Why did witches ride broomsticks?

by sikbitz

I know this one is a little late for Halloween but it’s worth sharing regardless because..knowledge!

Flying ointment, also known as witches’ flying ointment, green ointment, magic salve and lycanthropic ointment, is a hallucinogenic ointment said to be used by witches in the Early Modern period.

The ointment contains a fatty base and various herbal extracts, usually including solanaceous herbs that contain the alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine and scopolamine. The herbs’ essential oils are extracted when heated in the base. These oils are poisonous when ingested but when applied to the skin, the alkaloids are absorbed more slowly into the body.

Because the ointment is absorbed best through mucous membranes people would smear the ointment on a broomstick and essentially rub it into their private parts, causing them to trip balls.

It’s easy to imagine women of a village gathering together in secret, tripping balls all while jamming a broomstick between their legs. Anyone who would come across this would assume they were up to no good, especially when people do strange things while tripping!