Why 3 a.m. was considered the most dangerous time by our ancestors

Categories: History |

Modern people are sure that all devilry begins exactly at midnight and this time is considered the most mystical and dangerous. But this was not always the case, and a couple of centuries ago, our ancestors were afraid not of 12 o'clock at night, but 3. Why did this pre-morning time, when sleep is the strongest, have a bad reputation?

Why 3 a.m. was considered the most dangerous time by our ancestors

It was at 3 o'clock in the morning that our ancestors were afraid of encountering evil spirits, getting damaged or causing misfortune. In Russia, this time was called the "witch's hour", and in Europe, the "devil's hour". Modern scientists, far from mysticism, unraveled the phenomenon of this hour and found out that people's fears were not so unfounded.

Why 3 a.m. was considered the most dangerous time by our ancestors

In the article by the famous scientist L. V. Savchenko "Representation of conceptual codes in the phraseosystem" it is said that the number 3 played an important role not only in the rituals of our forefathers, but also in their daily life. It was magical in many pagan religions, and it is not surprising that it was adopted by Christians in the form of the Holy Trinity – the trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

In Russian folklore, there are plenty of references to the number 3. These are three sons, three roads, three attempts to complete a magical task, a far-away kingdom. In the Christian scriptures there is the threefold renunciation of the apostle Peter, the three kings who brought gifts to the infant Jesus, and many other points related to the troika.

There is this number in proverbs and speech turns: "in three perdition", "the promised three years are waiting", "the third is superfluous", "to get lost in three pines". These expressions are still in use in our time, and we do not think at all about why the number three appears in them, and not four or five.

Why 3 a.m. was considered the most dangerous time by our ancestors

But why was misfortune and evil spirits associated with the troika? In Europe, the time 03:33 was considered the most unlucky, since it represented half of the diabolical number 666. Therefore, it was believed that at this time of night, the souls of the dead, demons and other evil spirits enter our world. It got to the point that in 1560, Pope Pius IV officially approved this time as "unholy" and "witchcraft", so those who did not sleep between 3 and 4 o'clock in the morning were at great risk of "getting noticed" by the Inquisition.

In Russia, they looked at this night hour somewhat differently, but the meaning was almost the same. Our ancestors were sure that in 3 nights the forces of good are fast asleep and evil spirits freely enter the world of living people. At the same time, sorcerers and necromancers are activated to realize their black plans with the help of otherworldly entities.

Many witchcraft books advised to start the magic rites at 3 o'clock in the morning and at the same time hurry up. It was supposed to finish all the dark things before the first roosters, and they are known to start singing between 3 and 4 o'clock, just before dawn.

Why 3 a.m. was considered the most dangerous time by our ancestors

The first roosters were the signal for the witches and wizards to finish their work, because with the third roosters, all the magic spells were broken and the evil forces were forced to leave our world until the next night. The third rooster is often mentioned both in Slavic fairy tales and in the works of classics, for example, N. V. Gogol.

The Russian ethnographer Mikhail Zabylin wrote that on the "klechal Saturday", on the eve of the Christian feast of the Trinity, the souls of infants who died not baptized, ask the living for baptism. Those who are heard by the living can have a chance to ascend to heaven as angels if a short prayer is read for them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The rest will become demons.

Some sources claim that on the night before the Trinity, mermaids, goblins, kikimors and other entities hostile to man are activated. The mermaids came out on the banks of the reservoirs, laughed, sang and lured the guys into the bottomless pools. Therefore, without much need, they tried not to go to the forest and to the river, and the houses were protected from witchcraft and evil spirits in advance, hanging birch branches and bundles of nettles on the doors and windows.

Why 3 a.m. was considered the most dangerous time by our ancestors

If a child was born at 3 o'clock in the morning, it was believed that he was waiting for a sad fate, and perhaps that an early death. They tried to baptize such children as quickly as possible – this gave them a chance to break the curse of the "witch's hour". At night, they did not go and wash, because it was possible to "wash away happiness". Even after hard work or a long journey, the Russians preferred to wait for the morning than to be in the bathhouse at 3 o'clock after midnight.

Many did not comb their hair until the third rooster, because it was through them that the evil spirits could easily take over the soul of a person. The only exception was the "black streak" in life, when everything went worse than ever. In this case, it was necessary to wash and comb just at 3 o'clock in the morning to dispel the evil spell.

In the old days, it was believed that if a person wakes up at 3 o'clock in the morning, it is a bad sign. It is possible that his soul was possessed by an evil force that awakens just in the "witch's hour". Such a superstition is easy to explain, because a person who wakes up at this time very often experiences not just discomfort, but terror, panic, sweats and suffocates. Today, any doctor will say that these are the symptoms of a panic attack, but centuries ago everything was explained easier and more terrible.

Why 3 a.m. was considered the most dangerous time by our ancestors

Scientists explain the "three-hour phenomenon" with a hormonal surge. It turns out that it is during this period of the night that three hormones are actively produced in the body: melatonin, which is responsible for sleep, as well as cortisol and serotonin, which are associated with stress. People whose lives are full of events, mostly unpleasant, receive a shock dose of cortisol and serotonin during the day. At night, melatonin activates these hormones and "throws" a person out of a state of sleep.

When explaining sudden nighttime awakenings with a lack of air and palpitations, the teaching uses the term "waiting anxiety". In people who suffer from such problems at night, the brain refuses to rest and continues to solve problems, analyze, look for a way out. Because of this, sleep becomes "sensitive" and at about 3 o'clock in the morning there is a sharp and unpleasant awakening.

Somnologists add their own explanation to this. In their opinion, such an awakening is caused by unpleasant dreams-the result of the fact that the psyche is trying to get rid of the accumulated experiences of the day. The brain simply turns on a defensive reaction-interrupts a terrible dream. This problem can occur in childhood – if a child wakes up in the middle of the night, then it will almost certainly happen to him in adulthood.

Why 3 a.m. was considered the most dangerous time by our ancestors

How to defeat the curse of the "witch's hour"? It is not difficult to do this – just review your attitude to life. You do not need to arrange a "debriefing" before going to bed and remember failures and unpleasant situations. It is better to think about pleasant things, to go over in memory the successes, if not of the past day, then at least the old ones, and, of course, to praise yourself mentally for them.

Another way to heal is to follow a diet. You need to give up simple carbohydrates for dinner-pies, rolls, sweets. Well, a common way of deceiving the body, when you go to bed after four in the morning, does more harm than good.

Keywords: Religion | History | Mermaids | Mysticism | Demon | Panic | Dreams | Ancient russia