Lodestone (or Loadstone)
A magnetic stone of magnetite (oxide of iron) showing polarity
when suspended. It was once believed to possess magical
properties of various kinds. If one was ill, the stone should be
held in the hands and shaken well. It was said to cure wounds,
snakebites, weak eyes, headaches, and defective hearing. The
possessor of the lodestone was supposed to be able to walk
through reptiles in safety even when they were accompanied by
‘‘black death.’’ Orpheus stated that ‘‘with this stone you can
hear the voices of the gods and learn many wonderful things,’’
that it had the property of unfolding the future, and if held
close to the eyes, it would inspire with a divine spirit.