PAGAN HALLOWEEN – The Mandrake

Heres a program from our archives.This weekend, as ghosts and goblins and other assorted demons descend upon the streets for tricks and treats, let’s hear about one of the witches’ most potent tricks of the trade– the mandrake root. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Gates: The mandrake is the most controversial of all the plants that have ever lived on this earth. As late as 1630, three women in Hamburg Germany were burned at the stake just for having it in their yard.” Verna Gates is an instructor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who specializes in the folklore of flowers.Gates: The mandrake has a little root that’s shaped like a man; it has little arms, little legs and a head and some people say they’ve seen them with noses, ears and full beards. And they used to believe that they could take the mandrake and shave off a little part of the mandrake and mix it with viperous tongues and bats blood and the fat of dead children and make a potion that enabled them to fly. The mandrake only grows from the throat of a rascal who’s been hanged for stealing a penny from a poor widow in church on the High Holy days between the reading of the Gospel and the Epistle. And if you could harvest that from under the gallows tree, then you were just the hottest witch in town.The mandrake was used by the ancient Greeks and other cultures as an anesthetic, an aphrodisiac and a sleeping potion. Circe, one of the most infamous of all witches, was said to have used a drink made from the mandrake to turn men into animals.If you have a question or comment about this or any of the other programs in our series, we’d like to hear from you. Our email address is pulse at igc dot org.This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. If you want hear more, check out our podcast. Im Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

PAGAN HALLOWEEN - The Mandrake

On Halloween eve: a look at the elusive mandrake plant, a crucial part of any witch’s sorcery kit.
Air Date:10/30/1998
Scientist:
Transcript:

Heres a program from our archives.This weekend, as ghosts and goblins and other assorted demons descend upon the streets for tricks and treats, let's hear about one of the witches' most potent tricks of the trade-- the mandrake root. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Gates: The mandrake is the most controversial of all the plants that have ever lived on this earth. As late as 1630, three women in Hamburg Germany were burned at the stake just for having it in their yard." Verna Gates is an instructor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who specializes in the folklore of flowers.Gates: The mandrake has a little root that's shaped like a man; it has little arms, little legs and a head and some people say they've seen them with noses, ears and full beards. And they used to believe that they could take the mandrake and shave off a little part of the mandrake and mix it with viperous tongues and bats blood and the fat of dead children and make a potion that enabled them to fly. The mandrake only grows from the throat of a rascal who's been hanged for stealing a penny from a poor widow in church on the High Holy days between the reading of the Gospel and the Epistle. And if you could harvest that from under the gallows tree, then you were just the hottest witch in town.The mandrake was used by the ancient Greeks and other cultures as an anesthetic, an aphrodisiac and a sleeping potion. Circe, one of the most infamous of all witches, was said to have used a drink made from the mandrake to turn men into animals.If you have a question or comment about this or any of the other programs in our series, we'd like to hear from you. Our email address is pulse at igc dot org.This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. If you want hear more, check out our podcast. Im Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.