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The Apparent Inspiration for "Dreamcatchers"
Several knowledgeable people have told me that "dreamcatchers" never existed. Certainly in the form they are usually shown, decorated with feathers and beads,
they are not known.
Their stories of origins from the American Southwest through the Northern Plains
to the Northeast makes them suspect. So do their supposed functions. Do they catch
bad dreams and prevent them from reaching you, allow bad dreams to escape, catch good dreams and let them reach you or catch good dreams so you can hold on to them?
For a long time, I thought the whole thing was a bit of "new age" inventiveness.
Largely, it is, but there is one candidate for their origin.
I am grateful to Anne Hill's pointing this out to me.
Chippewa spiderweb cradle charm
"'Spider web' charm, hung on infant's cradle,"
Plate 24, in Chippewa Customs, by Frances Densmore, Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 86. 1929.
Thanks to Anne Hill
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