Thousands of women accused of witchcraft in Scotland will be posthumously pardoned after almost 300 years, as a result of a petition that these people, tried under the Witchcraft Act between 1563 and 1736, will finally be able to have their names cleared.
Of the approximately 4,000 people charged, more than half were executed. And more than 85% of those convicted were women or girls, reports the Daily Mail .
This Scottish Members of Parliament bill won the support of Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s administration after a two-year campaign.
The petition was instigated by Claire Mitchell, who leads Witches of Scotland, a group that campaigns for a pardon, a government apology and an official memorial for the victims.
The witchcraft laws passed by James IV of Scotland led to a national witch hunt that became known as the Great Scottish Witch Hunt of 1597.
Mitchell was inspired in part by the case of a witch named Lilias Adie. After confessing, under duress, the crimes of casting malicious spells and having sex with the devil, Adie, of Torryburn, Fife, died in 1704.
They had sentenced her to death by burning, but she died in prison, possibly by suicide. His body was buried on the village beach under a large stone.
In recognition, Torryburn villagers and Facebook members ‘Fife Witches Rememented’ gathered at his grave on September 1, 2019 and laid wreaths.
The event also commemorated the thousands of Scottish men and women prosecuted and murdered for allegedly practicing witchcraft in the 16th to 18th centuries.
Among the crimes they were accused of, they can be found from causing a hangover and turning into an owl to meeting the devil and conjuring storms to sink the king’s ships.