Witchcraft and mystery on Lake Como: the witches of Praa de la Taca

By 24 October 2017Magazine

© cauboï.it

THE LEGEND

Once upon a time a fisherman from Mezzegra who particularly cares about his boat, that is why he secured it to the pier with a special knot that he only knew how to do. A morning, however, he found his boat moored at the usual place but tied differently…had someone used the boat at night? He went out fishing. Once back, he secured the boat with his special knot and went home. Unfortunately, the following day the boat was not moored as he left it.

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The fisherman, decided to discover who and for what used his boat at night, that night hid himself below deck and waited…he waited so long that he was convinced nobody would come. At midnight he began to hear some voices, he saw the boat swinging and several people taking place on it…then, a voice said: <<boat leave for 1, boat leave for 2, for 3, for 4, for 5, for 6, for 7…>> but someone said <<but one of us is pregnant>> and the previous voice added <<so boat, leave for 8>> the boat immediately rose up from the waters of Lake Como and began to fly in the sky. The poor fisherman, realizing that he was surrounded by 7 witches decided to stay quiet below deck to avoid being discovered.

The boat stopped and landed in Torno, a small town on the opposite banks of Lake Como…all the witches got off the boat and disappeared until the early morning. They got on the boat again, the first witch pronounced the same refrain, the boat left and landed in Mezzegra where the witches moored it.

The following evening, the same scene…this time, however, the fisherman decided to follow the witches secretly. They arrived in a clearing where they did a bewitched dance and they picked up some sprigs from a plant that grew only in that place; the fisherman also picked a sprig up and put it on his hat for not losing it…early in the morning they came back to Mezzegra and made a date for the following night at Praa de La Taca, a very ancient place located on half mountain above Mezzegra, where once witches and shamans did their sabbat.

The poor fisherman was more and more frightened and remained goggle-eyed with astonishment when he recognized his wife among the 7 witches! The following evening, he followed his wife and the other witches up to Praa de La Taca and hid himself behind a stone: from there, he spied his wife and the other witches who, while dancing and throwing the sprigs into the fire, recited magic spells.

Unfortunately, the poor fisherman sneezed and was seen by the witches, who wanted to throw him into the fire…luckily, his wife recognized him and, thanks to the sprig he had on his hat, he was safe. The witches ordered him to burn the sprig and made him swear that, in exchange for life, he would never tell anyone anything and that them, the witches, could continue to use his boat every night.

Strange signs at Praa de la taca

© http://digilander.libero.it/felice/Praadelataca.htm

THE SCIENTIFIC THEORY

A rough translation for Praa de La Taca could be “meadow of the footprints”…which footprints are we talking about? Sure, according to the legend these footprints are of the witches and shamans.

The certain thing is that, being at the borders of the enormous breaking in the rock which characterize the Crocione mount, the whole stone originates from a very ancient tropical sea populated by big mollusks, called Conchodon. In their fossil form, they seem to be little hearts (for the most romantic ones) or clog signs (for a farming culture)…which one do you prefer?

Fossil of Conchodon

© http://digilander.libero.it/felice/Praadelataca.htm

Furthermore, being a calcareous rock, it is subject to karstification processes which contributed to spreading fears and rumors.

If you want, here is a song by Davide Van De Sfroos, a local singer songwriter, about this topic

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