Isobel Gowdie was a Scottish woman accused of witchcraft during the witch hunts of the 17th century. This article discusses her story, witchcraft. Isobel Gowdie, the renowned “Queen of Scottish Witches”, was a young Scottish housewife who was tried for witchcraft in Her detailed confession. The witchcraft confessions given by Isobel Gowdie (in Auldearn, Scotland in )are widely celebrated as the most extraordinary on record in Britain.

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An estimated four to six thousand people were accused, tried, and executed for witch craft in the late sixteenth, seventeenth and early eighteenth century in Scotland. According to her story, she had initially encountered Satan at the church at Auldearne, and made a pact with him, beginning with her renunciation of Christianity.

On 10 April the Privy Council had issued a proclamation prohibiting torture being used as a means of securing confessions from witches [68] unless it was specifically authorised by the Council. December 21st, 0 Comments.

The trial of Isobel Gowdie Scotland’s ‘Queen of Witches’

The Confession of Isobel Gowdiea work for symphony orchestra, was composed by James MacMillan as a requiem for her. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Andrew Black and The Mask of Reason with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Modern day academics characterise Gowdie, who was illiterate and of a low social status, as a talented narrator with a creative imagination. However, there were many different forms of torture as seen below:. Perhaps the thing which sets Isobel apart from other witch trials of the time is the sheer volume of her confession. This is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.


Very-very interesting topic, Carolyn. Shakespeare is said to have used Daemonologie as a source for information on the witches that feature in such plays as MacBeth. On behalf of the Scottish people the work craves absolution and offers Isobel Gowdie the mercy and humanity that was denied her in the last days of her life.

The Confession of Isobel Gowdie – The Mask of Reason

The threat of a cruel execution. We also have the bulk of other surviving testimony to compare individual confessions with. It kind of brings me back to a book series called Outlander which is also a good read. Voted up, and all but funny, and beautiful. Levack describes Gowdie’s initial statement as “one of the most remarkable documents in the history of witchcraft” [83] with academic Julian Goodare [89] referring to her as “one of the most famous of all Scottish witches” [17] whose “extraordinary confessions” [17] include “some of the most remarkable [visionary activities] on record”.

That is, until she was accused of witchcraft along with her coven in Auldearne, Scotland. Isobel Gowdie and the Arts Isobel Gowdie has achieved modern notoriety, as she has been the subject of several modern works. This is the woman who gave the world the notion of a coven.

There is no record of Gowdie being executed [20] although this is not unusual as in 90 per cent of Scottish cases the final outcome is unknown due to the local records no longer existing.

Harry Forbes, it seems was a religious zealot with a fear of witchcraft. Well, thanks to books like the Malleus Maleficarum and Daemonologiewe know exactly what the examiners were looking for.


As they had no bows, the arrows were fired using a flick on the thumb. Other have suggested that she was suffering from ergotism.

Thanks so much, Flourish! Fatigue and sleep deprivation impair decision making and increase suggestibility. Although the confessions quickly became celebrated, the original documents went missing. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Isobel Gowdie

Views Read Edit View history. Isobel’s Confession In Context Modern gowdje for the past century has tended to disregard the confessions of accused witches due to the fact that they were overwhelmingly elicited under torture.

The early modern period saw the Scottish courts trying many cases of witchcraft [3] and witch hunts began in about It turned out that Mr Dickson was really a woman named Christian Caddell, who was deported to Barbados in for her fraudulent behaviour.

No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. I had no idea about King James’ involvement in witch trials. However, it gowdif that we pass through Auldearn on a regular occurrence to get to many other spooky sites: What happened to these wretches, we will never know. Voted way up and sharing, pinning. Memories may become implanted and the suspect may begin to believe the confession him or herself.