You may be familiar with the bezoar thanks to "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." In the book, Harry famously feeds Ron one of these stonelike charms to save him from some poisoned mead. While author J.K. Rowling borrowed the bezoar throughout the Harry Potter series, this charm — actually a mass that forms in the stomach of goats, deer and other animals — has long been seen as a token of luck. Many cultures believe that crushing the bezoar into powder could save a poison victim, while others dropped the bezoar into a glass to check for poison before drinking [source: Webster].
Simply carrying the stone is thought to offer protection against illness and bad fortune, while some still use the bezoar as a remedy for hangovers and other maladies [source: Petersen]. In China, people crush bezoars to use as medicine, especially for mouth ailments [source: Barbian and Schierkolk].
Want to get your hands on one of these stones? They come from any cud-chewing animal — think cows, sheep and deer — and it's sometimes possible to find a bezoar that an animal has vomited up. In rare cases, people have also performed surgery on an animal to remove a bezoar without harming the creature. Though it may seem slightly unsettling, humans can also produce bezoars, though they are rare in people with normal digestive tracts [source: Barbian and Schierkolk].