Introduction

Hi and welcome to my site.
Cheshire is full of weird and wonderful stories of the supernatural, local heores and the mysterious.
I will take you on a tour as I look deep into the Cheshire that lies underneath the wonderful countryside and find the secrets that still hide there.
What magic and long lost secrets will we find?
So, sit back and enjoy my journey. This is a land of Magic, Knights, Dragons, Wizards, Witches, Boggarts, Murder, Ghosts and Old Forgotten Knowledge.


I would love to hear your stories as well. So if you have anything you would like me to look into and find information out, please let me know.

Friday, 25 February 2011

WITCHCRAFT IN CHESHIRE


We have all heard the tales of The Pendle Witches and Salam Witch Trails. But what started the hysteria and did Cheshire have its own so called witches?

It was during the Middle Ages, when it all began in this country and continued until the 1700's. But it was only in the 1950's that the Witchcraft Act was finally abolished by Parliament. Between 1450 and 1750, more than 100,000 people (mainly women) in Europe and America were prosecuted for witchcraft.




During the reign of James I (James VI of Scotland) around 70,000 so called witches were either imprisoned, tortured, flogged, drowned or hung. He beleived in the occult and personally led witch hunts in Scotland. He signed the Witchcraft Act in 1604 and this started the hysteria in hunting witches.




People like Matthew Hopkins (self named Witch Finder General) was responsible for the condemnations and executions of around 200 alleged witches, nearly as many as all the other English Witch Hunters together. He used this to make his money. For 14 months, he charged £25 to cleanse a town of witches. He had a code called a Devils List. He made his victims suffer, according to his code, he would lock them in an isolated cell, they were humiliated by being stripped naked, starved and deprived of sleep. They were also made to walk up and down barefoot on a cold stone floor for hours. After days of this, most oeople confessed to being a witch.




Most Witch Hunters looked for marks on the person's body including blemishes (today these we know as birthmarks, scars etc) and it was said that women had three teats. These were called Devil's marks.

Most female witches were old hags living on their own on the edge of the village. They were mostly widowed, some too ugly to have ever married or just unpopular with the rest of the villagers. Most had a pet ie cat, dog, bird or any animal living in the woodland. They were wise in herbs, nature and living off the land.



Once you were found guilty of being a witch, one of the punishments was drowning. You were tied up and thrown into the water. The problem was if you survived and floated, you were guilty but if you sank and drowned, you were then classed as innocence. Witches were also hung but in England and Wales, they were never burnt at the stake.


A book published around 1486 was called MALLEUS MALEFICARUM. It was written by Heinrich Kramer and Jakob Sprenger. It was known as The Witchfinders Bible. The book contained the folklore surrounding black magic, an affirmation of the existence of witches, detailed description of witchcraft and a users guide to torturing confessions out of a reluctand victim.






Some of Cheshire's most famous alleged witches include:----

BRIDGET BOSTOCK
whom I have written about already in my blog, she came from Coppenhall, Crewe.

ALICE CAWLEY
Alice was known as The Old Witch of Kelsall. She lived during the 19th century. There is a tale that she kept a live toad under her bed. She was a little eccentric but well liked.

MARY WITTON
Mary lived near Northwich around the late 19th century. She had nine children and people went to her with all sorts of aches and pains. Mary would write rhymes and charms on pieces of brown paper and sold them as cures. The sick person had to say their magis rhyme before a full moon and they would be cured. She too must have been well liked.

ELLEN BEECH
Ellen lived near Macclesfield during the 1600's. She was tired and hung in October 1656 at Chester for practising certain arts.

ANNE OSBASTON
Anne also lived near Macclesfield and she too was hung in October 1656 for practising certain arts. Both ELLEN and MARY were blamed for some of the villagers of Rainow falling ill and dying.

ANNE THORNTON
She lived in Eaton near Chester and she was hung after being found guilty of witchcraft.

MARY BAGULEY
Mary lived in Wildboarclough. She was charged of killing Robert Hall at Wincle through magic. She was brought to trail on April 26th 1675 at Chester. She was found guilty and hung.

MARY WORTHINGTON
Mary lived in Stockport around 1873. People claimed she was a witch because she could manipulate people. She frightened people into giving her money. If they refused, she claimed to cast an evil eye over them.

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