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German black magic

18 September 2015

September 17th, 1915.

IF EVER a nation can go mad, that is the case of Germany today. The malady has passed through many phases; at one time it has taken the form of insensate hate, at another it is homicidal, and more particularly infanticidal. Now it appears in a curious state of imbecility obsessed with superstition. One of the Zeppelins which have visited us during the week was the bearer of a mutton blade-bone, on which was roughly drawn a figure of Sir Edward Grey, with a maledictory legend. This is the second recent example of throwback on the part of the German character to primitive barbarism. The other is, of course, the carving of a colossal wooden effigy of Von Hindenburg, in which the German people are invited to drive nails, evidently with the idea that every nail driven into the figure is a nail driven into his enemies. The proceeding derives from the days when black magic was practised, as readers of Ingoldsby Legends will recall. Kultur, we believe, is the German equivalent for civilization, but our conception of the latter certainly does not include the black arts, which, happily, civilized man has abandoned. If there is truth in the saying that God first deprives of their reason those whom He wills to destroy, we seem to be witnesses of the process which we hope is but the preliminary to the destruction of an enemy who has done harm enough to suffice for what remains of the world’s lifetime.


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