Witch of Pungo pardoned by Virginia governor, 300 years later

Virginia governor Timothy M. Kaine today issued a ceremonial pardon to Grace Sherwood, who 300 years ago became the only person in that state to have been convicted as a witch, after a "trial by water." What's amazing about this story is the reminder that just a few generations ago in America, hysterical Satan-phobic authorities would sometimes bind women and drop them into rivers to determine whether or not they were witches (and therefore, criminals). If you floated, you were guilty. If you sank, you were innocent — but, bummer, you also drowned:

Sherwood, a midwife who at times wore men's clothes, lived in what today is the rural Pungo neighborhood, and she later became known as "The Witch of Pungo." Her neighbors thought she was a witch who ruined crops, killed livestock and conjured storms, and she went to court a dozen times, either to fight witchcraft charges or to sue her accusers for slander. She was 46 when she was accused in her final case of using her powers to cause a neighbor to miscarry.

Link to story, and more info about Grace Sherwood here. Here's an old article from 1934 on Grace Sherwood in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and check out the "Grace Sherwood" excerpt from Narratives of the Witchcraft Cases, published by Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1914: Link.