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The Ramban in VaYikra 18:19 writes the following:

(Source from Sefaria)

(Partial Quote)

ועוד הגידו בו נסיון אמיתי והוא ממפלאות תמים דעים בתולדה כי הנדה בתחילת זובה אם תביט במראה של ברזל הבהיר ותאריך לראות בה יראו במראה טיפות אדומות כטיפות דם

Furthermore it is told that true test which is written by the experts in science that if a menstruate in the beginning of her flow stares at a mirror of polished iron and continues to look [at the mirror]. Red drops similar to drops of blood will be seen [on the mirror]

My Question:

Where else besides for the Ramban is this phenomenon recorded? Is there any other recounting of such an occurrence?

Note: Finding out who the "experts in science" who recorded this observation will be helpful too.

  • Are you looking for Jewish sources, or non-Jewish sources? – Alex Apr 25 '18 at 21:50
  • @Alex I'm impartial – TrustMeI'mARabbi Apr 26 '18 at 3:25
  • 3
    If anyone stares at iron long enough, red spots will appear. – msh210 Apr 26 '18 at 5:19
5

Ramban is his discourse "Torat Hashem Temima" (here citing Galen too in the footnote, or Kitvei Ramban ed. Chavel, p. 167) repeated this idea in the name of Aristotle.

The source for Aristotle's observation is in his book on dreams (here is a link to the Greek and English trans.)

If a woman chances during her menstrual period to look into a highly polished mirror, the surface of it will grow cloudy with a blood-coloured haze. It is very hard to remove this stain from a new mirror, but easier to remove from an older mirror.

  • Great find! +1. – רבות מחשבות Apr 27 '18 at 1:21
  • I changed the link since the one you gave was behind a paywall, and changed the translation to match since it wasn't originally part of your answer, but you can revert it if the link you gave was important for whatever reason – b a Apr 29 '18 at 6:38
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In Pliny the Elder's Natural History, he records such something similar:

"Her very look, even, will dim the brightness of mirrors, blunt the edge of steel, and take away the polish from ivory. A swarm of bees, if looked upon by her, will die immediately; brass and iron will instantly become rusty, and emit an offensive odor."

Thus we see a claim of an effect upon mirrors. And rust, iron oxide, is a red-orange-brown color.

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    He also says that it will rust iron. I feel like that should be edited in... – רבות מחשבות Apr 26 '18 at 10:17
  • good point. I just added it in. – josh waxman Apr 29 '18 at 0:49

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