The Catt Box
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Primitive Gypsy Witch Basket of Secrets!
Not For Sale!
I haven't made one of these Gypsy Witch Boxes in several years. They are incredibly time-consuming and VERY expensive to make. I started this Gypsy Witch Box back in October and finished it in February. So, it wasn't easy to 'whip up'.
I have no idea when I'll make another one, probably not for several more years. I have other projects that I want to do. So, when this one is gone, it's gone. I made two, but the other one sold immediately.
The two teenage girls were walking home slowly from school. They had stayed late for a basketball game and the skies were growing dark. It was a full moon.
They were the best of friends. Ann and Catt had been best of friends since the day they met in first grade. They only lived a block away from one another in the bucolic little town of
. Perryville, Maryland
They had a slumber party planned for the weekend and it was all they could talk about.
It was Friday, Halloween weekend, school was out, the weather was incredible, and they couldn't have been more excited about the fun they were anticipating.
The crisp fall air held such promise for their fun-filled weekend. Bright orange pumpkins decorated porches, leaves of amber, red, and burgundy burst from the trees, and the faint smell of woodstoves and chimneys hinted of welcome warmth.
But it was twilight...and everything began to take on one color, blending with each other.
They decided to take a short cut home. They wanted to walk through the graveyard. There was always a mist rising from the ground and it was a spooky graveyard, to say the least. Huge iron gates guarded the dead and all the secrets that were buried with them.
They walked among the scary tombstones and markers. They could have let the atmosphere get to them, but they knew they had to get those spooky thoughts right out of their heads.
Imagination can take hold of a young, impressionable mind.
As they giggled over their hand-written Slam Books and discussed the music that would be played on Saturday night during the party, the girls saw something peculiar on top of a grave.
It looked like a round wooden basket of sorts.
Indeed, it was a round wooden basket...it measured about 34 inches around and 7 1/2 inches tall, not including the top handle.
They immediately rushed over to inspect the 'odd find'. They could tell it was full of interesting things....but who left it there? Where did it come from? Who did it belong to?
The first thing Ann and Catt saw was a burgundy leather luggage tag. It said:
If found, please return to:
The Widow Rhiamona
13 NightShade Lane
It was very far from home, to be sure.
There were other tags that were attached to the handle of the basket….a black paper tag with a picture of a scraggly Witch, a round metal-rim tag of a Pentacle, and a Halloween tag of a little girl holding a pumpkin. These must have been keepsakes.
The two girls sat right down and decided to take a look inside. Perhaps the curious basket would give a hint as to life and mysteries of the previous owner.
On the outside of the basket was a Heart In Hand. The girls were very familiar with this sort of item. The little tag was made of metal and a ribbon was tied around the wrist of the Heart In Hand.
They took note of the black handmade ‘Gypsy Witch’ card that was lying beside the basket. It was carefully tied with black Raffia.
Perhaps it was some sort of a greeting card that the Gypsy Witch gave to her clients. Maybe it was some sort of advertisement for her 'services'. Or maybe it was a personal keepsake of hers…after all, it had several pictures of mysterious people inside the card.
Were they pictures of a younger Gypsy Witch?
Were they pictures of family members?
The girls would probably never know for sure.
They were hesitant as they slowly opened the lid of the well-made wooden basket. The first thing they experienced was a rush of wonderful scents rising from inside. It was practically intoxicating with delicious aromas. They noticed a strand of potpourri ….orange slices, apple slices, coconut rinds, and other strange shapes.
The girls were astonished to see the contents of the wooden basket. They knew immediately that the mysterious items belonged to the local Gypsy Witch.
Everyone knew she had come from
a long time ago. Salem, Massachusetts
But why was it left in a graveyard?
Did she leave it there?
Did someone harm her and leave her wooden basket of treasures behind in haste?
Ann and Catt were saddened by the thoughts of something horrible happening to the beloved Gypsy Witch.
But opening this basket was as though the girls discovered the Holy Grail itself. They could have sworn that the basket gave off a glow as they peered inside at all the many dozens of treasures.
This was the secret wooden basket of The Gypsy Witch!
It was very scary to have this personal item in their possession, but they couldn't help themselves, they HAD to explore it's contents.
They looked over their shoulders and felt as though they were about to enter someone's bedroom.
The girls marveled at the inside lid of the special vessel. There was a black satin pillow with sculls, trinkets, jewelry, and special items hand-stitched in place. And all around the black satin pillow were beautiful black flowers.
And carefully glued into place were lots and lots of paper keepsakes….little vintage stamps, a cigar band or two, old poison labels, the names of special herbs, and even some special palm reader’s diagrams.
This was the most wicked cool thing the girls had ever seen.
Ann and Catt began to inspect the contents of the special wooden basket. They saw a small seven inch plain face doll covered with black cheesecloth. It had a rusty metal heart on its chest.
They also saw a single black rose. Was the rose from a lover, or an enemy? Was it used in a spell to bring love, get rid of love, or used for protection?
They carefully removed a heavy skull….then a small black broom. Next they removed the six inch skeleton.
And then they saw a really nice small leather Grimoire.
This was a really nice place to record all of her spells and charms. It was hand made of leather with ‘aged’ papers.
Curiously enough, the Grimoire was empty.
Hanging from the bottom of the Grimoire were two ‘real bone’ skulls.
(I made this Grimoire myself)
The ‘aged’ paper on the front of the small book read “Charms, Hexes, Spells, & Magic"
(on the inside of the spell book I have put my signature and date....the date of when I started making these two Witch Boxes, which was October 2007. I finished them just this week, February 2008)
The girls then saw what appeared to be a ‘divorce candle’. It’s purpose it to help with a divorce and for healing AFTER the divorce.
How interesting, the girls thought.
They also saw a small green votive candle, a small ceramic cup, a round empty tin, a wooden candle stick holder, a few Blueberry Tea bags, and various small candles. Very small.
There was also a small glass jar of Belladonna, a small silver bag of cards, and even a tiny wooden box of Blueberry Tea leaves, complete with an infuser.
There is no doubt that the Gypsy Witch would enjoy a cup of rich Blueberry Tea with her clients and then 'read' their tea leaves.
And wow, the girls discovered a small Raku bead bottle of a half moon. They wondered what magical things could be held inside such a treasure.
Next they saw an amber orb and even a deck of old Gypsy Witch Playing Cards.
(I bought them from someone on eBay who told me that they were in the house she bought last year. They were used by a real Gypsy Witch who had lived there before)
Then they carefully removed the small boxes of tiny treasures….the first wooden box said “Nefarious Tokens”…the next wooden box said “Magic Tokens”…and the next box was made of cardboard. It was painted black, sanded, and read “Trinkets Of Magic And Harmony”.
The contents of these boxes were incredible. So many little items to ponder.
(I haven't shown you or told you about the MANY other treasures to discover in this basket. I love having it arrive to you with lots and lots of surprises. I wish you could ask other customers of mine who have received such baskets and boxes in the past and how surprised they were of it's contents. I want it's arrival to be magical for you)
Then the girls discovered a cloth bag
FULLof more treasures.
And then there was another bag. This one was made of black satin and ‘spider web’ mesh. It contained LOTS of interesting ephemera, some of it VERY old.
The girls could have spent the entire evening looking at everything, but the skies were growing darker and a storm was brewing in the distance. The wind began to blow and trees were bending towards them.
But just before they put everything back into the box they noticed that all along the INSIDE of the box were lots and lots of interesting pictures and labels that had been glued into place. These must have been collected and treasured by the Gypsy Witch over many years through her travels. Perhaps different ‘clients’ had given them to her from time to time.
Exploring the contents of the secret wooden box was making The Gypsy Witch more of a mystery. It wasn't revealing anything about who she really was.
Ann and Catt quickly put the things back into the box. They couldn’t wait to show their other friends all the wonderful things they discovered.
The girls never did find out why the wooden box had been abandoned in the graveyard. No one ever saw The Gypsy Witch again.
It's anyone's guess as to what really happened to her, where she went, or why she left her box of secrets and treasures behind.
The legend of The Gypsy Witch lives on within her most prized possession...her wooden basket of secrets, treasures, and the instruments of her craft. They need to be kept together, intact, and in a home where they'll be loved and on display in honor of The Gypsy Witch.
If you are such a person perhaps you could be the next keeper of the secrets.
February 28, 2008Catt Alexander
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In spite of the dolls I create and the stories I write, I do not use recreational drugs, I don't smoke cigarettes, and I don't even drink alcoholic beverages.