Sunday 18 March 2018

Witches or wise women?

Susan Daly

BRIDGET CLEARY Bridget was a young farmer's wife outside Clonmel, Co Tipperary, apparently considered uppity by her neighbours for her independent spirit. She and her husband Michael were childless after eight years of marriage and in 1895, believing her to be inhabited by an evil spirit, he tortured and burned her to death in the hearth of their home with the aid of family and neighbours. ANNE BOLEYN Although officially executed for adultery against the English King Henry VIII in 1536, it was alleged that she had supernaturally rendered Henry impotent, had charmed her brother into committing incest with her and had miscarried a "monstrous" foetus. ANNA GOLDI The Swiss woman was the last person convicted and executed in Europe under witchcraft legislation. She was beheaded with a sword in 1782. She was a live-in maid, and when she accused one employer of making sexual advances towards her, he retaliated by saying she had cursed his daughter, causing her to become ill and spit up 100 needles.

Irish Independent

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