Mysterious "witch bottles" washing up on South Texas beaches

One marine researcher in Texas has a growing collection of "witch bottles" that have washed up on South Texas beaches over the last few years. The bottles are closed and contain sticks, leaves, and other organic matter. Due to the Gulf of Mexico currents, their provenance is difficult to determine.

"Some of them have goose neck barnacles growing on them so we know they've been out in the Gulf of Mexico for awhile," says Jace Tunnell, the Director of Community Engagement at Harte Research Institute. "Apparently they're supposed to have spells in them."

From KRIS 6 News:

In the 16th and 17th centuries, people believed that witches can cast spells of bad fortune and health into these bottles. It is also believed that whoever opens the bottle, will experience the bad luck. That's why Tunnell did not open the witch bottles that he found. His wife doesn't even let him bring them inside the house.

"The theory is that if you open it you could let the spell out, whatever the reason the person had put the spell in there," Tunnell said.

The bottles Tunnell has found certainly don't seem hundreds of years old but perhaps that's part of their magic.