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  • The Witch Bottle Spell February 19, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback

    witch bottle

    Location: The witch bottle spell seems to have been used against witchcraft throughout much of early modern and modern Europe.

    Aim: To free a human victim from a witch’s spell by attacking the witch.

    Ingredients: A bottle, fire, and then various other objects including urine, nails, pins, salt and thatch.

    Method

    Ridgewell, Essex (Anon 1859)

    (i) Get the urine from a young bewitched girl and place it in a bottle.

    (ii) Add pins and salt.

    (iii) Get some thatch off the cottage of the witch, from the point over where she sleeps, and add that to the mix. (Normally the urine of the victim is thought to contain the essence of the witch, who has used her power to malign; the addition of the thatch here is interesting).

    (iv) Nail the door of your house up and put a guard there with a bill hook and a hammer; in case the witch tries to come in.

    (v) Do not speak.

    (vi) Put the bottle (corked or uncorked?) on the fire.

    (vii) Allow the bottle to explode (presumably corked then).

    (viii) The victim will immediately feel better: as the young girl did in this case.

    Dangers

    Exploding witch bottles have actually been known to kill people (and not just the witch): be warned then and stand way back…

    Antiquity

    Surviving bottles and textual references from the seventeenth century show that the custom is old (Hoggard 2016). A nice question is whether the spell predated the more widespread use of bottles in the 1600s: perhaps narrow necked ceramic containers were employed in the middle ages? Or did our medieval ancestors have to just directly attack the witch?

    Help: other, even lightly different versions of this spell would be of interest, drbeachcombing At yahoo DOT com

    For references and explanation of the project and tag index: Beach’s Book of Shadows.