MALOCCHIO, THE EVIL EYE
Envy causes the “Evil Eye”, the gaze that brings about injury or bad luck to the subjet at whom it is directed. A person could be casting the Evil Eye intentionally or unintentionally and if you are even partly Italian you must have heard of Malocchio.
If you are old enough, you may even remember an old lady dropping oil in a plate containing water, signing the poor victim of the Evil Eye - usually sick - on the forehead with a finger while reciting prayers in some dialect or crude Latin.
Or you may have overheard a relative being anxious about a stranger praising the beauty of a baby from your family: the stranger may be envious, stare for too long and cause harm to the child. That’s Malocchio and it applies to animals, objects, whatever makes people envious. You can ward it off by wearing a horn (corno or cornetto), putting a red ribbon over the threshold of your home or over your child's bed, throwing salt out of the main door, even out of stage if you are opening a play. Each Italian region has its own twist.
If your roots are in the Mediterranean area or in the Middle East, East and West Africa, Central America, South Asia, Central Asia, Europe, you know what we are talking about. If it is not part of your culture, you must have seen plenty of charms and decorations featuring the eye staring back the malicious gaze.
The Romans had a phallic charm called fascinum, from the verb fascinare "to cast a spell" (the origin of the English word "fascinate"), against the Evil Eye.
You find the Evil Eye in the Bible, in the writings of the Prophet Muhammad, Aristophanes, Plutarch, Heliodorus, Alexander the Great, even in the first chapter of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula published in 1897.