Scientists examined the contents of one such flagon, found outside Greenwich several years ago and dating to the 17th century: inside was urine with traces of nicotine, well-manicured nail clippings from a man, a lock of hair, some belly button lint, nails, pins and a heart-shaped leather emblem. There were 200 such witch bottles found.
The article states:
Most witch bottles are heavy stoneware wine flagons from the Rhineland known as bellarmines after the French cardinal whose face was traditionally embossed on the neck. When the import of bellarmines ceased glass bottles were used, although fewer have survived.
As one of the commenters at Times Online correctly pointed out, this is witchcraft to ward off witchcraft.
The link to the article is here.
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