An archaeological excavation of a Civil War outpost in Virginia led to the discovery of a rather curious artifact: a 'witch bottle' designed to ward off evil spirits. The remarkable find was reportedly made during a dig at a location known as 'Redoubt 9,' a former Civil War fort that, in modern times, sits buried along a highway median. As researchers were combing over the remnants of the battle station, they unearthed a glass bottle containing broken nails which they initially thought was just a container, but now suspect had far more significance to the soldiers.
Since the bottle had been found buried near a hearth, a pair of researchers on the archaeological team proposed that the vessel was probably a talisman known as a 'witch bottle.' A product of England during the Middle Ages that spread to America by way of the colonialists, these ritual objects were believed to be capable of fending off sinister spirits. According to a press release from the archaeological team, "an afflicted person would bury the nail-filled bottle under or near their hearth, with the idea that the heat from the hearth would energize the nails into breaking a witch's spell."
More on this story at the Coast to Coast AM website.