As written evidence suggests, witch bottles were thought to protect the makers from the evil preying of witches or evil kill the witch. In the 1600s writer and orators turned to the supernatural world to explain and confirm events that were happening at the time when paranoia, fear and witchcraft plagued the minds of many. The book Saducismus Triumphatus, published in 1681, details how a witch bottle was to be made and used an example of how a man made one to help treat his suffering wife.
In the book, the man was instructed to fill a bottle with his wife's urine and some pins and needles then cook it over a fire. When he did so, the cork popped out of the bottle and the contents flew out and his wife remained sick. As that was unsuccessful, the man was instructed to make a new bottle and bury it. But this time, his wife got better and later, he reported a woman he did not know came to his house and claimed that the man had killed her husband. Stories like these perpetuated the existence and malicious works attributed to witches and demons.
While witch bottles have been found throughout the UK, only eight possible witch bottles have been found in the US. One was found during archeological excavations on Great Tinicum Island, here in Delaware County. For more information on this witch bottle visit: An American Witch Bottle.
As with witch bottles, these items typically leave homeowners scratching their heads and are an uneasy reminder of how real witch craft and superstition were to some people in a time where suffering was rife and explanations scarce.
Happy Halloween everyone! If you'd like to read a bit more, check out How to Identify a Witch According to Cotton Mather.