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Bid to gain pardons for ‘witches’

A petition is being handed in to the Scottish Parliament calling for a pardon for all those convicted under witchcraft legislation. It is thought some 4,000 people, mainly women, were prosecuted and often put to death for witchcraft. The last Witchcraft Act conviction was in 1944 when Scottish medium Helen Duncan was imprisoned for allegedly disclosing World War II secrets. She told a seance a warship had sunk before the news had been released. The witchcraft petition came from a group of self-styled “mediums” called Full Moon Investigators.

The group said many of today’s occupations such as herbalism, alternative therapies and midwifery had their roots in the same traditions as the women burnt to death in previous centuries as “witches”. They want the state to apologise and grant those convicted a pardon. This includes Mrs Duncan, who was born in Callander, Perthshire, who they said in particular deserves a pardon. She was convicted under the Witchcraft Act of 1735 and spent nine months in Holloway prison in London. It was claimed that she endangered the war effort by using her powers as a spiritualist or medium to reveal the fact, kept secret, that the ship the HMS Barham had been sunk.

Read the original article at: BBC News

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