Giving Witches a Bad Name - Magonia

Lynn Picknett reviews The Yorkshire Witch: The Life and Trial of Mary Bateman by Summer Strevens. Scamming the superstitious and gullible has never been difficult and in the late 18th century, Yorkshirewoman Mary Bateman made a nice living out of it. In reality a confidence trickster-turned-murderer, she pretended to be a witch, but presumably she was unable to cast a spell to save herself from the executioner. And moving from witch to Wych Elm and similar tales, Dr Beach takes a look back to Bodies in Elm, 1760? in an account of skeletal remains found surely not in the trunk of a tree but unearthed beneath the roots of an old tree. (LP)

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