[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 October 2005, 06:05 GMT 07:05 UK
Witch bottle 'used to save cows'
Witch bottle
The bottle was found on the Isle of Purbeck
A rare 18th Century "witch bottle" used to ward off evil spirits is to go on show at a Dorset castle.

The bottle, which is one of only four found in the UK with its contents still inside, is to go on show at Corfe Castle for two weeks from Wednesday.

It is thought the bottle discovered between Langton and Worth Matravers on the National Trust's Purbeck estate was used to protect cattle from distemper.

Witch bottles were generally used to protect people rather than animals.

'Nauseating smell'

The practice of concealing witch bottles in and around homes started in the 16th Century.

The contents would often include something representing the victim, often urine, eyelashes or nail clippings.

Nancy Grace, a National Trust archaeologist, said: "In this case, the contents of the bottle are rather unusual as it doesn't contain any human vestiges."

The bottle was found buried under a wall on the parish boundary between the two villages.

The contents of the bottle were analysed by Dr Alan Massey, an expert in witch bottles at Loughborough University.

Said to have a "nauseating" smell, they were found to be a mix of saltwater, nicotine and decayed animal fat.

Artefact recalls witches' shadow
28 Jan 04 |  Lincolnshire


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific