Mysterious ‘Witch Bottles’ Wash Ashore: Spiritual Hazard or Harmless Artifact?

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James Lasher

Superstitious beachcombers wandering along the Gulf of Mexico shores may encounter an eerie discovery—gleaming glass that beckons caution. These are not mere trinkets; they are “witch bottles” believed to trap malevolent spirits, emerging along the coastal stretch near Corpus Christi, Texas, as reported by researcher Jace Tunnell.

Since 2017, eight of these mysterious artifacts have washed ashore on a monitored 60-mile beach, prompting intrigue and concern. The most recent discovery, pulled by Tunnell on Nov. 15, contained vegetation and gooseneck barnacles, indicating a prolonged journey adrift.

“I don’t get creeped out by them, but I’m also not going to open them,” shared Tunnell, acknowledging the perceived spells residing within. His reluctance echoes a cautious approach in the face of the unknown: “Why take the chance?”

Instead of unlocking the secrets within, Tunnell has opted to showcase these occult finds on his back fence, respecting his wife’s limit—”shells inside, but no spell bottles.”

These bottles, filled with an array of items such as hair, herbs, local plants, nails or bodily fluids, have a historical presence in the United Kingdom. McGill University’s Office of Science and Society reports nearly 200 such bottles recovered there, hidden in walls or buried underground.

In centuries past, belief in witches and their harmful spells was powerful. These “witch bottles,” when properly prepared, could reflect the spell and torment of the witch, compelling them to lift the curse and facilitate the victim’s recovery.

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The Bible, in Deuteronomy 18:10-12, explicitly warns against practices associated with witchcraft: “There must not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or who uses divination, or uses witchcraft, or an interpreter of omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts spells, or a spiritualist, or an occultist, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination to the Lord…”

The William & Mary Center for Archaeological Research adds that bottles containing metal items, like nails, might be buried strategically to “energize the nails into breaking a witch’s spell.” Various burial locations, from the hearth to corners of a property or even a dung pile, were observed in different traditions.

While fewer than a dozen remnants of this practice have been discovered in the U.S., Tunnell and his colleagues remain uncertain about the origin of these spell bottles. Some may come from distinct “real thin yellow vinegar bottles” made in Haiti, hinting at a potential connection to the Caribbean or South America.

For those who chance upon a “witch bottle,” guidance from the Museum of London Archeology is clear. Whether left on the beach or taken home, the stopper should remain corked. This advice applies whether the intent is to contain spirits or to avoid potential biohazards within.

As Christians, this mysterious phenomenon reminds us to remain discerning in the face of spiritual dangers. Be cautious, guided by biblical principles (Eph. 5:11), and mindful of the occult forces at play.

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James Lasher is Staff Writer for Charisma Media.

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