Belief in the malevolent effects of the evil eye is ancient and
universal. A common form of this belief held that people with
unusual eyes could cause harm by looking at other people, and
such defects as squinting, a cast, or even cataracts were thought
to be signs of an evil eye. Others attributed the evil eye to conscious
malice on the part of witches or magicians.
The evil eye could, it was believed, bring about illness, poverty,
or other afflictions and even death. An outgrowth of the
evil eye notion was the belief that praise of children could have
an adverse effect; hence, parents discouraged praise of their
childrens appearance or talents. Traditional ways of averting
the evil eye were by wearing amulets or charms, or reciting
DiStasi, Lawrence. Mal Occhio (Evil Eye) The Underside Vision.
San Francisco North Point Press, 1981.
Elworthy, F. T. The Evil Eye. London, 1894. Reprint, New
York Julian Press, 1958.
MacLaglan, R. C. The Evil Eye in the Western Highlands. London
David Nutt, 1902.
Maloney, Clarence, ed. The Evil Eye. New York Columbia
University Press, 1976.