It apparently took some seriously bad mojo to go up against 17th-century witches. According to the Sept.-Oct. Archaeology magazine, U.K. researchers opened and analyzed the contents of a rare intact “witch bottle,” which was buried to ward off spells. Inside were “bent pins, a nail-pierced heart made of leather, fingernail clippings, belly-button lint, and hair, all swimming in a bath of 300-year-old, nicotine-tinged urine.” I don’t know about witches, but I’m certainly going to stay away from it.
A builder wrote to say he had renovated a house in Cardiff, built in 1895, that had witch bottles buried under two of its fireplaces. Even more astonishing, a police inspector in Sebringville, Ontario, Canada, wrote to say he had–just weeks ago–apprehended a man with a plastic bottle containing urine and razor blades, “for protection from bad people.”
Image by the Greenwich Foundation, courtesy of British Archaeology.