The seventh son of a seventh son is a concept from folklore regarding special powers given to, or held by, such a son. To qualify as "the seventh son of a seventh son" one must be the seventh male child born in an unbroken line with no female siblings born between, and to a father who himself is the seventh male child born in an unbroken line with no female siblings born between. The number seven has a long history of mystical and biblical significance, such as seven virtues, seven deadly sins, Seven Sleepers and Seven Heavens.
In some beliefs, the special powers are inborn, inherited simply by virtue of his birth order; in others, the powers are granted to him by God or the gods because of his birth order.
The seventh son of a seventh son is gifted as a healer. The seventh son of a seventh son is part of a more general phenomenon known as the "cure" (sometimes also called the "charm").
According to Edward Augustus Kendall in Travels through the Northern Parts of the United States, in the year 1807–1808 while visiting the Newgate copper mine and prison, the author met an innkeeper who told him that "there was to be found in the surrounding hills, a black stone, of a certain species, through which a seventh son of a seventh son, born in the month of February, with a caul on his head, can discern everything that lies in the depths and interior of the globe." The author speculates that the importance of mining to the community gave rise to this localized belief.
In some Latin American countries, the seventh son of a seventh son is believed to be cursed to be a werewolf, lobizón, Luison (in Paraguay) or lobisomem (the Portuguese word for "werewolf"). To prevent this, the newborn should be baptized in seven different churches. Alternately, he may be baptized under the name Benito, with his eldest brother (the eldest son of their father) as his godfather. It is important to note that the local myth of the lobizón is not connected to the custom that began over 100 years ago by which every seventh son (or seventh daughter) born in Argentina to "legitimately married parents of good conduct and moral character" is eligible to become godchild to the president.
In Italian legend, "Ciarallo" was a seventh son of a seventh son who had the power to enchant and recall snakes, and who was immune to snake venom. Ciarallo was not only a seventh son, but underwent a special initiation rite called "inciaramazione". Customarily, one would ask Ciarallo's intercession when a snake was discovered in the house. Ciarallo would answer these requests by attracting the snake with a whistle. He would also perform the inciaramazione rite on other people to ensure protection from snakes by spreading a special oil on their arm. Children were led to Ciarallo by their mothers to get protection.
Raymond T. McNally and Radu Florescu describe the Transylvanian folk belief that "the seventh son of a seventh son is doomed to become a vampire."[page needed]
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Some have attributed the boy's miraculous power to his descendancy. He is the seventh son of a seventh son and from this circumstance is believed to have been endowed with a sort of sixth sense.
Perry usually shrugged off the idea that he had any special gifts because of it, although he never denied its veracity, despite knowing full well that he had only one elder brother.