Folklore Hedge Witchcraft Spells

Witch Bottles: REAL History, Uses and FULL Tutorial

Witch bottles have been used for centuries by witches and those who wanted to ward off witches. Traditionally, they were used to protect the individual against dark magic and evil spirits. Today they are used for protection, love, healing and much more. Learn the history, uses, and how to make your own witch bottles here!

Witch Bottles of the Past: Archaeology and History

Witch bottles are one of the key pieces in witchcraft history that we have archaeological evidence of. Clay and glass jars and vessels have been found in England and the United States from centuries past. Historians identify these archaeological artifacts according to their contents: pins, needles, nails, broken glass, wood, fabric, human personal effects (fingernail clippings, hair, bone, urine, etc.) and sometimes herbs or stones. Witch bottles are typically buried in the earth near the front door of a home or elsewhere on the property. Sometimes buried under the hearth to allow the heat to “fire up” the bottle.

Witch bottles have been used for centuries for protection and healing.
A real Bellarmine witch bottle

Witch Bottles: Archaeology

One recent famous witch bottle discovered during an archaeological dig in London is known as the Holywell Witch Bottle. Scholars say the witch bottle dates to the late seventeenth to early eighteen century and contained things like pins, nails and possibly a bit of bone.

Another Example

Another famous discovery was titled the Essington Witch Bottle and was discovered in the United States on Tinicum Island in 1976. This example was dated to the mid-eighteenth century and was found buried under a then-governor’s home. Scholars believe it was buried to rid a resident of illness or the evils of witchcraft. It contained six pins, a pottery shard and bird bone and it was buried upside down. There’s much speculation as to what each item’s magical purpose was; however, many modern witches can decode them.

Author’s photo of Witch Bottle on display at the Witch House in Salem

Uses Over the Centuries

If you read the articles provided under sources, you’ll notice there’s a lot of speculation as to what the witch bottle’s true purpose was. That’s because there was more than one use, just as witches use them today for different magical intentions. One of the main purposes of a witch bottle is protection and it’s a very potent form that wards evil spirits, curses and dark magic.


Another use for witch bottles is healing. In the past when people grew sick or injured they blamed it on supernatural causes. SO to heal their ailments, they had to dispel a curse or an evil spirit OR it was thought they transferred their ailments into an object like a witch’s bottle.

House Sacrifice

An ancient tradition, one that’s not upheld in modern times, is blessing a home before even building it. In Eastern European and other cultures, a sacrifice was left as an offering to the spirits of the land so that they’d bless (or simply leave be) the home being built and its future residents. Witch bottles were sometimes thought to be used as a sacrifice or as an offering to the land spirits or home guardian spirits.

Wikimedia Commons London Antiquities: contents of a witch bottle

Listen to our podcast on Witch Bottles & Spell Jars:

How Do Witch Bottles Work?

We know how powerful they are and their uses, but HOW do they work? From a modern witch’s perspective:

Human personal effects like fingernail clippings, hair, a person’s piece of clothing and bodily fluids are put in witch bottles to attract an evil spirit or witch to their intended victim. It basically tricks the spirit into believing the victim is within this bottle. Then when the spirit or magic enters the bottle, the pins, nails and sharp objects within “stick” or trap the spirit and doesn’t let them leave. By burying the witch bottle, the spirit trapped in the bottle will also be “grounded” or put to rest by the earth itself.

Modern Witch Bottles to Attract: Love, Healing, Money, Etc.

I absolutely recommend casting a powerful protection spell on yourself by creating a witch bottle and burying it on your property. In addition, they can be made for other purposes and left around the house to draw magic to you. Craft a witch bottle for love including herbs for love and personal effects and keep it in your bedroom. If you need healing or money, craft witch bottles with related ingredients and keep them in your home somewhere linked to your intention.

Using to Banish or Release

Craft witch bottles to banish or release something from your life THEN dispose of it somewhere far away from you and your property. You don’t want to banish an illness into a witch bottle then bury it on your property. Why? It’s not truly being banished if it’s close-by! Go far away and toss into running water, bury at a crossroads, or pitch it at the dump! To better understand how to dispose of spell remnants, read our article here. This is different from a traditional bottle for protection because evil spirits may be targeting you and your property – by burying a witch bottle on your property you are deflecting the evil.

Other Ingredients for Witch Bottles

In addition to using personal effects and sharp objects, depending on your intention you can add other ingredients like:

  • herbs associated with you intention (rose for love, mugwort for dreams, etc.)
  • stones or rocks
  • bones
  • feathers
  • glitter
  • blessed oils
  • moon or holy water
  • photos and/or paper with written intentions
  • coins
  • buttons
  • other personal small items
Witch bottles can be heated up with fire and sealed.
A jar working being heated up

How to Make Your Own Witch Bottle for Protection & Curse-Breaking

Warning: This traditional spell for protection isn’t necessarily the “fluffy bunny” aspect of witchcraft. I typically warn people when you cast a powerful protection spell like this, you’re going to be grossed out. Remember, witchcraft isn’t always pretty no matter what you see on Instagram, but it’s not the aesthetic…it’s the POWER behind it.

What You’ll Need:

  • a sturdy glass bottle or jar with lid
  • an odd number of sharp objects to “snag” the spirit: pins, nails, needles, broken glass, etc.
  • personal effects: hair (find on a pillow or hairbrush), nail clippings, etc.
  • urine
  • small black candle (a candle that’s NOT in a holder – chime candle is best)
  • lighter/matches
  • shovel

How to Make It:

First, before starting the spell, you should focus on your intention the ENTIRE time you’re putting your bottle together and sealing it.

  1. Put the pins/sharp objects and personal effects into the bottle.
  2. Add urine over the pins and personal effects (yes, this is the gross part, but TOUGHEN UP, WITCH!)
  3. Close the jar/bottle with the lid.
  4. Burn the black candle on top of the jar (be careful! Don’t leave the candle unattended. Allow the wax to spill onto the top of the jar. This seals your intentions. Burn the candle all the way down.)
  5. OPTIONAL STEP: you can “heat up” the bottle by holding it over an open bonfire (this adds more oomph but isn’t required).
  6. Dig a hole on your property a foot or so deep. Its best by the front door OR by your bedroom window.
  7. Bury your witch bottle with candle remnants. The whole time you’re visualizing any evil being sucked into the witch bottle and trapped for eternity.
  8. Leave the witch bottle. Never dig it back up!

The point of the spell is powerful protection and hex-breaking…it’s not going to be pretty like the bottles in this article’s cover photo…trust me! But pretty doesn’t always equal potent.

Witch Bottles: Archaeology, History, Uses and a FULL Tutorial!



  1. Anonymous

    January 18, 2022 at 6:38 pm

    This article was so informative thank you! Wondeful read and very educating.

  2. Heather

    February 5, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    I had someone I dont know very well gave me 2 witch bottles that he left on my door in a sock in plastic bag. His note said to keep the one with oil somewhere dark like a closet, always and the one with sand in like a window where light is. He said they can be charged in full moon. He didn’t say why or what he made them for or why he gave them to me.
    How can I know if they are good for me and if they should even be in my home. And if they aren’t good for me how can I properly dispose of them?

  3. Tanya

    October 2, 2020 at 4:01 am

    Do I dig it up when I move?

    1. admin

      October 2, 2020 at 10:48 am

      No, you can leave it.

  4. Witchy Izzy

    August 3, 2020 at 8:06 am

    Lovely tutorial and very informative. I would additionally add to never bury witch bottles that are not entirely bio-degradable. Things like glass, nails, pins, anything plastic, etc, should never enter the earth, even when the intention of the jar is permanent. Glass can break and surface and injure an animal. Instead, paper bags and thorns can be used if burying is part of the process, for example. Other than that, great entry! Thanks!

    1. admin

      August 6, 2020 at 11:01 am

      Problem with not using glass for a witch’s bottle is that your bag will biodegrade and the magic will end. The whole point to the witch’s bottle is to keep the spirit and/or magic trapped inside. A biodegradable bag won’t do that.

  5. Buffy

    January 28, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    Very informative. Thank you for the history . Maybe you would think about putting this and other history and uses of the witches tools into a book, that would be wonderful

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