The aim of my project is giving my own interpretation of myths and legends linked to my motherland and, at the same time, seeking the inner fears of human beings. Folk tales, they live in our everyday life, through our gestures and habits: It is possible to find them in a crack from the ceiling, in a scream breaking the Silence of the woods, in my cat’s eyes staring at me at night.
All around the world cats are worshipped as divine entities. Their mysterious souls are well represented by the Italian dark legend of Gatto Mammone: it is described as a hobgoblin, but in the oral mythology of Lucca, Gatto Mammone is a protective figure. In fact, according to a few legends, Gatto Mammone is believed to be a black cat capable of protecting against Evil and Mean Entities such as folkloristic “Streghi”.
The word Streghi has the same root of italian Streghe and Stregoni (Witches and Wizards in English) and it means Evil Spirits. In Lucca'S folklore, “Streghi” figures are not interested in human beings and, mainly, they do not practice magic against people. Generally, they live in the woods far from human beings: even if they are animal shaped entities, it is possible to see them celebrating Sabbath under a walnut tree at night. If you bump into their night parade, it is quite common to receive from them a candle that will turn into a bone. It means that the next day they will come to your house and ask for their candle back. Only Gatto Mammone or a knife in the bark of Streghi’s tree could protect you.
Foresticume is an indefinite and terrifying entity. Although it is invisible, it causes panic for anyone who comes into contact with it. It can manifest itself in the form of strange gusts of wind or with a sudden drop in temperature; sometimes it utters mournful lamentations or in a faint voice he speaks behind the travelers. I love to imagine that Foresticume could be the breath of a fairy who live in these mountains.