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Petitioners Seek Pardon For Executed Witches

A group in London plans to petition the British government for a posthumous pardon for the hundreds of people executed for witchcraft between the 16th and 18th centuries.

The head of Angels, a large costume shop in London, is leading the effort and said she believes it's time to put the associations about witches and Halloween to rest. The group has created a website to collect signatures for their petition and had about 200 signatures this morning.

Around 400 suspected witches were executed in England and some 4,000 in Scotland, according to the group that worked with a historian to research cases they hope will motivate the government to act.

The cases include a woman who offered cures in Essex, England in the 1500s, but was accused of having "uneven results," and a woman who was jailed for begging for food and then accused of having shaky hands that suggested she was "tormenting someone."

A Scottish group took a separate petition to the Scottish parliament last month.


Join The Conversation
kastarte2 kastarte2 8 years
I think the question isn't whether or not they are guilty, Org, but whether or not being a witch should have been a crime.
Shadowdamage Shadowdamage 8 years
Guilty..of what? Stirring pots of hensbane? Good grief. And yes, its not America, so settle down.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
Oh, excuse me, this is in England. By all means, I think they should pardon them.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
Moreover, how do you know they weren't guilty?
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
It's stunning how many people actually think our legislatures should spend time pardoning witches, instead of going over unnecessary laws and removing them.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i think that this time of year we always hear about things like this going on - especially while here in Salem there's a HUGE halloween celebration. i think that back in the day people just didn't understand that it was ok to be different and that's why witches were executed and all that. it's a shame that diversity wasn't so welcome back in the day - and i think that it would be nice for these pardons to come through even if it doesn't really impact anything
Shadowdamage Shadowdamage 8 years
This particular travesty in history always resonated with me for some reason. Many of the women murdered with the aim of "Purging Witchcraft" were herbal medicine specialists, folk-magic practitioners more concerned with healing a neighbour or protecting a herd than hexing anyone. In addition, some women were guilty of nothing more than "shaky hands" having some physical deformity or being the target of someone else's ire. (Such as jealousy). Its a small gesture, and I think a meaningful one. Its easy to forget how much positive symbolism can resonate with people! :) And Jude C... hehe I loved your comment about the cows. :D Anyone who likes Terry Pratchett books will understand that one too, always, always always be nice to Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax!
fantome14 fantome14 8 years
I study crime pamphlets involving women in that time period, so the fact that you just posted a picture of one of htem has made my day!
kastarte2 kastarte2 8 years
Better late than never, right?
janneth janneth 8 years
Apology accepted.
juju4 juju4 8 years
I highly recommend reading or seeing the play "Vinegar Tom" by Carol Churchill. It's a feminist take on the witch trials, and it is very thought provoking.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
Seems sort of silly but the legislators can hardly say "no".
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Plus, if the legislators don't issue the pardons, their cows will dry up and their crops will wither faster than you can say "Hermione Granger."
stephley stephley 8 years
It wouldn't hurt to admit that 'mistakes' were made in the past. :ghost:
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Well... No harm in granting the pardons, right?
Marni7 Marni7 8 years
:witch: makes me think of my favorite witch of all dear Elphaba
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