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The witches of Halloween, ooooh
The ugliest you've ever seen, ooooh
They fly around at night
And give you such a fright
The witches of Halloween, ooooh

Nowadays most people associate wicked old witches with storybooks but, in the past, people thought there was a witch in every town and village. Very often some poor old woman, wizened and bent with age, might be thought of as a witch. Not always an old person either, sometimes someone quite young could be regarded as a witch.

People were terrified of witches, and would blame them for anything that went wrong. Crops failing, cattle dying, even milk in the dairy going sour would be blamed on a witch. But the thing a witch would be most feared for, was her curses. One such curse was where the witch would make an image of a person, in wax or clay and use it, by sticking pins into it, to inflict pain, sickness or even death on her intended victim. It was said to work even better if she had a strand of hair or a nail clipping from that person.

Traditionally, witches worked in groups, called covens, which consisted of twelve witches, and people thought the witches would fly out to meet each other on broomsticks, taking with them their 'familiar', an animal, usually a black cat, although not always, that was supposed to help them perform their spells. In order to protect themselves, people would hang iron horseshoes over their doorway, and if they found a pin lying around they would pick it up and keep it, believing that if they left it there, a witch could come along and use it in one of her spells.

This could be why it is still thought of as a good thing, as, even nowadays, to pick pins up, as in the old rhyme... "See a pin and pick it up, and all the day you'll have good luck!" Of course, not all witches were bad. Some, who were known as white witches would have considerable knowledge of the healing powers of certain plants and herbs, and many people would go to them for help.


Origins of Halloween
Halloween Poems
Halloween Poems 2
My Haunted Guestbook
The Haunted Cottage
The Old Woman And Brad
The Toll House
Recipe - Skull Cake
Recipe - Mulled Wine
Recipe - Pumpkin Soup
Haunted House
How To Survive A Scary Movie
The strange case of Miss Tippett