Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Evil Spirits?

Sometime in the six months since we arrived in the South I noticed bottle trees and was fascinated.  Why in the world were people hanging (mostly wine) bottles  upside down in their yards?  Friends in Arkansas knew all about them and several have the colorful trees in their own yards or gardens.  I’ve since learned that this colorful southern folk tradition probably originated in the Congo with the purpose of warding off evil spirits!  According to legend it was believed that spirits (usually evil) become mesmerized with the bottles’ dancing colors in the sun, are drawn into the bottles only to be trapped and die in the sunshine. 

Upon arriving in Natchez, Mississippi our first priority was dinner and we chose Fat Mama’s Tamales restaurant.   Yes, the Gringo Pie, three tamales topped with chili, cheese, onions & jalapenos (I passed on the onions), were delicious -- we even took a dozen tamales home.  BUT I DIGRESS!  Outside the entrance of Fat Mama’s is a bottle tree.  (Ugly utility panel in the background!)


I spotted this bottle tree in a residential yard.  Blue being my favorite color, I particularly like this tree.


Of course, if you have no evil spirits (or really don’t believe in evil spirits) to get rid of, it is a great place to recycle and display empty bottles.  A nice Southern folk art tradition which I will watch for as we continue our journey east in the South.


  1. Interesting, and great recycling!
    I've also seen bottles used as perimeters for flower beds. Who knew!

  2. Well I have seen these and even wanted to do one - I didn't know they were to ward off evil spirits. Gosh I learn something every single day!