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FIVE

GO MAD IN

CORNWALL Yes five - that’s C L Raven (technically that’s TWO people), Laura, Neen & Neen’s Mum!

In 1778, local Justices built three penal institutions in Bodmin – another County Jail, a Debtors’ jail and a House of Correction. Sir John Call Bart, JP, MP, designed them, based on prison reformer John Howard’s ideals. Bodmin Gaol’s pioneering design was light and airy with hot water, under floor heating, a chapel, infirmary, individual cells and isolated areas for different crimes. Men and women were separated.

Old buildings were extended and new buildings added until 1850, when the gaol was deemed unfit. A 220 cell gaol was built, but there weren’t enough prisoners to fill it, so in 1887, Bodmin transferred a wing to the Royal Navy. In 1911, the female prison closed. The male civil gaol wasn’t used after 1916 as prisoners and staff went to war. The Naval Wing closed in 1922. 60 executions took place in 1735-1909. Eight were women. 35 were murderers. Earlier executions took place on Bodmin Common. In 1802-1828, drop gallows were used in the field outside the gaol’s front. In 1834-1856, drop gallows were built over the main gate but the Inspector of Prisons deemed this illegal – it wasn’t public enough. Following a new law stating executions should be private, an execution shed was constructed in 1878 in one of the prison yards. It’s the only workable example of a Victorian execution shed and gallows in Britain. In 1927, Bodmin Jail closed its doors forever. Some prisoners never left.

Selina Wadge was executed 15th August 1878 for murdering her two-year-old son, Henry. Henry couldn’t walk, but he and his six-year-old brother, John were cared for. Selina claimed to have a relationship with a soldier, James Westwood, which he denied. On 22nd June, she met James with her children but returned to Launceston workhouse the next day, without Henry. She told her sister Henry died in Altarnum, but John told the nurses Selina put Henry into a pit. Selina claimed James drowned Henry in a well and threatened to kill her and John. The workhouse

WHO YA GONNA CALL? HAUNTED MAGAZINE!

master called the police and Henry’s body was found in a well in three feet of water. His body showed no signs of violence and the well was covered – Henry couldn’t have accidentally climbed in. Selina admitted murder, claiming James promised to marry her if Henry wasn’t around. We found the workhouse master and his wife on the Census. The jury took 45 minutes to find her guilty but requested mercy. The judge sentenced her to death.

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Haunted Magazine #16 - Women in Paranormal Special  

Women, women, women, you can't live with them but you can get them to write the features for Haunted Magazine Issue 16, and like a female ve...

Haunted Magazine #16 - Women in Paranormal Special  

Women, women, women, you can't live with them but you can get them to write the features for Haunted Magazine Issue 16, and like a female ve...