EDITORIAL : Anyone who says “Jersey Shore” and “The Sopranos” give Italians a bad name can add “The Godfather” to the list, now that a smart guy got pinched for delivering a toy horse’s head to the state Senate president’s office.
Blame the media: In most reports, the gesture immediately was considered a nod (or was it a wink?) to the scene in the first “Godfather” film, when a Hollywood producer who denied a mob-connected singer a film role woke up to find the head of his prized racehorse in his bed.
But wait: Police here in New Jersey never said they charged 61-year-old Robert Godman — yes: “God/man” — with fourth-degree harassment based solely on that reasoning.
They know you only need to hit Google to discover countless instances worldwide of equine noggins being used to ward off evil.
The Scandanavians posted theirs on routes where enemies were likely to travel, in the hopes of casting a spell on them. These came to be known as “spite spikes” and “nithing posts.”
Christmas revelers in parts of England once carried horse’s heads on a pole through town, pulling a string attached to the lower jaw, as a warning against evil spirits.
Nearly five centuries ago, poles topped by a mare’s skull were meant to drive rats and other vermin from Germany. And in the 1600s, a tribe known as the Wends put horse’s heads in cribs to protect infants from the spirits of darkness.
To this day, some Germans put carved horse heads atop gables to protect their homes, while others tuck them beneath pillows to ward off illness.
From Moldavia to Romania to Tuscany, these talismans are considered either protection against ghosts or — in lieu of the horse’s shoe — good luck. In Holland, they’re hung over pigsties (You got me on that one).
The best way to bust up a witches’ coven, it’s been said, is to toss a horse’s head into the circle. Some Hungarians even place the talisman’s on the graves of loved ones, to keep witches from congregating there.“The horses are on the track” Jerry DeMarco (Publisher/Editor)
Next time you see a drawing of a Shaman, check out his stave. Guess what’s carved on top?
State Sen. Steve Sweeney was serving as acting governor while the deposed Jon Corzine was off skiing in Switzerland when Godman brought the package into Sweeney’s office and told a staffer it was for incoming Gov. Chris Christie.
For their part, the State Police are playing it right. They need to be absolutely sure whether they’re dealing with a wiseass, a kook or someone committed to doing serious hurt.
At this point, “the intent’s not clear,” said State Police Sgt. First Class Stephen Jones.
How could it be, with so many possible explanations?
Forget the media: God forbid they go further than immediately grabbing for the easy “Godfather” reference.
What is clear: The bomb squad was called, the office was shut down, and several people got quite scared.
So State Police arrested Godman at his Wenoah home, where they said he lives with his folks. A psych test is in his immediate future.
What shakes things up for authorities is the fact that Godman is on probation for a 2007 conviction for providing false information to authorities.
So whether he could be a genuine threat or simply a disgruntled, outcast heathen is still a question.
After being banished from Norway a dozen centuries ago, the Icelandic writer Eigil rammed a stake into the ground with a horse’s head on top. He pointed it toward his former homeland and invoked a prayer that all gods who protected the king and queen should be sentenced to wander the land and never find rest.
In that case, Christie’s enemies don’t need talismans. Given the financial mess he’s inherited, it may be a long time before our new governor gets a good night’s sleep, anyway.
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