Witch Balls

Witch Balls have been very popular since the 18th century. First in England, then in New England, but their actual origin is considered to be much older. For well over 3 centuries hollow glass spheres have been hung in windows to ward off witch’s spells, evil spirits and ill fortune. Hanging these decorative glass balls in the window or on the porch is thought to tantalize mischievous spirits which may be threatening a home’s tranquility. The wayward spirit is mesmerized by the ball’s reflective beauty. When the spirit touches the sphere it is absorbed and trapped in the web-like strands of the glass inside the ball.
A witch ball or speculum was a device used for scrying or divining things. Sometimes the
speculum was a magic mirror, a polished stone, or a crystal ball. Some witches fashioned specula from black bowls filled with water. By gazing into the reflective depths, a witch could find answers to urgent questions, predict future events, or see faraway places. In maritime villages, witches sent out the glass globes fishermen use to hold their nets afloat. The globes were usually made of dark blue or green glass and appeared quite innocuous. Biddy Early, a well-known Irish witch, had a favorite blue glass bottle with which she used to view the future.
Witch Balls measure up to seven inches in diameter, and are occasionally decorated in enameled stripes and swirls or varying colors. Some are mirrored for use as convex mirrors. Crystal gazers sometimes claimed they used balls in which the spirits of dead souls had been banished. Therefore, the seer was thought to be dealing with spirits. Hollow glass balls have been suspended in the windows of homes for centuries to ward off evil spirits. Legends say that evil spirits are attracted to the beauty of the ball, and upon touching its surface they are pulled inside and become forever trapped within the glittering web, thus protecting the home from any harm.
Now commonly known as “Witch Balls”, these colorful glass balls originated in England during the 18th century, as people hung them in their windows to ward off demons and their evil spells. Witch Balls were originally glass balls used to protect various pieces of glass as they shipped around the world. A glass ball was blown and used as a means to protect the edges of a vase of cup as it was transported. Along the way, collectors began using these leftover pieces of glass as art and the history of the Witch Ball was developed.
Over time the philosophy of what a Witch Ball is and should be has changed and number artists over the years have altered the Witch Ball to include vibrant colors, strands inside, twisting patterns and shape.
“Our glass Witch Balls are made from recycled glass in the Carpathian Mountains; the land of superstition, old world mystery and storybook folklore. As the ball is molten hot, the glass is formed, the ball is rolled into colored glass granules to provide the design. With this process each of our Witch Balls are uniquely handcrafted and no two are alike.”
 – Iron Elegance

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