The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things

Witch cakes and UTIs

In some Yorkshire villages in the UK, “witch cakes” were baked every year in the first week of April. These spiky cakes were then suspended behind a door to repel witches.

One source from 1683 suggests that burning the cake would cause a burning pain in the urinary tract of a witch. The witch “would then reveal herself when she came to investigate the cause of her torments.” (As quoted in James Sharpe’s book “Witchcraft in Early Modern England“, 2014). So now you know what’s to blame next time you get a UTI.

This witch cake was collected from the village of Flamborough in 1933 by legendary folklore collector Edward Lovett. It is now in the collection of the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford.

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