Nowadays, we mainly use the word "magic" to describe things that are generally a-okay. See: Magic Mike, The Magic School Bus, Magic: The Gathering, Magic Fingers beds at cheap motels, and the 1994-1995 Orlando Magic season (minus the NBA Finals, in which the Houston Rockets swept them 0-4).

But things were very different in the not-now (which some people with book learning refer to as "the past.") In fact, the further you go back in history, the creepier and more WTF magic becomes.

Medieval Love Spells Involved Baking A Loaf Of Butt-Bread

Humanity's quest to perfect the love potion went through some weird-ass early prototypes, with emphasis on the "ass" part.

For example, when medieval women wanted to magic their way into someone's heart, they laid down on the floor and took off their underwear. Sounds perfectly reasonable so far. Then they asked someone to bring out the spatulas (again, perfectly reasonable )... and some flour (OK?), salt (why?), and yeast (stop). Then the other person would make bread on the woman's exposed buttocks, which would absorb her... lustful essence, we guess (plus probably a few ass hair; this was before safety razors.)

"Here, I made you bread!  It's not raisin bread, so if you see anything that looks like one, eat around it.

The bread would then be baked and served to a man who would presumably fall in love with the woman whose ass he indirectly ate. The Church's punishment for baking this kind of bread was "two years of penance on the appointed fast days." Yeah, the Catholic Church had a specific punishment for women making ass-bread, meaning that it wasn't an isolated incident. You can read it in The Decretum, a 11th-century compendium of Catholic law, which also talks about another medieval spell that makes the butt-buns sound downright appetizing.

The other spell involved the woman taking a live fish and putting it inside her vagina, where it slowly suffocated and died. The fish would then be taken out, cooked, and served to a man, and we're not going to make the obvious joke because Cracked is a family website about colon loaf.

The punishment for doing this was also "two years of penance on the appointed fast days," meaning that it had to have happened more than once. It doesn't necessarily mean that it worked but rather, given everyone's hygiene standards, a dead fish was probably one of the cleanest things with which a woman could scrub her nethers.

Creating A Mystical Japanese Dog Sidekick Would Give Satan Nightmares

We're going to be real with you. If you have a dog, just like dogs, or, hell, simply don't actively wish harm on dogs, this entry is going to make you super sad. You've been warned!

So in traditional Japanese magic and divination known as onmyodo, there is a group of supernatural dog creatures known as inugami. Though some are naturally-occurring wild spirits, there are also inugami familiars that serve an onmyodo sorcerer ... and they sometimes manifest as pups wearing hats and kimonos.

Ok, so if you love dogs, hopefully you braved it to this point before skipping ahead, because d'awwww.

We're talking about a dog that cannot die and wears people clothing, so you may already be asking how in the heck do you get an inugami of your own. Which also means that you didn't read the disclaimer to this entry, so here's your punishment.

There are a few ways to create an inugami. If you want to try them ALL, start by taking a few dogs and having them fight to the death. Then, you take the "winner" and bury it in the ground so that only its head sticks out. Now comes the starvation part. It's important to put food down juuuust outside the dog's reach so that it suffers mentally and physically while starving to death. Right before it expires, though, you cut off the dog's head in a way that makes it fly towards the food, which it still can't eat on account of the, you know, death. We're starting to suspect that old-timey Japan just didn't like dogs in general.

After the deed is done and God is done crying, the onmyodo sorcerer would burn the dog's body and keep the head, which anchored the angry dog spirit to Earth, and also stopped people from visiting his house. The inugami could then be made to kill the sorcerer's enemies and perform other tasks (other than the one thing all dogs live for: bringing joy to your life.) The only good news, which is a very relative term in a story like this, is that if you weren't super careful, the inugami spirit would turn against you and bring you untold pain and suffering. Still a far cry from what you'd really deserve (i.e. flesh-eating anal fleas) but it's better than nothing.

Giving People Seizures in Ancient Egypt Was Dead-Ass Messed-Up

The Demotic Magical Papyrus is an Ancient Egyptian document that you 100% misread back there. Don't worry, you're justified in doing so. It is in fact full of dark spells and rituals for any and all occasion. For example, do you want to give someone a seizure? Nowadays, all you need to do is write a perfectly nice, non-scathing warning that a video game may trigger epileptics, and the absolute worst people on the entire internet will send you a shitload of potentially fatal videos meant to induce seizures. But back in the 2nd-3rd century, you had to work much harder for it.

According to the Papyrus, in order to give your enemy a seizure, you first needed to kill a donkey. Technically, you only needed its head but it can't be a used one because you'll also need a lot of its blood (so sharpen that axe while someone distracts Eeyore). Next, you place the head between your feet and stand opposite to the Sun during sunrise. The text doesn't mention that you should do it in an isolated area, but we will just assume that you probably shouldn't do it in a McDonald's parking lot. A Walmart parking lot will work, though.

5 Spells That Prove Old-Timey Magic Was Bananas Stupid - a bunch of happy donkeys
Setthawuth/Shutterstock
"Sacrificial livestock?  Aisle 6."

Then, with your ass between your legs (badum-tish), you smear donkey blood on your soles, hands, and around your mouth, after which you utter some magical incantations. You need to do this in the morning during sunrise, and then again in the evening while the sun is setting ... for four days straight. If you miss one day, you gotta go back to the donkey farm and lie to the farmer again.

The Papyrus also doesn't say anything about being allowed to wash up between each ass-blood-smear. All of that is just to give your enemy a seizure. To kill him, you have to repeat the ritual for seven days. Or just show up at their door covered in blood with a rotting donkey head between your legs. They'll get the message and presumably keel over.

Anti-Witch Magic Was Literally Taking A Piss

Most old-timey tests for detecting a witch boiled down to "just try to kill them, and if they die, they were innocent and are now with God instead of here knee-deep in pig turds with the rest of us, so win-win." It wasn't the best system possible but then someone discovered an ... equally useless one, but at least this one was creative, if that's what you can call a mixture of a fetish, drug test, entrapment, and animal cruelty.

During the time of the infamous Salem Witch trials, two colonial Massachusetts girls, Abigail Williams and Betty Parris, became mysteriously ill, and the townsfolk came to the natural conclusion. The girls were attacked with magic, which is normally a super awesome thing that we would personally brag about for the rest of our lives, but which the people of that time took seriously. Luckily, one person knew how to help the girls. All they needed was the girls' pee. Today, that would immediately be followed by "and a camera set up in a quiet room" but back then, the other ingredients to the "cure" included some rye-meal and ashes.

5 Spells That Prove Old-Timey Magic Was Bananas Stupid - medieval bakers baking bread
Somehow pushing the ass bread from earlier into third place on the list of gross recipes in this article.

The Parris family servant was to mix the urine, rye, and ashes into a Witch Cake which was then fed to a dog, the witch's familiar. To be fair, piss probably isn't even in the Top 10 worst things that dogs eat on the reg, but still. Normally this method was used to test people for witchcraft. If the dog had eaten cake flavored with witch urine, they'd then speak the name of its master. Kinda feels like that method would fall out of use after not working even once, but for some reason it stuck around and eventually evolved into an anti-witch spell that cured victims of witchcraft.

The urine exorcism didn't seem to work at first but a few days later the town caught its witch: the servant girl who made the cake. Yeah, apparently the fact she knew how to make it (by ... following the Parris' neighbor's instructions) was all the proof they needed. Oh and that the girl, Tituba, was the Parris' slave. Oh great, now the whole story about feeding piss to a dog has gotten uncomfortable. Kind of explains why The Crucible left this particular scene out.

The Icelandic Spell for Flying is Like a Necromancer's Jigsaw Puzzle

As a wise man once said, if God wanted people to fly, He wouldn't send United Airlines to beat the crap out of their passengers. And if ancient Icelandic spells are any indicator, flying has always been a traumatic, nightmarish experience.

So according to the book Sorcerer's Screed, which supposedly contains spells from ancient Nordic magic manuscripts, in order to fly, you'll first need a bleached horse skull and some horse blood mixed with your own life juice. You use the blood to draw a complicated symbol (or "stave") on the skull using a chicken feather and, voila, you'll suddenly be able to fly through the sky. Provided you have something called a "witch-ride bridle." It's like a regular bridle that you put on a living horse's head in order to guide them but this one is a bit ... different.

5 Spells That Prove Old-Timey Magic Was Bananas Stupid - a horse's skull against a setting sun
Maltcev Evgenii/Shutterstock
Can't we just desecrate a skull in peace without a bunch of fetch quests for once?

First, go find a freshly buried corpse -- oh come on, Iceland. We started off with something par for the course like a goddamn horse skull and BOOM we're defiling a grave. It's freshman year hell week all over again.

So, yeah, you have to dig up the body and cut off a piece of his skin from around the spinal area. This is used for the reins of the bridle. The bridle itself is made from the scalp of the freshly buried man. Then you really get to work defiling that body. You'll need to cut out their lingual bone, which will be used for the bridle bit, and then you remove the corpse's hip bones, from which you'll fashion the cheekpieces. (Meanwhile, Satan starts prepping your private suite in Hell.)

Finally, you utter some magic incantation and you're ready. Just put the witch bridle over the blood-soaked horse skull and you'll be able to fly through the sky, powered by the Earth's utter repulsion to you. Congratulations, you did it!

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Top image: Sawaki Suushi/Wikimedia Commons, J. Paul Getty Museum

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