University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
JournalHistory Workshop Journal
Publication statusSubmitted - 2 Mar 2022


In the Early Modern Period, witch-bottles were a magical-medical remedy for bewitchment, prescribed by cunning-folk. Filled with pins, nails, and the victim’s urine, the bottles were then heated or buried, counteracting the suspected curse. Today, witch-bottles have taken on new meanings and new physical specifications. It is no longer seventeenth-century cunning-folk instructing on how to make them, but contemporary Wiccans on social media. This paper traces the shift in the purpose and perceptions of the witch-bottle over time, its adaptation key to our understanding of the custom itself and of how people today engage with the practices of the past.

ID: 26937209