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The Pendle Witches

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The Pendle Witches

Post  THE BOSS!!! on Mon Aug 20, 2007 2:10 am

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Re: The Pendle Witches

Post  THE BOSS!!! on Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:53 pm

Originally posted on ff2/phantom foxes by cj guest

The Pendle Witches
A true story of murder, witchcraft and revenge.
The Pendle Witches or Lancashire Witches were the most famous witches in English legal history

The Lancashire Witch Trial
In the year 1612, at Lancaster gaol, in the English county of Lancashire, ten men and women were hanged for the crime of witchcraft.

The Pendle Witches, as they became known, were believed to have been responsible for the murder by witchcraft of seventeen people in and around the Forest of Pendle.

Thirteen Witches in Pendle
There were in total thirteen Pendle Witches: Alizon Device, Elizabeth Device, James Device, Anne Whittle, alias Chattox, Anne Redferne, Alice Nutter, Katherine Hewitt, John Bulcock, Jane Bulcock & Isobel Robey were the ten hanged at Lancaster gaol.

Elizabeth Southerns, alias Demdike, died in Lancaster Gaol awaiting trial, but was nevertheless considered to be a witch on the basis of evidence already given. Jennet Preston, who lived just over the Lancashire border, was tried in Yorkshire and hanged at York in 1612. Finally, Magaret Pearson was found guilty of witchcraft at Lancaster, but not murder, and received a sentance of one years imprisonment.

Murder by Witchcraft
The Pendle Witches were accused of selling their souls to familiar spirits or devils who appeared to them in human and animal form. In return for their souls, it was believed that the witches received the power to kill or lame who they pleased.

The usual method of murder, descirbed in Demdike's confession, was to make an ethigy of the intented victim, known as a 'picture of clay'. The image was then crumbled or burned over a period of time, causing the victim to fall ill and die.

The Witches of Malkin Tower
The family at the centre of the witchcraft allegations: Alizon Device, James Device, Elizabeth Device and Demdike lived at a place called Malkin Tower. Demdike, who was in here eighties, was the head of the family and was rumored locally to be a very powerful witch.

An important meeting took place at Malkin Tower on Good Friday in 1612. The meeting, believed to have been a witches sabbat, was described to the authorities by James Device. Many of those who attended where later hanged.

A Witches Feud
Demdike had once been a close friend of another reputed witch Chattox, but they fell out and then feuded bitterly. The dispute between Demdike and Chattox was probably a reason why they and their respective families were willing to make incriminating statements against one another.

When Demdike died in gaol, Chattox changed her story, claiming Demdike was responsible for enticing her into witchcraft.

The Wonderful Discoverie...
So much is known about the Pendle Witches because the proceedings of the Lancashire trial where recorded by the clerk of the court Thomas Potts and published in the book: The Wonderful Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster.

The majority of the evidence came from the confessions of just four of the accused: Alizon Device, her brother James Device, their grandmother Demdike, and their enemy Chattox.

Witchcraft: fact or fiction?
Nobody knows what possesed Alizon and James Device, Demdike and Chattox to make the extrodinary statements that they did. Torture was not used in England to extract confessions from witches as it was on mainland Europe. Towards the end of the trial the prisoners would have confessed in the hope of receiving mercy, but the most important confessions were given pre-trial and seemingly under very little duress.

The Pendle Witches incriminated each other, perhaps in the hope of saving themselves, but also gave remarkable accounts of their own activities. Had they remained silent there would very probably have been no trial and no executions.

Alizon Device gave here first damning account of witchcraft quite voluntarily, and seems to have genuinely believed in her own guilt and that of her family's.

Some suspected witches did protest their innocence to the end and others where aquited when evidence against them was found to have been fabricated. The trials however dubious by today's standards were not a forgone colusion.


Read the authentic confessions of Englands' most notorious witches at http://www.pendlewitches.co.uk
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Re: The Pendle Witches

Post  Dio on Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:26 am

Still my favourite witches Smile
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Re: The Pendle Witches

Post  rachywachydooda on Mon Jul 13, 2009 1:26 am

Very Happy
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