Witch Balls

In Appalachian and Ozark folklore there are many traditions around the crafting and use of Witch Balls.

Though components that they are crafted from and the circumstances under which they are made can vary dependent upon the source. One thing almost always present in their composition however is hair. Whether it be the hair of a cow, the hair of a horse, or hair of the witch themself.

They are commonly crafted on Friday the 13th. And in our practice they can only be made during the witching hours of this day. This batch was crafted on November 13th 2020.

Our method of crafting them is with beeswax mixed with various malefic materia: dried and crushed insects, dirts of the grave, of the battlefield, and from the fall of lucifer, brimstone, devil’s dung, and a variety of other untold ingredients complete the formula. This mixture is formed into balls and wrapped in horsehair whist curses are chanted and muttered. There are elements not present in this description but it should give you a fair image of the work.

Witch balls are, in some ways similar to elf shot, in that they are used to inflict illness or pain, to cause confusion, cross up, and create other diverse troubles upon the target they are named for. Which should give you an idea of the seriousness that such work should be undertaken with. As the witch who frivolously curses sows an orchard of rotted fruit. And prudence is key as there is always coin to pay.

To employ such a hex, they may be thrown at a person, hidden near them or in their home, thrown over their house or onto their roof, and thrown at pictures and images of the target.

You will receive 3 Witch Balls with your purchase.

In some tales, witch balls are gifted to witches by the Devil himself, using ingredients they collect for him and bring to their witch meetings. If they fail to acquire their ingredients, they are viciously whipped by him with a switch of rose thorns.

The following is an excerpt from Hubert J. Davis’ The Silver Bullet and other American Witch Stories detailing just such an occasion.

“‘When we met at the crossroads down nigh the graveyard, the Devil fust drawed a big ring ’bout nine feet acrost.

The witches rounded up some firewood and built a big fire in the middle of hit. When hit started burnin’ good, the Devil poured a mess of thing on hit to make the blue, green, red and yeller flames.

Then, he put a pot on to bile, and threw into hit a bottle of weazel’s blood and a handful of dried baby’s flesh. Then, each witch throwed in the stuff she’d brung into the pot, and the Devil throwed in any stuff they failed to bring.

Atter this, we all joined hands and danced ’round the fire while the Devil chanted:

A pair of dead spiders’ legs,
Guts and bladder of a black cat,
Dead baby’s toenails, buzzard’s eggs,
Blud of a weazel and tail of a rat.
The eye of a big, fat sow,
The whisker of a wildcat,
A tit of a milk cow,
And the brain of a bat.
The foot of a toadfrog,
The hair from a murdered man’s wig,
The dried turd of a feiss dog,
The hair of a Poland-China pig.
To this mystic myrrh,
To make a witchball,
I, the Devil, doth stir,
To place curses on one and all.

We let this brew bile for seven minutes then, whilst hit cooled, the Devil handed us candles made outten human grease. We lit the candles from the fire and marched ’round the ring till they were ‘most burnt up, then threw them into the fire.

Then the Devil took up blobs of the stuff from the pot and wrapped each one with hair each witch had cut from her haid, and this made the witchballs.

Witches who’d brung what they’se supposed to got thirteen balls, and those who jest brung part got seven balls. This wuz all I got. Them that didn’t bring nuthin’ got only three balls.

The Devil told us these balls ’d have to last us till anudder Friday the thirteenth when we could make some more. Effen a witch lost one ore let somebody steal one, the Devil would whup her with rose thorns. Thet’s why people don’t find witchballs: the witch slips back to git ’em so’s she can use ’em agin.’”

Collected by Gertrude Blair, Roanoke, Virginia, June 10, 1939. Told to her by Aunt Lucy Skinner, who lived in Montgomery County, not far from Christiansburg, Virginia. This story has been handed down through at least four generations.

Spiritus Arcanum