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Everyone knows that witches have their own dress code. In part, they owe its appearance to L. F. Baum’s The Wizard of Oz. “Uniform” includes black dress, black shoes, broom, greenish complexion (optional)… But the most important thing that a witch should wear on pain of expulsion from the sabbath is a pointed black hat.
Experts can’t say exactly when pointy hats became associated with witchcraft in Europe. In the Middle Ages, witches were depicted naked and bare-headed. Since 1600, the enchantresses in the engravings wear the most ordinary caps. It is only since the 1710s that sinister old women in black hats first appear in English children’s books.
Thanks to children’s poems and street songs, this image quickly gained popularity. European artists began to dress up witches in hats with a crown of diabolical sharpness. According to Gary Jensen, a former Vanderbilt University professor and author of The Path of the Devil: Early Modern Witch Hunts, this was the easiest way to hint that the character was connected to black magic. Soon, the fairy-tale characters also dressed like this: the English Mother Goose and the Italian Befana.