The Witches of Paisley

The town of Paisley in Scotland is now known for its weaving industry, and for giving us the word "paisley" for the Kashmiri teardrop-shaped textile pattern. But long before that, it was the site of the last mass execution of witches in Western Europe. A few years after the Salem witch trials in the American colonies, an 11-year-old girl named Christian Shaw started a witch hunt in Paisley.

It all began when Christian told her mother that their servant Catherine Campbell had taken a sip of milk. Accused of theft, Campbell cursed the child in a blasphemous manner. Christian began to suffer fits and seizures, and eventually displayed symptoms that would remind us of the demon-possessed child Regan in The Exorcist, at least according to contemporary accounts. Christian named Campbell and 34 others as the witches who were to blame. After seven of them went to trial in 1697, one committed suicide and six were hanged and then burned.

But before her death, one of the "witches" put a curse on the town itself, which had dire implications for Paisley's future, and is memorialized to this day. Read the story of the Paisley witches at Amusing Planet.

#witch #witchtrial #Paisley #textile

More Neat Posts