Uploaded on Nov 8, 2009
Growing up in Connecticut, a popular nearby Halloween haunt was Salem, Massachusetts, famed for the Salem Witch Trials.
I love exploring the horrendously creepy and stranger side of history, so imagine my excitement when I found out about Lancashire Witch Country.
Described as one of the most 'paranormally active places in the UK' by TV show Most Haunted, people come from around the world to hunt for ghosts of witches on the vast countryside surrounding Pendle Hill.
This was it: The Pendle Witch Project. With Halloween approaching, it was only fitting I investigate. Maybe I would run into Harry Potter, or one of his friends!
I journeyed to Newchurch in Pendle, greeted by a sign with a witch on a broom. It was a tiny village of no more than 100 people, framed by a breathtaking, scenic landscape.
As soon as I arrived, I felt I was back in time; apparently it has seen little change over the centuries. A slight cover of mist aided the ominous atmosphere.
I quickly came across a beer called Pendle Witches Brew; spotted buses branded The Witch Way, painted with the names of witches that stood trial; and a charming little shop called Witches Galore, full of quirky little souvenirs.
It was when I got to talking with local historian and owner of Top Hat Tours, Simon Entwistle, that I found out just how tragic the history behind the witches really is.
Dating back to 1612, the trials of the Pendle witches are among the most famous in English history, involving 12 locals charged with using witchcraft to murder 10 people. Ten of the accused were eventually found guilty and hanged.
The trials can be an emotional subject for descendants, with some even campaigning, as recently as last year, for them to be pardoned. I also learned it is still possible to offend locals by calling them Chattox or Demdike, after the witches. Similarly, the word Nutter allegedly entered the English language via its connection with witchcraft and associated behaviour.
I am sorry to report I saw no ghouls on my visit. However, I found out that apparently after the trials, many stones that made up Malkin Tower, home to some of the witches, disappeared. Coincidentally, they are rumoured to have ended up in Salem. Spooky!
Have a Happy Halloween! I don't think I'll be a witch this year.
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