Mudcat Café message #2585802 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #118593   Message #2585802
Posted By: Jack Campin
10-Mar-09 - 02:28 PM
Thread Name: Folklore: Gallows Humour-laughing at death/disease
Subject: RE: Folklore: Jade Goody Jokes
There is one interesting bit of folklore about this though.   Widely reported news story:

Jade was shocked when she saw an unknown woman holding a hammer in her hospital room.

Late at night on March 8, the London Metropolitan police arrested a 41-year-old French woman who entered Jade Goody's hospital room, The Sun reported.

The woman, probably a fan of Goody, used the opportunity when Jade's husband, Jack Tweed, went out of the room to get some tea and entered the room. At that moment Jade woke up and saw an unknown woman above her, mumbling something. She was shocked to see the woman holding a hammer and, scared, called the hospital staff for help.

- Who are you? What are you doing here? Jade screamed when she saw the woman in her room.

The doctors called the police who arrived within a very short period of time and arrested the French woman.

The police questioned her at the police station. They learnt the woman was 41 years old and that she was saying a prayer in Goody's room. Apparently she did not intend to use the hammer to hurt Jade. After questioning her, the police released the French woman from detention and will not conduct any further investigation against her.

There is a description in David Rorie's Folk Tradition and Folk Medicine in Scotland of a Breton practice, the "Hammer of Death", where a special stone was placed on the chest of a person dying in pain to hasten their end (magically - it wasn't big enough to have a physical effect). This was still current in the early 20th century. I wonder if this woman was doing the same thing, but with a modern hammer? (Well done the police for figuring out she was harmless so quickly).

So we seem to have the Sun reporting something that might have come out of The Golden Bough. You have to wonder how they'd have covered a wicker man burning.