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How to bury a witch
17-09-2020, 10:53 AM
Post: #1
How to bury a witch
Back in 1704, in Torryburn on the south west Fife coast, they had a problem disposing of toxic material - it was what you might call a toxic witch problem.

Lilias Adie, a poor woman who confessed to being a witch and having sex with the devil, died in prison before she could be tried, sentenced and burned.

So they buried her deep in the sticky, sopping wet mud of the foreshore - between the high tide and low tide mark - and they put a heavy flat stone over her.

But why?

In previous cases, people wanted rid of dead witches as cheaply as possible - dumping them naked in pits at the foot of the gallows. Why go to such bother to bury Lilias?

Terrible relevance
One possibility is that Lilias killed herself.

Right up to the 19th Century suicide victims were buried this way on the shore, outside consecrated ground.

This seems strange and barbaric to us now, but it was believed that suicide was a terrible crime against God, inspired by the devil.

Worse, it was believed people who died in this way were in danger of becoming revenants - corpses of bad people who had died a bad death, who then came back from the grave to torment the living.

This has a strange and terrible relevance to witchcraft.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-29689688
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