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Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?

Joybell 22 Dec 03 - 07:19 PM
Snuffy 03 Jan 04 - 07:15 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 03 Jan 04 - 07:37 AM
mack/misophist 03 Jan 04 - 09:35 AM
Steve Benbows protege 03 Jan 04 - 12:06 PM
GUEST 04 Jan 04 - 04:34 AM
Joybell 04 Jan 04 - 10:28 PM
Nemesis 05 Jan 04 - 12:11 PM
Joybell 05 Jan 04 - 06:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Jan 04 - 07:32 PM
LadyJean 06 Jan 04 - 12:31 AM
Joybell 06 Jan 04 - 05:48 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 06 Jan 04 - 05:58 AM
Joybell 06 Jan 04 - 06:19 AM
Micca 06 Jan 04 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,ned ludd 06 Jan 04 - 06:58 AM
Joybell 06 Jan 04 - 07:07 AM
Daithi 07 Jan 04 - 04:50 AM
Micca 07 Jan 04 - 05:34 AM
Malcolm Douglas 07 Jan 04 - 07:16 AM
Daithi 07 Jan 04 - 07:23 AM
Joybell 07 Jan 04 - 05:30 PM
LadyJean 07 Jan 04 - 11:32 PM
Joybell 08 Jan 04 - 04:42 AM
IanC 08 Jan 04 - 05:53 AM
manitas_at_work 08 Jan 04 - 08:08 AM
manitas_at_work 08 Jan 04 - 08:18 AM
Steve Benbows protege 08 Jan 04 - 02:19 PM
Steve Benbows protege 08 Jan 04 - 02:20 PM
Steve Benbows protege 08 Jan 04 - 02:22 PM
Steve Benbows protege 08 Jan 04 - 02:33 PM
Joybell 09 Jan 04 - 02:05 AM
dianavan 09 Jan 04 - 02:26 AM
LadyJean 09 Jan 04 - 11:09 PM
Joybell 09 Jan 04 - 11:21 PM
GUEST,bsooty1@aol.com 06 Nov 04 - 03:45 PM
GUEST 07 Nov 04 - 03:40 AM
Les in Chorlton 07 Nov 04 - 03:53 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: Joybell
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 07:19 PM

I've wondered for a while about this because there is a fair amount of information about both Sara Kali and Black Sal but nothing to connect them.
Sara(h) Kali is the black Madonna of the Gypsies. She is visited in a crypt in France and among other things is given coloured rags and pieces of clothing. The tying of coloured rags to trees and bushes seemes to be a wide-spread old custom in India and in the British Isles.
Black Sal (NB. Sally is the pet name for Sarah) is a character at least loosly connected with Morris dance. Some info. has her as a milkmaid partner of Dusty Bob a chimney sweep. There is some information about Mayday celebrations with milkmaids and chimney sweeps. (And then there's Krishna and his cowgirls. A connection?) At least one Morris dance group has a Black Sal. They wear brightly coloured rags as their costumes and they are in the area around Wales where Gypsy customs have survived well, I understand.
Black Sal (African Sal)(with Dusty Bob) is a character in the book "Life in London" written in the 1820s. So she was well known then.
Is there a connection between Sara Kali and Black Sal and is it a Romany connection?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: Snuffy
Date: 03 Jan 04 - 07:15 AM

Joy

I've never heard of Black Sal myself, and a in quick look through The Roots of Welsh Border Morris (ISBN 0 9526285 0 3) I could not find a reference to her. But there is no index, and it was only a quick look.

The black faces and rag-coats of the dancers are typical of the Welsh Border tradition in Herefordshire Shropshire and Worcestershire, (and some other areas), but the lines between Morris, Mummers and Mayday are indistinct at best.

And later influences, such as the Minstrel craze of the mid 19th century, were also accepted into the tradition - most of the Mummers plays that we perform (from the Evesham/Stratford area) end with a minstrel song such as Camptown Races or Old Bob Ridley. But they were not collected until later in the century, and there is no record of what was sung before that.

I think all was "grist to the mill" for the old-timers, and there could well be Romany influences in there: there is still a strong gypsy presence in this area.

Iknow the Shakespeare Mummers would be very interested if anyone could shed more light on the origins and influences on Morris and Mumming in this part of England.

WassaiL! V


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 03 Jan 04 - 07:37 AM

Joy, whether or not any actual connections can be made, you probably know a thing or two about archetypes, and can make the connection yourself.

Don't the gypsies (Rom) trace their heritage to India? See the movie Latcho Drom to see a beautiful rendering of that. So there could be a cultural connection through them!

I've never heard of Black Sal but would like to know more!

Cheers,

Allison


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: mack/misophist
Date: 03 Jan 04 - 09:35 AM

Pakistan, I think. Romichel is related to Urdu.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: Steve Benbows protege
Date: 03 Jan 04 - 12:06 PM

http://www.saintesmariesdelamer.com/uk/indexuk.html


I have tried to make a blue clicky to the saint marie del la mer page. Under culture there is info on the two.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jan 04 - 04:34 AM

Black sal is one of the Characters seen at Hastings Jack inb the green festival. As I understood it She is the partner of the prince of the sweeps.Anyone from J.I.T.G.help?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: Joybell
Date: 04 Jan 04 - 10:28 PM

Thank you all. I thought this thread might get lost over Christmas. Steve Benbow's protege, That's a beautifully presented site. Thank you.
Thank you Animaterra, I saw similarities and was just wondering about a connection. I do know quite a bit about the two as separate characters - Sal and Sarah. I'll send you all I know - or post it here if anyone else is interested. I'll try to find that film. My True-love spent some time in India and told me about some of the festivals. Just by coincidence his great grandmother was a Spanish Gypsy.
Thank you Snuffy, I hadn't come across the Minstrel/Mayday/Morris/Mummer connection but it makes sense. I am a member of the Victorian Cornish Association and there is a still a great love of Stephen Foster songs within this group. The Grand Bard of Cornwal says this is so in Cornwall too.
Most of my Information about Sara Kali comes from various books and also from a TV special made about 10 years ago. Black Sal I came across while studying 19th century theatre. Thanks again all Joy


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: Nemesis
Date: 05 Jan 04 - 12:11 PM

Joybell .. please post here .. it's a fascinating subject .. thanks
Nem :)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: Joybell
Date: 05 Jan 04 - 06:35 PM

Ah! Just did some more homework. The Film that has a segment about Sarah Kali is indeed "Latcho Drom" as Animaterra mentions earlier on this thread. It is an excellent film. In the book "The Gypsies" by Jean-Paul Clebert published by Penguin in 1961, there is a bit more.
There is a picture of Sara Kali with the caption:
"Sara, the Black Virgin. At Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, in the south of France, a Gypsy of the Carlos tribe fulfils the ritual touching of the clothing of the patron saint of the Gypsies."
Under the heading "Sara, the Black Virgin" there are 4 1/2 pages about her. In my words here is her story.
Sara's story, according to Clebert, dates from 1448. She seems to be associated - ?confused, with another Sara who belongs to the Catholic faith, who was a servant to the "Three Marys", Mary Salome, Mary Jacob and Mary Magdalene.
(The Three Marys? a little barque? - lets not go there! Or to I Saw Three Ships.)
This Sara came by boat to the French village of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, with her mistresses. She did not receive canonization and, after her death was banned to the crypt of the church there.
The Sara of the Gypsies was a French "Gitane", Gypsy Queen who met the arriving group of Marys with their servant, Sara. The sea was rough and the boat was in danger of sinking, so Sara the Kali of the Gypsies threw her dress on the waves and floated on it to help them land. Kali is the Gypsy word for black and for Gypsy. (Note that the Indian word for black is also Kali. As in the evil Godess Kali).
The supposed remains of the Three Marys were excavated at the site of an old church by Rene the Good (1448) and the Christian pilgrimage to the site began at this time. The remains of Sara the servant may have been invented later (1496). A Festival is still held on the 24th and 25th of May each year. It isn't known exactly when the Gypsies joined in this pilgrimage but it's thought to have been very early. Until 1912 only Gypsies were allowed into the crypt of the church where they held a vigil with their statue of Sara Kali, but now Gadje (non Gypsies) may be present. The statue, now in the crypt, is made of plaster and looks like a store-bought figure painted black. Her face has to be repainted regularly because touching and kissing her face is part of the ritual. She is dressed in layers of dresses and clothing and brightly coloured rags are hung around the crypt. It is said that the statue was once made of wood. There is a ritual immersion in the sea as part of the pilgrimage.
Clebert compares Sara Kali with other Madonnas and saints and notes that a detailed study of Sara Kali is yet to be undertaken.
The pilgrimage has now become a tourist attraction and there are a number of web-sites showing it.
             That's Sara Kali. Is Black Sal of interest too?   Joy


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Jan 04 - 07:32 PM

Urdu and Hindi are essentially the same language, spoken both sides of the modern border between Pakistan and India. (But written in different scripts.)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: LadyJean
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 12:31 AM

I'm too lazy to leave my chair and look for the book, but I think there's a "Black Girl" in the Mabinogion.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: Joybell
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 05:48 AM

Thanks Lady Jean. Sounds like a possible lead. I'll see what I can find. Joy


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 05:58 AM

Joy, have you read "The Secret Life of Bees"? It's a novel written in the US, but it has some beautiful scenes with a black madonna that your description reminds me of!

Allison


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: Joybell
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 06:19 AM

I haven't heard of that book, Allison but I'll try to find it. Thanks. What a wonderful tangle all this is. Joy


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: Micca
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 06:28 AM

Black Sal plays a part in the Hastings Jack in the Green Festival at Mayday every year see here for a picture from a recent one


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: GUEST,ned ludd
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 06:58 AM

Thanks for following up my comment on Hastings Micca, I forgot I have to sign on as a guest at work.
Dave.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: Joybell
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 07:07 AM

Thanks Micca. That's a great picture. I did find a womens' Morris group called "Daisy Roots" who also had a picture of their Black Sal. This group also wore costumes made of coloured rags. Joy


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: Daithi
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 04:50 AM

I wonder if it's also worth a look at Black Annis?
(No, don't ask me - She is a British Goddess figure i understand, form the English midlands area.)
Dáithí


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: Micca
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 05:34 AM

For info on Black Annis a href="http://www.redqueen.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/black%20annis.htm">try here


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 07:16 AM

Black Annis? Don't let's get carried away here, chaps. That's a fantasy gaming site, and about as much use to anybody wanting useful information on 19th century Mayday customs (or genuine folklore. Shub Niggurath, forsooth) as the common or garden chocolate teapot.

The woman (or man-woman) of the Sweep's Jack-in-the-Green seems to have been called "My Lady" more often than "Black Sal", according to contemporary accounts; and there's no particular reason to think that the "black" part has any greater significance than an appropriately sooty face (though this was by no means compulsory). Roy Judge's The Jack in the Green (FLS Books [Folklore Society], 2nd edition, 2000) is probably the best overall study of the custom in tradition (it also discusses the revival, though in less detail) and is certainly the place to start.

You have to bear in mind that today's Jack-in-the-Green festivities are modern revivals into which a great deal of new material has been incorporated from all over the place; they are great fun, but they tell us very little, really, about the way things used to be done and what they meant to the participants.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: Daithi
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 07:23 AM

Good one - Thanks Micca ;¬)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: Joybell
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 05:30 PM

Thanks Malcolm. I'll try to find the book you recomend. The fact that Black Sal was a character in the extremely popular book and play "Life in London" during the early part of the 19th century may well have had an effect on her popularity in other areas. Like Mayday celebrations for example.
Where can I get a chocolate teapot? I'd love one of those. Joy


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: LadyJean
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 11:32 PM

Black Annis, who can be found in Katherine Briggs "British Folktales" is a thoroughly disagreeable person. She reached down chimneys to grab sleeping children and hung their skins on the wall of her cave.
Briggs seemed to think she was inspired by an anchoress called Agnes Scott. But Briggs can be taken with a grain of salt.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: Joybell
Date: 08 Jan 04 - 04:42 AM

Thanks Lady Jean. I looked her up in my copy of that same book. Joy


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: IanC
Date: 08 Jan 04 - 05:53 AM

There's a useul small article here on the cretion of the "Black Sal" character by the celebrated extra-vagant erratic Author Pierce Egan. It seems that the character late became the fairground "Aunt Sally". Egan also had a pair of characters called Tom and Jerry.

The Black Sal character could have existed earlier, but it seems doubtful.

Malcolm's observations on "The Revival" hold true for traditional practices and Egan's popular Black Sal character seems to have been attached to the London sweeps' "Jack In The Green" festival. The character was, anyway, commonplace by 1877 when this article was published. To quote:

The dresses for the clown, the pantaloon, Black Sal, and Dusty Bob, are generally bought in Petticoat Lane, and cost in all about £5; and it therefore requires capital to start a Jack-in-the-green.

:-)
Ian


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 08 Jan 04 - 08:08 AM

Joybell,

Daisy Roots are, or were, from Hastings and the their Black Sal is the one pictured in the JiTG website.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 08 Jan 04 - 08:18 AM

There is this site for Black Annis who regularly appear at Hastings
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/~pdzdw/dolphinweb/Teamlist/Blackannis.htm

also see http://www.indigogroup.co.uk/edge/blannis.htm


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: Steve Benbows protege
Date: 08 Jan 04 - 02:19 PM


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: Steve Benbows protege
Date: 08 Jan 04 - 02:20 PM

http://www.geocities.com/Paris/5121/stsm01.htm


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: Steve Benbows protege
Date: 08 Jan 04 - 02:22 PM

http://www.geocities.com/Paris/5121/stsm01.htm


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: Steve Benbows protege
Date: 08 Jan 04 - 02:33 PM

sorry guys, The first time I tried it did not work. I tried to send this link before with the other one on the 3rd. There was another one i tried to send but it linked the first one again. If you go onto Patrin website there is another link for Saint - marie. It does explain about the two ladies being put in the boat and sent off from the middle east. One was Marie - The sister of the Virgin Mary and the other was Saint Salome The mother of saint Janmes (De compostella de espana) and St John.
The feast IS on My Birthday 24th of may - 25th of May. Not bad for someone with Gypsy Heritage!!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: Joybell
Date: 09 Jan 04 - 02:05 AM

Not bad at all. Of course she was supposedly already a Gypsy Queen.
"Life in London" which has a much longer title is the book to which I refered earlier on this thread. The main characters were Tom and his Uncle Jerry. They had adventures around London including a visit to the "Low-life" areas where they met Dusty Bob, a chimney sweep and African/Black Sal, a milkmaid. Sal and Bob do a special dance together. Many of the characters in this book, which also became a play, took on lives of their own. Sal, when she appears in the play, is a male actor. It is indeed uncertain whether Black Sal and Dusty Bob were around before 1820, but Pierce Egan did use familiar characters in his book (although he invented Tom and Jerry- and no they aren't a cat and mouse team), so they might have been. African characters were very popular just before the Minstrel show, as we know it, so Black Sal may well have been called African Sal for this reason. She is Black Sal in later plays of "Life in London", which is sometimes called "The Adventures of Tom and Jerry".
So there's Black Sal as I know her.

Note that in folklore and song the term "black" could refer to skin colour (anything from off lily-white to black) or to an evil nature.

I think we can safely ignore other women called "Black something" and also the Druids, but you never know. I'm asking here. I'll happily follow all kinds of leads. Thank you all for the interest. Joy


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: dianavan
Date: 09 Jan 04 - 02:26 AM

cross-cultural religious studies (especially those of Europe) all seem to go back to the mother goddess. Since all of us have now been genetically proven to be related to one African mother, you can safely assume that both characters are vestiges of ancient beliefs.

Warrior kings could not rule without a sacred union with the mother goddess. If the deity was female, what better way to depict her than as black (unseen).

Keep asking questions. It takes alot of research to uncover the lies of so-called Christianity. The pope wiped out the Cathars - perhaps the only Christians that were not corrupted by power, greed and arrogance.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: LadyJean
Date: 09 Jan 04 - 11:09 PM

The Quakers have done pretty well, says a proud and loyal daughter of Pennsylvania. Of course the last time I went to meeting, I got the giggles.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: Joybell
Date: 09 Jan 04 - 11:21 PM

Is giggling forbidden at Quaker meetings, Lady Jean? Pity! Oh well you could always put on a funny hat and a red nose and join the Church of "Our Lady of Ridiculous Mirth". Joy


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: GUEST,bsooty1@aol.com
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 03:45 PM

You may want to refer to such as Ancient & Modern Britons by David Mac Ritchie (1884 & repub. [in U.S.] in 1991) for claimed Africans in the British Isles before the Celts. He makes particular claims for Scotland but does discuss elsewhere in these islands.
   So too do the Alis in The Black Celts (1990).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connect
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Nov 04 - 03:40 AM

Isn't Sara Kali, The Black Maddona now championed by all the "Secret Bloodline of Christ" nutters as being the daughter of Mary Magdelene and Jesus?

I recall much being made of that connection and the cult of the Black Madonnain the south of France in that book HOLY BLOOD HOLY GRAIL. I'm the one person in the wrold who hasn't read THE DAVINCI CODE, so I don't know if they make the same claim.

I never did grasp why Jesus and Mary Magdelene's alleged daughter was dark-skinned.

The only folk stories I ever heard about Sara Kali involved her riding about the countryside on a horse in man's dress like some Proto-Jean D'arc except that she wasn't making war, she was healing people with her touch. Haven't had reason to recall that in years!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Sal and Sarah Kali. A connection?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 07 Nov 04 - 03:53 AM

Wouldn't most people from 20 AD Palistine be brown? Hence children of J and MM would be darker skinned than most northern Europeans.


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