#86 Eye of Newt & Toe of Frog

Witch's cauldren brewing an ampersand
 #86 Eye of Newt & Toe of Frog
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So, what’s for dinner?

Eye of newt, & toe of frog,
Wool of bat, & tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, & blind-​worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, & owlet’s wing,—
For a charm of pow­er­ful trou­ble,
Like a hell-​broth boil & bub­ble.
Dou­ble, dou­ble toil & trou­ble;
Fire burn, & cal­dron bubble.

This line, uttered by the three ugly witch­es in Shake­speare’s Mac­beth as they stir their boil­ing caul­dron*, is one of the most famil­iar phras­es asso­ci­at­ed with tra­di­tion­al witchcraft.


witch and shutterbomb smoking pumpkin

Brew up eerie smoke & fog for your Halloween photos

Spook up your Hal­loween pho­tos with awe­some smoke effects. I don’t mean pho­to­shop­ping it in, but using real smoke. It’s excit­ing & fun & far more real­is­tic, plus any mod­els in the shoot have a blast. 

Grab your caul­dron & brew this witch’s recipe into an eerie fog. Or if you don’t hap­pen to have any eyes of newt or frog toes in your pantry, there’s a much sim­pler way to achieve a bewitch­ing Hal­loween smoke effect & it looks even spookier.

Shutter Bombs — no cauldron required

Recent­ly I came across Shut­ter Bombs, a com­pa­ny that spe­cial­izes in mak­ing sen­sa­tion­al smoke bombs specif­i­cal­ly for pho­tog­ra­phers. Their range of smoke effects & col­ors is amaz­ing & so is their cus­tomer ser­vice. Cre­ate ghast­ly Hal­loween effects with Shut­ter Bombs, like this:

Vis­it shut​ter​bombs​.com

Witch’s Brew Recipe & Shopping list

Here’s the modern-​day gro­cery list of what’s real­ly in Shake­speare’s caul­dron. You might have to seek out a spe­cial­ty shop for some of these items, but they do exist. I’ve added a spe­cial ingre­di­ent too, but that one’s real­ly hard to find:

  • Eye of newt — mus­tard seed
  • Toe of frog — buttercup
  • Wool of bat — hol­ly leaves
  • Tongue of dog — houndstongue
  • Adders fork — adders tongue
  • Blind-​worm — an actu­al tiny snake thought to be venomous
  • Tail of amper­sand — a curly lit­tle friend of ours (You don’t mind, do you, Bill?)

Throw every­thing into your caul­dron, fill with liq­uid, & boil. Dis­tilled spir­its works best, of course.

Casting the spell

When prac­tic­ing black mag­ic, mus­tard seeds (par­tic­u­lar­ly the black seeds) cast a spell of strife, con­fu­sion, dis­cord & dis­rup­tion. Inter­est­ing­ly enough, though, oth­er types of mus­tard seeds are thought to pro­vide pro­tec­tion against witch­es. Leg­end goes that witch­es are pre­dis­posed to count­ing & pick­ing up things, so if you scat­ter mus­tard seeds around your front door, bed & prop­er­ty, the witch will nev­er have time to get to you as she will be busy count­ing mus­tard seeds.


About that newt — is there such a thing? Were there poor lit­tle crit­ters hop­ping about with­out eyes?

Actu­al­ly, all of the ingre­di­ents in the witch­es brew are ancient terms for herbs, flow­ers & plants. Some say witch­es gave these items gross & dis­turb­ing names to deter oth­er peo­ple from prac­tic­ing witchcraft.

It turns out “eye of newt” is sim­ply the seeds for a pop­u­lar hot dog mus­tard. How­ev­er, the clas­sic scene from Mac­beth just would­n’t be the same if his char­ac­ters spoke of boil­ing mus­tard seeds, but­ter­cups & hol­ly leaves.  Adapt­ed from http://​peo​ple​.how​stuff​works​.com/​i​s​-​e​y​e​-​o​f​-​n​e​w​t​-​r​e​a​l​-​t​h​i​n​g​.​htm


Speak­ing of spell, note the spelling of “cal­dron” in the work of Shake­speare, in con­trast to the Amer­i­can Eng­lish “caul­dron.” Sans-“u” is also com­mon among British. Ear­li­er, how­ev­er, there was no “l” either: in Mid­dle Eng­lish lit­er­a­ture c. 1250 – 1300 you’ll read “caud­eron.” Basi­cal­ly, it means “warm” from the Late Latin “caldāria.”

Ghosts & Gob­lins (2011)
Bats Rats & Black Cats (2012)
Deep Dark & Mys­te­ri­ous (2013)
Creak & Quake (2014)
Creepy & Crawly (2015)

Production notes for #86 Eye of Newt & Toe of Frog:
Original size: 20x30 inches
Program: Adobe Photoshop
Fonts: Wilhelm Klingspor Gotisch, Park Avenue, Arnold Böcklin
Ampersand: Arnold Böcklin
Images: dream​stime​.com (manipulated)
You may repost the image. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster, click on the image.

Desimone Design

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