11 Bizarre Ancient Beliefs and Their Practitioners

These unusual practices reveal the diversity of human thought and the unique traditions of ancient cultures.

1. Cat Worshipping

In ancient Egypt, people shaved off their eyebrows to mourn their cats.

2. The Death Whistle

The Death Whistle was an Aztec whistle crafted out of a human head, that was blown to help guide recently deceased spirits to the afterlife. It was used during ceremonies, and yes, sacrifices.

3. Alchemy

Alchemists in medieval Europe believed that they could turn metals into gold, and discover the elixir of life. They also believed that there was a solution for immortality.

4. Cutting Fingers

The Dani tribe of the highlands of Papua, New Guinea, cut tips of their fingers off without anesthetic. The ritual is designed to help mourn the loss of loved ones by feeling pain, and keeping the recent spirits away. The tribe still exists to this day.

5. Fairies and Changeling Children

In European folklore, fairies would sometimes grab babies and swap them out with changelings. To test if your child was a “fairie,” a mother could place a bowl of soup with a shoe in it in front of the baby. Fairies would apparently laugh at this gesture. It is thought this was used as a way of coming to terms with disabled children.

6. Blood Eagle

This brutal Viking tradition involved cutting a person open, and rearranging their ribs and lungs to look like an eagle’s wings. It is thought to have been a form of sacrifice to appease the Gods while showing bravery, but others believe it was a form of punishment.

7. Sky Burial

Sky Burial is a Tibetan ritual in which a recently deceased person is placed on a high pedestal, so that the vultures can pick at them. Then they are eventually moved to the ground and what’s left is scattered. It is a way to give back to nature and become part of the cycle of life.

8. City Limits

The Romans believed that the laws of their city limits weren’t just laws of the city, but laws of the Gods. Once, an official forgot to follow a city rule, and when a different official died the same day, they blamed the first.

9. Self-Mummification

Over time, Buddhist Monks in Japan from the 11th to the 19th century would gradually deprive themselves of food and water over the course of several years until they died, often while meditating in small spaces. They believed that by pushing the limits of the physical world, they could transcend into the spiritual one.

10. Augury

Augury was the ancient Roman practice of predicting the future through bird watching.

11. Children as Animals

Children in ancient Greece were not thought of as people, rather wild animals. Plato once said, “Of wild animals, a child is most difficult.” Artemis is both the Goddess of wild animals, and children.

The post 11 Bizarre Ancient Beliefs and Their Practitioners appeared first on Barnorama.

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