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“You ketch a hopping toad and carry that in your bosom till that’s rotted right away to the back-boon. Then you take and hold that over running water at midnight till the Devil he come to you and pull you over the water… and then you be a witch and you kin dew all mander of badness to people and her power over ’em.”
So spoke Tilly Baldry of Huntingtoft, an English wise-woman of the 19th century, describing the ritual of obtaining the witches amulet known as the toad-bone. Known to rural folk magicians and secret societies such as the Society of the Horseman’s Word, the exacting ritual of killing a toad to obtain the bone of power has been documented in various forms and cultural milieus for two millennia, though its origin is likely far older. Focusing on extant forms in Britain and Europe, Chumbley traces the metamorphosis of the toad-bone amulet from its beginning as a talisman for controlling animals to its ultimate manifestation as a conduit of diabolic power of the ‘Toad-Witch’. The first academic study of this little-known aspect of folk magic, The Leaper Between is here presented in unabridged form, newly typeset in several fine bindings worthy of its fascination. It will be of interest to students of comparative religion, magic, and folklore alike.