Just Be Glad They Didn’t Find a Witches’ Bottle

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  August 25, 2009 — 14 Comments

Sometimes you can understand why something strange makes the news and provokes wild speculation. For instance, when people find dead animals in parks, that is bound to freak people out and lead to speculation of “dark” magic practiced by a mysterious “other”. But other times, you have to wonder how something actually made the headlines, such as in the case of a “cursed cow tongue” found in a rural cornfield.

“…farmers called police to County Road 28 and County Road 5 around 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and police said they found a package wrapped securely in black plastic and tied with yellow nylon ropes. Police said someone dug a small hole and left the package inside. Since officers couldn’t tell what was inside the package, they called out the bomb squad. X-rays showed no mechanical devices inside, so police opened the package and found some kind of flesh that had sutures in it. An anthropologist, who is part of the investigative staff identified it as a cow’s tongue.When officers opened the sutures, they found a photograph inside, writing in Spanish and what looked like different types of pepper, said Longmont Police Cmdr. Tim Lewis.Officers said they did some research and found a cow’s tongue is used in different types of rituals, including one that would make someone stop gossiping or talking about a person, which is what this appears to be, Lewis said.”

First of all, a bomb squad? I understand the need for caution, but who would bomb a rural cornfield? Also, since they uncovered that it wasn’t a bomb, and in fact no danger to the community, why was the press told? Further, they said they are trying to warn the person in the photo and bring in the spell-maker for questioning (though they admit they probably won’t press charges), escalating a simple bit of folk-magic into an ongoing drama.

An x-ray of a cursed cow-tongue.

If there is a lesson here, it is two-fold. First, magical practitioners need to be really, really careful about where they leave spells. Even if you’re doing a bit of non-malefic magic to stop someone bad-mouthing you, you better make sure that en-spelled cow tongue (that you bought at the butchers) or bottle full of pee and rusty nails is buried somewhere safe. Second, if no harm was done, and no charges are going to be pressed, then this should never have been a matter that made its way to the press. You don’t think the local papers aren’t going to want to follow up and see who did this? There is the very real possibility that a fragile  (or simply personal) domestic situation could boil over now that it’s splashed all over “news of the weird” sections across the country. As for the local papers, frankly, you’d think that with newspapers collapsing across the country, they’d want to save their payroll for issues that actually concern the public at large.

Jason Pitzl-Waters