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Origins and design
The origins of the witch hat as displayed today is disputed. One theory is that the image arose out of anti-Semitism: in 1215, the Fourth Council of the Lateran issued an edict that all Jews must wear identifying headgear, a pointed cap known as a Judenhat. Potentially, this style of hat then became associated with black magic, Satan-worship and other acts of which the Jews were accused. A similar theory posits that the image of the archetypal witch hat was born from anti-Quaker prejudice. Although the hats traditionally worn by Quakers themselves were not pointed, Quaker caps were a focus of cultural controversy, and it is conceivable that the Puritan backlash against Quakers in the mid-18th century contributed to hats becoming part of the iconography of the demonic. Yet another hypothesis proposes that witch hats originated as alewife hats, distinctive headgear worn by women who home-brewed beer for sale. According to this suggestion, these hats gained negative connotations when the brewing industry, dominated by men, accused alewives of selling diluted or tainted beer. In combination with the general suspicion that women with knowledge of herbology were working in an occult domain, the alewife hat could have become associated with witchcraft.
L. Frank Baum's 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz featured illustrations that portrayed the Wicked Witch of the West sporting a tall, conical hat. This fashion accessory was carried over for the 1939 film adaptation, in which the Wicked Witch was played by character actor Margaret Hamilton.
This hat has been worn by the following fictional characters:
- The Wicked Witch of the West, from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, 1900
- Gandalf, from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, 1937
- Jennifer (Veronica Lake), from I Married a Witch, 1942
- Samantha Stephens, from Bewitched, 1964
- Orko, from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, 1983
- Minerva McGonagall, from Harry Potter (the story includes a character that is itself such a hat), 1997
Depending upon the material in which the hat is made, the crown may regularly be observed in a flexed, bent or crumpled condition.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Witches hats.|
- Waldman, Katy (2013-10-17). "Why do witches wear pointy hats?". Slate. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
- Wayda, Danielle (2018-10-31). "The ale-soaked medieval origins of the witch's hat". Vice. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
- Fraser, Emma (2018-07-25). "The Wizard of Oz and a brief history of the witch hat". SyFy. Retrieved 2019-04-03.