alum

General - A transparent mineral, sulphate of aluminium. (1) In Egypt this mineral is regarded as protecting from the evil eye. A lump of alum placed in the fire will, it is said, take on the shape of one's enemy provided that verses from the Koran are recited as the alum is heated. When it has cooled the alum is ground to a powder that is mixed with food and fed to the dogs. (2) In the southern states of North America it is said that a lump of alum held in the mouth protects against witchcraft. Sometimes identified as alum.

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