Description of Witch Bottle
Just in Time for Halloween!
Witch bottles date back to Elizabethan England and, according to author Ralph Merrifield, “are a common counter-measure against witchcraft. The usual contents were a sample of the victim’s urine, together with a few nails, pins, or thorns. Sometimes other ingredients, also intimately connected with the person of the victim may be included, such as clipping of his hair or fingernails. The bottle is securely corked or stoppered, and is then either concealed and left or else heated until it explodes—with dire results to the witch who has cast the spell.”
Wikipedia states, “Some of the earliest documented witch bottles consist of Salr-glazed ceramicsalt glazed stoneware jugs known as Bartmann jugs, Bellarmines, or “Greybeards.” Bellarmines were named after a particularly fearsome Catholic Inquisitor, Robert Bellarmine, who persecuted Protestants and was instrumental in the burning of Giordano Bruno. Greybeards and Bellarmines were made of brown or gray stoneware glazed with salt and embossed with a bearded face.” (See photo)
I hope my interpretation of this bizarre tradition is a little more light-hearted!