Iron is a universal AMULET against evil spirits; Bewitchments by witches, Fairies, and sorcerers; and the Evil Eye. According to lore, iron not only repels evil but drains the powers of evil spirits and people. Fairies have a particular dread of iron and are said to be weakened in its presence.
Iron is employed in countless folk magic practices for protection. In Celtic lore, women who have just given birth and their infants are especially vulnerable to predatory spirits and can be protected by a row of iron pins around their bed or by an iron reaping hook. Children, also especially vulnerable, can be protected by the sewing of iron into their clothing or the wearing of iron pins and brooches. Horses, cattle, and other livestock are protected by the nailing of an iron horseshoe over the stable door; the horseshoe should have its ends pointed upwards in imitation of the crescent moon and should be nailed with its own nails.
A favorite bewitchment of witches was to prevent butter from churning. This spell could be nullified by heating a smoothing iron until red hot and plunging it into water while repeating certain magical charms and then pouring some of the treated water into the churn. The result would be a large quantity of butter.