Very Superstitious

First of all, apologies for the use of the image of the original cover – I mean no offence to any Roma person. It is a 1935 publication – I hope I can be forgiven. I’ve chosen it because this is the time of year when interest in spells, fate and fortune-telling is higher than usual ( apart from possibly in December/January). It is, after all, the month of Halloween.

The best thing about this leaflet is its cover illustration – the content seems rather made up on the hoof – still, it’s fun. I am indebted to the Archivist at D.C. Thomson for providing most of the information (and a great image) on the back-story of the leaflet. D. C. Thomson is one of the leading media companies in the UK and they publish a wide range of titles, from The Beano to The Stylist (interestingly, a recent article is on How to Host a Virtual Murder Mystery – well, interesting to me at least ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

The main image and all others in this post are reproduced by kind permission of DC Thomson & Co Ltd who hold the copyright.

I could not find any information on Flame magazine online, so started by finding out more about “Messrs. John Leng and Co. Ltd“. John Leng was originally from Hull, but made his success in Dundee where he became editor of the Dundee Advertiser in 1851, and established a major publishing concern. He later became a Dundee MP and was eventually knighted. The other major publisher in Dundee at the time was D.C. Thomson, and both companies merged in 1905. Up until the 1960s some titles were still published under the John Leng name.

John Leng had pioneered a type of “Women’s story” paper with The People’s Friend (first published in 1869 and still going!) and, keen to replicate the popularity of this magazine, DC Thomson emulated the formula of light fiction, problem pages, recipes and health advice.  Flame was a relatively late (and short-lived) addition, starting in August 1935 and finishing in July 1940, when it was merged with another, similar title, Secrets.

The leaflet was included with the November 30 1935 issue.

Cover of Flame magazine  November  30 1935, showing  cover of supplement on Superstition  -  a grim looking owl sitting on a tree  branch in moonlight
FLAME , Cover 30 November 1935 – image supplied by and used by kind permission of DC Thomson & Co Ltd, who hold the copyright.
content page of leaflet on Superstitions from 1935 - with drawing of an owl in the woods at night and elderly woman in front of a caravan
Content page: spells or warnings for every occasion – image taken from the copy in my collection – reproduced by permission of DC Thomson & Co Ltd who hold the copyright.

Note the spelling: It still uses the apostrophised version (which has been in use since the 16th century, but began to vanish from the 18th century onwards). Not everything listed is a spell – and some do sound difficult to do!

page of Hallowe'en Spells taken from leaflet on Superstition from 1935.
Halloween seems to be mainly about ‘sweethearts’ – image taken from the copy in my collection – reproduced by permission of DC Thomson & Co Ltd who hold the copyright

As it is the rainy season, and you might start thinking about Christmas gifts, you may find these paragraphs useful:

page with superstitious warnings on use of umbrellas, illustrated by drawing showing 2 girls and an open umbrella - all black and white. Also, a list of gifts that bring either joy or sorrow.
image taken from the copy in my collection – reproduced by permission of DC Thomson & Co Ltd who hold the copyright

Please stay light-hearted about all of this – take Stevie’s words to heart: “Superstition ain’t the way” !

2 thoughts on “Very Superstitious

  1. Fab post and info. The cover with the owl is perfect for Halloween. As soon as I read the post title I had the Stevie Wonder song in my head, and was pleased to see it at the end ๐Ÿ™‚
    Stay safe and well, Wibi, and thanks for posting ๐Ÿ˜Š ๐ŸŽƒ

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