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 Pendle witches

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PostSubject: Pendle witches   Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:10 am




So the story is told in Pendle Hill, Lancashire, England where the legend of the Pendle Witches is still very much alive and well. It is said that if you stand outside in the dead of the night you can hear the faint echoes of these screams as some of the most infamous witches of the 17th century were captured and imprisoned to wait trial. This was during the height of the European witch hunts, and although England pales compared to other European countries when it comes to the death of witches, the Pendle Witch trial was one of the most documented and notorious in the world.





In the early part of the 17th century, 2 families in Pendle – the Demdikes and the Chattoxes - were deadly rivals, and each was ruled by an old matriarch, both rumoured to be witches. They built on their reputations and used them to gain work as healers and to extort money with menace. Elizabeth Southern, or The Old Demdike, as she was more commonly known, had a granddaughter called Alizon Device. One day, Alizon met a peddler and asked him for some pins. But he refused, slapped her and told her to be on her way. At this point, so the story goes, a large black dog – her familiar – appeared. Alizon told him to strike the man down. The peddler collapsed to the floor, paralyzed down his left side.



When the peddler’s son heard of this, he immediately went to the magistrate and Alizon was arrested. Amazingly, she admitted to being a witch and also implicated her grandmother and 2 members of the Chattox family. They were also arrested and The Old Demdike immediately confessed to many evil deeds, claiming that Satan himself had sucked her blood and caused her to become insane. Reports also filtered through of a witches Sabbat having taken place at the home of Old Demdike, and bones and clay images were brought forward as proof.



As a result of this, more were imprisoned on witchcraft charges, but the trial did not take place until some 5 months later. During this time, The Old Demdike died in gaol. On of the others escaped a death sentence but on August 20th, 1612, the other 10 were hanged on the moors above the town.



Today, Pendle is home to a fair number of Pagans. It is rumoured that the remains of one of the Pendle Witches, Alice Nutter, is buried beneath a headstone engraved with a skull and cross bones in the local church graveyard. There has also been an influx of paranormal investigation teams conducting experiments in the area, all of which came back with exciting, but inconclusive evidence. But the fact still remains that these people were indeed put to death for witchcraft; a crime to which many of them gleefully and willingly confessed to.



An ancient tale of a terrible miscarriage of justice? Or was there really something more to it? If you close your eyes, you can almost hear those screams…………..

http://themystified.com/index.php/topics/magick/witchcraft/114-a-brief-history-of-the-pendle-witches
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