"This Child Here Won’t Shed Tears Of Dreadful Fright, ’Cause He’s Not Caught By Devil’s Might" Change And Stability Of Charms Against Fright Illness: A Hungarian Perspective

Pp. 110-138

  • Judit Kis-Halas
Keywords: fright-illness, popular medicine, culture-bound syndromes, curative charms, charming practices, healing ritual, Central Europe, Hungary


This article presents the initial stages and the planned further developments of a research on Hungarian curative charms against fright illness. Based on a rich and interesting database of healing and curative folk beliefs, rituals and texts, the research aims at exploring the charms and the charming rituals from the perspective of medical anthropology. The analysis is focused on the phenomenon of fright-illness (ijedtség) and its verbal magical treatment, on the basis of emic perceptions. While this research will develop and progress, the current article gives a general introduction to the Hungarian terminology on fright-illness in comparison to similar culture-bound syndromes in Central Europe, and also introduces the most prominent of the charms, in Hungarian with English translation.