There is a very ancient and potent charm which may be tried with great effect in case of a suspected fairy-stroke.
Place three rows of salt on a table in three lines, three equal measures to each row. The person performing the spell then encloses the rows of salt with his arm. He leans his head down over them, while he repeats the Lord’s Prayer three times over each row. That is, nine times in all. Then he takes the hand of the one who has been fairy-struck, and says over it, “By the power of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, let this disease depart, and the spell of the evil spirits be broken! I adjure, I command you to leave this man [naming him]. In the name of God I pray, in the name of Christ I adjure, and in the name of the Spirit of God I command and compel you to go back and leave this man free! Amen! Amen! Amen!”
The Fairy Stroke and Evil Eye:
A striking or blow by the fairies (or unspecified spirits) was deemed responsible for a number of afflictions which might sometimes also be classed as ‘Tinneas Sidhe’. A sudden sharp pain, seizure or paralysis was likely caused by a ‘stroke’ or blow from an invisible being. The term even persists in the English language for describing the effects of a cerebral infarction or haemorrhage! The idea of being ‘Buailte‘ (‘struck’), is actually quite a complicated subject which combines with that of the Evil Eye, the Fairy Blast, and the concept of being ‘Elf-Shot’.
A belief that fairies and elves cast darts at people to harm them was fairly widespread, especially in Scotalnd and (hence) Northern Ireland. This was reinforced by the presence of curious and beautiful Neolithic-era stone arrowheads that are not occasionally discovered in the landscape, and have long been a subject of curious speculation. Lady Wilde’s description of girls being considered ‘fairy struck’ when they pined away for a supposed fairy lover who desired them owes more, it seems, to the concept of the ‘Evil Eye’ or ‘Jealous Eye’, or to the concept of fairies ‘taking’ people, changelings etc. The mysterious plasticity of this belief in ‘striking’ is best approached by trying to understand the ancient beliefs about light, vision, intellect, the soul and spirits.
I have attempted to explain the concept in this article here. See here also. As ‘striking unknown’ and the ‘bad eye’ were also attributes often popularly ascribed to humans practising magic or witchcraft, is somewhat complicated by Robert Kirk’s famous and detailed 17thC account of fairy traditions in the Scottish Highlanders. They believed that living people were accompanied by a ‘spirit double’ who is one of the fairies, or as he calls them – Sith: