The Forfar witches. In 1563 the newly created Church of Scotland made it illegal to either be a witch or to consult a witch in an attempt to stamp out pagan practices. This Act of Parliament was not abandoned until 1736. In between 1563 and 1736 is known from documentary evidence that at least 1,500 people were executed for the crime of being a witch..... (more)

Witch hunts

Mary Queen of Scots by François Clouet, wife of Francois II.

'Witching Time of Night'-Witchcraft was a fact of life not something only a few believed in. If your milk soured a witch's curse was to blame. If your pregnancy miscarried, your elderly female neighbor was behind it, especially if she lived alone and knew how to heal the sick. Witches were hanged in England, burnt in Europe. Suicides were still buried at crossroads to confuse their way back from the land of the dead, stakes were put though their hearts to pin them to the ground.

Druids and later “witches” were thought to shapeshift into hares for magical work. Because of this belief, according to Julius Cesar (since we all know his works on the Celts are just so very reliable), it was considered taboo amongst the Celts to eat hare in case you were eating someone who was just shifting.

The reign of Henry VIII saw the first law against Witchcraft created. The Witchcraft Act of 1541 was the first to define witchcraft as a felony, a crime punishable by death and the forfeiture of the convicted felon’s goods and chattels.

Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland, Daughter of Henry VII, Sister of Henry VIII

Joan Wytte, b.1775, d.1813, age 38. She was a witch, renowned for her clairvoyant abilities but in her 20's, developed tooth decay & a painful abscess. It made her aggressive and impatient; she used to shout at her clients. Locals thought she had become posessed by the devil. Was imprisoned for causing grievous bodily harm & found to be of unsound mind. Died of pneumonia; her body was used as a medical specimen; then passed to the Museum of Witchcraft, Cornwall. Remains buried 1998.

The European Witch Hunts Suspects were weighed because it was thought that witches had little or no weight.

Marjorie Bruce, Princess of Scotland - Wife of Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland and daughter of Robert I 'the Bruce'.

External chimney with 'witch seats', Wharfe, North Yorkshire. Artist: Dorothy Burrows. Ledges on the chimneys so the witches will sit outside and not come down the chimney. So interesting!

Marie de Guise, Queen of Scotland, Mother of Mary Queen of Scots // Corneille de Lyon // circa 1537

Joan Wright (Virginia, 1626) - The first witch confirmed in North America. “Trouble brews when she offers to attend a woman in labor, but the woman chooses another for her midwife, because Joan was left-handed. The laboring woman falls sick, and her baby dies a short while later. Joan was also accused of predicting a man’s death by looking at him.” While many people testified against Wright and she confessed to knowledge of witchcraft, she was acquitted.

12th century clothing of Scotland

Mathew Hopkins | The Discovery of Witches (1647)

Bridget Bishop: The first person executed for Witchcraft in the Salem Witch Trials, June 10, 1692

Pictish carvings, Scotland -- photo by Jessica Spengler.

James V, King of Scotland, father of Mary, Queen of Scots, son of Margaret Tudor

The Inchbraoch Stone, a Pictish picture stone - Scotland

The Picts, early inhabitants of Scotland. Pict actually means "painted people". "Pict" was the name of the people who lived in Scotland before the Scots invaded from Ireland, that's right the tribe known as the Scots are Irish. The two lived together and gradually merged until the picts disappeared as a distinct people.

In Glen Lyon, the longest glen in Scotland, there is an intriguing oral tradition that Pontius Pilate was born in Fortingall .It's claimed that Pontius Pilate was related to the Scots King, Metallanus, whose royal seat was located on a hill fort called Dun Geal (the White Fort) at Fortingall. At Caesaria in Palestine is to be found an ancient stone slab which is called the Pilate Stone due to a Latin inscription inscribed upon it which appears to read "Hiberieum Pontius Pilatus".