Root of evil: superstition in garlic


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It’s that haunting time of the year isn’t it? It’s when the barriers between this world and the next thin and ghouls, goblins, and other fiendish thing cross over. This Hallow’s Eve you’ll probably need to ward off evil spirits, maybe with a toad necklace, a crucifix, and most importantly GARLIC.

Yes, we all know garlic has medicinal properties, proven to lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels. But garlic has been deeply connected to the supernatural, used to protect people from ailments and evil spirits. So lets look at some of the more supernatural aspects of garlic, just in time for Halloween!

In Christian mythology it is noted that the first ever bulb of garlic sprung where Satan’s left foot stepped as he left the Garden of Eden. Ancient Egyptians, on the other hand, believed garlic as a gift from God. Regardless of its origin, since then, it’s been used to ward off evil.

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Image from Giphy

A garlic in your pocket can ward off the evil eye, or you can string up an odd, not even, number of cloves to make a necklace for extra protection. Folklore has shown garlic to be a mainstay to ward evil, but there is one supernatural creature mostly connected with garlic and that is the vampire.

Garlic and it’s connection to vampires originates from Slavic and Romanian traditions. A hidden vampire could be spotted if he, or she, would decline eating garlic. In these regions, cloves of garlic were put in the pockets of dead bodies when buried, just in case the dearly departed might turn into a vampire. These traditions heavily influenced Bram Stoker’s classic gothic novel, Dracula.

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Image from Geeks of Doom

In the classic novel, Professor Van Helsing places a garlic necklace on Lucy’s neck so that the titular vampire, Dracula, would not harm her. Popular vampire films like Fright Night and The Lost Boys later borrowed this aspect of the novel later on.

A fun fact however, the original 1931 Dracula starring Bela Lugosi made no use of garlic. In the film, wolfsbane was used to ward off Dracula. Wolfsbane, too, is a popular tool in warding off the supernatural and is connected to the werewolf mythology but that’s a story for another time.

Stay safe out there this Halloween and don’t forget to keep a bulb of garlic with you… just in case. For helpful hints on growing your own garlic, check out some suggestions we have here. Happy Halloween!

Header image from Annie Spratt


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