Chair (that she may not fall soft) photographic documentation Pétion Ville, Port au Prince, Haiti 04.06.2011 22.09h
photographs courtesy Martin Siegrist
..."The South Slavonian peasant believes that witches ride in the dark hail-clouds; so he shoots at the clouds to bring down the hags, while he curses them, saying, "Curse, curse Herodias, thy mother is a heathen, damned of God and fettered through the Redeemer's blood." Also he brings out a pot of glowing charcoal on which he has thrown holy oil, laurel leaves, and wormwood to make smoke. The fumes are supposed to ascend to the clouds and stupefy the witches, so that they tumble down to earth. And in order that they may not fall soft, but may hurt themselves very much, the yokel hastily brings out a chair and tilts it bottom up so that the witch in falling may break her legs on the legs of the chair. Worse than that, he cruelly lays scythes, bill-hooks, and other formidable weapons edge upwards so as to cut and mange the poor wretches when they drop plump upon them from the clouds."
Source: The Golden Bough, a study in magic and religion, by Sir James George Frazer, first published 1922; Wordsworth Editions Ltd. 1993 pp649-pp650