Museum Number: 217
Object Name: Figurine - Horned God
Physical Description: Carved wooden figure of a winged and horned spirit, with hands on twisted arms instead of legs and feet.
Museum Classification: Satanism and Devil Worship
Size: 430mm high
Information: Mentioned in Doreen Valiente's description of the exhibits at Cecil Williamson's 'House of Spells' at Polperro (Transcripts from Doreen Valiente's Diaries 1959-1966, in the museum library (133.43 VAL), pp.29-34).
A visitor to the museum, Margaret Edge, has a similar figure, and thinks it is probably from the Far East. She has had two different explanations of it told to her. One was that it was a protection figure, known as a 'Watcher', put on the prows of boats when they went to sea, and at other times fixed to the roofs of the people's houses. The other account was that the figure was called a 'Keeper', and was set up when someone was performing a spell, to watch over the procedure and ensure that the spell was done correctly.
Another visitor, who is a thatcher, mentioned that roof finials on British houses were often intended for magical protection - in particular to stop witches landing on the roof.
Marti Dean, another regular visitor and volunteer at the museum, owns a similar figure which has the words DEVAL SASABONSAM written on the base. He has done some research and discovered that the Sasabonsam is a monster in the folklore of the Ashanti of Ghana, which lurks in the branches of trees and seizes unwary passers-by with its legs. The column supporting the figure in this carving probably represents the trunk of the tree it's lurking in.
Resource Type: Object
Material made from: Wood
Copyright Ownership: Copyright to The Museum of Witchcraft Ltd.