ments, claiming she was levitated down her stairs, that objects were lifted as though by invisible hands and that her body was being harmed. She recoiled and fell into fits if any of the accused touched her.
Meanwhile, some of the accused confessed to more crimes than tormenting Shaw. They took credit for previous deaths, among them a minister, two children found strangled in their beds and two drowning victims on a ferryboat that sank.
On April 5, 1697, a new commission of judges was appointed. The accused were indicted and turned over to a jury on April 13. After seven hours of deliberation, the jury convicted seven of the 21 accused: three men, including James Lindsay, and four women, Lang, Semple, Naismith and the unfortunate Campbell, whose curse started the entire tragedy.
The seven were executed by hanging in Paisley. Their bodies were burned. According to lore, some were not quite dead when taken down from the gallows and thrown into the fire. A walking stick was borrowed from a spectator to poke their moving limbs back into the flames. The owner of the stick refused to take it back, saying he did not want it after it had touched witches.
After the executions, Shaw recovered and had no more fits. She married a minister in 1718. He died seven years later. She helped to bring Dutch machinery into Scotland for the manufacture of a high-quality thread, which was named after her family name, Bargarran. As a result, Paisley prospered as a wool center.
A horseshoe was set in Paisley to commemorate the execution place. Shaw's home eventually became a historical attraction.
In 1839, a small hole was discovered in Shaw's bedroom wall. It was speculated that perhaps she had had an accomplice who passed the "vomit" into her bedroom. The vomited items were suspiciously dry.
Grant, James. The Mysteries of All Nations: Rise and Progress of Superstition, Laws Against and Trials of Witches, Ancient and Modern Delusions, Together With Strange Customs, Fables and Tales. Edinburgh: Leith, Reid & Son, n.d. Robbins, Rossell Hope. The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft & Demonology. New York: Bonanza Books, 1981 (first published 1959).
bees According to the demonologists of the Inquisition, witches or sorceresses who managed to eat a queen bee before they were arrested would be able to withstand torture and trial without confessing. This is one of the many ready explanations witch-hunters had for victims who refused to buckle under, thus enabling them to condemn the accused to death without confessions.
bell, book and candle A phrase from the Roman Catholic ritual for excommunication that sometimes is used to denote a wiTCH or wiTCHCRAFT. Excommunication, or exclusion from the religious fellowship of the church, represents a condemnation to spiritual darkness, with repercussions in society. The excommunicated becomes an outcast in secular as well as religious life.
The rite is the equivalent of a curse and involves a BELL, the holy Book and a candle or CANDLEs. The priest reads the following sentence:
We exclude him from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church, and we judge him condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels and all the reprobate, so long as he will not burst the fetters of the demon, do penance and satisfy the Church.
The priest then closes the book, rings a bell—a symbolic toll for death—extinguishes the candle and throws it down, which symbolizes the removal of the victim's soul from the sight of God.
The phrase "bell, book and candle" became associated with witches because the church believed them to be Devil-worshipers who should be excommunicated.
bells Repellers of witches and evil spirits. Bells are associated with the divine: their sound is symbolic of creative power, their shape a symbol of the female force and the celestial vault. The sound vibrations created by the ringing of bells have been believed for centuries to possess magical and/or spiritual power. Bells are used in many religious rites. In WICCA and Paganism, small hand bells may be rung in rituals to enhance harmony and augment power. In African religions and Vodun, bells and dancing are used to invoke the gods and loas (see African witchcraft). Shamans have long used magical bells in their rituals to chase away evil spirits.
In folk magic, the ringing of bells drives away evil spirits, witches and the DEVIL himself, and wards off the EVIL EYE. Bells have been attached to clothing, worn as amulets, tied to children and hung from the necks of horses, camels, cows, asses and other animals important to a community.
As fertility CHARMs, bells have been worn on human phalluses in certain rites. Bells are sometimes said to have curative powers; medicine is drunk from them. In the Middle Ages, bell ringing was believed to clear the air of disease and was prescribed by some doctors. Bells also have been used to raise the spirits of the dead and fairies.
Since the fifth century C.E., Christian church bells have been ascribed a special magical potency to combat evil and chase off the wicked spirits that lurked on every church threshold. In the Middle Ages, on nights when witches were believed to be about, such as Samhain (All Hallow's Eve) and Beltane (also known as WalpurgisNACHT), church bells were rung to keep the witches from FLYING over a village. The townspeople also turned out and added to the noise by banging on pots and pans and ringing their own bells. In witch trials, accused witches
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