Before gathering in the forest for a Sabbat, many witches applied "flying ointment" on their bodies. According to ancient lore, this ointment enables the witch to fly through the air, often accompanying the goddess Diana through the night sky. This ointment was made from atropa belladonna, commonly known as deadly nightshade and contains certain alkaloids, which produce vivid hallucinations.
Unfortunately individuals accused of witchcraft were arrested by the Inquisition and tortured. The priests and witch-hunters were not satisfied with accounts of merely flying to the gatherings in the forests. They wanted to hear how the witches encountered the devil, sold their souls to him, and plotted evil against all god-fearing villagers.
In his The Black Arts (1967) Richard Cavendish repeated the account of a woman who wished to test a recipe for witches' flying ointment. She rubbed on the ointment, uttered the appropriate spells, and in front of several witnesses, fell into a disturbed sleep.
When she awakened, she insisted that she had been with Lady Venus and the goddess Diana, although she had not left the room.
Ahmed, Rollo. The Black Art. London: Arrow Books, 1966.
Cavendish, Richard. The Black Arts. New York: Capricorn Books, 1967.