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No 2

No 1

“All Hail Mc Beth Thane of Calder” the three Witches of William Shakespeare’s play, cry out a greeting when meeting him on Forres heath……the play itself loosely based on the history of the Scottish King.

And after much research, to find the most wicked treatment of Witches I could find in my first edition files…. I bring you The Mc Lean Witches of Strathglass.

But although Shakespeare took a few liberties with the story of Mc Beth “the three Weird sisters” indeed were real enough. Shakespeare was a guest of King James I when he was with his royal court in Aberdeen 1601 October, it was here he found the information for his play. In 962 King Duff was the 78th King of Scots. He was in the North of Scotland travelling through an area called Forres where suddenly he was seriously ill, the suddenness of the illness was thought to have been brought on by Witchcraft. His men scoured the countryside and three women were taken. A mysterious waxen effigy thought to be of the King was found… conclusive proof the King was bewitched.

The MacLean’s had lived and rented the Strathglass lands for two hundred years, but the Chisholm clan chiefs decided they wanted the land back for more of the Chisholm people to settle. Gentle persuasion never produced results -so other more devious means were sought and brought to bear. Before long the Parish was pointing with accusations of Witchcraft at the McLean’s.

Before long 26 MacLean’s were imprisoned and a professional Witch Pricker was brought with his two servants to find the Witches marks on the bodies of the McLean’s. A four-inch brass pin was used to insert into the muscles and find “the Devils mark” a mark supposedly insensible to any pain, all the Pricker had to do was keep stabbing until the victim could take no more…a confession would end the suffering. But would be A quick trial was had; the women conclusive proof a Witch had been were condemned as Witches. Three found. barrels were brought up to the top of a high gradient hill called “Cluny” This Pricker was called John Dick The women were lifted and dumped a burgess of Forfar, his reputation alive into the barrels…. then the lids was of utter destruction…leaving bodies in his wake along the were nailed shut with them in. Parishes of Inverness…many Next, 12-inch iron nails were driven Witches found and confessed but into the barrels all the way around, half as many killed outright in his some must have pierced the poor overzealous torture process. souls inside the barrel. The barrels The Mac Leans were hanged were toppled over and pushed by the thumbs and burning fires rolling down the hill, the 12 inch put to their feet, others dragged nails mincing the meat inside! behind bolting horses, some When the barrels stopped rolling, had shirts dipped in vinegar and the remains were piled high with forced to wear them topping up sticks and the barrels burnt. the vinegar in regular soakings…. then after a few days the shirts Three stones remain today for were ripped off them …taking the tourists to visit on Victoria all the skin from the bodies also. road, at the bottom on Cluny hill Half the Mc Leans died in the jail in Forres…. with a metal plaque tollbooth of Inverness. The rest to commemorate the three weird confessed and were to be burnt sisters. as Witches.

Funny thing is Mr John Dick was unmasked…. he was actually a woman in disguise with a terrible hatred of her fellow kind. She was found to be Christian Caddell, she was taken to the Tollbooth in Edinburgh and after 10 months transported to the colonies of America…. on the day this wicked imposter left the country…her last victims, the Mc Leans of Strathglass were burnt as Witches.

A Witchpricker used in the Pittenweem Witch trials Authors possession

THE BOOKS OF LEONARD LOW BRINGING DEAD HISTORY BACK TO LIFE If you follow Lenny’s LOWDOWN OF WITCHES in HAUNTED MAGAZINE you will love these, murder mayhem, cannibals, witches, plague, poisoned sausages! Perverts and insanity... It’s like a Haunted Magazine office party.available from Amazon and all bookshops. Do enjoy and visit these locations in the books.

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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...