WILLOW WINSHAM    Book Number: 90361    Product format: Paperback

Founder of the popular website FolkloreThursday, Willow Winsham directs her forensic skills towards five notorious witchcraft trials between 1563 and 1736, a period when the fear of witches led to actions that today seem inexplicable, with about 500 executions. The first to be examined is the 1582 trial in the Essex village of St Osyth, where two women were eventually hanged, Ursula Kempe and Elizabeth Bennett. Ursula was a healer who claimed to be able to un-witch people, and the problem started when her friend Grace refused to allow Ursula to nurse her child, who subsequently died. The ingredients for a witchcraft accusation were brewing, and Ursula was called before the justice of the peace Brian Darcy. Suddenly breaking down she admitted to witchcraft and consorting with familiars called Titty and Tiffin, a claim which her eight-year old son confirmed, and she then incriminated other women including Elizabeth Bennett who kept a ferret in a pot. The author asks what motivated the confessions, and if people were actually seeing anything at all in their claims about familiars. The story of the Witches of Warboys in Huntingdonshire follows a similar pattern of ever-expanding recriminations. The Pendle Witches are perhaps the most famous, starting with a feud between two women known as Old Demdike and Old Chattox. Demdike died in prison but Chattox and nine others were hanged in 1612. The prize witness was a nine-year-old, who condemned her own family in a fluent manner that was probably the result of coaching. Other chapters cover the witch-finder Matthew Hopkins and finally the Bideford witches of 1682. 152pp, paperback, black and white reproductions.
Published price: £12.99
Bibliophile price: £9.00

Additional product information

ISBN 9781473870949
Browse these categories as well: New Age & Occult, Crime, History

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