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Adder stone is a type of stone, usually glassy, with a naturally-occurring hole through it. Such stones have been discovered by archaeologists in both Britain and Egypt. In Britain they are also called hag stones, witch stones, serpent's eggs, snake's eggs, or glain neidyr in Wales / Cymru and milpreve in Cornwall / Kernow. In Egypt they are called aggry or aggri. Adder stones were believed to have magical powers such as protection against eye diseases or evil charms, preventing nightmares, curing whooping cough, and of course recovery from snakebite. Supposedly a true adder stone will float in water.
Two traditions exist as to the origins of adder stones. One holds that the stones are the hardened saliva of large numbers of serpents massing together, the perforations being caused by their tongues. The other claims that an adder stone comes from the head of a serpent.
- Henkin, Leo J. "The Carbuncle in the Adder's Head." Modern Language Notes, Vol. 58, No. 1 (Jan., 1943) , pp. 34-39.
- ghostvillage.com: Dictionary of Superstitions A-Z