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Witches of Scotland

Who are the witches of Scotland? Why do their stories matter?

Who are the witches of Scotland and why do their stories matter?

The Scottish Witchcraft Act remained law for nearly 175 years between 1563 and 1736. During this time, anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 people are estimated to have been accused, with 84% being women.

For those accused of witchcraft, their fate was brutal: execution, preceded by torture – often sleep deprivation – with their bodies burned at the stake so they could not be buried – the ultimate disrespect. Some evidence suggests that Scotland executed five times as many people per capita as anywhere else in Europe.

This panel will unpack some of the stories of those individuals accused of witchcraft and executed – examining the role of gender, law, the Scottish context, the monarchy and religion. We will also delve into the recent campaigns for acknowledgement and justice on these people’s behalf.

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