Editor’s Note by H.P.B. on an article by Frederick Helmone
With reference to the following correspondence which appeared in Knowledge, dated 26th October 1883, a well-known weekly paper conducted by Mr. R. A. Proctor, it would be interesting if you would kindly explain the rationale of the transfer of the wart from the body of one individual to that of another, and also say whether the charm referred to by the correspondent in the concluding portion of his letter has any real effect.
Yours obediently, K. C. M.
“Allow me to tell you my own experience of warts. When I was a little boy I had a wart on the tip of my nose. They called me Cicero. My father’s æsthetic taste was annoyed at this non-essential to the beautiful. He had recourse to the knife, and then stanched the blood with caustic. This process was equally unpleasant and unavailing. The cauterizing was constantly renewed, but the blackened excrescence stubbornly remained rooted to my inflamed nose. Mr. Thomas, a Supervisor in the Excise, took special delight in teasing me whenever we met. ‘Master Frederick,’ he would say, ‘I think you have a fly on your nose’; or ‘There is a spot of dirt,’ etc., etc., ‘Allow me to remove it.’ In the course of time I left home for a boarding-school, where the medical attendant gave me a powder with which to rub my wart. He also tied a piece of silk round another which grew on my eyelid. Both were gone in a few weeks. The holidays came, and one of my first visits was to my old tormentor, Mr. Thomas. He was out, but on my showing his wife that the wart was no longer to be seen, ‘Bless me!’ said she. ‘Why my husband has it!’ And sure enough, when he came in a few minutes later, there was the wart on the tip of his nose. I told him how the doctor at school had cured the one on my eyelid, and he allowed me to tie a piece of fine strong catgut round his, in doing which I paid him off by giving such a sharp pull at the two ends, that his eyes watered again as he howled and danced about the room. From time to time for some years the wart returned and disappeared. I always fancied that old Thomas had it, when I lost it, and vice-versa. Whether it was so I cannot tell; all I can say is that his went and came at intervals in a similar way. This I heard from Mrs. Thomas some years later. I have met and known several successful wart charmers. One told me that he had ‘charmed enough away to fill a bushel-basket.’ A very favourite charm in many parts of England was to bury a piece of meat secretly after touching the warts with it. As the meat rotted in the ground so the wart died away. Years ago, I tried charming children’s warts myself, and found that they vanished within the time I promised.”
(Signed) Frederick Helmone.
Editor’s Note. [H.P.B.]—It may seem ridiculous to those who have never tried the latter sympathetic remedy, while to them who did and succeeded, it seems quite natural. In Russia, they charm away warts both with meat and raw potatoes. Having rubbed the wart with one half of the potato cut in two, that half which has been rubbed is buried in the cellar in the sand and the other half planted near by. As the former decays, the latter sprouts and every one of the young shoots is covered with excrescences; and as this process is going on, the wart on the person thins away, and soon disappears entirely. Then the potato leaves are uprooted with the half decayed vegetable and burnt over seven sticks of wood. Unless this concluding ceremony is gone through,—say our “medicine men” the wart is liable to reappear, and disfigure the patient, once more.
We feel incompetent to explain the rationale of the above and simply state a fact. Not only have we seen the experiment successfully applied in our own case—big warts on the neck—when about 12 or 13 years old, but we have known a number of persons delivered in this simple manner of disagreeable excrescences. It is a remedy known to every housewife in Russia and France too we believe.