Intact 17th Century “Witch Bottle” Found

June 4, 2009

(ChattahBox)—An authentic 17th century “witch bottle” was recently discovered in London with the contents intact for the first time, allowing scientists the rare opportunity to examine and analyze it, affording a unique look into the past beliefs of sorcery and witchcraft. The witch bottles were buried by people of the period to undo spells, curses and as preventative measures as protection from witchery.

Archaeologists have unearthed witch bottles during previous historical digs, but never before with the sealed contents still intact. People of the time frequently blamed any misfortune, illness or turn of bad luck on witchery and deposited the witch bottles in the ground expecting a speedy cure.

The bottle in question was discovered underneath a historical sailing museum and finding it sealed with the liquid still inside, archaeologists carefully scanned it, revealing bent pins and other items floating in the liquid. The archaeologists summoned the leading British witchcraft experts for the unsealing of the witch bottle, incuding Alan Massey and Brian Hoggard.

They discovered the liquid to be urine from a smoker since it contained traces of a nicotine substance. Along with the bent pins, the witch experts also found nail clippings, sulfur from matches and something they decided was navel fluff.

Witch bottles of the period usually contained personal items from the bewitched person, such as their own urine, nail or hair clippings. The bent pins were included to poison and cause pain to the witch.

The study is available in the Journal of British Archaeology



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