An excerpt from a story that describes witch balls, similar to elf-shots, which are thrown at victims and cause them incredible pain, illness, misfortune or death. These are gifted to witches by the Devil, using ingredients they collect for him. If they fail to acquire their ingredients they are whipped viciously with a switch of rose thorns by the Devil.
“‘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.
–Taken here from Hubert J. Davis’ The Silver Bullet and other American Witch Stories