A 350 year old Scottish book that was used to record the names of those suspected of witchcraft between 1658 and 1662, during the persecution of witches, has been published online.
The book not only lists the names of the accused, but also the the towns where they lived and notes of their confessions, admitting to involvement in witchcraft. Some also give insights into the lives of those accused, explaining their background and involvement in witchraft.
Though accused of witchcraft in a negative light, many were believed to be healers who practiced traditional folk medicine with their treatments said to be aimed at helping poor communities, but the accusations of bring involved witchcraft came if the remedies didn’t work.
A majority of the accused were women, but the records revealed that men were also persecuted for their involvement in witchcraft, which would consider them a warlock.
It’s estimated that there were up to 5,000 people in Scotland who were publicly accused of studying the art of witchcraft in the 16th and 17th century. A much higher number than England.
Miriam Silverman, Ancestry’s senior content manager said:
“Many of us have donned a black dress, pointy hat and even green face paint to go to Halloween parties as witches, but that’s our almost comic interpretation of something mysterious and scary that people feared in the past. In the 17th century, people believed that the unholy forces of witchcraft were lurking in their communities, and those accused of being witches were persecuted on the basis of these dark suspicions. Whether your ancestors were accused witches or not, you can find out more about them and their lives by searching these – and many other collections – online today.”
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