Details of sensational Irish witch trial 300 years ago revealed

A University of Ulster professor found evidence of three trials in Ireland involving 11 individuals accused of witchcraft in the early 18th century.

"These demoniacs all have the same symptoms. I think Mary Dunbar learned the part of a demoniac from accounts about Salem or Scotland, or someone told her about it. Remember, this was a time when people were pouring in from Scotland.

"Do I think some symptoms were psychosomatic once she got into the part?" he asks. "Maybe. Ironically, she's doing the same kind of things that the witches she's accusing are castigated for, but because it's not her fault, there's no moral responsibility. It's someone else who is doing it to her, so she can break the type of behavioral constraints placed upon her as a female at the time.

"Basically, she can get away with murder."

There is no historical record of what happened to Mary Dunbar or the eight women, as the public records office was burned down during the Irish Civil War between 1922-1923.

COMMENTS