In 2016, a glass bottle filled with mysterious liquid that had been buried under a house in Cornwall was brought onto the Antiques Roadshow lot, much to the excitement of glass specialist Andy McConnell, as covered by the Daily Express. Estimating that the bottle was from the 1800s, McConnell was particularly interested in the liquid contents, declaring that “bottles with the liquid still preserved inside are much rarer.” In what would prove to be a regretfully nasty decision, the specialist carefully extracted the liquid, which ended up being very brown in color, with a syringe and gave it a taste.
At the time, McConnell’s reckoned that it was port or red wine, with an added guess that it could also be “full of rusty old nails.” Three years later, after the bottle had been sent to Loughborough University for analysis, McConnell and the mystery liquid were reunited as Antiques Roadshow host Fiona Bruce revealed the actual contents of the 200-year-old bottle.
McConnell was accurate in his guess regarding nails: There were brass pins in the liquid … which ended up being urine. Topping off the disgusting drink was “a tiny bit of alcohol, a human hair, and an ostracod.” A far cry from port or red wine, it turned out that the cocktail was a “witches’ brew, designed to ward off witchcraft and hexes.”