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Nineteenth-Century Witch Bottle Found in England

Thursday, October 31, 2019

A witch at her table being helped by her attendant they are Wellcome V0025863NORTHAMPTONSHIRE, ENGLAND—A witch bottle dating to the middle of the nineteenth century has been discovered at the site of a former pub near the village of Watford, BBC News reports. The so-called "torpedo" bottle is of a type that came into use in the 1830s, primarily as a vessel for carbonated beverages. It contains fishhooks, human teeth, glass fragments, and an undetermined liquid, and is a late example of a centuries-old folk magic tradition used to ward off harmful spells and curses. More than a hundred witch bottles, most of which date to the seventeenth century, have been unearthed at archaeological sites or found hidden in historic structures across Britain. The find adds another magical chapter to the history of the pub, once called the Star and Garter Inn, which is also recorded to have been the birthplace of an accused witch named Angeline Tubbs around 1761. Tubbs emigrated to North America as a teenager, settling in Saratoga Springs, New York, where she is said to have been a fortune teller and is still the subject of ghost tours. To read more about the archaeology of magic in seventeenth-century England, go to "Searching for the Witches' Tower." 

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