Weird "witch bottle" found in former pub's chimney

In Watford, England, construction workers doing demolition at a former pub and inn found a weird bottle inside the chimney. Containing human teeth, fish hooks, glass shards, and liquid, the container was apparently a 19th century "witch bottle" meant to protect against evil spells. Above, examples of such bottles. From Smithsonian:

The newly discovered bottle is one of more than 100 recovered from old buildings, churchyards and riverbanks across Great Britain to date. Most specimens trace their origins to the 1600s, when continental Europe was in the grips of a major witch panic. Common contents found in witch bottles include pins, nails, thorns, urine, fingernail clippings and hair.

According to BBC News, the Watford property—now a private residence but formerly known as the Star and Garter inn—is best known as the birthplace of Angeline Tubbs, a woman later nicknamed the Witch of Saratoga...

The home’s current owner does not plan on displaying the bottle. Instead, the anonymous individual says they “will probably hide it away again for someone to find in another 100 years or so.” So, how exactly did witch bottles work? Per JSTOR Daily’s Allison C. Meier, practitioners filled the vessels with an assortment of items, but most commonly urine and bent pins. The urine was believed to lure witches traveling through a supernatural “otherworld” into the bottle, where they would then be trapped on the pins’ sharp points. Would-be witchcraft victims often embedded the protective bottles under hearths or near chimneys; as anthropologist Christopher C.

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The artist behind these spellbinding witch hats almost stopped making them after her first one

These stunning felted-wool witch hats are the handiwork of a Kentucky-based fiber artist named Kate.

The world of fantasy felted creations is her full-time job now. On top of creating them, which she sells in her shop Felt Wicked Art, she also teaches felting workshops all over the United States and offers downloadable tutorials to would-be hat makers. But she writes that she nearly gave up after making (and selling) her first hat at a craft fair:

I made a few "normal" hats before making my very first witch hat. It would be unrecognizable today as my style, with just a few wrinkles and some embellishments. At that point it was really more of an experiment and I was actually a little self-conscious of it. I took it to a craft fair though and it to my surprise it sold that day. It was a relief that someone else thought it was interesting too, as some part of me still just wasn't sure. And I almost didn't make any more. I didn't want to go through that vulnerable process of making something unique and then asking people to give me money for it. In the end though I just couldn't stop myself from making another one, and then another one, not necessarily because I even wanted to sell them but just because I loved the hats so much! I'm glad I stuck with it."

We're glad you did too!

Kate's bewitching hats are available through her Etsy shop and her website. Read the rest

Hundreds of witches seen paddleboarding down the Willamette River

Witches – hundreds of them – were seen paddleboarding down the Willamette River in Oregon on Saturday, surprising a lot of spectators who happened to be by the river that day.

According to The Oregonian, they were part of a new annual event called the Standup Paddleboard Witch Paddle, which donated clothing to two different charities. Check out the cool photos:

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"Girls and boys like to play witches, don't they?" Mr. Rogers interviews Margaret Hamilton, aka the Wicked Witch of the West

Here is a clip from a 1975 episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood where Mister Rogers interviews Margaret Hamilton, the actress who played the Wicked Witch of the West in the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz.

Looking at this video, it's hard not to pine for a time when you could talk so sweetly and innocently about witches on a children's program and not risk fundie villagers showing up at the neighborhood's gates with pitch forks and threats of a boycott.

[H/t Susan Jamison] Read the rest

Now there are subscription boxes for witches

Starting at $14.99/month, you can have a box of "luxury occult items" sent to you by Box Bewitched. You'll pick either The Maiden, The Mother, or The Crone box and each month, they'll send you a curated assortment of healing crystals, incense, spell candles, magickal herbs, oils, pagan jewelry, altar tools, ruins, apparel, and other bewitching goodies. No nose twitching necessary.

As a bonus, a portion of the proceeds go to helping homeless cats.

Previously: Theme song for Bewitched has lyrics, here's Steve Lawrence singing it

Thanks, Brittany High! Read the rest

Not too late to host a "Weeny Witch" Halloween party tonight!

For several decades, the company behind the Skinless brand of hot dogs tried very hard to make "Weeny Witch" parties a thing. Unfortunately it didn't catch on, but perhaps the time is finally right. More information over at Weird Universe, including rules for a delightful party game called "Feeding the Weeny Witch."

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What is a Witch – A poetic and visual conjuring of the witch archetype

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

What is a Witch

by Pamela Grossman (author) and Tin Can Forest (artists)

Tin Can Forest

2016, 36 pages, 9.0 x 11.75 x 0.25 inches

From $20 Buy a copy here

There are few ideas and words in the popular zeitgeist more mercurial than “witch.” Whether coming from the world’s mythologies, religions, folk tales, the realms of fiction, or from those who embrace it as a real-world religious identity, witch can mean myriad things. There are probably few archetypes more simultaneously romanticized and demonized.

This dizzying dream of character and identity is uniquely and creatively expressed in What is a Witch, a sort of comic book grimoire on the subject by witch and author Pamela Grossman and Canadian’s comic-art occultists, Tin Can Forest.

 In just under 40 pages of lush, saturated black art and text, What is a Witch serves as something of a witch’s manifesto. The dreamy, free-form text, interwoven amongst equally dreamy art, attempts to cast a spell over the reader, to bring this complex character more vividly to life. In doing so, it doesn’t really answer the question (note that it’s not posed as one) of what a witch is, but instead, plays with her mercurial identity, dipping in and out of fictional and real-world conceptions and how witches are experienced and self-identified.

 The art and production are really lovely and work to deepen the spell that the book is attempting to cast. The effect of Grossman’s free, often trance-like prose reminded me somewhat of Jack Parson’s famous “We are the Witchcraft” manifesto, another attempt at a poetic conjuring on the identity of the witch. Read the rest

Print out this witch fashion game and play it with your friends

Tragic magic! Executive realness! Here's a new game for 3-6 players, about drawing fashions for witches, that you can print out and play with your friends. All you really need is some tokens, a tip cup and a timer—and all those markers and art supplies you wish you played with more often. Read the rest

Earth Magic – photography of witches at play and at ritual

There has long been a tension between the witch of legend and the modern day practitioner. The former has its origins mainly in polemical Christian ideas and folktales, where the witch is a consort of the devil, brewing wicked and foul smelling potions in a cast-iron pot, and eating children. Read the rest

Hey, Paranormal Activity 4: You're cute, but can we talk about your hot subplot friend?

Paranormal Activity 4 opened this weekend, and it topped the box office. Then, it was announced that there would be one more sequel and a spinoff. But what I want to know more about is the infinitely more interesting witch-related part of the Paranormal saga that is only barely touched on in the movies, but rounds out the creepiness ten-fold. Yes, we've been treated to several moments of suspense and scares throughout the four movies. But I feel like there is a whole other story being glossed over.

It won't be a long discussion, but for the sake not spoiling Paranormal Activity 4, I'll continue after the jump. Read the rest

Romania declares witchcraft a legally-recognized (and taxable) profession, pisses off witches

The government of Romania has updated labor laws to officially recognize witchcraft as a profession, part of a "drive to crack down on widespread tax evasion in a country that is in recession."

But some Romanian witches who will now have to pay taxes on income they earn for spellcrafting are not amused.

The Washington Post reports that "On Saturday, a witch called Bratara told Realitate.net, the website of a top TV station, that she plans to cast a spell using black pepper and yeast to create discord in the government." (Ed. note: As an aside, that url won't load for me).

That's Bratara Buzea, above (thumbnail via Yahoo News). The 63-year-old woman was imprisoned for witchcraft under communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu's repressive regime.

This AP article, via MSNBC, says she is expanding her planned anti-government spell recipe to include cat excrement and dead dog. Oh yes she did. Shit just got real.

And President Traian Basescu isn't laughing it off. In a country where superstition is mainstream, the president and his aides wear purple on Thursdays, allegedly to ward off evil spirits.

Witches from Romania's eastern and western regions will descend to the southern plains and the Danube River Thursday to threaten the government with spells and spirits. Mauve has a high vibration, it makes the wearer superior and wards off evil attacks, according to the esoteric group Violet Flame -- which practices on Thursdays. A dozen witches will head to the Danube to put a hex on the government and hurl mandrake into the river "so evil will befall them," said a witch named Alisia.

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