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17th century stone flask used to ward off witches unearthed

Archaeologists have unearthed a stone flask, buried 380 years ago to ward off witches. Inside were bent nails, human hair, urine, fingernail clippings and belly-button fluff.

The 9-inch tall stoneware bottle was hailed today as the most important discovery of its kind – the only one ever found complete and unopened.

It contained not just sharp objects designed to inflict pain on the witch, but human hair and urine, some fingernail clippings, and, curiously, some belly-button fluff.

One of the bent iron nails appears to have been used to pierce a heart-shaped piece of leather. Then the entire mixture was sprinkled with that customary seasoning so beloved by opponents of evil – brimstone.

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