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Witch bottles
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Witch bottles were used in counterspells intended to cure those who fell ill as a result of being cursed by a witch. The idea of a counterspell was that the witch had created a magical link between herself and her victim, which could be reversed by bottling the victim’s body-products, commonly urine, hair and nail clippings, and then destroying or concealing the vessel. The witch would subsequently be physically tormented, forcing her to break the magical link with her victim, who would then recover.[1]

Witch bottles also often contain bent nails or pins. Pins were commonly believed to be used by witches in their image magic, in which pricking the image of a person causes a corresponding pain to that person.[2]

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Bibliography


Simpson, Jacqueline, and Steve Roud. “Witch Bottles.” A Dictionary of English Folklore, Online, Oxford University Press, 2003, https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780198607663.001.0001/acref-9780198607663-e-1138.
Simpson, Jacqueline, and Steve Roud. “Pins.” A Dictionary of English Folklore, Online, Oxford University Press, 2003, https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/.