Many superstitions existed regarding pins.

For example, stray pins should always be picked up, otherwise, a witch will take them and use them in magic.

Witches were rumoured to throw bent pins into their brews to break and cast evil spells.

Witches blessed friends with prosperity and happiness by plucking a lemon at midnight and reciting an incantation while sticking the fruit full of different coloured pins.

According to English folklore, a witch’s power can be destroyed by sticking pins in the heart of a stolen hen or by pricking a pigeon with pins (Guiley 1989 269).

In cases of demonic possession, victims often vomit up pins and other bizarre objects (allotriophagy).


Witch bottles

Pins were sometimes placed into bottles with other objects such as animal bones, urine, nails clippings and buried.

In general, witch bottles seem to have served two functions: they could serve as prophylactic amulets during the building of a house, or they could serve as countermeasures against special acts of witchcraft. In the former case, bottles generally were buried beneath thresholds or hearthstones or within the confines of structures.

The 19th-century scholar Ludwig Hanselmann believed that witch bottles were related to the early pagan custom of foundation sacrifices. When used as a device against witchcraft practices, they were buried either outside or thrown into a stream.