The legend of Witchcraft stretches deep into the troubled times of the Dark Ages. They were said to fly, transform, and enchant.

No witch could grab a broom, or distaff, or common gardening tool, and take off with it. There was Witchcraft involved. The magical energy to fly came from an ointment, smeared thickly on their bodies.

This ointment is made from the most potent herbs a witch has it their disposal:

  • Monkshood
  • Henbane
  • Deadly Nightshade
  • Mandrake
  • Hemlock

    Legend goes they blended it with extracts in a base of lard - it is whispered that they would use the fat of unbaptized children. - and when combined, by first hand witch accounts, they were spirited away in the twitch of an eye.

    My speculation is that they did make this ointment. It was so potent that it intoxicated them, making them light headed. This would lend the illusion of flight.

    So it is whispered...

  • An old woman came to my notice. . . who promised of her own accord to bring me answers in a short while. She ordered all of us who were gathered there with me as witnesses to go outside, Then she stripped off all her rags and rubbed herself very thoroughly and heartily with some ointment (she was visible to us through the cracks of the door). Then she sank down form the force of the soporific juices and fell into a deep sleep. We then opened the doors and gave her quite a flogging; the force of her stupor was so great that it had taken away her senses. We returned to our place outside. Then the powers of the drug grew weak and feeble and she, called from her sleep, began to babble that she had crossed seas and mountains to fetch these false answers. We denied; she insisted; we showed her the black-and-blue marks; she insisted more tenaciously than before - Giovanni Battista Porta, 1589
    Have you ever wondered why witches actually need a broomstick to fly on? Is it so they can sweep the cobwebs off the sky? No, not exactly!

    The witches broomstick was the implement for applying the 'magic' salve. A blend of mandrake, henbane and deadly nightshade would have been boiled with fat (whether from babies or not is unknown) to make a salve capable of producing deep sleep with euphoric dreams and hallucinations. The salve would have been applied to the mucous membranes, quite likely to have been the walls of the vagina, using the aforesaid broomstick. It's no wonder that the witches were said to dance with the devil!

    The active ingredients of the salve are the alkaloids hyoscyamine, atropine, and scopolamine, each one alone being very powerful and dangerous. The witches of the time were very knowledgeable as to how much they could get away with using. Very small doses are capable of affecting the central nervous system producing feelings of restlessness and hallucinations. The heart, lungs and gastrointestinal tract are also effected, heart rate is altered, bladder and gut function slow down, speech becomes slurred and pupils dilate.

    Many of these properties are used in medicine today, but the active chemicals are carefully extracted and measured so that poisoning from overdose is extremely unlikely.

    Do not try this at home, folks!

    Reginald Scot says that the ointment "whereby they ride in the aire" was made of the flesh of unbaptized children, and gives a recipe. He also gives a recipe using bat blood. I recommend you try the bat-blood one first.

    Here are the two recipes, as reported by Reginald Scot in 1584; he does not claim to have made these ointments himself, but he has them from reputable sources.

    Take: "The fat of yoong children, and seeth it with water in a brasen vessell, reseruing the thickest of that which remaineth boiled in the bottome, which they laie up and keepe, untill occasion serueth to use it. They put hereunto Eleoselinum, Aconitum, Frondes populeas, and Soote."

    Or; "Sium, acarum vulgare, pentaphyllon, the blood of a flitter mouse, solanum somniferum, and oleum. They stampe all these togither, and then they rubbe all parts of their bodys exceedinglie, till they looke red, and be verie hot, so as the pores may be opened, and their flesh soluble and loose. They ioine herewithall either fat, or oil in steed thereof, that the force of the ointment maie the rather pearse inwardly, and so be more effectuall. By this means in a moonlight night they seeme to be carried in the aire."



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