I few weeks back, I was digging through a list of legendary/supernatural beings to find some good topics for Into the Paranormal. I browsed through them fairly quickly looking for something fairly easy to summarize, but also one that really captured my attention. Then I found Alphito. What first caught my eye is the fact a quote from the foreword of a cookbook comparing the author to Alphito.
Maida Heatter is the fairy godmother of anything sweet, spicy, crunchy, chewy, or fluffy you could possibly imagine baking. In Greek mythology, Maida, with her elegant halo of silver hair, would have been known as the goddess Alphito, the symbol of flour and lady guardian of the mill. (Source)That sounds nice, so what else is there to know?
The first recorded mention of Alphito is in the Moralia of Plutarch, which relates nurses telling superstitious tales of her to scare children and make them behave. Pretty much a boogeyman. Although, her name is related to the word alphita, "white flour", and alphitomanteia, which is a type of divination which happens from flour or barley meal. As the quote above said, her hair is white and she's presumed to be old.
There's a lot of speculation into whether she's more than a boogeyman. Author Robert Graves wrote a thesis stating that she was originally the White Goddess from Greek mythology, but his book received a decent amount of criticism regarding his thoughts.
In parting, here's a description of Alphito from Graves:
In one sense it is the pleasant whiteness of pearl-barley, or a woman's body, or milk, or unsmutched snow; in another it is the horrifying whiteness of a corpse, or a spectre, or leprosy. … Alphito, it has been shown, combined these senses: for alphos is white leprosy, the vitiliginous sort which attacks the face, and alphiton is barley, and Alphito lived on the cliff tops of Nonacris in perpetual snow." (Source)What do you think about Alphito? Have you heard of her?