Archive for the ‘Fairy’ Category

Why Do We As A Culture Hand Our Children’s Teeth To A Strange Freak Fairy?

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Each week, Weird Things’ own Matt Finley breaks down one of the oddest elements of our culture in a feature we call Monster Of The Week. This week we focus on the Tooth Fairy, come back Wednesday and Friday for more!

skitched-20100517-124553.jpgMore than just the story of a shrewd harpy with brimming coffers and an inexplicable calcium fetish, the legend of the tooth fairy is a tale of a Western superstition’s complete 180 degree turn from paranoid delusion to celebratory rite (I’m ignoring the recent additional 10-degree nudge toward Dwayne Johnson-helmed cinematic atrocity). But before we take a look at the wand-assisted incisor seizure perpetrated by she of the glittery wings and deep pockets, we need to look at baby teeth. Now they’re commodities, but back in the olden days, the exchange rate wasn’t so favorable. Today an exfoliated molar might fetch you a couple dollars; a few hundred years ago, the best you could hope was to not be fatally hexed by dark magicks.

To lay a wicked pox on someone’s house, all a witch needs is a sample of the victim’s DNA and some elbow grease (preferably that of a middle-order demon, notorious as they are for their excessively greasy elbows). Or, at least, such was the belief of many ancient civilizations, who devised all manner of creative disposal methods for nail clippings, hair sheerings and disenjawed teeth. Hair and nails (along with samples of urine and menstrual blood) were often relegated to hidden witch bottles – ceramic or wooden vessels that, when intact, protected the owner against naughty mojo. Meanwhile, baby teeth were disposed of by a variety of regionally variant means, including burying, burning and swallowing. Some folks even tossed the derelict chompers into rats’ nests because, as you probably already know, if a mouse or a rat gnaws on a child’s lost milk tooth, the child’s permanent teeth will grow in healthy and strong.

Find the rest AFTER THE JUMP…