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Pendle Hill, Lancashire

Pendle Hill, Lancashire


 Haunted Location

Ghostwatch Europe
Views: 1,647
Report by: Ghostwatch
"Pendle Hill is home to story of intrigue and witchcraft over 400 years old."
Report ID: 297

Pendle Hill, Lancashire

The imposing Pendle Hill is famous for the Witch Trials that took place there in the 17th Century. In 1612 ten people were found guilty of witchcraft and met their end on the Pendle Moors. Ever since the hill has been associated with the paranormal. including the ghost of a young girl, thought to be nine-year old Jennet Preston, a victim of the witch trials.

1612 was a turbulent time in England's history. It was an era of religious persecution and superstition. The protestant king, James I, survived the Catholic gunpowder plot of 1605. His fear and anger brought a backlash of harsher penalties against anyone keeping the Catholic faith. Catholics and those suspected of witchcraft came under more scrutiny than ever. King James was obsessed with witchcraft and his book "Daemonology" showed local magistrates what to look for when tracking down witches after making the practice of witchcraft a capital offence punishable by death.

It was a dangerous time for two Pendle families, led by two wily old matriarchs, Demdike and Chattox. Long since widowed, their existence depended on exaggerating the cures they offered to local villagers. It would prove to be their undoing.

On a cold lonely road to Colne on a March day in 1612 a man collapses to the ground paralysed. His name is John Law, a pedlar from Halifax. Just moments before Demdike’s granddaughter, Alison Device, had cursed him. He would not give her the pins that her grandmother wanted for a spell.

Abraham Law, the pedlar’s son, hauled Alison in front of local magistrate, Roger Nowell. Alison, overawed by the situation, confesses and incriminates both her grandmother, Demdike, and her local rival, Chattox.

The two women were interrogated at Ashlar House, and, perhaps wishing to enhance their local reputation, they try to outdo each other with their stories, including the story of meeting the devil in the quarry. On April 3rd 1612 Demdike, Chattox, Device, and Redfearn are committed for trial for witchcraft at nearby Lancaster Castle.

On Good Friday the Demdike and Device families meet at Malkin Tower and feast on stolen mutton. Later when Nowell hears of this meeting he sends a local constable, Henry Hargreaves to Malkin Tower. There are accusations that they were plotting to free the imprisoned women and blow up the castle.

The constable finds human bones and teeth stolen from a graveyard at St Mary’s and a clay image. James Demdike confesses to using the image to cause the death of Anne Townley. The others at the alleged “Witches Sabbath” meeting are all rounded up and imprisoned in Lancaster Castle.

On August 17th the trial began. The prosecution’s star witness was nine year old Jennet Device who in court identifies those who attended the Good Friday meeting, including her mother Elizabeth and Alice Nutter. This evidence, the confessions already given, and the vigour of the prosecutors, keen to ingratiate themselves to James I, meant that the trial was over after just three days. All the accused swung from the gallows, except for Demdike, who died before the trial in the cells of Lancaster Castle.

They were buried on Pendle hill. The hill is often visited around Halloween where people have reported hearing ghostly whispers and witnessed ghostly apparitions. Some have even suffered scratches from these spooky assailants.

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