Mal de ojo,” or the evil eye, is a widespread superstition rooted in medieval Europe and rampant in Latin America. The idea behind the superstition is that a look can literally curse people, particularly children, making them sick. Across Latin America and Spain amulets are employed to protect against the evil eye, and folk remedies and witch doctors are relied upon to cure its curses.   

  • Universal amulets to prevent evil eye include red and black glass bead bracelets, amber, and silver with a blue eye painted on top.

  • In Central America, some people “cure” mal de ojo by rubbing softly around eye sockets with an umbilical cord. (It’s still customary in some areas of Mexico to dry and store the umbilical cords of newborns).

  • Some believe that babies can be protected from the evil eye by a azabache, a common gemstone that’s jet black. As mentioned above, this black stone is often combined with red stones or glass.

  • In Spain, protection from the evil eye depends on the region. In Murcia, for example, parents employ the cruz de Caravaca, a double cross associated with Jesuit priests and the Knights Templar crusaders. In some northern provinces, anthropologist have argued that bronze has been used for thousands of years to protect from various superstitions that evolved into mal de ojo, while in others cowbells are believed to chase away evel eye spirits.

  • In an article entitled “What Mal De Ojo Is And How Do You Protect Yourself From It,” Bolivian newspaper Ultimas Noticias recommends the following:

“Rub an egg over the body of the affected person, then break it and put it in a glass of water underneath [their] bed. It will absorb the [bad] energy and protect against evil eye.”