The other day I heard an interesting tale regarding the island of Sardinia, which, frankly, had me thinking of Mother Gran. After doing some poking around, I came across some great information on Andrew Collins’ page on Sardinian Mysteries, from which all of the following quotes are taken.
Have you heard of an Accabadora? After reading this, you may be glad you haven’t – but let me say, the Eskimos have nothing on the Sardinians.
There would only ever be one accabadora in any one generation. Each would serve the local community until their own death, a successor having already been appointed and prepared for the role. Justification for the existence of the accabadora was offered in the fact that only a woman can bring life into the world, so only a woman can take it away.
I’m not sure what the resume for applicants to the role would look like; must have a strong arm, powerful thighs, an iron stomach, and an overwhelming hatred of the aged and sick?
[…] a mature woman who was appointed by a community to apply euthanasia to the old and the infirm. It is something she would carry out with the utmost precision using a cudgel made from a section of a tree branch from which extends another branch, the whole thing cut to form a hammer-like weapon similar in appearance to the Irish shillelagh stick. Another means of inducing death used by the accabadora was strangulation, either by applying pressure to the neck or by placing the victim’s neck between her knees