Superstition and madness

From the entry for ‘madness’ taken from the Cassel Dictionary of Superstitions (ISBN 0304365610):

“It is said that the mad are chosen by God and enjoy the special favour of Heaven. Accordingly, it is thought that particularly lucky throughout Europe to live in the same house as someone who is mad and historically the mad have been well cared for by their local community. Meeting such a person in the street is itself a lucky event in the folklore of fishermen, who interpret such an encounter as confirmation that the day’s catch will be a good one.”

2 Comments

  1. Posted August 14, 2007 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    I think this says more about the Cassel Dictionary of Superstitions than about the historical treatment of madness. What is the evidence please?

  2. Posted August 14, 2007 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Superstition is ignorance but in this case “positive ignorance” because the real thing is that patients affected with mental disorders are ussually marginalized, excluded and stigmatized. Graham Thornicoft, Professor of Psychiatry Community at King’s College is deeply concern with the way society must deal and tackle the problems of stigma in people with mental disorders. I believe many experts would like that type of superstition for such patients that in the end are normal persons that deserves the same rights and quality of life without any social threat as the rest of people.


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