“Beware of Bats” by Enora Boivin

Above, a painting by David Teniers the younger of a witch and a bat-headed demon.

Pursuing my quest of archiving documents written by Cecil Williamson, I came across few documents related to bats. Bats are very often associated with witches. Just a look at any Halloween decorations can prove it to you.

Bats are both the only mammals that can fly and the only one that can feed on blood. Due to the latter fact, bats are often misunderstood and feared. However, out of a thousand of different species of bats, only three of them are classified as vampire bats, none of them live in the UK. Eighteen species of bats in total can be found in the United Kingdom and are fortunately protected species. You can spot several of them in Cornwall, including the common pipistrelle, the Natterer’s bat and the greater horseshoe bat.

Below you will find the transcription of one of the documents (number 7459) discussing bats in witchcraft:

“Bats, like the cat and the owl, are creatures of the night and so are held in high regard by those who practise witchcraft. Their formulas call for the use of bats’ blood, bats’ wings, eyes, heart etc.”

Document Number 9620 also refers to the use of bat’s blood:

“Formulae for “Flying Ointment

Water of Parsnip

Sweet Flag


Bat’s Blood

Deadly nightshade”



Above, a reproduction of a woodcut of a greater horseshoe bat from R. A. Sterndale, 1884


Leave a Reply