A sprite trap is a magical device used to entangle and entrap troublesome or harmful spirits, ghosts and the unquiet dead. The sprite trap is made of a blackthorn stave and copper wire that has never carried electricity. In a magical procedure, the wire is bound to the stave with red thread and the stave is marked with a Dag (or D) rune. At night, the trap is set at the entrance to a home, church, graveyard or other location where disturbances take place. A cleft blackthorn stave with a lighted candle is set in front of the trap to attract the undesirable entity.
When the trap has ensnared a spirit, it is removed and the thread is cut with a consecrated knife. The thread is placed into a prepared wItCh bottle. If the purpose of the bottle is to imprison the spirit, a spell such as this is recited while the thread is placed in it:
Thread, tie up this sprite,
Free us from its spite,
Tangel up the bane,
Let not a jiece [small piece] remain,
The bottle is then corked and sealed with red wax. It is buried and a thorn bush is planted on the site. The bottle must never be opened or broken, lest a very angry spirit escape.
- Pennick, Nigel. Secrets of East Anglican Magic. London: Robert Hale, 1995.
The Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft and Wicca – written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley – Copyright © 1989, 1999, 2008 by Visionary Living, Inc.