Petitioners in Scotland are seeking a pardon for one Helen Duncan who was jailed for nine months in 1944 for holding a séance in which she revealed that a certain warship had sunk. The military had kept the news secret in order to keep morale up. Another petition aims to pardon all victims of Scotland's "witchcraft legislation." From the BBC News:
Although not convicted for being a witch, Mrs Duncan was jailed for pretending to use witchcraft.
The crime of being a witch was abolished by the 1735 Witchcraft Act.
Roberta Gordon presented the signatures to Frank McAveety, convener of the public petitions committee, at Holyrood.
Mrs Gordon, who has been a medium for more than 28 years, said: "I feel that at the time the country was paranoid about security with D-Day coming up and the evidence used against her wasn't accurate. Link
And from Scott Horton's analysis at the Harper's Magazine site:
It looks like prosecutors faced a dilemma. The medium actually did discover a tragedy that the Government wanted to keep secret from the people. And there was no legal tool available to silence her. So they turned to the witchcraft statute in order to lock her away. (Let’s hope the Bush Administration doesn’t get ideas, but these days it hardly has need for a witchcraft statute, it already has plenty of them.) Link (Thanks, Vann Hall!)
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