurt in the accident, it could also be explained as resulting from a 'favourable eye'. Noting the apparent effect of the pope's benign smile on others, concludes that the only pope's eye that is not evil is that in a 'leg of mutton'.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <http://www.sciper.org> [accessed ]