|Also Known As||Aardmannetje, Galgemanneke, Geldmanneke, Geluksmanneke, Mandragora Officinarum, Pisdief|
|Natural Habitat||Gallow Fields|
Alruin (also known as Aardmannetje, Pisdief, Galgemanneke, Geluksmanneke and Geldmanneke) is the dutch name for the poisonous Mandragora Officinarum plant. Its roots vaguely represent a human shape. Both witches and the common folk desired the plant for its magical properties. Some believed the Mandrake was made by God, before he decided humans should look differently.
A Brief History
Originally, the plant was found in countries around the Mediterranean Sea. Long before the birth of Christ, this plant was mentioned in Egyptian, Greek and Roman history. Hippocrates described the Mandrake as a plant with somnifacient, as well as lust-inducing qualities. Other people have been known to use their fruits as a hallucinatory drug. Years later, the plant found its way to the west of Europe. During the medieval period, the Mandrake became very popular for its "magical" qualities.
Not many people in medieval times knew what the Mandrake was, and where it came from (but it is assumed the merchants did). According to those times, gallow fields were a good place to go looking for Mandrakes; people believed this, though it should have been impossible for these plants to procreate this far north. It was said these plants would grow when pee and semen from the hanged men dripped down to hit the soil (notorious criminals were extra fertile). So finding a Mandrake wasn't easy, but neither was the harvesting. If one were to pull the plant from its soil, its horrific scream would be loud enough to kill a person, or so it was said.
Harvesting The Mandrake
Luckily, the step-by-step guide to unearth the Mandrake was not kept secret. Before exposing the plant, the ears should be well plugged with wax. It's important to keep in mind that touching the plant while digging was a sure way to die. A shovel was used to dig around the Mandrake and to expose its roots. While a silver shovel was recommended, this was not an absolute requirement. A rope should then be tied around the top of the plant. The other end should be tied to the tail of a black dog who's been starved for the past 2 days. By throwing the dog a piece of meat, it should give chase and pull the Mandrake right from its soil. Needless to say, the dog dies in the process. The plant should immediately be wrapped in a white linen towel and taken home. After bathing the Mandrake in red wine, he should be dressed in white or red clothes made of silk. When an impure individual (whatever that is supposed to mean) follows these steps, he shall be unsuccessul. The plant will simply lose its magical properties.
Keeping A Mandrake
Owning a Mandrake was no easy task. In order to maintain its magical properties, one had to care for the plant really well. People were known to cloth their Mandrake, gave them a bed, milk and food. They must have heard that if you take good care of the little man, he'd tell you all sorts of secrets. Bathing the plant would leave the owner with a magical potion which could be used to increase luck. Names that were given to the plant suggest why people wanted a Mandrake in the first place; happiness and wealth.
- Greet Buchner: Heksen Kruiden (De Magische Wereld der Kruiden)