This website uses cookies to provide a rich user experience. Please consult our Cookie Policy to learn about what cookies this website uses, or to control the cookies you receive. You need do nothing if you are happy to receive cookies.
Look and Learn History Picture Library License images from £2.99 Pay by PayPal for images for immediate download Member of British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies (BAPLA)

Subject: ‘Superstition’

All of these articles and images are available for licensing: click on an image to see further details and licensing options; contact us about licensing textual content.

The best pictures of Mother Shipton

Posted in Best pictures, British Towns, Customs, Geology, Historical articles, History, Legend, Magic, Superstition on Thursday, 22 October 2015

The best pictures of Mother Shipton are vivid images of the famous Tudor soothsayer supposedly born in a magic cave.
The first picture shows people consulting the well-known Yorkshire character.

Shipton, picture, image, illustration

Mother Shipton welcomes three guests by Richard Hook

The second picture shows the unique petrifying well at Knaresborough, also known as Mother Shipton’s Cave.

well, picture, image, illustration

Dropping Well, Knaresborough by Alfred Robert Quinton

The third picture presents Mother Shipton as a witch.

Shipton, picture, image, illustration

A Legend of Mother Shipton

Many more pictures of witches can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures of St John’s Eve

Posted in Anthropology, Best pictures, Customs, Dance, Historical articles, History, Nature, Religion, Superstition on Tuesday, 20 October 2015

The best pictures of St John’s Eve are vivid images of traditional celebrations on Midsummer’s eve.
The first picture shows a traditional bonfire in Bavaria.

Midsummer, picture, image, illustration

The Midsummer Eve Bonfire in the Bavarian Highlands by A J Johnson

The second picture shows dancers around a bonfire in Brittany.

Midsummer, picture, image, illustration

Dancing around the fire on the Eve of St John (midsummer)

The third picture shows the festival in old England.

bonfire, picture, image, illustration

Midsummer, The Bonfire

Many more pictures of festivals can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures of the German Romantic opera, Der Freischutz

Posted in Best pictures, Famous Composers, Historical articles, History, Magic, Music, Superstition, Theatre on Friday, 16 October 2015

The best pictures of Der Freischutz are striking images of the most influential of early German Romantic operas.
The first picture shows Caspar and Samiel.

opera, picture, image, illustration

"Der Freischutz", Act II, scene vi, Caspar and Samiel

The second picture shows the famous Wolf’s Glen scene at the Royal Italian Opera.

opera, picture, image, illustration

Scene from "Der Freischutz" (The Wolf's Glen), at the Royal Italian Opera

The third picture shows Max’s accidental shooting Agathe.

opera, picture, image, illustration

"Der Freischutz", Act III, scene v, Max Shoots Agathe

Many more pictures of opera can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures of Alexander III of Scotland

Posted in Best pictures, Historical articles, History, Royalty, Scotland, Superstition on Monday, 28 September 2015

The best pictures of Alexander III of Scotland are portraits and images of significant moments in his reign.
The first picture shows the king being warned of his fate.

Alexander III, picture, image, illustration

Alexander III was warned that he was soon to die by Richard Hook

The second picture shows the king’s accidental death.

Alexander III, picture, image, illustration

Alexander III's horse stumbled over a cliff (centre) by Dan Escott

The third picture shows Alexander III’s Great Seal.

Alexander III, picture, image, illustration

Great seal of Alexander III showing the king enthroned on the obverse (bottom left) and the equestrian monarch on the reverse (bottom right)

Many more pictures of royal seals can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures of James V, King of Scotland

Posted in Best pictures, Historical articles, History, Religion, Royalty, Scotland, Superstition on Sunday, 27 September 2015

The best pictures of James V, King of Scotland, are vivid images of the monarch and incidents during his reign.
The first picture shows a portrait.

James V, picture, image, illustration

James V of Scotland

The second picture is a group of subjects, including the Edinburgh Riots of 1520, the King’s prompt arrest of troublesome clan chiefs, and the Royal Coat of Arms incorporating those of his wife, Marie of Guise.

James V, picture, image, illustration

James V, with his Coat of Arms and vignettes of his reign by Dan Escott

The third picture shows James IV”s queen, Mary of Guise.

Mary of Guise, picture, image, illustration

Mary of Guise

Many more pictures of Scotland can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures of unusual customs in Fiji

Posted in Anthropology, Best pictures, Customs, Historical articles, History, Superstition on Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The best pictures of unusual customs in Fiji show live burials and punitive ceremonial exile from tribal society.
The first picture shows a fire-walking ceremony.

Fiji, picture, image, illustration

Fire-Walking in Fiji

The second picture shows a live burial ceremony.

Fiji, picture, image, illustration

Burying a woman alive in Fiji

The third picture shows a boaster being burned alive.

Fiji, picture, image, illustration

The Fate of the Boaster in Fiji

Many more pictures of the Pacific can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures of the Golden Calf

Posted in Best pictures, Bible, Religion, Sinners, Superstition on Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The best pictures of the Golden Calf show the Israelites disobeying Moses who dashes the tablets to the ground when he sees them worshipping false idols.
The first picture of the Golden Calf shows the idol and its hysterical idolators.

golden calf, picture, image, illustration

Worshipping the Golden Calf

The second picture of the Golden Calf shows the Israelites in a collective frenzy before the idol.

golden calf, picture, image, illustration

Worshipping the Golden Calf by Robert Forrest

The third picture of the Golden Calf shows Moses breaking the tablets of God’s commandments at the sight of disobedience and Godless idolatry.

golden calf, picture, image, illustration

Moes breaks the Tablets on seeing the israelites worship the Golden Calf, by Clive Uptton

Many more pictures of the Golden Calf can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The curse of Tutankhamen made frequent headlines

Posted in Archaeology, Famous news stories, Historical articles, History, News, Superstition on Tuesday, 18 March 2014

This edited article about Tutankhamen first appeared in Look and Learn issue number 596 published on 16 June 1973.

Tutankhamen,  picture, image, illustration

Tutankhamen by John Millar Watt

Lord Carnarvon was laughing, his lean, lined, aristocratic face creasing with amusement at the joke. The archaeologist, Arthur Wiegall, frowned as he watched him. This was no way to act at such a solemn moment. Jokes and quips were hardly apt on the threshold of any tomb, and even less so at a time when everyone inside the antechamber might be standing on the brink of the greatest treasure ever excavated in Egypt.

Wiegall turned furiously to a journalist, standing nearby. “If he goes down in that spirit,” he muttered darkly, “I give him six weeks to live.”

Just over six weeks later, on 6th April 1923, Lord Carnarvon died. The leader of the famous expedition which discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings had been bitten by a mosquito. The bite turned septic, pneumonia developed and Carnarvon succumbed.

Naturally, the death of so prominent and newsworthy a man was a matter for the headlines. For five months, ever since Carnarvon’s partner, Howard Carter, had found Tutankhamen’s burial chamber, Carnarvon’s name had been constantly in print. In its sombre way, his death was merely the latest development in a fascinating tale of buried treasure. But it was also something more sinister. Wiegall’s remark, prompted by pique, now looked very much like a doom-laden prophecy come true.

It also gave colour and conviction to the warning issued to the dying Carnarvon by Marie Corelli, the popular writer of romantic melodramas. Two weeks before Carnarvon died, newspapers publicised Miss Corelli’s prediction that “the most dire punishment follows any rash intruder into a sealed tomb.”

This sort of thing was newsman’s gold, and there is no doubt that journalists made the most of it.

Read the rest of this article »

The search for the ‘Abominable Snowman’ is not yet over

Posted in Adventure, Famous news stories, Historical articles, History, Legend, Mystery, Myth, Superstition on Saturday, 8 March 2014

This edited article about Yeti first appeared in Look and Learn issue number 586 published on 7 April 1973.

The Abominable Snowman,  picture, image, illustration

The Abominable Snowman

Only desperate men would have been wandering among the high passes of the Himalayas in winter, but Slavomir Rawicz and his handful of gaunt companions comforted themselves with the thought that the Indian frontier and freedom could not be far away. The year was 1942, and the little group of Polish officers was nearing the end of one of the epic marches of World War II. One-time prisoners of the Russians, the Poles had broken out of their prison camp and had made their way across the pitiless wastes of Mongolia until they had reached the “Roof of the World” that lay between them and their goal. Suddenly Rawicz gave a warning signal. It was unbelievable in those desolate wastes, but there were two men ahead.

Men? The escapers started wide eyed. What kind of men stood more than seven feet tall? Or tramped naked through the snow and biting wind, their huge bodies covered with coarse hair? The watchers kept silent until the weird figures moved away. Later, when they reached their destination, they recounted what they had seen.

“Those were not men,” they were told. “Those were Yeti.”

“Yeti?” Strangers to the East, the Poles had never heard the name before. Nor could they know that they may well have seen the fabled creature that some of the finest mountaineers in the world would soon be tracking in vain.

Some called the creature the Yeti. Others, the Abominable Snowman. Or Kangmi, or Bhanjakris or Rakshi. The monster had many names. But, legend apart, did it really exist?

The long quest for the Yeti has much in common with the search for Flying Saucers. A terrifying, hairy giant, whose favourite haunts are the slopes of Mount Everest, the Yeti is reputed to have been seen by scores of men, ranging from the inhabitants of remote Buddhist monasteries to British army officers. But just like the elusive Flying Saucer, it manages to avoid direct scientific observation. Yet most descriptions of the Yeti follow roughly the same pattern, even in legends that go back hundreds of years.

Read the rest of this article »

Elizabeth I preferred her magician to common roguish quacks

Posted in Historical articles, History, Magic, Medicine, Royalty, Superstition on Monday, 3 March 2014

This edited article about medicine first appeared in Look and Learn issue number 576 published on 27 January 1973.

Quack dentist,  picture, image, illustration

A quack might have tried to slip a worm into the sufferer’s mouth and then pull it out again, claiming that it had been the worm that caused the toothache, by Angus McBride

We have seen how the virulent plagues which devastated Europe in the Middle Ages led to an enormous increase in the number of travelling medicine-men. These “quacks” (from the Dutch “quacksalver,” who was a person who wandered the country selling salves and medicines) roamed England, shouting their wares at markets and fairs. Generally speaking, they had scant medical skill, but there is little doubt that they, at least, offered hope in an age when doctors were few.

The 14th century had slipped away unmourned and men rejoiced in the warmth and security of the Tudor Renaissance. A revolution in medicine was beginning and the first volleys were being fired in a campaign that was to weaken – and ultimately remove – the power and influence of the quacks.

An early attempt had been made in 1423 by the Guild of Physicians to ban “all quacks and empiriks and the knavish men and women who do presume to practise some sort of Physick.” The trouble with this awe-inspiring and thunderous pronouncement was that there was no real way that it could be implemented. So, the quacks continued their work unchecked.

The Reformation, with its reappraisal of traditional religious values, brought a virtual end to the selling of holy relics – alleged to have miraculous healing powers. When exposed to the chilling light of reason, many of the revered objects were simply absurd. Typical of many was the phial – reputedly containing the blood of Christ – that had led to many wonderful cures at Hales in Gloucestershire. On examination it was found to contain nothing more than the blood of a goose, renewed at weekly intervals.

In 1542, the official surgeons had abused their privileged position to such an extent that King Henry VIII produced what became known as the “Quacks’ Charter.” It pointed out that the folk-healers and quacks often did more good and had more skill than some of the recognised doctors. Also, they served the poor better and often charged them less.

Not many people nowadays actually like going to the dentist, but try and imagine what it must have been like in Tudor times. If you went to one of the many fairs, a rogue of a tooth-drawer might well try and slip a worm into your mouth and then take it out again, claiming it had been the worm that was causing the toothache.

If that did not work, you could try another booth, where a different quack – to the accompaniment of loud music and illuminated by smoky rush lights – would tap your teeth with a small bone hammer. When he found one that did not ring true, he would simply reach in with a strong fore-finger and thumb and tug it out! Primitive, but it probably worked quite well. Infected teeth could, quite literally, lead to death. Queen Elizabeth I suffered from this and, it was alleged, her rotting and poisoned teeth probably hastened her end.

Read the rest of this article »