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Christine’s Blog 1: Visitors of the Pendle Witch Trials

Christine’s Blog 1: Visitors of the Pendle Witch Trials
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Christine

November 23, 2015

Christine Hamlett Walsh is the co-host of Rescue Mediums Seasons 1-3. Living in the UK, she investigates hauntings, captures mesmerizing ghost photos, and creates psychic art portraits.

Hello, it’s really nice to be able to share my adventures with you. I have been very busy conducting investigations and trying to capture spirit images on film.

I have for a long time wanted to visit the Pendle Hill area in Lancashire, famed for its witch trials. In fact, it was on my bucket list. So, as it was near Halloween, I decided to go to the village of Newchurch Pendle; the people accused of witchcraft came from around and near here. One Alice Nutter was supposedly buried in the local graveyard. But, I should first tell you the story of the Pendle Witches – it’s a very interesting and somewhat bizarre tale.

In 1612, twelve people from the Pendle area were accused of being witches. The story seems to have started when a girl, Alizon Device, met a pedlar and asked him for some pins: ones that were often used in magical ceremonies for healing, divination, warts, and love spells. The pedlar, one John Law, suspected Alice wanted them for this use and would not let her have any; so, she cursed him and he fell to the ground. He was taken to a nearby inn. Alice felt guilty and went to see him to ask for forgiveness. When asked if she had caused him to fall, she, convinced of her own powers, confessed. Her family consisting of her grandmother, Elizabeth Southerns, aka Demdike, her mother, Elizabeth Device, and her brother, James Device, were all summoned by Roger Nowell (the justice of the peace) for questioning. They then accused a rival family in the area, including Anne Whittle, aka Chattox, and her daughter, Anne Redferne. It seems that these two families were both suspected of using witchcraft when in all probability they were only healers and wise women.

Things escalated and they were all charged with causing the deaths of several locals through the use of witchcraft. After Elizabeth Device held a gathering on Good Friday, April 10th, at Malkin Tower, to encourage people not to go to church, even more people were accused. The gathering had been investigated by Nowell and Nicholas Bannister, another fellow magistrate. Alice Nutter, Katherine Hewitt, John Bulcock and his mother Jane Bulcock, Alice Gray, and Jennet Preston were all accused and taken to the Lancaster gaol (Jennet Preston from Yorkshire was sent for trial at the York assizes.)

Now enter into the story nine-year-old Jennet Device, daughter of Elizabeth, and granddaughter of Elizabeth Southerns (Demdike). Jennet gave damning evidence against her whole family, accusing them of being witches. She told the court her mother was a witch and had a familiar who took the shape of a brown dog named Ball. That her mother spoke with the dog and commanded it to kill people. Jennet’s testimony condemned her family to be hanged as witches.

Out of the people accused, eleven were found guilty and hanged. Alice Gray was found not guilty. Jennet Device many years later faced the same accusations herself.

So, armed with this knowledge, I set out with my hubbie David for Newchurch. I read that one of the poor women hanged, Alice Nutter, was supposedly buried in the churchyard. I was a bit unsure of this story, as it’s not really a practice to bury condemned witches in a Christian graveyard; they are more likely to be found buried at a crossroad. Walking into the churchyard, I felt quite unnerved, but that’s not unusual for me. I looked up at the old church, and to my surprise, I saw an eye made of bricks on the building looking back at me. I was told later that this was the eye of God put there to ward off evil. I sent my thoughts out to Alice and the others, asking if they would show themselves to me, then I walked around the old gravestones taking photos. I found the Nutter family grave but the writing is very faded and there is no way of knowing if Alice is in there.

When we left the churchyard, we went to the nearby shop and cafe called Witches Galore – it’s a brilliant place full of all things witchy, and we had a welcome brew. Leaving the shop to return to our car, we were greeted by a very friendly black cat, which just topped off our visit.

When I later downloaded my photos, l was amazed by many ghostly faces who had come to show themselves!

GHOSTS PENDLE 2 003GHOSTS PENDLE 2 004

It’s a young girl in a white dress captured in the churchyard. I think it is Jennet Device…

I have lots of ghost photos which I am at present compiling into a book called Ghost Captures.

Until next time, spirits blessings to you all,

Christine

Visit Christine’s site at: christinehamlett.com

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