Magical figures

Even in Forio, as in the rest of the island and in many other areas of the South and of Italy, traditional stories testify the existence of beliefs about magical figures and imaginary creatures. Among the most common there are munaciello, the ianara and the werewolf.
The munaciello,The munaciello, home spirit, ambiguous dispenser of fortune, could occur both in human and animal aspect, such as a white rabbit or a goat.
The ianara was a witch, to which were attributed innate evil and supernatural powers, including the right to cause a 'ndressia, ie conflicts between couples and between parents and children, and to prove u scartiello, the hump. According to the folk tales ianara, woman almost normal during the day, at night it became dangerous, she infiltrated and hid in the house of the person waiting to damage and to land on the belly until he gets out of breat.
The werewolf,mythical figure typical of peasant and pastoral societies was recurrent protagonist of scary tales of family or friends. He was a man who in the full moon is covered with hair and wandered the countryside until dawn howling like a wolf. According to some versions of the legend, it is a disease, a type of asthma, in this case, compared to ianara, to whom the werewolf had in common the birth on Christmas Eve, it was a harmless figure as ill, instead bearer. Other versions instead describe it able to tear other human beings.


An inevitable rite and still in use was the vigil of the deceased. Death occurred, the relatives of the deceased prepared the room for the wake. The dead man was lying on his bed wearing the dress groom, at the corners of the bed four candelabra were placed along the walls of the chairs were arranged for visitors. On the wall by the side of the head of the deceased, was spread a white sheet, the center of which stood a cross made with a black cloth.
In the month of the dead, November, knocked on the doors of the houses a man bent and emaciated pale face and red eyes, with a knapsack on his shoulder. It was the spiritiello which was to "refresh" the souls of the dead. After reciting prayers and singing long scary aching souls, gathered into his bag offers family (beans, bread, dried figs), and continued his tour.


When doctors with "official" cares could not heal the sick, recourse to alternative treatments and figures.
Treatment with leeches was entrusted to a woman named mammena (midwife) that was also attended by women during childbirth. The leeches were closed in glass jar and applied behind the ears.
Failure to cure the extreme remedy that has been used was the rassa. The relatives of the patient were knocking on homes asking for a sign of interest and solidarity collected lard, drops of oil, wheat seeds, some rock salt, vegetables, legumes. These gifts were boiled and poured into a hot bath which was immersed in the patient.


Customs and superstitions

  • Disease

  • Death

  • Magical figures

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Info on Ischia island

  • Surface: 46 Kmq
  • Hight: 789 mt
  • Lat.: 40° 44',82 N
  • Long.: 13° 56',58 E
  • Periplus: 18 miglia
  • Coasts: 51.2 Km
  • Cities: 6
  • Inhabitants: 58.029


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