The Magic Caf
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » Sin Eater (5 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

The Curator
View Profile
V.I.P.
Beware Vampire, I have
3838 Posts

Profile of The Curator
A lost Story from the Surnateum

Image



The Sin Eater
By Christian Chelman
Translated by Alice Fienning

Origin: England (Wales & Cornwall) --- Belgium
Acquisition by the Surnatéum Museum in the 1980’s. This object has been in the Département des Quarantaines for a long time.

Go maire tú an céad … agus bliain aithri!
”May you live 100 years --- and then one more year to do penance” (Irish proverb)

Background Information:

The tradition of the Sin Eater is found in Wales as well as in Scotland and even on the Continent (including the Netherlands). The acquisition which the Surnatéum has recovered for its collection is a group of objects evoking superstition in their own right. (See “Description of the objects in the Surnatéum Museum” below.)

In his work on the Welsh preacher, Christmas Evans (1750-1850), the author Paxton Hood describes a strange superstitious custom concerning Sin Eaters. “No doubt the proclamation of the Gospel and the elevated faith which its great truths bring in its train, broke the fascination, the charm and power of many of these superstitions, but they lingered even until the last forty or fifty years---indeed the superstition of the sin-eater is said to linger even now in the secluded vale of Cwmamman in Carmarthenshire.”

The role of the Sin Eater, in general, fell to a vagrant or miscreant whose function consisted of swallowing the sins of a dead person. In order to accomplish this, he put a piece of bread and a bit of salt (and sometimes cheese or another type of food) in a saucer placed on the chest of the dead person, recited the ritual words, and swallowed all of the food with a gulp of wine or beer before being chased from the home. His payment was 6 pence (1 shilling).

[Translator’s note from Chelman’s text:] Although the payment is made for the Seven Deadly Sins, only 6 pence is given to the Sin Eater. If the seventh pence were paid, it would represent the sin of Pride. To pay 7 pence would be tantamount to equating the Sin Eater to the Christ, which would naturally involve the mortal sin of Pride. After having absorbed the sins, the Sin Eater would blow them into a metal bottle which would keep them prisoner.

[Translator’s note from Chelman’s text:] The Biblical reference is Leviticus 16: 20-22. It describes a ceremony whereby the iniquities of the children of Israel are transferred to a goat that is subsequently led into the wilderness.


Description of the objects in the Surnatéum Museum:

A wooden box containing a hollowed-out book holding a wooden reliquary crucifix which contains a piece of the True Cross; a prayer book in French; 6 one-penny pieces from England (various centuries), the oldest dating from the middle of the 18th century; an ancient leather purse holding a tiny metal bottle; a group of color engravings of “The Seven Deadly Sins” (seven compositions created, engraved and colored by André Lambert, 1818, the Prince editor, Paris); an earthenware cup made in England, decorated with scene entitled “Orphans”; a piece of bread and some salt.

The following is the oral testimony of Mrs. B.:

When the old man entered the room where the family of the deceased was holding vigil, the silence deepened even more. Tall and slender, his emaciated face with its luxuriant white beard gave the impression of being that of a bard from a long-ago Celtic tale.

“He was a friend of the deceased,” whispered the lady in black seated beside me. “They met in the trenches during the Great War. He is called the Sin Eater. He is of Welsh origin, from Cwmamman, I believe, and has come to fulfill a promise made long ago.”

The old man approached the body and gently moved aside the cloth that covered his friend. From a pouch he pulled a book, a piece of bread and a bit of salt in a small bag, as well as an old ceramic cup. He placed the piece of bread and the salt on the dead man’s chest, opened the hollowed-out book and removed a small wooden crucifix.

“This crucifix contains a piece of the True Cross given me by the deceased many years ago. Watch what will happen,” he confided to her.

The Sin Eater placed the cross on the forehead of his dead friend and began to murmur several prayers in a language that I could not identify. Then he took the piece of bread, placed it in his mouth and ate it, and did the same with the salt. The widow, during the course of the proceedings, poured beer for him into the cup, which followed the same path as the food. Finally, she looked in a small box in which she found six copper coins which she placed in the palm of the man’s hand. Struck with emotion, she let one piece fall and it rolled to my feet. I picked it up and suffered a shock while surreptitiously observing it before returning it to the Sin Eater. It was a very old English penny, probably dating from the time of George III (18th century); on the head of the coin was the profile of a Druid or a bard, and I could have sworn that I recognized it as the face of the person who was standing before me. He made a small gesture to me with his head before leaving the room, as quietly as he had come; in his eyes of an almost translucent blue, I believed I could read all the cares of the world.

When he reached the front door, and before leaving the house, he withdrew from under his shirt a small leather pouch which he wore attached to a cord around his neck. He blew into a sort of metal bottle which was hidden in the pouch, liberating himself from something which he could not keep for himself.

I saw this man again only once, at the end of 1958 when he returned to me, without apparent reason, the box which I offer you here. He was returning from Rome and seemed quite exhausted, but I have never been able to learn why...
Balaram
View Profile
Special user
904 Posts

Profile of Balaram
You are a master at leaving exactly the right amount of mystery in your stories. The last sentence is just brilliant.
As for the routine around this--do you dare use the metal bottle?
jerome96114
View Profile
New user
71 Posts

Profile of jerome96114
Thanks for sharing this!
(Thought) Moving Story.
Eddie Garland
View Profile
Inner circle
Hells Kitchen, New York City
4208 Posts

Profile of Eddie Garland
Wonderful story!
Fascinating facts!
The Curator
View Profile
V.I.P.
Beware Vampire, I have
3838 Posts

Profile of The Curator
Quote:
On Jul 4, 2014, Balaram wrote:
You are a master at leaving exactly the right amount of mystery in your stories. The last sentence is just brilliant.
As for the routine around this--do you dare use the metal bottle?


Yes there's a routine with the metal bottle and sins (The Weight of Sins) A very unusual routine. And yes, he did a last sin eating too heavy to carry... Who was the Dying?

The cup with Orphans means that they're orphans from God.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sin-eater
The Curator
View Profile
V.I.P.
Beware Vampire, I have
3838 Posts

Profile of The Curator
The complete set (with full contains), various views.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
The Curator
View Profile
V.I.P.
Beware Vampire, I have
3838 Posts

Profile of The Curator
Image


The observe of the coin showed a Druid's head surrounded by a wreath of oak leaves and acorns.
Thomas Williams lived at Plas LLanidan over looking the Menai Straits. His home was close to the battle fields of the Romans and Druids in AD61 and AD76. It is thought that this influence the design of his coin.
The reverse of the coin showed a PMC design which stood for the Parys Mining Company. The design also had the words:- We promise to pay the bearer one penny On demand in London , Liverpool or Anglesea."
This served as a reminder that the coins were "Trade tokens" and not official coins of the realm.

http://www.amlwchhistory.co.uk/parys/pennies.htm
The Curator
View Profile
V.I.P.
Beware Vampire, I have
3838 Posts

Profile of The Curator
Image


The original Sin eater Cross from the first one (Leather - XVIIIth century). Later the role of Sin Eater was transmitted from one man to the next one with 6 pence (7 Pence will be the sin of Pride, only Christ can redempt all the sins of the World).
Brynmore14
View Profile
Inner circle
The Séance Chamber
1812 Posts

Profile of Brynmore14
Curator,

I have a key that may well ne identical to the one in your photo, do you know the providence of yours?

Supposedly the one I have is from the Hungary.
The Curator
View Profile
V.I.P.
Beware Vampire, I have
3838 Posts

Profile of The Curator
No idea where the key comes from.
chmara
View Profile
Inner circle
Tucson, AZ
1909 Posts

Profile of chmara
The concept of a Sin Eater presents a very interesting challenge for development. This story is exceptional - and can go well beyond the display and story itself.

In fact -- the pouch and bottle -- if translated to a long salt pour would bring a different flavor (no pun intended) to the conclusion, as might blowing into the flask --- and then pouring out a different color substance (or salt) the originally shown.

But, I do not feel that a copper/silver brass effect with the coins would work into this......unless you had a really weird mind.
Gregg (C. H. Mara) Chmara

Commercial Operations, LLC

Tucson, AZ



C. H. Mara Illusion & Psychic Entertainments
The Curator
View Profile
V.I.P.
Beware Vampire, I have
3838 Posts

Profile of The Curator
One of the effects with the coins is that you cannot add or remove one coin (or more) from the 6. If they are 7 coins, it's the Mortal Sin of Pride. If there are less coins, the sin eater can't transmit his duty to the next sin eater, and will die with all the sins of the world.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » Sin Eater (5 Likes)
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2022 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.06 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL