The Suitcase Lady


October 27, 2009, 10:09 pm

Here’s a surefire way to keep the witches at bay. Paint your front door blue. Anyone who spends time in the Southwest notes the prevalence of blue doors in that region. I assume the populace is brujas free.

While I regard superstition as a sorry substitute for reason, I do enjoy tracing the threads of ancient superstitions as they surreptitiously weave their way into our (hopefully) rational lives.

I have a blue bottle tree in our yard. My reason for creating it is purely aesthetic… I love cobalt blue glass and can’t bear to toss those lovely wine bottles in the recycle bin. The bottle tree inspired me to research the origins of that custom which I believed had originated in the American South. I was only off by several thousand years and miles.

The imaginary thread on my bottle tree goes back as far as 1600BC when hollow glass bottles began appearing in Egypt. Sometime after that, rumors began circulating that night spirits could be lured and trapped in glass bottles where the morning light would destroy them. The bottle as trap idea traveled through sub-Saharan Africa up into eastern Europe and eventually was brought to the Americas by African slaves.

Europeans contributed glass “witch balls” to capture witches and “gazing balls” to repel them.

In folklore from all over our little blue planet, blue is considered the best color to do in ghosts, witches, spirits and “haints”. So drink up your Riesling and hang up those bottles. The witching hour is near.

A gallery of blue follows to protect you from any unruly spirits this Hallows Eve.

Blue Amulets Guard Against the Evil Eye in Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria

3 Comments for this entry

  • Alan

    Nicely done. I just hope someone is there to call 911 if a passing “haint” spooks you while tying up one of those blue bottles.

  • evie

    Mary–So very interesting. But I’m not sure we all believe that witches need capturing or
    banishing . . . see ya, eve (i’ll be sure to drink my riesling)

  • Carol Langkabel

    Very interesting. I just started collecting blue bottles for a bottle tree of my own. (I only have 2 at the present time, but I have all winter to work on it.) Can’t wait for spring to put it up.