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Witches have been a great source offear for centuries and centuries. In the minds of many, these evil beings and spirits have always been antithetical to anyonewho considers themselves “good.”

The people of colonial America, in Salem and elsewhere in the colonies, were only some of the latest to go on massive witch hunts, accusing people of witchcraft for something as small as their hair color or age. The people of the Middle Ages were also terrified of evil spirits, witches, and the devil that they supposedly answered to.

This fear runs so deep in our history, that people have always been exploringtheways to ward off witches, trying to keep themselves safe.

Whether or not you believe in spirits or witches yourself, learning about these “witch defense mechanisms” from the past is both surprising and fascinating!

Thumbnail sources: Wikimedia Commons 1, 2, 3

1. Brass Bells


Back in the day,brass bells were placed around the necks of livestock to keep evil spirits like witches away from the animals.

2. Witch Balls


One way to find out if someone was a witch or not was to see if the water rejected them, meaning that if they floated when thrown into the water, they were a witch. As you can imagine, as human bodies are made to float, many peoplewere hanged because of this method of testing.

Witch balls are glass balls that were originally used as fishing buoys. They, too, float on the water, so that is where the namecomes from. The balls were hung from homes to keep the evil witches away in the 17th and 18th centuries.

3. Mistletoe


In the Middle Ages, mistletoe wasn’t just thought of as an aphrodisiac of sorts, but as a tool to keep witches from their homes and barns. A sprig hung from a doorway would do just fine.

4. Gemstones


Cat’s eye, saronyx, and rubyworn as rings or amulets were thought to keep witches at bay. Scattering small stones and pebbles on the floor was also supposedto keep them out of the home.

5. Salt


In a lot of European cultures, salt has been used to keep away all kinds ofevil spirits, including ghosts and witches.

In fact, one of the methods for torturing supposed witches was to force them to eat tons of salt with no water. This use of salts can be traced all the way back to biblical text andancient Scotland.

6. Hag Stones Or Adder Stones


These rocks with naturally occurring holes in them were thought tokeep the witches away. These stones have been considered either holy or magical for centuries, and have been used by many cultures and peoples for extraordinary purposes.

7. Charms


Dating back to the 17th century,charms, either spoken or written, were used to break spells from witches and keep all evil things at bay. Some written charms were kept on the person as protection, while others were hung in barns or kept in the home.

8. Rowan Trees


The rowan tree has little red berries that have a star, or pentagram, shape on the bottom of each one. Red was thought to be the best repeller of evil, and the pentagram helped the rowan tree’switch-repelling abilities as well.

The tree could protect the home if it was planted in front, andits branches could also be used to make wearable crosses or trinkets for extra protection. This notiondates all the way back to classical mythology.

9. Iron


Early European folklore says that no witch can pass over cold iron. Many people buried iron knives in the earth around their home, and iron amulets were often made for wearing.

10. Witch Bottles


Witch bottles date all the way back to the 17th century, but their specifics vary between time and place. Somewere filled with urineor nail clippings of the person thought to have a spell cast upon them and buried on the property.

Others were filled with rosemary and red wine to impale the witch’s spirit in the needles and drown it in the wine.

Did you know these surprising methods used to keep witches away?Did we miss any from our list? Let us know in the comments and

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