Of course I should have waited to post this today instead of a few weeks ago, but that would have required thought.
Flying salve or Why Halloween witches are green and ride brooms
Every Halloween I find myself telling someone about the fact and fiction of witches in flight. I’ll sidestep the whole question about what a witch is and stick to the Halloween version.
It has nothing to do with a devil and yet people said it did. It is an ancient form of drug use. Simply, it involves making an ointment out of fat and herbs that is hallucinogenic. The fat just held the herbs together.
As we all should know there are many dangerous but beneficial herbs like Digitalis. Just the right amount can be an effective medication, a bit more you have a strong reaction, a bit more brings death. Don’t try this at home or anywhere else.
These witches are people that know about herbal remedies and practice “medicine” they are a form of “shaman”. Often there is a quest for a spiritual goal that is desired. The thought that some were/are in the business of providing recreational concoctions seems only natural.
If you wanted to give the witches bad publicity and turn people to your way of life you’d probably be tempted to portray them in less than flattering light. What better way is there than to spread rumors like, ‘they use the fat of un-baptized babies to make their poisons’ or ‘they are agents of the devil’.
Calling the concoctions poisons isn’t all wrong. I’m sure they found more than one dead witch or patron. Search “flying salve ointment” on the web and you’ll find pages of articles. Don’t try any of the recipes.
The rumor was that the women(chicks) being of poor morals would coat their broom sticks with the salve then after placing the broom between their legs would proceed to introduce the hallucinogen through the thin skin that is between their legs. The salve was green due to the herbal ingredients which would of course result in “green grass stains” and that explains the green and riding a broom rumor.
Rubbing themselves between the legs with the broom would explain the wild noises they would make. The noise is often referred to as cackling like a chicken (chicks = women=infant dumb bird) is another shot at their social status.
Flying is a common way of saying hallucinating.
Thus you have evil, immoral, cackling, green women riding brooms through the sky.