On candles, saints and supernatural harm…
Early in the project, Anna was struck by how many cases of supernatural harm feature candles, as one of the ‘props’ of witchcraft. Here’s an example from Will’s records:
Hazebrouck (Nord). Thérese D– sold various charms/amulets, including a candle pierced with needles she told a man would hasten his wife’s death. La Lanterne, 06.06.1888.
At the same time, Anna was reading Ruth Harris’s book, Lourdes: Body and Spirit in the Secular Age, and was struck by an eyewitness description of Bernadette Soubirous as ‘white as a candle’. Her poem ‘Time is a Candle Burning Down’ arose out of these associations. The poem was Highly Commended in the Binsted Arts Prize 2019 and published on the Mary Evans Picture Library ‘Poems & Pictures’ blog.
You can read Anna’s poem here: