Mr. Lundie: They were indeed horrible destructive women. I dinna suppose you have such women in your country?A Sub-Trope of Parenthetical Swearing, this is a line of dialogue used for Getting Crap Past the Radar, or that at least always leads to many raised eyebrows and jokes amongst the online fandom. Basically, Bob calls Alice a "witch." The context and inflection, however, strongly imply that, in a world free of Media Watchdogs and censors, he would have used a different epithet — one that rhymes with "witch" but starts with a B. Extra-fun if the woman in question really does have magic powers, justifying the word. And this is not just in English...Spanish-speakers may like to use "bruja" as a polite form of "puta." Yes, this includes "hijo de bruja." Be warned, however, calling a girl a "bruja" could imply that she is more "a woman of ill-repute" whereas calling a girl a "witch" would simply suggest she is "not a very nice lady." Most prevalent in Western Animation. See also This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!, which can be used to set up this trope. It's often used when bowdlerizing a work for broadcast, when the version seen in videos, movie theaters, or CDs does say "bitch."
Tommy Albright: Witches?
Jeff Douglas: Oh, we have 'em. We pronounce it differently.
Tommy Albright: Witches?
Jeff Douglas: Oh, we have 'em. We pronounce it differently.
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Anime And Manga
- In the English versions (both anime and manga) of Sailor Moon, Lita often used "witch" as an insult. Considering it was a Magical Girl show, it could sometimes be taken literally, though. Ditto in one episode where Serena refers to Zoycite as "that witch" (English dub only - Zoicite was male in the original Japanese.
- Inuyasha uses this in the anime (dub). A lot. Plus, he says it in a particularly demeaning manner. You can't really miss it.
(To Kagura, numerous times): You witch!
(To Tsubaki): You witch!
- From American volume 37 of One Piece:
Franky: Spanda!!! You son of a sea witch!!
- In the dubbed version of Dragon Ball Z's The History Of Trunks, the title character, after having Android 18 beat him up and then aim a death attack at him, utters "Go ahead. Do it! You... WITCH!"
- In the Digimon Adventure dub, during the Angewomon / LadyDevimon slap fight:
- In Bakugan New Vestroia English dubbed episode 4, Elfin (Marucho's new guardian) says to Mylene (who has just captured some innocent Bakugan) "Give me back those Bakugan you witch!"
- The English version of the manga Assassination Classroom goes this route. In Japanese the students refer to teacher-slash-Honey Trap Irina Jelavic as Bitch-Sensei, playing off how -Vic is pronounced "vitch" and the Japanese language lacking a V sound, typically substituting them with B's. In the English translation, her name is spelled "Jelavitch" and the pun is further preserved by the students calling her "Ms. Vitch."
- Played literally in the spinoff Koro-Sensei Q!, where her class is a Witch as a nod to her nickname.
- A very odd and meta version of this happens in Vandread in the second season: When the Mejale pirates are captured by their peers on the last leg of the season, the female judge who were judging them calls them "witches" due of their relationship with the males from Tarak, in this case Hibiki and the Tarakians. The meta part comes with the fact in Japanese the word "witch" is translated as "majou", but in-universe is stated the language of the women of Mejale is English. Even more when the judge call the pirates as such, Jura gets seriously offended being called a witch. Even more meta if you take into account Jura's Japanese VA speaks and understand English in Real Life.
- Ubiquitous in Marvel Comics of the 1970s through the early 1990s.
- One issue of the print comic Nodwick had a scene where the Stupid Good cleric Piffany calls an evil cleric a "word-that-rhymes-with-ditch-but-starts-with-B" before engaging her in battle. While the word "witch" was not itself used, this still seems to be the same principle, made Badbutt. This is pretty par for the course with Piffany. She's literally so pure that she has trouble finding ways to concisely express her more extreme feelings without tarnishing her incorruptible goodness.
- In one issue of Young Justice, Arrowette refers to the Alpha Bitch and her Girl Posse as "rhymes with witches".
- Ultimate Marvel
- In Ultimate X4 (an X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover), the two teams have just identified the villainess and the Thing says "Let's go put that rhymes-with-witch through some changes."
- Inverted later on, when Iceman calls the Scarlet Witch the 'scarlet B word'.
- We can probably safely guess that Empowered means it when she calls her teammate Sistah Spooky "a literal witch. Boo, hiss."
- The Batman Returns Comicbook Adaptation did this to the line "Life's a bitch. So am I.", rather diluting the impact of the phrase.
- At a later part of the Knightfall arc, Batman calls Poison Ivy a witch right as he knocks her out, in response to her daring him to surrender to her.
- Catwoman: Guardians of Gotham #2 has Batman calling Catwoman this. Yes, despite all the blood and upskirt shots present in the rest of the comic, calling a woman a bitch is apparently drawing the line.
- Issue #31 of The Powerpuff Girls, "Trick Or Beatings" has the girls in Halloween gear laying a smackdown on the Gangreen Gang. Blossom, dressed as a witch, originally had the line "Prepare to be witch-slapped!" before it was changed to a more kid-friendly line.
- Amy delivers this line to Kammy Koopa right after Team ZAP has defeated Kammy in chapter 63 of Paper Mario X:
- This is Applejack's favored insult for Luna in Frigid Winds And Burning Hearts. Captain Braveheart also uses this several times, though he's not afraid to use the B-version as well.
- Sometimes Bad Is Good:
Mrs. Weasley: Ginny! Language, young lady! I didn't raise you to swear like some rude witch with a 'b'!
- Threads of Time:
Sirius: I can't pick you up, Little Prongs. That evil b-witch there has me tied up.
- Subverted in Advice and Trust. Asuka often calls Ritsuko a witch whenever the latter does something to anger her (usually involved Rei), but this is actually short for witch doctor. She has on several occasions called her a bitch during the same conversations anyways.
- In Grȃce au Malfoys McGonagall makes excuses for James Potter's behavior toward Snape.
"Wha' cae you expect from the lad, Severus? Growin' up alone in that bloody huge manor with nae but house elves and his witch" - it was obvious from her tone that she had substituted a 'b' for the 'w' in the word - "of a mother - and I find it hard to even call Dorea Black-Potter a 'mother'!"
- In The Best Revenge Hermione is sorted into Ravenclaw instead of Gryffindor and is bullied by the other Ravenclaw girls for not fitting in.
Susan: Did they take your shoes this time? They call themselves witches, but I think they don't know how to spell!
- In Cold Blood Neville comments on Dolores Umbridge's resemblance to a toad.
Tonks: As true as this is - and you really should be ashamed, Neville - she is a nasty piece of work. Ran into her on one or two occasions, she is a true witch, if you replace the first letter by a 'B'.
Film — Animated
- 101 Dalmatians: Perdita calls Cruella, "A devil, a-a witch."
- In The Little Mermaid, one of the lines to Ursula's Villain Song, "Poor Unfortunate Souls", is "They weren't kidding when they called me, well, a witch." Indeed they weren't.
- Wreck-It Ralph: The word "Glitch" is used instead of "Witch", but it's the same principle. Especially when King Candy/Turbo yells "So long, glitch!"
- In Coraline, when the title character finds Other Wybie dead and what's left of him hanging on a pole, she utters this line to Other Mother/The Beldam which does sound like a kid friendly version of the term.
Coraline Jones: EVIL WITCH!!! I'M NOT SCARED!!!!
- In Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, when a pre-Supergirl Kara Zor-El is kidnapped by Darkseid and Granny Goodness, she proceeds to call the latter a "witch".
Film — Live-Action
- This line from The Wizard of Oz demonstrates the same idea:
Auntie Em: (to Miss Gulch) For twenty-three years, I've been dying to tell you what I thought of you! And now... well, being a Christian woman, I can't say it!
- And this is after Dorothy called Miss Gulch a "wicked old witch" in regards to her desire to take Toto away to be destroyed.
- Ivan Ooze, the Big Bad of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie, refers to Dulcea as "that miserable, manipulating, loathsome she-devil of a witch!"
- In the TV friendly version of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Ramona says she's "dabbled in being a witch" when in the theatrical version she says "bitch". May be justified, in that the film seems to take place in some sort of video game world. A witch is just another job one could do.
- From Ella Enchanted: The narrator who always speaks in rhymes says "And so she left them, scratching their newly found itches/Glad to be rid of them.... witches."
- In Disney's Hocus Pocus, Winnie does this in a Shout-Out to Elton John during "I Put a Spell on You":
Winnie: Now the witch is back! And there's hell to pay.
- In The Women, Joan Crawford as Crystal Allen: "There is a name for you, ladies, but it isn't used in high society... outside of a kennel."
- In The Goonies, Andi calls Mama Fratelli "you gross old witch." Which is probably more an indicator of Andi's personality than it is censorship, since there's plenty of swearing elsewhere in the movie.
- Inverted in The Craft where Chris refers to Nancy and her friends as "the Bitches of Eastwick", though they actually are witches.
- Bell, Book and Candle: Shep's jilted fiancee Merle calls Gillian (an actual witch) the b-word
Merle: A witch?
Merle: Shep, you've just never learned how to spell.
- In State of the Union Grant's wife Mary expresses an unflattering opinion of Grant's mistress Kay.
"I think Kay would be more comfortable in a kennel."
- Played with in Chapterhouse: Dune
"Oh, you bitch!"
"I prefer witch."
- In Under the Dome the Big Bad Jim Rennie doesn't swear, so when he's irritated with a woman he'll call her, "that rhymes-with-witch!"
- There's one in Agatha Christie's Man In The Brown Suit.
- There is a book called Son of a Witch. And considering who his mom is...
- Disney's Art of Animation: From Mickey Mouse to Beauty and the Beast refers to The Little Mermaid's Ursula as "the sea witch (spelt with a 'b')."
- In the Mage: The Ascension novel Penny Dreadful, this seems to be Penny's favorite way of making the word "witch" from a simple description into an insult.
- Almost averted in the first Darkest Powers book. One of the character almost calls the protagonist a "bitch" but she's talking to her mom so she switches to "witch" part way.
- In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Aslan enters into a bit of this. Granted, he's talking to The White Witch, but from the way it's phrased... Probably unintentional on the author's part, though. It's worth noting that Jadis insisted on being referred to as a Queen, so Aslan was probably deliberately pushing her Berserk Button as well.
Do not cite the Deep Magic to me, witch.
Live Action TV
- Home Improvement: Tim and Jill are discussing Wilson's new friend in front of Brad, and Jill refers to her as a witch. Brad says "Mom, I'm old enough, you can use the B-word." In this case, Jill really did mean "witch" (and not as an insult); the woman was a practicing Wiccan.
- In Will & Grace, during one of Karen and Jack's fights, Jack stage-whispers "Rhymes with witch."
- In an episode of Ugly Betty, Betty and Hilda have a big blowout on Thanksgiving over a lawer. Later Justin tries to sneak some stuffing while Hilda's back is turned.
Hilda: [back still turned] Put it back!
Justin: [to Santos] How does she do that?
Santos: She's a bit of a witch.
Betty: Give or take a letter...
- Also this trope was mentioned by name (in reference to Wilhelmina) during the series recap at the beginning of season three.
- Played with in Mad TV's "Be-Bitched". Samantha twitches her nose and becomes a total bitch.
- Modern Family: Claire is planning a haunted house for Halloween, and Gloria is going as a bruja (Spanish for witch). Jay warns her to not be late or Claire will turn into a "rhymes with bruja".
- Little House on the Prairie has Laura suspecting that her husband has been seeing another woman. In confronting the supposed other woman, Laura says "you witch" right before pouncing on her and engaging in a physical fight. To Laura's embarrassment it turns out that the woman is innocent. What Laura mistook for a love note was only lyrics to a song the woman had written.
- USA High the kids overhear an argument between two teachers and Ashley is horrified that the husband calls his wife a witch.
- The argument was them rehearsing for the wife's play so either they were censoring themselves since they were in a school or the play's author wasn't a fan of cursing.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In the season 1 episode "The Witch", Amy mentions that before he left, her father would get in fights with her mother, calling her a witch. Amy thought that this was Parenthetical Swearing, but realized later on that it was exactly what he meant.
- In Alphas, Gary's autism lends people to trying to censor their swearing around him, which leads to this line:
Gary: That witch took my phone!Dr. Rosen: What witch?Gary: The witch. That's the word my mom uses when she's angry. She uses another word, too.
- Half-amusingly, Bill absently calls the woman a bitch immediately after Gary's done with his tirade.
- In the Grimm episode "Season of the Hexenbiest", Nick tells Adalind that she doesn't have to be a Hexenbiest to be a witch.
- Dexter's Vince Masuka pulls this one regarding lieutenant Pascal's approaching him over a "woman's smell" on a shirt, a forensic impossibility that she thinks would prove her fiancé was cheating on her.
Oh no, it's that crazy witch.
- A meta example: the premiere episode of American Horror Story: Coven is called "Bitchcraft". And oh, do the main characters live up to it.
- Brought up when Mystery Science Theater 3000 screened Touch of Satan. One of the young protagonists makes small talk at a store by mentioning her reputation in town thusly.
Melissa: They say in this town that I'm a witch.Crow T. Robot: It only RHYMES with witch!
- In the "Bloodlust" episode, Gypsy subverts the trope, exclaiming, "No wonder he's so messed up, I'm tempted to call her something that rhymes with bitch!" Servo and Crow are especially pleased at her gaffe.
- Pops up in the Sabrina the Teenage Witch Friday the 13th episode. When Sabrina is confessing that she's a witchnote , Valerie assumes she's invoking this trope. She says "I know you can be a little cranky sometimes but..."
- In Scrubs when Carlma is forced to tell a patient he can't go to a family gathering, he immediately calls her a "mean old witch". He's surrounded by children at the time so who knows what he really meant?
- Done in spirit, if not in letter, on The Vicar of Dibley. Hugo and Geraldine discuss Hugo's father's reaction to the news that he is dating Alice:
Hugo: Well, I can't actually tell you what he said, because... because you're the vicar. But, well, let's say a certain word is represented by another word that sounds like a little like that word, like, um, like "duck," for instance. (beat) He asked me what the duck I was playing at, said he didn't give a flying duck if I ducking loved Alice ducking Tinker, and if I ducking kissed her again, he'd make sure I was well and truly ducked.
Geraldine: Well, duck me!
- Reversed/parodied on Community - Shirley, as head of the sailing class crew, angrily criticizes Pierce's ineptitude. He replies "Well, it's clear what the 'C' in 'Captain' stands for!...[everyone gasps]...'Crabapple!'"
- While Charmed didn't use this trope as often as you might expect, one of Shannon Daugherty's Beverly Hills 90210 castmates once threw some vicious shade her way: "All I'm going to say is that it's appropriate that she's playing a witch in her current show."
- Cole Porter's song "Mr. and Mrs. Fitch" was published in the transparently Bowdlerised version shown below; the original version, in the musical Gay Divorce had a different word rhyming with "Fitch," which the drummer had to play over:
Now men who once knew Missus Fitch
Refer to her as a witch,
While the girls who once loved Mister Fitch
Say he always was a son of the rich.
- OutKast sing this in the Bowdlerised version of "Roses":
Caroline... see, she's the reason for the word "witch".
- The Capitol Steps song "Chung Girl" is based on an incident reported by Connie Chung of Newt Gingrich's mother whispering to her, in reference to Hillary Clinton: "She's a bitch." The song ends with Mrs. Gingrich telling Connie another thing:
People say you are a certain word
It's that one you've overheard
It rhymes with Maury Po-VICH!
- In GLOW Ashley Cartier invokes this in her rap verse.
"I may be prissy and very rich/But get me mad and you'll see a witch"
- Early on in the McMahon-Helmsley Era, Jim Ross gets called out by Stephanie McMahon for insulting her.
"She's acting like something that sounds like witch and starts with a B."
- Kelly Kelly called Vickie Guerrero a "greedy, power hungry witch". If only she'd been allowed to cut that promo a few months later when CM Punk blurred the lines of what could be said on PG television.
- Jeff Jarrett's wife, Karen, was known as "La Bruja" while he was AAA Mega Champio...excuse us, Heavyweight Champion and King Of Mexico!
- Complete with Visual Pun, Zack Ryder showed up dressed as a witch for Halloween around Eve Torres (read: the Manipulative Bitch who kicked him in the balls on live TV). This exchange between Eve and Teddy Long followed:
Eve: So you really think I'm a witch?Teddy: You're just one letter off.
Role Playing Games
- Les Misérables: "Look Down".
Prostitute: Listen you old bat/Crazy bloody witch/Least I give me customers some pleasure in return.
- Brigadoon, as mentioned. In some productions, Jeff says "We just spell the word differently."
- In Louisiana Purchase, the "don't sue us" Opening Chorus includes the lines:
If you're sons of millionaires,
Don't start trembling in your breeches
When a character declares
That you're dirty sons-of-riches.
- Anna Russell, in her synopsis of The Ring of the Nibelung, carefully detailed in her English accent that Hagen's "mother was a Gibich." Her other classic Wagner parody, Schreechenrauf, actually includes the line "Gudrune, die Götterdämmerung Gibich". (Wagner, of course, properly accented "Gibich" on the first syllable.)
- Scenes in the Reduced Shakespeare Company's Shakespeare's Long-Lost First Play (abridged) featuring the witches include the lines "Where my witches at?" "Witch, please", and "You got 99 problems, but a witch ain't one."
- In Bayonetta:
- The achievement awarded for performing your first Torture Attack is "I'm A Bit... I Mean Witch."
- Inverted later in the game when Luka, unsure whether to trust Bayonetta and stressed out by his increasingly bizarre situation, flubs his line and comments on how hard it is "working with bitches". He hastily clarifies he meant to say "witch".
- Metal Gear Solid, of all games. Johnny Sasaki refers to Meryl as a 'witch' in the second prison scene.
- Bane's Gratuitous Spanish "Bruja"note for Dr. Young in Batman: Arkham Asylum certainly evokes this.
- Roger Wilco in Space Quest IV stammers such a line when he is held captive by the The Latex Babes of Estros.
- In the King's Quest II: Romancing The Throne Fan Remake, Hagatha confronts Graham and Valanice and starts her Evil Gloating. Graham tries to argue with her, but can't quite spit out the insult.
Graham: Why you... you...
Valanice: (mordantly) I'm sure it would have rhymed...
- In Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, Demyx says "Man, why's Larxene gotta be such a witch?"
- Dragon Age: Origins averts this, because the witches are scary enough that accusing someone of being a witch is worse than calling them a bitch. Also its M rated so they can and do say "bitch" in it.
- The cutscene that plays when Dawn of War II is opened contains a Space Marine growling "This planet is ours, witch!" after mortally wounding an Eldar Farseer (often referred to as "witches/wyches"). Of course, not only is the Farseer actually a witch. In 40k, being a "witch" is incomprehensibly much worse than being a bitch. It even goes above "HERETIC!".
- Justified in Final Fantasy VI when Locke is initially asked to go and rescue Terra. His response is "This better not have anything to do with that Magitek-riding, Imperial witch!!!" One could say that since Terra was a magic-user, he could actually mean a witch in the literal sense except for the fact that he expresses so much shock not long afterwards when Terra, Locke, and Edgar are in a battle and Edgar has to literally it spell out to Locke that Terra had just used magic.
- At the climax of A Realm Reborn in Final Fantasy XIV, the Scions are accused of murdering the Sultana. When Minfilia, the Scion's leader, tries to defend herself against the accusations, Teledji Adeledji promptly tells her to shut her mouth while calling her a witch.
- Mabinogi: One of Lezzaro's random speech bubbles contains this,
Lezzaro: Eluned... that witch. She must be spreading weird rumors again.
- Punned* in Neverwinter Nights 2 when Qara calls Neeshka "tail-for-brains" in a cutscene.
Neeshka: Okay, explain that one to me.
Khelgar Ironfist: Well, she said your brains are next to your tail... which would imply that your brains are in your rear end. And that means you breathe through your—
Neeshka: Okay, okay, I get it, all right? Little witch.
- According to Xenoblade Chronicles X's subtitles, Elma calls Goetia a "Samaarian witch" in Chapter 6. Most players are in agreement this is definetly not what Caitlin Glass actually said.
- Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney has a lot of fun with this, especially in the final Witch Trial when Layton preforms an Armour Piercing Question to the Big Bad who has only one reply:
Why you...you son of a witch!
- Heather in Silent Hill 3 plays the trope both ways. She calls Claudia a witch at first, then straight up calls her a bitch in their final encounter.
- This page of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja.
- "Son of a witch!" is a common expression in Bruno the Bandit.
- Not a dialogue example, but Rhymes With Witch is the name of a side comic done by Randy Milholland.
- 8-Bit Theater features this little exchange between Red Mage and Black Mage:
RM: Huh. That Matoya is one crazy witch.
BM: That's almost how I'd put it...
- Homestuck has a running catchphrase "BLUH BLUH HUGE BITCH". On this page it is changed to "HUGE WITCH". Even though the lady in question is not a Witch, but a Seer.
- Betty "Batterwitch" Crocker, anyone?
- This insult is reserved to Jadis in the Buildingverse (mostly Girls Next Door uses it but it's also acknowledged in Roommates (here it's the very first word spoken by her ex.)) sometimes even her son (Jareth) gets "son of a witch" like here.
- Inverted in Skin Horse, when Sweetheart (who is, after all, a female dog) calls Violet Bee a "rhymes-with-bitch" so as not to say a word she considers impolite.
- In Cheshire Crossing, the Wicked Witch of the West explains to Mary Poppins that her unfamiliarity with Oz caused her to make a crucial mistake... And punctuates with "Welcome to Oz, witch!" as she throws a bucket of water at her.
- Tarantulas occasionally refers to Femme Fatale Blackarachnia as 'witch' on Beast Wars. And no, this show does not use magic...
- Whereas Transformers Animated brings to you: Glitch with a Capital B... and without a lower-case l.
- Danny Phantom: Sam, while possessed by an Artifact of Doom and beginning to turn into a dragon, calls Rich Bitch Paulina a shallow little witch.
- This memorable exchange on Teen Titans:
- Any time Scrooge McDuck calls Magica de Spell "You witch!" or "That witch!" on DuckTales.
- My Life as a Teenage Robot: Jenny is choking on Vexus' exhaust. She manages to get out "What a... witch!"
- Lampshaded on The Simpsons. After Marge is revealed to be an actual witch in a Treehouse of Horror short, Bart exclaims, 'Well, I'll be a son of a witch!'
- Galaxy Rangers: Used a couple times against the sorceress-queen (who more than earned it), and Supertrooper renegade Darkstar (who really hasn't). Killbane's really fond of the insult.
- Winx Club: When the heroes say witch they usually mean witch, but when the Trix witches themselves say it it sounds like they wish they were anywhere but a fluffy magical girl show.
Stormy: Being in this room gives me potions class nightmares!
Darcy: Well, get over it, witch.
- The 4Kids dub sometimes had the Trix pronounce "witch" as wi-atch when their emotions were particularly strong.
- The Fairly OddParents! episode where they traveled to the Old West and met Vicky's ancestor:
Cosmo: Even in the Old West, she's a heartless evil witch!
- In the wake of frying the mole Aqualad's brain the villains started calling Miss Martian a witch in Young Justice.
- Copperhead calls Cheetah a witch in Justice League after she slashed him for getting a little too close to her.
- In one episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), April does an Aliens homage with a giant insect queen, but since it's a kids' cartoon it has to be this:
Get away from him, you witch!
- The Spanish variant might have been parodied in the Show Within a Show of The Cleveland Show, "Esteban y Las Amores De Esteban," in which Esteban's mother turns out to be a bruja...who calls him "mi hijo..."
- When Supergirl makes her debut in Superman: The Animated Series, she ends up confronting Granny Goodness, and declared, "I'm shutting down this psycho witch!"
- An episode of Hey Arnold! where Helga changes one of her perfectionist sister's grades from a "A" to "B+", leading Olga to have an emotional breakdown, has Helga refer to Olga as a "pompous, overbearing, arrogant witch".
- Occurred on The Critic in the episode "A Song for Margo".
Eleanor: I never knew you had this itch.
Shackleford: Live and learn, you wicked witch!
Eleanor: I wish I hadn't used the word "itch".
- Rich Bitch Pizzazz has a habit of calling the titular character of Jem a "witch".
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic plays with this: Diamond Tiara's mother is Rich with a Capital B (and an omitted "t" but that's quibbling).
- In the Gravity Falls episode "Little Gift Shop of Horrors" the Hand Witch is seen reading a magazine that says "Witches be Trippin", which provides the page image.