The Philosophy of Natural Magic, by Henry Cornelius Agrippa, L. W. de Laurence ed. , at sacred-texts.com
Again thou must consider that the Virtues of things are in some things in the whole (i. e.), the whole substance of them, or in all their parts, as that little fish echeneis, * which is said to stop a ship by its mere touch; this it doth not do according to any particular part, but according to the whole substance. So the civet cat hath this in its whole substance, that dogs, by the very touch of his shadow, hold their peace. So salendine is good for the sight, not according to any one but all its parts; not more in the root than in the leaves and seeds, and so of the rest. But some Virtues are in things according to some parts of it, viz., only in the tongue, or eyes, or some other members and parts; so in the eyes of a basilisk is a most violent power to kill men as soon as they see them. The like power is there in the eyes of the
civet cat, which makes any animal that it hath looked upon to stand still, to be amazed, and not able to move itself. The like virtue is there in the eyes of some wolves, who, if they see a man first, make him amazed and so hoarse, that if he would cry out, he hath not the use of his voice. Of this Virgil makes mention when he sings:
So also there were some certain women in Scythia, and amongst the Illyrians and Triballians, who as often as they looked angrily upon any man, were said to slay him. Also we read of a certain people of Rhodes, called Telchines, who corrupted all things with their sight, wherefore Jupiter drowned them. Therefore witches, when they would after this manner work by witchcraft, use the eyes of such kind of animals in their waters for the eyes, for the like effects. In like manner do ants fly from the heart of a lapwing and not from the head, foot or eyes. So the gall of lizards, being bruised in water, is said to gather weasels together; not the tail or the head of it. The gall of goats, put into the earth in a brazen vessel, gathers frogs together; and a goat's liver is an enemy to butterflies and all maggots. Dogs shun them that have the heart of a dog about them; and foxes will not touch those poultry that have eaten the liver of a fox. So divers things have divers virtues dispersed variously through several parts, as they are from above infused into them according to the diversity of things to be received; as in a man's body the bones receive nothing but life, the eyes sight, and the ears hearing. And there is in man's body a certain little bone, which the Hebrews call LVZ, of the bigness of a pulse that is husked, which is subject to no corruption, neither is it overcome with fire, but is always preserved unhurt,
out of which, as they say, as a plant out of the seed, our animal bodies shall in the resurrection of the dead spring up. And these Virtues are not cleared by reason, but by experience.
86:* The belief that the Echeneis, a fish of the Remora or Sucker family, has the power of stopping ships was formerly quite prevalent. In Goodwin's translation of Plutarch's Morals, volume three, we find the following story: "Chaeremomanus, the Trallian, when we were at a very noble fish-dinner, pointing to a little, long, sharp-headed fish, said the echeneis (ship-stopper) was like that, for he had often seen it as he sailed in the Sicilian sea, and wondered at its strange force, for it stopped the ship when under full sail, until one of the seamen perceived it sticking to the outside of the ship, and took it off." Oppian says, describing its occult virtue:
Pliny says: "Why should our fleets and armadas at sea make such turrets on the walls and forecastles, when one little fish is able to arrest and stay, per force, our goodly and tall ships."—Nat. Hist., Vol. XI., p. 41. Ovid writes, "there, too, is the little sucking fish, wondrous to behold, a vast obstruction to ships," and Lucan says the echeneis stops ships on the ocean.