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Uncanny Archaeology of Halloween

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Author Topic: Uncanny Archaeology of Halloween  (Read 2003 times)
Vlad the Impaler
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Posts: 1791

« Reply #75 on: October 31, 2009, 12:04:23 am »

Exactly why the bottle was buried remains open to conjecture, but the ethnohistorical parallels make the guesswork rather minimal. The Essington bottle was quite probably filled with urine when buried, and it is possible that the urine and six pins were boiled together before they were placed in the bottle. Such ingredients were antidotes to pain thought to have been induced by witchcraft. Urinary problems were common both in England and America during the 17th and 18th centuries, and it is reasonable to suppose their symptoms often were attributed to the work of local witches. The victims of bladder stones or other urinary ailments would have used a witch bottle to transfer the pains of the illness from themselves back to the witch. The pins or nails often were used to symbolize the victim's pain; the boiling of the ingredients served to redirect the sufferer's symptoms back to the witch. In some cases, this might in turn reveal the identity of the witch.
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