Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Pungo Witch

The Pungo Witch Cover The Pungo Witch, as she has come to be called, or in real life, Grace Sherwood, was accused of bewitching a neighbor's crop in 1698. Allegations of other 'witchy' things escalated over time in the Princess Anne County government. Her accusers decided to test her by 'ducking,' or, trial by water, her innocence or guilt determined by whether she floated or drowned. Drowning, by the way, was the GOOD outcome.

On July 10th, 1706 at ten o'clock, Grace Sherwood was tied by her thumbs, cross-bound and dropped into the western branch of the Lynnhaven River near what is now known as Witchduck Point in Virginia. Unfortunately for Sherwood, she floated. Guilty of being a duck? No, guilty of being a witch. She was imprisoned, and eventually released, but Sherwood lived the rest of her life quietly unvindicated, and died in 1740.

I guess they taught her a lesson, huh? Grace Sherwood was a midwife who would often wear men's clothing while working her own homestead. She went to court a dozen times to either defend herself or sue her neighbors for slander, yet never turned her back on a woman in need of her skills. She never married. Thus one can assume that then, as now, a woman who takes care of herself, a confident, competent woman, is suspect at best, ducked at worst, but always, apparently, in need of being taught to mind her place.

In 2006, she was pardoned by the Governor of Virginia, Timothy M Kaine--300 years after her ordeal. The wheels of justice sure do run slow, sometimes, but at least they turn.

Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):

Anonymous - The Laws For Witches
Margaret Alice Murray - The God Of The Witches
Alfred Elton Van Vogt - The Witch

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