Roofless witches

The Pyrenees are full of stories and legends, particularly of ‘encantades’ (enchantresses) and ‘bruixes’ (witches).

Superstitious Catalans were fearful of ‘bruixes’ landing on their homes, bringing bad luck.

They solved the problem by building “espentes bruixes” (witch repellants) onto the roof, a piece of forged iron, a jagged tile or a tall stone to prevent the witch from making a comfortable landing.

Also called “cue de gall” (cockerels tail), these witch frighteners were believed to chase away bad spirits and bring prosperity to the inhabitants of the building. The bruixes were believed to do most harm to animals, so the espentes were often placed on barns, to protect the harvest and the cattle.

Look around on the rooftops of ancient villages, as they can still be seen on some old buildings. In fact, builders are sometimes asked to build them into the roof to this very day!

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