lucky bone

lucky bone
   This a T-shaped bone found in a sheep's head which was worn round the neck or carried in a pocket to bring luck, or as a protection against witches. First mentioned under that name in Northamptonshire in 1851 (Sternberg, 1851: 154), nearly all the other 19th-century references to the bone are from the northern counties, although elsewhere a pig's bone seems to have had a similar use. Letters in N&Q (3s:9 (1866), 59, 146) mention a pig's head bone carried as a charm in Cornwall, and a newspaper advertisement from a quack doctor in July 1764: 'I do give twopence for the little round bone in a pig's skull; it lies inside between the eye and ear'. The sheep bone's shape has led some folklor-ists to speculate that its similarity to the cross explains its presumed efficacy.
   Compare 'bones, 'cramp.
   ■ Opie and Tatem, 1989: 234.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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