Scottish witches should be posthumously pardoned

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Thousands of women accused of witchcraft in Scotland are set to be posthumously pardoned after nearly 300 years.

Their crimes range from causing a hangover and turning into an owl to meeting the devil and conjuring up storms to sink the ships of King James VI.

Now, following a petition, those accused of being witches under the Witchcraft Act between 1563 and 1736 must be cleared.

Of the approximately 4,000 people accused, more than half were executed. And more than 85% of those convicted were women or girls.

A Scottish Members of Parliament bill won the backing of Nicola Sturgeon’s administration after a two-year campaign on the Sunday opening hours reported.

Thousands of women accused of witchcraft in Scotland are set to be posthumously pardoned after nearly 300 years. Their crimes range from causing a hangover and turning into an owl to meeting the devil and conjuring up storms to sink the ships of King James VI. (Above, an illustration of a woman convicted of witchcraft and burned at the stake circa 1692)

The petition was started by Claire Mitchell QC, who runs Witches of Scotland, a group campaigning for a pardon, government apologies and an official monument to the victims.

Centuries ago, the fear of “witches” was fueled by religion. The Catholic Church had decreed that heretics and witches should be burnt alive.

The Great Scottish Witch Hunt

The witchcraft laws passed by James IV of Scotland led to a national witch hunt that became known as the Great Scottish Witch Hunt of 1597.

It was actually the second of five national witch hunts in Scottish history.

Like the others, it was carried out under the supervision of royal commissions.

But it is one of the most poorly documented Scottish witch hunts because it has not been centrally documented.

Instead, the local authorities were allowed to register the charges and the results of the trials.

About 200 “witches” were said to have been killed during the witch hunt of 1597.

The other major Scottish witch hunts took place in 1590-91, 1628-1631, 1649-59 and 1661-62.

The witchcraft laws passed by James IV of Scotland led to a national witch hunt that became known as the Great Scottish Witch Hunt of 1597.

It was actually the second of five national witch hunts in Scottish history.

Like the others, it took place under the supervision of royal commissions.

Ms. Mitchell was partly inspired by the case of Lilias Adie.

After confessing, under duress, to the crimes of malicious spellcasting and having sex with the devil, Mrs. Adie, of Torryburn, Fife, Adie died in 1704.

She had been sentenced to be burned alive but died in prison, possibly by suicide.

His body was buried on the foreshore of the village under a large stone.

In recognition, the villagers of Torryburn and members of the Facebook “Fife Witches Remembered” gathered at his grave on September 1, 2019 and laid wreaths.

The event also commemorated the thousands of Scottish men and women prosecuted and killed for allegedly practicing witchcraft in the 16th and 18th centuries.

Speaking to MailOnline earlier this month, Cali White, a psychotherapist from West Sussex, cited the case of Geillis Duncan, a Scottish maid.

‘In a time before general surgeries and the NHS, people were responsible for their own health decisions and might have consulted a local’ crafty woman ‘who used herbs and intent, or’ magic ‘to create healing potions.

‘These were often the women targeted as “witches”, such as Geillis Duncan, a servant in Scotland, accused of witchcraft by her employer magistrate in 1590.

“Known to have had a reputation as a healer, Geillis’ brutal torture sparked the North Berwick witch hunts in which 70 people were tried for witchcraft.

“Healing and learning about plants has become a dangerous profession. ”

Natalie Don, a Scottish National Party MP behind the bill, which could be passed as early as next summer, told the Sunday Times: ‘It is right that this wrong be righted, that these people who have been criminals, mainly women, be forgiven. ‘

A petition launched by Claire Mitchell QC is expected to see thousands posthumously exonerated.  Ms. Mitchell was partly inspired by the case of Lilias Adie (re-enactment, above).  After confessing, under duress, to the crimes of malicious spellcasting and having sex with the devil, Mrs. Adie, of Torryburn, Fife, Adie died in 1704.

A petition launched by Claire Mitchell QC is expected to see thousands posthumously exonerated. Ms. Mitchell was partly inspired by the case of Lilias Adie (re-enactment, above). After confessing, under duress, to the crimes of malicious spellcasting and having sex with the devil, Mrs. Adie, of Torryburn, Fife, Adie died in 1704

From Germany to Italy: How the witch hunts spread through Europe

Between 1450 and 1750, tens of thousands of women were executed as “witches” across the continent.

According to Britannica, witch hunts took place mainly in West Germany, France, northern Italy and Switzerland, when a climate of superstition led to the persecution of those who practiced witchcraft.

In Spain, Portugal and southern Italy prosecutions against witches have rarely taken place and executions have been extremely rare.

Law has played at least as important a role as religion in witch trials, with local courts more likely to be strict and even violent in their treatment of alleged witches than regional or higher courts.

Between 1450 and 1750, tens of thousands of women were executed as

Between 1450 and 1750, tens of thousands of women were executed as “witches” across the continent. Pictured is the burning of a 16th century Dutch Anabaptist Anneken Hendriks, who was accused by the Spanish Inquisition of heresy

The decline of witch hunts, like their origins, has been gradual and their disappearance continued into the late 17th and early 18th centuries, in part due to increased literacy, mobility and skills. means of communication.

Although this varied by region and time, overall about three-quarters of convicted “witches” were women.

Some say the executions were linked to bad weather, with an increasingly cold and humid scene in Europe, which means epidemics of mice, caterpillars, poor harvests and an increase in famine and disease.

When these difficult situations arose, the “witches” were often blamed, with suspicion aroused by the suspect sometimes simply one person blaming another for their misfortune.

However, others suggest that when the competition between Catholics and Protestants intensified, the witch-hunt would have become a means of appeasing the masses by demonstrating their prowess in fighting the devil.


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