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The House Journal   | September 1902

Witch's chest owned by Elizabeth Swann

Artists impression of a witches chest
Artists impression of a witches chest
Artists impression of a witches chest
Artists impression of a witches chest
image  What occult charms lie inside a witches chest?

A Witch's Chest

A witch’s oak chest was recently sold, and its authenticity can be vouched for by some of the old residents of Kidderminster. The old dame’s name was Elizabeth Swann, but she was familiarly known, and feared, by the inhabitants as Old Betty, her ostensible business being that of a "letter writer for town and country."

It was in the early part of the nineteenth century that she was reputed to have begun practising witchcraft. The townspeople passing her house at night often heard her in communion, as they believed, with the Evil One.

She used to claim supernatural power, and said she obtained her knowledge of the occult from this chest, in which she kept her charms, and that it formerly belonged to her maternal grandmother, who was the daughter of a Kidderminster weaver. One morning the old witch was missing, and on her hut being entered she was found burnt to a cinder, the local tradition being that she had suffered an embrace from the Evil One.

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An image of Elizabeth Swann's witchcraft chest no long exists. It is difficult to determine the size or shape of the chest. I can imagine that witchcraft chest had many drawers of differing sizes in which to store various gems, personal belongings and apothecary jars. There may even be secret compartments holding the more important objects required to practice the black arts.

The belief in witchcraft and the practice of it varies across cultures and time periods, it's not something that can be confirmed or denied based on historical facts. It's important to remember that the concept of witchcraft has long been associated with superstition and misinformation, and it's important to approach such claims with a critical and skeptical mindset.

The claims of Elizabeth Swann being an actual practicing witch is one that I have my doubts about. Townsfolk often like making us stories of people they don't like. I may be that Elizabeth Swann just didn't like hanging out with people in the town and kept to herself. The rumour that a witch was burnt to a cinder are also difficult to understand. Was Elizbeth Swann's death a cold-blooded murder that remains ignored to this day? We will never know.

It will be interesting to see if the witchcraft power still embraced the witchcraft chest. The witchcraft power will color the chest like an occult aura. The strength of the aura will really depend on Elizabeth Swann's grasp of witchcraft and how strongly she felt connected with the chest. If the chest was really the source of Elizabeth Swann's knowledge of the occult then this connection may be very strong. I imagine that a strong violet aura would grip the chest's outside edges and a vivid yellow-red coloring will cover the drawers with the fiercest contents of desire.

It is said that if a tree comes between you and a curse, the curse goes into the tree and grows into a knot. And you are saved. I am made to wonder about what knots came about from this chest. No one likes a curse. Much less to be the receiver of a curse. So consider the next time you see a knot in wood. There was a curse given and a curse avoided. Every knot has a history.

About this article

This article is a reprint of an existing article, published in The House, September 1902. It is the intent of this website to present this article in human and machine readable form. Format and editing changes have been made. This article is provided for the purpose of enjoyment only.