Be it English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, or Scottish, witches all seemed to use similar tools to do similar things. Perhaps more than that, it is this commonality, based for the most part on myth, clerical stereotypes and confessions extracted under torture that has served to leave the image of the witch so intensely on the Western imagination.
The lore of witches, for example, is widespread with stories of witches riding on broomsticks. This tradition appears to be ancient and transcripts of the 16th and 17th century witch trials are filled with references to it. One of them, Isobel Gowdie, a famous Scottish witch, went so far in her confession as to give her formula for making a broom, beanstalk or straw fly.
Equally famous and popular accessories were the long black hooded cloak and the bubbling cauldron. The cloak, though of ancient origin, seems to have had no special use except from helping to hide the witch’s anonymity, but the cauldron was a commonplace of making magic. From cauldron brews the witch might make lethal poisons and enchanted potions and ointments.
A 14th century French witch, Anne Marie de Georgel, admitted making a stew composed of poisonous herbs, parts of the dead bodies of men and animals. The herbs that are used in such wicked stews probably gathered when the moon had waned. When the moon was full, herbs were picked to produce wholesome effects. As an example, the green and silver leaves of mugwort, plucked at full moon, were carefully brewed and used in the use to improving clairvoyant power.
For their sabbats, or meetings, witches needed such items as candles. Also part of the sabbat ritual was a magic circle that had been traced on the ground by the tip of a magical knife. These circles were created to gather the witches’ special power.
To make a spell-casting drink a witch might use a household bottle or jug. In post World War II London several such jug were found buried in the foundation of old houses. They contained human hair entangled with metal nails, fingernail parings and pieces of hearth-shaped cloth pierced with pins.