|Bottle tree, Bluffton, SC|
This gentleman has quite the collection of bottle tree information: Felderrushing.net
History of Bottle Trees: Although glass was made deliberately as early as 3500 B.C. in northern Africa, hollow glass bottles began appearing around 1600 B.C. in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Clear glass was invented in Alexandria around 100 A.D. Soon around then, tales began to circulate that spirits could live in bottles - probably from when people heard sounds caused by wind blowing over bottle openings. This led to the belief in "bottle imps" and genies (from the Arabic worddjinn) that could be captured in bottles (remember Aladdin and his magic lamp? This story originated as an Arabian folk tale dating back thousands of years, even before clear glass was invented). Somewhere in there, people started using glass to capture or repel bad spirits. The idea was, roaming night spirits would be lured into and trapped in bottles placed around entryways, and morning light would destroy them.