An old method of magical healing employed by witches and wizards as well as wise women and men. It involved measuring a patient’s girdle or belt. Changes in the circumference supposedly revealed the presence of evil spirits or fairies in the person’s body which caused illness. Usually a second measurement was taken after exorcism was practiced, generally through charms, to verify that the entity was gone. Some curative techniques involved the recitation of charms, incantations, cutting the girdle or belt and burying pieces of it in the ground. Girdle measuring was a widespread practice in Europe and the British Isles through the 16th century. (see Spirit possession) A.G.H.