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Broomstick

A means of transport, but it is a means of transport for very physical reasons!

One of the ways in which so called witches used to obtain out of body experiences was via ointments or salves and not ingested substances.  As this is not a site about drugs or hallucinogens I have no intention of describing any of these so called recipes.

After a concoction had been made up it was applied to a stick and often this stick was a smooth one that was handy – such as a broom handle.  The reason it had to be smooth without splinters was because the stick was placed between the legs in order that the ointment was rubbed on a sensitive and thus more ‘absorbent’ area.  And it is from this practise that one gets the notion of witch’s flying on broomsticks. 

R Scot – The Discoverie of Witchcraft 1584
It were marvell that when a stranger is anointed therewith they have sometimes and yet not always, the like operation as with witches

H Boguet writing in 1590 said that ‘even people who were not witches’ had flown out of the chimney with the aid of a salve [Parrinder:  Witchcraft European and African].  The ingredients of these so called salves have never been ascertained from the literature [although it may survive passed by word of mouth] but the suggested ingredients are intriguing…

Hans Peter Duerr - Dreamtime
J Tomeo and M Estadella wrote that rue, the witch’s herb, was the most important ingredient of the witch’s salve

Duerr goes on to mention numerous other ingredients of salve and ointments which help in ‘flying’, some of which are deadly poisonous if consumed: 

  • Deadly nightshade [usually the berries]
  • Darnel
  • Mandrake
  • Castoreum
  • Poppy
  • Opium
  • Crocus
  • Vinum
  • Cicuta  - Shakespeare’s root of hemlock digg’d I the dark barley
  • Hemlock
  • Coriander
  • Celery seed oil
  • Monk’s hood
  • Poplar leaves
  • Soot
  • Sweet flag [calamus]
  • Cinquefoil
  • Jimson weed
  • Aconite
  • Henbane seed
  • Grey barley

Which only goes to show you should never listen to a magician. 

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