Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Lore Of Witchcraft

Is there magic in a simple blancmange powder? The question is more suitable as the subject of a spoof and none-too-sober undergraduate debate than as a serious matter for the police and the Royal Court of Guernsey.

But the last trial for witchcraft in the island took place only about 90 years ago and centred around that very question. Amazingly, the prosecution was successful and secured the maximum prison sentence then available for such a 'crime'.

Early in the morning of 16 January 1914, PC Adams was called out to the harbor master's office in St Sampson's. A local woman, Mrs Houtin, had banged on the doors of the office 'in an agitated state', demanding police protection and sobbing with terror because 'a spell of witchcraft had been put on her' for non-payment of a £3 debt and unless she paid immediately, she had less than a week to live. Full Story

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