The Witches of Paisley

Four years after the events in Salem in Massachusetts, the United States, that saw the execution of nineteen innocent victims charged with witchcraft, one of the last witch trials of western Europe began in a town called Paisley, near Glasgow in Renfrewshire, central Scotland.

It started with Christian Shaw, the eleven-year-old daughter of the wealthy landowner named John Shaw of Bargarran, accusing Catherine Campbell of witchcraft. Several weeks earlier, Christian had caught Catherine, who was one of her family servants, stealing a drink of milk. When Christian reported the incident to her mother and was duly reprimanded for the theft, Catherine flew into a rage and cursed Christian wishing that the Devil would “haul her soul through Hell.”

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