Basilisk (page 2)
The Basilisk lived, or rather, created the desert, since its breath and/or glance allegedly made birds fall dead from the skies, fruits rot, stones break into dust, and grass and plants wither. Even the rivers and lakes in which this monster slaked its thirst were supposed to dry up or become poisoned for many years.
There was a widespread folk belief that once in seven years the cock laid a little, misshapen egg. In Germany it was thought necessary to throw this anomalous egg over the roof, or tempests would wreck the homestead; but should the egg be hatched, it would produce a Cockatrice or Basilisk. But in Lithuania this unusual cock’s egg superstition involved putting it within a pot, which was then placed in the oven; from it was hatched a kauks, a bird with a tail like that of a golden pheasant, which, if properly tended, would bring its owner great good luck.
A chronicle of Basel in Switzerland mentions that, in the month of August 1474, a cock in that town was accused and convicted in public court on the charge of laying an egg during the days of the Dog Star, and then condemned to death. He was publicly burned along with his egg, at a place called Kablenberg, in sight of a great multitude of people.
The last recorded appearance of a Cockatrice was in 1587 in Warsaw. There, two girls were killed by its breath, while playing in their cellar. Frightened citizens organized a hunt for the monster, but after finding and killing a small snake, declared the affair finished.
It seems improbable that there could be any foundation in reality for such a weird creature as the Basilisk, and it is possible that this fearsome creature really evolved from exaggerated travelers’ tales of the horned adder or the hooded cobra, confused with such awesome reptiles as the Gila monster.
Yet, as documented by British zoologist Dr. Karl P. N. Shuker in his Extraordinary Animals Worldwide (1991), an animal surprisingly alike has been reported living in central Africa and the Caribbean. Known as the crowing crested cobra, it is according to those who claim to have seen it an extremely large, venomous male serpent with a cock's-comb-like crest, facial wattles, and a cockerel's crow. Over the years various reports have been published about this animal. In 1944, for example, a Malawi physician, Dr. J. O. Shircore, declared in the journal African Affairs that he possessed parts of one of these creatures a portion of the neck and the skeleton of the comb. It is really possible that it was ancient travelers' tales of the above mentioned reptiles (*), or the crowing crested cobra, that originally gave rise to the myth of the basilisk but it is unlikely that we shall ever discover whether this theory is true or not.
One must mention that the name Basilisk has also been applied to a group of iguana-like lizards (Basiliscus), found on the banks of rivers and streams in Central America and Mexico.
See Dragon, Chupacabra, Cryptozoology, Hydra, Kraken, Leviathan, Sea Serpent, Mystic Gifts and Charms - New Age Gift Shop & Wicca and Pagan Supplies, Love Spells -- Use these powerful love spells to help you find and keep your true love, The Tarot Store, The Chakra Store, Divination & Scrying Tools and Supplies, Unique Amulets, Talismans, Good Luck Charms, and Love Tokens, Powerful Witch Doctor Spell Kits, Powerful Spells - Cast by Andreika the Witch, Webmasters Make $$$, AzureGreen - Celebrating All Paths to the Divine, ISIS - Tools for Your Soul's Journey, and The Pyramid Collection - Myth, Magick, Fantasy and Romance.
Sources: (1) Dictionary of the Occult, Caxton Publishing; (2) Spence, Lewis, An Encyclopedia of Occultism, Carol Publishing Group; (3) Mysterious Creatures, from the collection Mysteries of the Unknown, Time-Life Books. (4) Borges, Jorge Luis, The Book of Imaginary Beings, Penguin Classics.
| || |