Thursday, June 4, 2009

Intact "Witch Bottle" Discovered

Here's an interesting magical relic from the seventeenth century - an intact "witch bottle" recently found in Greenwich, England.

During the 17th century in England, someone urinated in a jar, added nail clippings, hair and pins, and buried it upside-down in Greenwich, where it was recently unearthed and identified by scientists as being the world's most complete known "witch bottle."

This spell device, often meant to attract and trap negative energy, was particularly common from the 16th to the 17th centuries, so the discovery provides a unique insight into witchcraft beliefs of that period, according to a report published in the latest British Archaeology.

As I understand it, the idea behind the witch bottle is that the urine, hair, and fingernail clippings formed a magical link to whoever the bottle was made for and the pins served to attract and trap magical energy. If a malicious magician were able to obtain a lock of hair, for example, the morphic resonance would be stronger between two locks of hair than it would be between the lock of hair and the person it was taken from. The energy of any spell cast on the stolen lock of hair would therefore wind up in the bottle. The same would be true for urine and fingernail clippings.

You could counter such a bottle by using a photograph or some sort of other magical link not included in the bottle, such as blood, but seeing as photographs didn't exist in the 17th Century and by the time you were in a position to extract someone's blood you could probably just kill them on the spot, it sounds to me like it would have worked often enough to be useful. Instructions for making these bottles have been available for years, but this find is important because it demonstrates that they really were constructed as described.

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6 comments:

Robert-Joseph said...

Witch bottles fight back. Something sharp is usually added, like nails or in this case pins, to attack anyone casting a spell on the practitioner.

A properly constructed witch bottle should do well enough to catch a link via photograph, or even a purely psychic link. If you want to defeat it, you have to know how to properly trace things and get to their true origin.

Gordon_Finn said...

This is why I'd bite off some skin cells from the tip of my finger (skin cells and saliva) and get a small piece of paper and smear a couple drops of my blood on it and put them in there, if I made one. I haven't, but that's what I'd do. The only other things they might get from me would be chips of teeth and shit. However, I don't feel I'd need to go to those extremes. It's damn hard to get those two from someone.

Gordon_Finn said...

Oh, and I'd put a photo in the bottle, too. Something small, like from one of those booths that give you 4 small pictures.

Ananael Qaa said...

Witch bottles fight back. Something sharp is usually added, like nails or in this case pins, to attack anyone casting a spell on the practitioner.

So do you conjure something like a servitor into it so that it can respond to attacks intelligently, or is this a purely "mechanical" effect based on the dynamics of the magical link?

Robert-Joseph said...

Besides the purely ethical considerations, I'd also say it's not too smart to make an intelligent entity for attacking and then bury it upside down in a jar of urine with a direct psychic connection to you.

The way the jar is supposed to work, whatever's in it should enter the offending practitioner when the spell is cast on the owner. Which is why urine is used as opposed to blood. It's not dangerous, but it's yucky.

Ananael Qaa said...

The way the jar is supposed to work, whatever's in it should enter the offending practitioner when the spell is cast on the owner.

Then I suppose the best thing to put in the jar would be a fluid condensor corresponding to Saturn enchanted to conjure up the nastiest curse you can imagine. I suspect that would be a lot more effective than a little urine in terms of eliminating one's enemies.