So-named witchcraft bottles have been washing up on America’s south, Gulf beach shores. Ironically, most bottles were found in a 60-mile section of beach near Corpus Christi, Texas, a site which in Spanish means “the Body of Christ.” It has been happening for years, but a researcher at a Texas University recently decided to investigate the phenomenon and news sources picked up the story.
The bottles, which came from unknown sources, most likely originated from nearby Louisiana voodoo rituals. They contain a variety of liquids and other substances. These include herbs commonly associated with witchcraft and metal objects such as cursed nails and even bodily fluids. The bottles were set afloat by unknown practitioners of the dark arts as a means of invoking a curse or warding off some witchcraft evil. From South America to Africa, wherever there are seaside communities, there are believers in the power of the ocean to accept offerings to aquatic deities, usually some form of the demon Leviathan. Some who set the bottles adrift believe they have encased evil spirits in the bottles and these demons can’t escape. So, they are tossed in the ocean. Superstition? Yes, but also something much darker.
Some witch bottles aren’t washed ashore. They are discovered by building contractors and homeowners who find them hidden behind walls, put there by a former owner for good luck or to avoid bad luck. Some surprised landowners in the deep south also find witch bottles buried at the corners of property, put there by an unknown believer in witchcraft who wanted to keep the land safe from evil spirits. Is such thinking merely superstition, delusional sorcery, or can demons be bottled up and tossed into the briny deep never again to torment some hapless victim? No, that is magical thinking.
In Acts chapter 19 Paul cast out demons in the city of Ephesus. Verse twelve says that when Paul prayed, “evil spirits went out of them.” There were seven sons of a Jewish priest named Sceva who tried to cast out demons like Paul. They failed miserably and the demons physically attacked them. This so startled the citizens of Ephesus, seeing the real power of God operating through Paul, that the Bible says in verses 17-18, “Fear fell on them, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.” They then brought all their occult paraphernalia and cursed objects and burned them. If they had any witchcraft bottles, they probably broke them as well.
You can’t put a demon in a bottle. But you can use the name of Jesus to put demons in torment to cast them out. That’s not a superstition. That’s the miracle of exorcism, and it is done by the power in the blood of Jesus. And that came by the cross, not in a bottle.