Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Missing Bones of a Scottish ‘Witch’

In the early 1700s, a Scottish woman named Lilias Adie was accused of witchcraft and sentenced to burn at the stake. But before the brutal execution could be carried out, she died in prison, possibly of a suicide. Adie’s body was hastily buried along the shores of the country of Fife, in an ignominious spot. To ensure that the devil did not reanimate his purported collaborator, the grave was covered with a hulking, half-ton slab. 
In the following centuries, morbid curio hunters were nevertheless able to access the humble wooden box that served as Adie’s coffin and pilfer her bones. Now, as Nan Spowart reports for the National, officials have put out an appeal for the return of Adie’s remains, in the hopes of finally giving her a respectful memorial. On Saturday, exactly 315 years after Adie died in custody in the village of Torryburn, Depute Provost of Fife Council Julie Ford laid a wreath at the site of Adie’s grave. 
“It’s important to recognize that Lilias Adie and the thousands of other men and women accused of witchcraft in early modern Scotland were not the evil people history has portrayed them to be,” Ford said. “They were the innocent victims of unenlightened time.” By boosting Adie’s profile, Ford added, perhaps “we can find her missing remains and give them the dignified rest they deserve.” (Read more.)

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