General term for ointments used in anointing ceremonies in various religions from Christianity to witchcraft. There are many kinds of magical unguents, each with its peculiar properties. Christians ascribed these compounds to the devil, who they believed invented them in order to harm the human race. According to medieval mythology, for example, one such unguent was composed of human (or even baby) fat and was said to be used by witches to enable them to fly through the air.
Many old recipes exist for unguents to induce sleep or visions, and these unguents were made from various obscure ingredients. Some of them are described in Des Science Occultes by Eusèbe Salverte (1829).
Robbins, Rossell Hope. The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology. New York: Crown Publishers, 1959.