In Scotland, the earliest mention of belemnites dates
from 1703 where they are referred to as botstones
(Martin 1703). They were used medicinally
by some Scots to cure horses of the worms that caused
distemper - the remedy was water that had been steeped
in belemnites (Oakley 1974).
In Chinese folklore belemnites are known as Jien-shih
or sword stones .
Scandinavian folklore regards belemnites as candles
belonging to elves, gnomes and pixies. In some areas
they are still called vateljus which
in Swedish literally means gnomes' lights.
Objects resembling belemnites appear in ancient Egyptian
hieroglyphic inscriptions symbolising the god, Min.
According to Newberry (1910), fossil belemnites and
certain arrowheads were cult-objects in the Egyptian
Middle Kingdom. They represented thunderbolts and by
association, the deity Min.
Fragments of altered amber-coloured belemnites with
fine perforations were found at a 20,000-year-old archaeological
site known as Kostenki 17 on the Don river in Russia
(Boriskovskii 1956). They may have been used as charms.
Belemnites are known by many different names in German folklore. Among these are Alpschoß (nightmare shot), Fingerstein (finger stone), Gespensterkerze (ghostly candle),and Katzenkegel (cat's skittle).