Charlie Buttrey

January 10, 2022

As Paul Harvey was wont to say, “Here is a strange….”

Between 1536 and 1736, nearly 3,000 people in Scotland (84 percent of whom were women) were tried as witches. Their crimes included cursing the king’s ships, giving an adversary a hangover, and turning into an owl. Some 2,600 were convicted and executed. Per capita, Scotland executed five times as many people as any other place in Europe over that period of time.

It is a bit too late, but the Scottish government appears poised to issue formal pardons and apologies to those who were victimized by the hysteria of the times. Attorney Claire Mitchell leads the activist group “Witches of Scotland,” which seeks to have the names of the convicted legally cleared, a written apology letter from the government and a monument established in their memory. Says Mitchell, “We absolutely excelled at finding women to burn in Scotland.”

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